What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization? (2023)

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business in Google, Bing, and other search engines. 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. Think of the index like a giant library where a librarian can pull up a book (or a web page) to help you find exactly what you’re looking for at the time.

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. In our library analogy, the librarian has read every single book in the library and can tell you exactly which one will have the answers to your questions.

Our SEO success factors can be considered proxies for aspects of the user experience. It’s how search bots estimate exactly how well a website or web page can give the searcher what they’re searching for.

Unlike paid search ads, you can’t pay search engines to get higher organic search rankings, which means SEO experts have to put in the work. That’s where we come in.

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 speed are important site architecture factors.

The newly updated SEO Periodic Table also includes a list of Toxins that detract from SEO best practices. These are shortcuts or tricks that may have been sufficient to guarantee a high ranking back in the day when the engines’ methods were much less sophisticated. And, they might even work for a short time now — at least until you’re caught.

We’ve also got a brand new Niches section that deep-dives into the SEO success factors behind three key niches: Local SEO, News/Publishing, and Ecommerce SEO. While our overall SEO Periodic Table will help you with the best practices, knowing the nuances of SEO for each of these Niches can help you succeed in search results for your small business, recipe blog, and/or online store.

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.

Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.

(Video) SEO Search Engine Optimization | what is SEO? How does it works? Learn SEO in 2022 | Smart living

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.

In sum, SEO is the foundation of a holistic marketing ecosystem. When you understand what your website users want, you can then implement that knowledge across your campaigns (paid and organic), across your website, across your social media properties, and more.

How can I learn SEO?

Note: We will be launching our updated SEO Periodic Table in 2023!

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.

What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization? (1)
(Video) What Is Search Engine Optimization / SEO

The table and accompanying report also look at three niches of search:

  • Local SEO
  • Publishing/News SEO
  • Ecommerce SEO

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 our Periodic Table of SEO Factors, Search Engine Land's Guide To SEO walks you through the fundamentals of optimizing for search so you can develop a solid strategy to drive organic traffic to your site.

In the guide below, we explain these factors in more depth, and highlight tactical tips from experts on search engine optimization that will help your website get more visitors from organic search.

  • Chapter 1: Types of Search Engine Success Factors: These are the on- and off-page factors that can affect your search rankings. We'll also look at Niche verticals in SEO and toxic SEO tactics to avoid.
  • : Keep these elements in mind to create high-quality content that search engines and your target audiences will love.
  • : Let’s go behind the scenes and look at the aspects of your site that make it easy for search engines to access and influence user experience.
  • : HTML tags and structured data help organize information on your site and help search engines understand your content.
  • : How your users engage with your site, as well its reputation and authority, helps search engines determine if it’s worthy of showing to users.
  • : Why links are still important and what they tell search engines about your content.
  • : These are the user-specific elements, such as location and intent, that can affect the results users see.
  • : Beware SEO “shortcuts.” Getting caught using these tactics can potentially result in a manual action penalty or even get your site delisted from the search index.
  • Chapter 9: Emerging Verticals in Search: Voice, local, image and video search represent new ways for users to find what they’re looking for. While they each provide nuanced opportunities for brands, they’re still based on the fundamental principles of SEO.

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 our SEO news and expert columns. Sign up to receive Search Engine Land’s daily email newsletter featuring a roundup of search marketing news and exclusive analysis and insights.

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:

  • Google SEO
  • Google Algorithm Updates
  • Google Search Console
  • Bing SEO

Get SEO News & Advice Delivered To Your Inbox

Subscribe to our daily brief newsletter for a recap of all the latest SEO-related news, tips and tactics from Search Engine Land and other sources all over the Web.

