What is SEO? The answer is that SEO is marketing that is done with a knowledge of the framework of the Web.
People whom perform search engine optimization are often referred to as SEOs. These SEOs learn about the search engines that many people use to find relevant information with, to meet their situational and informational needs.
SEOs also learn about how social media sites work, and how those may impact the visibility of sites on the Web. A key aspect of how SEOs work is that they learn about the audiences that may be the ideal audience of a client, and the goods or services those clients offer on their web pages.
What Do Search Engines Think of SEO?
To do search engine optimization well, SEOs need to study how well search engines such as Google and Bing work. This requires learning and studying Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and the Bing Webmaster Guidelines.
Those guidelines have been published by the search engines to set groundrules about expectations that they have for website owners who might like to be visible in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) in response to queries performed by searchers.
The search engines also benefit from site owners doing SEO well, so that high quality sites can be found in searches in their indexes. Google has published a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide, where they provide details on important aspects of setting up a web site for it to perform well and be visible in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Bing does not have a similar Starter guide to SEO.
Optimizing web pages for Google and Bing are similar in many ways, but they aren’t exactly the same. Google is well known for specific Algorithms such as PageRank, which they tell us about in a support page on their site titled, How Google Search Works, which tells us how Google discovers, crawls, and serves websites. The Patent for PageRank was assigned to Stanford University, and Google was given an exclusive license to use the technology in exchange for shares of the company. The original PageRank patent has expired, but Google has been granted newer patents on processes that also use link analysis approaches to rank pages. The Process behind PageRank isn’t the only one that Google uses to crawl and rank and index pages on the Web, but it is the one that the company is best known for.
While SEO is best known for helping website owners to rank their pages highly in search results, SEOs also work with clients to make sure that site are using analytics (so that they can be measured and managed), and use approaches involving user experience so that visitors enjoy using sites, and return to them, and purchase goods and services presented upon their pages. So, SEOs are helping site owners to build sites that are easier and more enjoyable to use.
How has SEO Evolved?
SEOs have also been working with clients to have Knowledge Panels appear for them in search results, as well as featured snippets and rich results. Search results have evolved beyond a list of links to URLs where words from queries match words in documents in those SERPs. Now search results include answers to questions asked in queries, knowledge panels which show off important facts about entities which appear in queries, recommendations about similar local entities, related searches and query refinements, and similar questions that people also ask about or search for as well.
Google has been updating the index it offers to searchers, with updates carrying names such as Panda and Penguin and Hummingbird. Sometimes updates like these have impacted traffic on sites, but there are other causes of traffic loses that include things such as changes made to sites, changes to competitors’ sites, changes to what searchers are looking for, and what they are trying to find on the web, and even changes to industries. SEOs do work to learn about those updates and changes that can impact sites, and approaches such as increasing the speed of pages, and making pages more mobile friendly, so that visitors can have enjoyable experiences on the pages of sites.
That is an introduction to SEO. We look forward to answering any other questions you may have about it.