Web Design Glossary: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization and refers to conducting work to improve the search result ranking of a website for specific keyword phrase search terms in Google, Bing, and other search engines. Google is known as a leader in search algorithms which are technical forumlas used that take a multitude of different factors into consideration when measuring and determining the positions that all websites should have in any given search result. Most SEO work is performed specifically to improve the ranking of a given website in Google because of its large marketshare of search traffic in the United States and other countries around the world.
 

Why is SEO important?

Because search engines are one of the primary ways that internet users discover new websites and information on the internet, having a website that appears at the top of a search engine greatly helps companies that appear at the top of Google searches for keyword phrase inquiries that have commercial application. Because of the value of appearing at the top of a search result, Google created advertising space for anyone who wished to place advertising links on search result pages. As the business of Google's Adwords grew, the value of appearing at the top of a given search result and receiving traffic from those searches became measurable by specific monetary value.
 

How does Google calculate SEO ranking for websites?

Google has publicly stated that they measure and utilize over 200 different indicators in their website ranking algorithm to rank websites for different keywords phrases in their search engine results pages. Google has disclosed a wide array of information publicly to help web designers and professional SEO providers to help instruct webmasters how to avoid being penalized for attempting to 'cheat' Google's algorithm to unfairly position a website at the top of search results pages for keywords that they do not deserve to rank for. Examples of indicators that Google tracks include, the number links found on other websites on the internet that link to a particular website, the text on each page of a website, the meta tags and titles on pages and page elements, and activity on social media that relates to a website.
 

Important SEO Factors

SEO can generally be split into two separate categories, which are on-site optimization and off-site optimization. On-site optimization refers to the process of changing any content and information on a website to improve its own ranking in search engine results pages. While off-site optimization refers to any and all changes that happen on any external third party websites on the internet to improve the search ranking of a website. Some of the most important factors in on-site optimization are number of webpages, links to external websites, meta data of each webpage and the keyword phrases they contain, text used in header tags on each page, how much text is on each page, and what links the site has to third party websites.
 

Basic Ways to Perform SEO

The most basic way for a person to perform SEO on their own website to help it rank better in search engines like Google would be to do research and determine what keywords they want to target, to create a high volume of valuable text content by creating many pages or blog posts on an ongoing basis, and to modify the meta tags of each page to make it easy and clear for both humans and search engine algorithms to know what information is page focuses on.
 

Hiring an SEO Company

Hiring an SEO company is an option for brands and businesses that want to improve their SERP (search engine results page) ranking in Google or other search engines. There are currently no regulations or licenses surrounding the industry of search engine optimization, however it's very easy to find companies or freelancers in the United States and other countries who are willing to perform SEO services in exchange for payment. SEO has become a more mature industry over the years but it is easy to hear stories of companies that have invested in SEO but not seen the positive results they desired. When conducting a search for an SEO company to promote your website, it's important to look at the history of the company's experience and work in the past to help validate their professionalism, ability to rank websites, and specialization within a specific industry.
 
Return to Glossary
Scroll to Top