New on Search Engine Land

    YouTube year in review: The top 10 ads of 2022

    Twitstorm timeline: The latest on Elon Musk’s Twitter 2.0

    YouTube SEO: How to find the best traffic-generating keywords

    (Video) What is SEO? | Search Engine Optimization Explained (2022)

    What it takes to be a subject matter expert in search marketing

    Views per Session and Average Session Duration now available in GA4

(Video) SEO In 5 Minutes | What Is SEO And How Does It Work | SEO Explained | SEO Tutorial | Simplilearn

Related Topics

SEO

(Video) SEO for Beginners: Rank #1 In Google (FAST)

FAQs

What is meant by SEO optimization? ›

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of orienting your website to rank higher on a search engine results page (SERP) so that you receive more traffic. The aim is typically to rank on the first page of Google results for search terms that mean the most to your target audience.

What is Search Engine Optimization SEO )? Quizlet? ›

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of. improving a website or web page's rank in "organic" or. unpaid search results.

What is SEO and examples? ›

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of getting targeted traffic to a website from a search engine's organic rankings. Common tasks associated with SEO include creating high-quality content, optimizing content around specific keywords, and building backlinks.

What are the 3 types of SEO optimizations? ›

The three kinds of SEO are: On-page SEO – Anything on your web pages – Blogs, product copy, web copy. Off-page SEO – Anything which happens away from your website that helps with your SEO Strategy- Backlinks. Technical SEO – Anything technical undertaken to improve Search Rankings – site indexing to help bot crawling.

Why SEO optimization is important? ›

In short, SEO is crucial because it makes your website more visible, and that means more traffic and more opportunities to convert prospects into customers. Check out the SEO tools you can use for optimal ranking.

What is optimization in your own words? ›

: an act, process, or methodology of making something (such as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible. specifically : the mathematical procedures (such as finding the maximum of a function) involved in this.

What are the main types of SEO Answer? ›

12 Types of SEO
  • White-Hat SEO. When you hear someone say white-hat SEO, that means the SEO practices that are in-line with the terms and conditions of the major search engines, including Google. ...
  • Black-Hat SEO. ...
  • Gray-Hat SEO. ...
  • On-Page SEO. ...
  • Off-Page SEO. ...
  • Technical SEO. ...
  • International SEO. ...
  • Local SEO.
18 Oct 2022

What is Search Engine Optimization SEO PDF? ›

Search engine optimization can be described as a cluster of strategies and techniques used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) .

What is SEO Social Media Optimization Short answer? ›

Social media optimization (SMO) is the use of social media networks to manage and grow an organization's message and online presence. As a digital marketing strategy, social media optimization can be used to increase awareness of new products and services, connect with customers, and mitigate potential damaging news.

What are the 5 SEO factors? ›

Top 5 On Page SEO Factors
  • On Page SEO Factor 1 – Keyword Research: ...
  • On Page SEO Factor 2 – URL Optimization: ...
  • On Page SEO Factor 3 – Meta Tags: ...
  • On Page SEO Factor 4 – Header Tags: ...
  • On Page SEO Factor 5 – Content Optimization:
30 May 2017

Why is optimization important? ›

The purpose of optimization is to achieve the “best” design relative to a set of prioritized criteria or constraints. These include maximizing factors such as productivity, strength, reliability, longevity, efficiency, and utilization.

How effective is SEO? ›

SEO can reduce the cost of customer acquisition by 87.41% on average compared to digital advertising (Terakeet) Because of its low-cost barriers, SEO makes getting new customers significantly less expensive than other mediums.

Where is optimization used? ›

Optimization methods are used in many areas of study to find solutions that maximize or minimize some study parameters, such as minimize costs in the production of a good or service, maximize profits, minimize raw material in the development of a good, or maximize production.

Which is the optimization? ›

optimization, also known as mathematical programming, collection of mathematical principles and methods used for solving quantitative problems in many disciplines, including physics, biology, engineering, economics, and business.

What is SEO and its parts? ›

Knowing and understanding each of the 4 main components of SEO is crucial to improving a brand's search results. Each component builds on and complements the others. The stronger the connections between each of the 4 SEO components—technical SEO, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and content-—the better the results.

What are the two main points of SEO? ›

SEO is divided in two parts: On-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to all techniques that can be implemented on your website to improve your ranking in SERP (search engine results pages), whereas off-page SEO refers to everything that can be done outside of your website to improve its visibility on the web.

