SEO stands for search engine optimization, and describes any activity for getting a website to rank higher in search results on Google and other search engines.
In search results, Google displays links to pages it considers relevant and authoritative. Authority is mostly measured by analyzing the number and quality of links from other web pages.
When you search something, you’ll find what you’re looking for on the first page and move on. Sometimes, you might move on to page 2 or 3, but that’s probably it. If your business isn’t on those first few pages, how will anyone find you? That’s why you need SEO.
Search engine optimization is broken down into two basic areas: on-page, and off-page optimization.
On-page optimization: website elements which comprise a web page, such as HTML code, textual content, and images. This can be done as a one-time endeavor or a long term project.
Off-page optimization: backlinks (links pointing to the site which is being optimized, from other relevant websites). Typically these links are to blogs and other pieces of relevant content on your site. Good quality link development work focuses on quality rather than quantity.
There are two approaches one can take in SEO, divided into white hat SEO and black hat SEO.
White hat SEO is the more credible approach, achieving genuine rankings over time. Some white hat SEO techniques include: high quality content development, website HTML optimization and restructuring, link acquisition campaigns supported by high quality content and manual research and outreach.
Black hat SEO techniques include link spam, keyword stuffing, cloaking, hidden text, and hidden links. These actions exploit weaknesses in the search engine algorithms to obtain high rankings for a website, and are in direct conflict with search engine guidelines.
SEO is key to finding new customers and marketing your business online. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so view our other definitions for a more in-depth description.