SEO meaning can differ greatly depending on what aspect of search engine optimization you are referring to.
SEO meaning can also be different depending on who’s talking or asking: is it the business, or the agency performing the optimization for businesses?
SEO refers to an entire system of practices that aims to generate traffic for websites the best way possible: by surfacing the websites in organic search results, so that they may be found by users who are looking for information.
In today’s search landscape, optimization can be confusing because there are just so many aspects to it that cannot be fully grasped in one go.
Businesses who have tried to perform optimization on their own know the struggle of having no results for months, even if they have followed the so-called best practices of the industry.
SEO meaning takes a radical turn when you take into consideration Google’s endless hints on what makes a good website easy to surface.
There’s plenty of talk about the longevity of content, and whether people should be more concerned about producing evergreen content, or fresh content.
If content is king, what kind of content is best suited for businesses? How frequent should the website updates be?
The answers to these questions actually depend on many factors, not just the intention of the website to turn up on page one of Google.
One has to take into account the size of the business, its location, the competition in the local market, its reputation, and so on. This is where it all begins: staking the territory, and finding out how to perform branding online.
What is SEO?
Asking “what is SEO?” is the first step in getting the help that your website needs. If you have never asked what is SEO before and yet you run a website for your business, it’s quite possible that your website needs help if it is not bringing in the traffic necessary to make your online presence profitable.
Understanding the Factors
It is critical for business owners to understand early on that in SEO, what is truly important is to get different factors to work together to generate enough score for your website to be ranked well by Google
We say this because in SEO, what is measured by search engines is the relevance of the content and pages, as well as the technical quality of the website.
For example, a website that provides great content but has too many broken links and redirects can be ranked down because it’s not convenient to use. According to Google’s own engineers, just one bad score can ruin your website’s chances of landing on page one.
Google wants its users to have the best possible experience when using the website, so the odds are stacked against websites that are not engineered suitably.
What are the kinds of SEO?
There is on-page optimization and off-page optimization.
On-page optimization refers to all the steps that allow search engines to crawl or index pages efficiently, so that Google’s AI can record and analyze the context and content of the crawled website.
This is an on-going process and over time, a website’s overall score or health in Google’s eyes can increase if improvements are consistently made.
If you are now interested in applying the principles of SEO, what is next?
In addition to on-page optimization, there’s the more challenging task of performing off-page optimization. Off-page optimization refers to ranking factors that the main content producers do not influence.
Why does Google use off-page signals to measure the relevance of a website or page?
The answer is simple: websites want to be immediately relevant in their respective niches, and often, just analyzing on-page content is not enough to bring the best results to users.
With billions of pages on the Web and sometimes hundreds of website vying for the top spot in each category or niche, Google wants to surface websites that are created by experts, with content that is penned by authoritative people in their respective fields.
In order to find out if a website has this kind of authoritativeness within its circle of websites; Google takes a look at referrals from websites that have already established their authoritativeness and expertise before.
There is a huge pressure on website owners to create genuinely useful and authoritative content that other websites can refer to.
So it’s not just a matter of adding content regularly to your blog, you need to create content that is quotable and referable by others. Copywriting can be learned by anyone, even you. However, it is a genuine effort that takes time, patience, and plenty of research to get right.
What are SEO jobs?
SEO jobs refer to the specific services offered by agencies or companies that provide search engine optimization to other businesses, big and small.
As many businesses have already experienced year ago, it’s not possible to launch an optimization project with just you at the helm. There has to be at least one team of people that are working in synergy with you to get your website up there, where it needs to be.
SEO jobs come in all scales and complexities, but we can break them down into three main groups.
The first group refers to all on-page processes, meaning the SEO jobs are geared toward improving the content of your website, as well as how the different pages interact with search engines, and of course, the users. Some of the on-page processes are:
1. Keyword research — Keyword research involves finding main and long-tail keywords for targeting.
People use different keywords on search engines depending on their intention, and an SEO company can help you identify the right keywords based on what type of traffic you want to attract to your website and social media channels.
2. Content optimization — Content optimization includes optimizing the main keywords that you want to target.
The keywords have to appear where they are needed, in just the right volume, so Google can understand the context of the content on your pages.