How do you do SEO optimization? ›

Follow these suggestions to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and watch your website rise the ranks to the top of search-engine results.
  1. Publish Relevant, Authoritative Content. ...
  2. Update Your Content Regularly. ...
  3. Metadata. ...
  4. Have a link-worthy site. ...
  5. Use alt tags.

How do you write SEO in 4 easy steps? ›

Writing SEO Articles with Semrush: The 4-Step Guide
  1. Gather research in Topic Research and the Keyword Magic Tool. ...
  2. Analyze keywords by Keyword Difficulty. ...
  3. Generate an SEO Content Template and outline your content. ...
  4. Grade yourself as you write with the SEO Writing Assistant.

Why SEO is important for social media? ›

SEO is about optimizing your website so that it turns up in searches done by people seeking your product or service, and enticing them to visit your website. Social media does the same thing – it gets your name and content in front of people interested in your offering.

What is SEO in social marketing? ›

Social SEO refers to the idea that social media links and interaction play a considerable part in a website's search rankings. Basically SEO is all about optimizing content—whether it's on your website or on a social media platform—in order to appear higher in search rankings.

What is optimization in online marketing? ›

Marketing Optimization is the process of improving the marketing efforts of an organization in an effort to maximize the desired business outcomes. Marketing optimization is performed on each individual marketing tactic employed, as well as optimizing the fit of those tactics into the marketing strategy as a whole.

What is a keyword in SEO? ›

Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they're the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called "search queries." If you boil everything on your page — all the images, video, copy, etc.

What are the 3 types of search? ›

Types of searches: transactional, navigational, informational.

What are SEO names? ›

A SEO-optimized domain name is one that tells people what the website is about, the products and services it offers, etc. In this case, the domain stands out more in the sea of search result listings and becomes more likely to be clicked.

What are the 4 stages of SEO? ›

Here are the four steps of the SEO process:
  • Get your technicals right.
  • Find a keyword to target.
  • Create an optimized page.
  • Build links to it.
3 Nov 2022

How do you optimize for SEO? ›

Follow these suggestions to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and watch your website rise the ranks to the top of search-engine results.
  1. Publish Relevant, Authoritative Content. ...
  2. Update Your Content Regularly. ...
  3. Metadata. ...
  4. Have a link-worthy site. ...
  5. Use alt tags.

What are the main elements of SEO? ›

  • Keywords. Keyword research is the first step to a successful SEO strategy. ...
  • Meta tags. Meta tags still play a vital role in SEO. ...
  • Content. It's true, content is king. ...
  • Backlinks. If content is king, then backlinks are queen. ...
  • Social media. The algorithms have truly changed since social media first emerged. ...
  • Product images.
3 Aug 2012

Is SEO optimization easy? ›

It's a fair question if you consider that not all people know what Search Engine Optimization is all about and what it entails. The answer is simple. Learning SEO is hard because there is a lot of information to read about search engines and how the optimization process works, and this can be overwhelming at first.

Videos

1. Intro to search engine optimisation (SEO)
(Digital Garage)
2. SEO for Beginners: Rank #1 In Google in 2022
(Semrush)
3. Complete SEO Course for Beginners: Learn to Rank #1 in Google
(Ahrefs)
4. What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
(Techquickie)
5. SEO For Beginners: A Basic Search Engine Optimization Tutorial for Higher Google Rankings
(Ahrefs)
6. SEO In 10 Minutes | What Is SEO(Search Engine Optimization)? | SEO Explained 2020 | Simplilearn
(Simplilearn)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Aracelis Kilback

Last Updated: 02/28/2023

Views: 6199

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Aracelis Kilback

Birthday: 1994-11-22

Address: Apt. 895 30151 Green Plain, Lake Mariela, RI 98141

Phone: +5992291857476

Job: Legal Officer

Hobby: LARPing, role-playing games, Slacklining, Reading, Inline skating, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Dance

Introduction: My name is Aracelis Kilback, I am a nice, gentle, agreeable, joyous, attractive, combative, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.