These are the three letters that drive our activities, that create problems to sites’ webmasters, developers and editors, that generate million of search results’ pages and as many about advices, suggestions and strategies: today we are going to take a step back and try to better define what is the SEO and what does it mean to do SEO nowadays, in a phase of constant evolution of the ranking work on search engines.
What does SEO mean
From the grammar perspective, SEO is an acronym that stands for the initials of the english terms Search Engine Optimization. By extension, SEO term also refers to the actual person that deals with this activity professionally, offering support for the development and enhancing of online projects.
S.E.O. meaning, a clarification
Stepping back from grammatical definitions, SEO is a set of techniques and procedures one needs to improve a site’s position in search engines ranking, so to increase its visibility in free-of-charge results, generally called “pure” or “organic” ( here comes the expression “organic traffic” for those kind of visits gained by clicks generated from search engines pages), diversifying itself from SEM (search engine marketing), that rather also includes promotional and paid activities, the advertising.
The three phases of SEO activity
Wanting to sum up the discussion, we can say that SEO interventions are needed to make a site’s structure and contents likeable to search engines, easily indexed for their scan systems, to gain high rankings, among first results, when a Google user search for a specific keyword tied to its field. There are three main kind of activities: technic optimization, creation of strategic and quality contents, promotion of said contents. Technical work is pivotal to allow search engines crawler to access and successfully index the site’s pages; while SEO copywriting is strongly needed to create contents appreciated both by readers and search engines, that can match the user’s search intent and offer perfect answers to their questions. Moreover, for an effective campaign no one can forget about contents promotion‘s phase, that even take the quotational form with links (follow or nofollow) from influential sites that, as we already know, is one of the systems Google uses to evaluate a site’s quality.
An introductive guide to search engines optimization
We talked about search engines, as plural, but in reality most part of SEO activities are strictly tied to Google, the absolutely most used system in the whole world, and to its algorithms, that remain “mysterious”. Specifically, we only know that Google uses almost 200 ranking factors to give life to the SERPs (acronym for Search Engine Results Pages), the weight and specific characteristics of which are basically only known by Googlers (the ones who are actually working on Big G’s Search system), while we are trying to act on effective interventions to make the algorithm like our sites (and correlated keywords), staying on top of the constant updates operated (like on St. Valentine’s day!).
Google’s guidelines are the real starting point
A reference point does exist, and is represented by the document “Introductive guide to search engines optimization (SEO)“, a.k.a Google’s guidelines for this activity, that contains indications and instructions to whoever ” owns, manages, monetizes or promotes online contents through Google Research”, doesn’t matter if he is “the owner of a growing and successful activity, webmaster for a dozen sites, SEO Expert in a web agency or a DIY SEO specialist that is interested in all kinds of info on Google Research mechanisms”. Hearing from Danny Sullivan, recently, even Google is actually doing SEO on its sites, without a special treatment and just by following our same guidelines….
Valid procedures for all websites
No secrets, really, only a series of best practices and fundamental principles for every kind of web page that, if effectively put together, can generate “an impressive impact on the user’s experience and the site’s performances on organic research results“. The starting point is simple: the website must be thought and optimized to satisfy users’ needs, considering the search engine as one of these users with a special characteristics: to help the rest of the “surfers” find those contents.
SEO is a strategic and very practical discipline
So, search engines’ optimization means to work so that Google and the other search engines could understand and present a website’s contents. In practical terms, SEO is a discipline that refers to technical and strategical aspects: the keyword research to rightly choose the keywords to focus on, the backlink profile management (both inbound and outbound links), the optimization of textual contents and images, the improving of the site’s structure, the analysis of both market and competitors, the attention on the user’s experience, the speed and the chance to also access from mobile devices and so on, always swimming inside the required rules (written or not) to try and avoid any Google’s penalty.
In the end, SEO is far from dead!
We have discussed about these topics more specifically before, as some of the previous added links can prove, and that is why we would like to close this simple and introductive guide to SEO with a single thought, picked from an old Ivano Di Biasi’s post that is still very contemporary: SEO is not dead, but is actually a complex, constant and strict activity, in which you will only appreciate the actual results in a medium-long period of time and that too often is managed in a superficial or totally sloppy way by so-called experts. Main reason why we still talk about it constantly, trying to intercept SEO’s new developments, to foresee which practical news there will be on vocal researches or A.I. systems and so on.