What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
What goes into SEO?
To understand the true meaning of SEO, let’s break that definition down and look at the parts:
- Quality of traffic. You can attract all the visitors in the world, but if they’re coming to your site because Google tells them you’re a resource for Apple computers when really you’re a farmer selling apples, that is not quality traffic. Instead you want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in products that you offer.
- Quantity of traffic. Once you have the right people clicking through from those search engine results pages (SERPs), more traffic is better.
- Organic results. Ads make up a significant portion of many SERPs. Organic traffic is any traffic that you don’t have to pay for.
How SEO works
You might think of a search engine as a website you visit to type (or speak) a question into a box and Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or whatever search engine you’re using magically replies with a long list of links to webpages that could potentially answer your question.
That’s true. But have you ever stopped to consider what’s behind those magical lists of links?
Here’s how it works: Google (or any search engine you’re using) has a crawler that goes out and gathers information about all the content they can find on the Internet. The crawlers bring all those 1s and 0s back to the search engine to build an index. That index is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with your query.
Building an SEO-friendly site
Once you’re ready to start walking that SEO walk, it’s time to apply those SEO techniques to a site, whether it’s brand new or an old one you’re improving.
These pages will help you get started with everything from selecting an SEO-friendly domain name to best practices for internal links.
Content and related markup
A site isn’t really a site until you have content. But SEO for content has enough specific variables that we’ve given it its own section. If you’re curious about keyword research, how to write SEO-friendly copy, and the kind of markup that helps search engines understand just what your content is really about.
The evolution of SEO
Search engine algorithms change frequently and SEO tactics evolve in response to those changes. So if someone is offering you SEO advice that doesn’t feel quite right, check in with the specific topic page.