What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
How does SEO work?
Search engines such as Google and Bing use bots to crawl pages on the web, going from site to site, collecting information about those pages and putting them in an index. Next, algorithms analyze pages in the index, taking into account hundreds of ranking factors or signals, to determine the order pages should appear in the search results for a given query.
Search ranking factors can be considered proxies for aspects of the user experience. Our Periodic Table of SEO Factors organizes the factors into six main categories and weights each based on its overall importance to SEO. For example, content quality and keyword research are key factors of content optimization, and crawlability and mobile-friendliness are important site architecture factors.
The search algorithms are designed to surface relevant, authoritative pages and provide users with an efficient search experience. Optimizing your site and content with these factors in mind can help your pages rank higher in the search results.
Unlike paid search ads, you can’t pay search engines to get higher organic search rankings.
Why is SEO important for marketing?
SEO is a fundamental part of digital marketing because people conduct trillions of searches every year, often with commercial intent to find information about products and services. Search is often the primary source of digital traffic for brands and complements other marketing channels. Greater visibility and ranking higher in search results than your competition can have a material impact on your bottom line.
However, the search results have been evolving over the past few years to give users more direct answers and information that is more likely to keep users on the results page instead of driving them to other websites.
Also note, features like rich results and Knowledge Panels in the search results can increase visibility and provide users more information about your company directly in the results.
New to SEO? Start with this quick and easy to understand video about search engine optimization. It’ll quickly cover the basics:
Search Engine Land worked with Common Craft to produce this video.
How can I learn SEO?
For a helpful dive into SEO, our Periodic Table Of SEO Factors will introduce you to all the key concepts you need to know, including the elements for successful on-page and off-page SEO, plus the “Toxins” or tactics that can hurt your rankings.
The table and accompanying report also look at the emerging verticals of search:
The Periodic Table of SEO Factors serves as the foundation of this Guide to SEO. Together, these resources will help you learn about SEO and inform your strategy for success.
Search Engine Land’s Guide To SEO
As a companion to the table, Search Engine Land’s Guide To SEO explains the search ranking factors in more depth. It also features tips and advice from SEO experts on implementing them to achieve greater visibility and higher rankings in organic search results.
Links to each chapter of the SEO Guide are shown below. Chapter links at the bottom of each make it easy to navigate through the guide.
- Chapter 1: Types Of Search Engine Success Factors
- Chapter 2: Content & Search Engine Success Factors
- Chapter 3: Site Architecture & Search Engine Success Factors
- Chapter 4: HTML Code & Search Engine Success Factors
- Chapter 5: Trust, Authority, Expertise & Search Rankings
- Chapter 6: Link Building & Ranking In Search Engines
- Chapter 7: Personalization & Search Engine Rankings
- Chapter 8: Toxins & Search Engine Spam Penalties
- Chapter 9: Emerging Verticals in Search
Daily SEO News & Expert SEO Advice
In addition to daily news stories from our editorial staff, Search Engine Land publishes daily articles from expert contributors that cover SEO issues mainly from an in-the-trenches perspective.
Browse the SEO Channel for the most recent SEO news stories and expert columns. Sign up to receive
Search Engine Land’s SEO Library
In addition to covering SEO generally, Search Engine Land also has search engine optimization areas specifically for the major search engines:
Also within our library is the How To: SEO section is devoted to practical tips and tactics about search engine optimization.
We also have sub-categories, including:
- SEO: General
- SEO: Content and Writing
- SEO: Crawling and Robots
- SEO: Domains & URLs
- SEO: Duplicate Content
- SEO: Link Building
- SEO: Mobile Search
- SEO: Redirects & Moving Sites
- SEO: Spamming
- SEO: Sitemaps & Submitting URLs
- SEO: Titles & Descriptions
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