3. Content creation — This is self explanatory: websites cannot thrive without content, and Google actually penalizes websites that use duplicates or copied content.
Old content won’t get you to the top, so it is vital to your website’s wellbeing that you have a content schedule that is built around in-depth cornerstone articles.
After establishing the most in-depth pieces of content for your website, all the other content will be built around these cornerstone pieces as supplementary content. The topics on the other hand, will be derived from keyword research.
What is technical SEO?
The second group of SEO jobs is technical search engine optimization.
Technical SEO is all about examining the code that comprises your website, so they align with the industry standards and the preferences of the big search engines.
Technical SEO works on the backend of your website, and ensures that it complies with the minimum required by search engines to render a website reliable and trustworthy enough to be surfaced on the first page of Google.
What are technical SEO factors?
Among the factors that are examined by a technical SEO audit are: page loading speed, the website’s readiness to be loaded by mobile devices, the indexability of a website, the crawlability of a website, the overall website schema and its content architecture, how its data is stored and organized, and the website’s security.
Off-page or off-site optimization is the third group, and is probably the hardest category of SEO jobs.
What makes off-page processes difficult is that Google has long penalized websites that ‘forced’ referrals, so you must not buy anything off the Web that promises high quality backlinks. This will likely get your website penalized, and it will disappear from all search results for months.
Off-page optimization focuses on getting a large volume of real backlinks and referrals from websites that have a good reputation on the Web.
These referrals basically tell Google that your website is good enough to be cited by other Web properties in the same niche.
Backlink checking is imperative and is usually done to check out how your nearest competition is doing in terms of getting those vital backlinks.
Take note however, that in some instances, Google displays websites that have few or no backlinks.
This happens because a website may not have that many backlinks but it can still be relevant to its niche. Google measures activity and engagement, and that can be enough in some situations to get you to the top spot.
What does SEO define today?
SEO defines the ever-changing landscape of search, from the molecular level (users) to the macro level (big data). SEO also defines the many changes in consumer preferences since the Internet began.
Just imagine: websites now have to take into account that AI-supported, voice assisted technologies like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are now being used more than 50% of the time by mobile device users. What this means is that businesses who have websites have to adapt — if they want to generate traffic and profit online.
SEO defines not just the appropriate things to do if you want to rank for your keywords, but also the violations that can make your website simply disappear from search results.
The logic behind this is quite clear: search engines actually encourage people and businesses to perform SEO on their websites, because that’s how you improve the chances of being ranked high for certain keywords.
However, not all things that are called SEO are good for your websites. Some practices, like link cloaking, buying off content farms and link farms — these can get your website penalized fast.
The search engines call these techniques black hat SEO or spamming, and trust us, even Google struggled with these some years ago.
Basically, websites started turning to optimization that ‘cheated’ search engines into thinking that they provided the best results to users when in reality, the websites who resorted to black hate SEO were posting nearly duplicate, thin content that offered little perspective, value, or input to users.
Naturally, this reduced the reputation of the search engines for a time, because people were getting so much junk from unscrupulous websites that didn’t care much about user experience.
How are the factors weighed?
If the SEO definition of a good website is understandable within the context of user-centered design and relevant content, then how do search engines weigh the other signals or factors?
According to Google engineers, all the existing signals are taken into consideration equally. What this means for websites in general is you cannot neglect off-page, on-page and technical optimizations.
You have to invest equally in all of them for the best results. Google weighs factor using a scale of one to three. Of course, we want to get a three for all of the signals that boost Web pages to the top. But it’s not going to be easy, especially if you have a young website.
Our most useful piece of advice for you right now is to perform a technical audit of your website to see where things stand, and then start creating a foolproof content plan based on your initiate knowledge of your market. All the content on your website should be based on what your intended users want and need.
Also take into consideration that you need to develop a marketing funnel for your traffic, so you can provide the right content and offers to people who are located in different regions of the marketing funnel. This way, everyone gets what they need, and your website will become a great resource for customers in your niche.
Again, this will take time to accomplish, but you will likely see success earlier than expected if you just followed the industry’s best practice of putting your customers at the very center of all your optimization efforts.