What Does SEO Stand For?

What does SEO stand for?

In web design and development, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization

There are many different types of services that fall under the term “SEO” or search engine optimization.

Just like the terms web designer, web developer, and web programmer – they sort of mean the same thing, but when you look deeper, they cover specific areas of website development.

So SEO stands for search engine optimization, but what does it mean to optimize for search engines? 

There are trillions of web pages on the Internet. Google includes somewhere around 50 billion pages in their search engine.  How do they get there?  And then how do you get your website to show up when someone does a search for keyword phrases relevant to what your website is about? That’s SEO.   It’s about building your web page code and content in a way that is clear and organized so search engines understand what your web pages are about. It’s about making them MORE clear and organized that all of the other websites so you show up on the first page of a search results so you are the most visible to a user doing a search.

Think about it, how many times when you do a search in Google do you even go beyond the first page of results to find a match what you are looking for? You put trust in Google that the best, most relevant websites are showing up first.

Organic SEO refers to your site showing up in the Google search engine results when a user types in search terms (also referred to as keyword phrases)

Technical SEO refers to modifying code and content on your web pages to improve your site so it will rank higher organically in search engine results. This is also referred to as on page SEO.

In the early days when the Internet was becoming popular for commercial purposes, SEO was pretty simple:

  • add meta keywords tags to your page
  • list keywords on your page

Over time, SEO has evolved into a complex system of hundreds of factors that will effect your ranking in the search engine results pages. There are actually about 200 different ranking factors as of 2022.

This can be broken down in a lot of different ways.

  • Technical SEO – how your website is organized, and code implemented ( speed, mobile friendly, internal linking,  crawlable)
  • On page optimization – optimizing individual pages to make sure the structure related aspects match your content. (title, meta tags, headings, images…)
  • Off page optimization – building links from other sites to yours.

Each of these areas are a “science” in their own with many web professionals only focusing a specific areas of SEO. You can continue to break down these high level categorizations even further.

My area of expertise with SEO is on the technical side of organic search engine optimization. This includes keyword research, code related changes and content layout to improve your website.

This is really the starting point that every website should being with optimizing their site. Once your code and content are optimized, then you can branch out to building links,  optimizing for local searches, videos, voice, eCommerce…. It really is a never ending process.

To summarize: SEO stands for search engine optimization, which means organizing your website code and content so search engines understand what your site is about. The goal of SEO is to get your website to show up on the top of the first page of a search engine result page (SERP).


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