The short answer to that question is that SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. It is also used to refer to people who perform search engine optimization. When you refer to a person as an SEO it means they are a search engine optimizer. Okay, so now you know that SEO stands for search engine optimization but what exactly does that mean? Before we answer that question, let’s take a quick look at how search engines work.
How Search Engines Work
When you go to your favorite search engine to look for information, you enter some keywords into a box and then you push a button. After you push the button you expect to see relevant results. Relevant results would be websites, articles, videos or other content that is related to your search query.
When someone does search engine optimization it means that they are trying to make sure that their web pages rank in the search results for certain keywords. They are “optimizing” their site for the search engines. To try to make sure their website ranks well in the search engines for certain keywords, a webmaster will use a number of different techniques but all of those techniques can be put into two different categories, on page SEO and off page SEO. To really answer the question what is SEO, we need to talk about both on page and off page ranking factors.
On Page SEO
On page SEO refers to the things that you can do on your own webpage to help that page rank well in the search engines. This would include things like using your preferred keyword phrase in the URL, title tags, and H1 tags on your webpage. On page SEO also includes things like using your keyword phrase in the content on your website, using your chosen keywords in alt image tags for the images on your webpages, and also having a good internal linking structure i.e. linking one page on your site to another and making your site easy to navigate.
Off Page SEO
Off page SEO refers to things that will help you rank well in the search engines but things that cannot be done on your own website. Basically, off page SEO all boils down to getting back links. A back link is when another website has an outgoing link back to your website. Back links are viewed by search engines as a vote for your site and a sign that the page you are trying to rank is valuable. The idea is that if your webpage wasn’t valuable, other sites wouldn’t be linking to it.
Of course things are not quite as simple today as they were even a year or two ago. It wasn’t that long ago that you could get a webpage to rank simply by getting as many back links as possible, all using the anchor text of the search term that you are trying to rank for. Things have changed a lot over the last couple of years with all of the search engine algorithm updates and today you have to be a lot more careful with the way you optimize your site for the search engines.
Of course we can’t go into a complete search engine optimization tutorial on this page but hopefully at this point we have sufficiently answered the question, what is SEO and if you have a look around at some of the other pages on NJ SEO you will be able to learn more specific techniques and tactics to get your site ranking in the search engines.