How to Define SEO

Define SEOIn the beginning, when search engines were new and the internet was young, SEO -or Search Engine Optimization- could be defined very simply:

"SEO is the process of getting a web page or website found and displayed at or near the top of search results for the specific keywords or phrases being searched for."

Pretty simple process. But as usually happens, there were lots of people out to game the system with tricks to get to the top of the list (black hat stuff). For the people searching, the results they got weren't always useful or what they wanted.

Then along came Google with a smarter search engine and algorithms designed to reward websites that followed good SEO practices and ignore those that didn't. Over the years there have been so many changes to the way to please search engines, that to define SEO now should include something about what it takes to practice SEO today.

What a new definition of SEO should include:

  • Keywords.  Yes, keywords still have a place in the process.  Search engines need to know what the subject of your website is and what each page is about.  Focusing your content around keywords that are relevant to your business and content helps search engines know if your website is a good match for searches being made.
  • Content Creation.  It isn't good enough to put up a website, optimize its structure for relevant keywords, and be done. Now you must make a consistent effort to add useful content to your website on a regular basis so that search engines will view your website as continually relevant and active. It's more important than ever to maintain a blog on your website if you want to increase your rank.
  • Authority.  Inbound links have become a way for search engines to determine how useful and authoritative your website is.  They use the quality of the links back to your website as well as the quantity of links to determine your authority. If you have links from websites that already have high authority, it's a big plus for your website.

So I'll try to define SEO in a way that seems more relevant to these days:

"SEO is the process of getting a web page or website found and displayed at or near the top of search results by building your basic web pages around relevant keywords, adding keyword-relevant content consistently over time, and working like hell to grow your authority and rank with good content and good linking strategies."

What do you think? Is this a better way to define SEO?