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What Is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization, generally referred to by its acronym SEO, is the term that refers to the things you can do to improve your website’s visibility to, and resulting placement in, a search engine’s return pages (SERPs). Search engine optimization techniques focus on increasing the organic, or natural, traffic that you receive based on your ranking, and indexing, within the search engines’ databases, and reflected in your positioning on the SERPs for any given singular keyword, or keyword phrase (often called long-tail keywords), searched by an individual looking for a product, service, or some specific information.

The general goal of search engine optimization is to ensure your website appeals to search engine crawlers (also called spiders or bots). The search engines will take note of your site and its content, categorizing and indexing it in a way that will allow it to show up in the SERPs when certain related keywords are typed by individuals into the search box. The better your website content, and other factors, are attuned to the nature of your product(s), service(s), or the information your site offers, the better (higer up or closer to, in directly in, spot one on page one) in the SERPs your website will place.

How Is Search Engine Optimization Achieved?

Search engine optimization is achieved through a wide variety of methods, techniques, and strategies, involving more than 250 key indexing factors and elements. Many webmasters and SEO professionals will focus on proper keyword research and selection, clarity in the setup of your website’s headers, tags, file names and descriptions, external back linking, internal cross linking, and quality content creation. These are considered the standard factors and are the easiest to learn. Many search engine practitioners know only these factors and most often have one or two favorites on which they focus.

While each search engine uses its own complex algorithm for determining the ranking of every web page that is indexed, it is possible to increase your rankings by making your site appear more informative and actually be more visible to search engines via both on-page and off-page techniques. Sites that are designed with ease-of-use and quality information in mind tend to do better than those built sloppily and without a solid plan. Much of the optimization process is spent correcting existing errors and adding quality content, and other material, to the website. This can be done by anyone, but knowing what to fix, what to add, and most importantly, where to add it, is what experience and training brings to the table.

If you are going to do all of your SEO work yourself you should probably at least consult with an experienced professional to be sure you are not making costly mistakes. Some things, advocated by so-called black hat practitioners can find your site penalized and degraded in the search indexes resulting in not being found at all by common keyword searches. It never hurts to ask, even if you are absolutely sure.

What Is Search Engine Optimization?
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