SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.
To understand what SEO really means, let's break that sentence 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.
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.
There are a lot of factors that go into a search engine's algorithm, and here's how a group of experts ranked their importance:
Moz. (2017, January 1). What is SEO ? Retrieved from Moz: https://moz.com/learn/seo/what-is-seo
Search Engine Land. (2018, March 14). What is SEO? Retrieved from Search Engine Land : https://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo