In common usage, the phrase has different meanings to different people, but there are two main definitions I find useful.
This post is part of a series and here is the link to the main glossary page.
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This is a broader and more generic definition and requires that all the technical SEO stuff listed below be properly attended to.
Search Engine Optimization is when you publish articles and stories to your website such that the articles are written for the enjoyment of people, but with the knowledge that the search engines must find the articles first because that is what will bring the people.
Your website is properly optimized when you strike that balance.
In essence, you write for people, and part of your formatting is to allow search engine spiders to find and index the articles (pages and posts).
To do an experiment to test the importance of publishing, search Google for some random phrase such as “what happens when aluminum reacts with mercury” or “Custer’s last stand” or “when coffee and tea first arrived in Europe” and notice the top of the SERP is filled with websites that tend to be both fairly large and updated fairly often.
This is not always true, but generally is.
In order for your website content to rank higher, you need to publish quality content (per Google’s EEAT guidelines), as often can you can without sacrificing content quality.
However, if you ignore technical SEO, the search engine spiders will not properly index your site, which will prevent your content from being found.
SEO is the technical aspects of making your website easy for the search engines to search and index, and the setting of specific technical details for each and every individual page and post.
There are technical SEO details that apply to the entire site, and there are other technical SEO details that apply to each individual post and page.
Which means it is possible for a well optimized SITE to contain poorly optimized PAGES and/or POSTS.
Which in turn means you need to check and set those details for every individual page and post.
Every website has:
- a title
- a description
- a set of categories used to categorize pages and posts
Additionally, the site needs:
- a sitemap.xml file that is updated every time the site is updated
- proper formatting of the URLs so the category and post name appear in the individual webpage URL
For each individual page and post
- the post title should contain keywords the article uses and discusses
- the post should contain at least one image with a properly set:
- alt text
- the metadata for the post MUST be set well:
- the title tag
- the meta description
- each post should contain:
- one internal link
- one external link
But wait, there’s more
I (Kevin who is updating a blog post Bonface originally wrote) found a great article on another website that identifies the four main types of SEO.
Links to sub topics of SEO
Here are links to sub-topics that are relevant to SEO. As you can see, most of them relate to technical SEO, as the publishing requirements also tend to be described under the umbrella term of Content Marketing.
Algorithm Updates (e.g. Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird)
Black Hat SEO vs. White Hat SEO
Crawling and Indexing
Google Search Console
Google Sandbox Effect
Meta Tags (Title, Description)
Page Speed Optimization
SERP (Search Engine Results Page)Check out our Digital PR Platform