Well we aren't really saying SEO started here, but it kind of did being that Google is headquartered here along with many other tech powerhouses.
SEO or search engine optimization isn't super interesting (we think it is) or flamboyant, rather it's tedious and an effective tool for marketing businesses. We have been providing clients with SEO services for several years now, and can assure you the breadth and knowledge about the search engines is always changing and there are special tricks you learn along the way that help your rankings perform even better.
The first aspect of SEO that has changed are keywords. When we first began discovering that the keywords on your site can help the search engine rank your site higher, they were simple. One or two words would some up the service and voila, service provider was found. These days you need a solid 10-15 keywords you are optimizing for. Specifics like 3-5 words that may sum up your service or variety of services. Say someone needs a brochure, they don't necessarily search 'brochure design in Seattle,' they may search for 'graphic designer Seattle,' since that is the type of service provider who would design a brochure.
Another evolution of SEO is pay-per-click. You need to incorporate your main keyword into the title and description of your ad in order for it to be picked up by the search engine. At first we were a bit incredulous as to why our ads (ones we were willing to pay for) got little to no click throughs. Google has changed it's rules, which are conveniently hidden from anyone who profit from knowing them, so your ad has to be relevant in order for it to show alongside your keyword search term.
A lot of Seattle businesses have picked up on SEO or at least learned that it highly benefits their business. I can't say the same for other cities, but even a company as simple as a Seattle tree removal service is utilizing optimization techniques to improve their search rankings and they are smart to do so. It's surprising, but always indicative of Seattle being one of the techiest cities in the US, even the blue collar guys get SEO.
It's really important when you are searching for keywords that you make sure your keywords are actually being searched. You could think you have the greatest keyword or assume people are searching a keyword for your industry, but are indeed not. The best free tool out there is Google's Adwords - Keyword Tool. That little piece of heaven lets you know how many global and local searches are happening each month for any specific keyword.
We aren't going to give away all of our secrets, but will leave you with this; invest in SEO. You will find SEO is the second best way (aside from referrals) to get business. Heck, it could turn into your number one lead generator. So why wait?