• Megan J. Zander

What is SEO?

SEO - search engine optimization - is a broad set of tactics with a shared output: keyword website traffic. Below we’ll walk through some of the basics of search engines and content optimization to help you understand the SEO landscape a bit better.


What is a search engine?


Search engines are free tools that allow internet users to search for information and media via the World Wide Web (WWW). A user submits keywords or queries to access an algorithmically curated list of content from the engine - articles, products, social posts, videos, and more. This list is called a SERP which stands for search engine results page.


What does SEO stand for?


SEO stands for search engine optimization and it refers to the process of refining a website's technical configuration, user experience, and content relevance to increase the likelihood that search engines will offer that website as a search result to its users.


How to improve SEO?


Search engines are always looking for ways to serve internet users better and more relevant content in an effort to maintain their loyalty. Put simply: updating your site to provide an experience that meets the expectations of the search engine’s users will see improvements in visibility, ranking, traffic, and even site engagement.


Although developers and SEO strategists can do a ton to improve SEO, the most simple ways to improve don’t require a ton of experience to understand and execute:


  • Make sure every page has a unique page title, meta description, and headers

  • Make sure every page is linked from somewhere else in the site - no page left alone

  • Make pages for every type of search - products should have both informational and transactional content on your site to meet web searchers at any point in their journey


Remember: you’re trying to meet the expectation of the internet user. You don’t have to blow your target audience out of the water with an amusement park-like experience. Your site just needs to be helpful, consistent, and dependable.


What is an SEO?


“An SEO” is sometimes what marketers call their SEO-specializing siblings. When someone is referred to “an SEO” they’re probably a specialist in SEO.


What are keywords in SEO?


Keywords are used in SEO to help define content development priorities and categorize audience targets according to the way the audience searches for information about the product you’re hoping they’ll buy.

If you took everything on your site and turned it into just words and then filtered through those words, the words that popped up the most often are probably your keywords. If your keywords don’t match the words that your target audience uses, then you’ll need to use different keywords.


What is SEO in writing?


SEO in writing is the practice of researching the keywords and queries your target audience would be using to find information about the topic you’re writing about. As an example, if you’re writing content for an audience who would be looking for information about SEO and how to improve it, you might use an SEO tool like SEMRush to research what actual phrases your target audience uses when they are searching.


Often audiences use direct phrases like “How to improve SEO'' to find what they’re looking for. Repeating their queries in your copy and directly answering your target audience’s queries will greatly improve your chance of outranking competitors for “How to improve SEO”.


What is SEO in digital marketing?


In digital marketing, SEO is an earned/owned channel that helps brands find new audiences by creating content that meets the needs of search engine users. An investment in SEO in this sense can mean creating new content to target new keywords (see below) or building the site’s inbound links to build the site’s equity and improve rankings of target keywords.


What should I learn about SEO next?


Those are just the basics! SEO is so much more than these well-known terms. Content and experience are almost as important as the accessibility and structure of the site. And if you’re getting into SEO because you want to improve your site traffic, know that there’s no real one-size-fits-all fix to “get better SEO” for your site and it might take time and research to figure out where your site needs the most help.. The good news is learning the basics is a great first step toward understanding where to start.