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What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?

What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.

How does SEO work?
Search engines such as Google and Bing use bots to crawl pages on the web, going from site to site, collecting information about those pages and putting them in an index. Next, algorithms analyze pages in the index, taking into account hundreds of ranking factors or signals, to determine the order pages should appear in the search results for a given query.

Search ranking factors can be considered proxies for aspects of the user experience. Our Periodic Table of SEO Factors organizes the factors into six main categories and weights each based on its overall importance to SEO. For example, content quality and keyword research are key factors of content optimization, and crawlability and mobile-friendliness are important site architecture factors.

The search algorithms are designed to surface relevant, authoritative pages and provide users with an efficient search experience. Optimizing your site and content with these factors in mind can help your pages rank higher in the search results.

Unlike paid search ads, you can’t pay search engines to get higher organic search rankings.

Why is SEO important for marketing?
SEO is a fundamental part of digital marketing because people conduct trillions of searches every year, often with commercial intent to find information about products and services. Search is often the primary source of digital traffic for brands and complements other marketing channels. Greater visibility and ranking higher in search results than your competition can have a material impact on your bottom line.

However, the search results have been evolving over the past few years to give users more direct answers and information that is more likely to keep users on the results page instead of driving them to other websites.

Also note, features like rich results and Knowledge Panels in the search results can increase visibility and provide users more information about your company directly in the results.

Daily SEO News & Expert SEO Advice
In addition to daily news stories from our editorial staff, Search Engine Land publishes daily articles from expert contributors that cover SEO issues mainly from an in-the-trenches perspective.

Browse the SEO Channel for the most recent SEO news stories and expert columns. Sign up to receive Search Engine Land’s daily email newsletter featuring a roundup of search marketing news and exclusive analysis and insights.

Search Engine Land’s SEO Library
In addition to covering SEO generally, Search Engine Land also has search engine optimization areas specifically for the major search engines:

Google SEO
Google Algorithm Updates
Google Search Console
Bing SEO
Also within our library is the How To: SEO section is devoted to practical tips and tactics about search engine optimization.

We also have sub-categories, including:

SEO: General
SEO: Content and Writing
SEO: Crawling and Robots
SEO: Domains & URLs
SEO: Duplicate Content
SEO: Link Building
SEO: Mobile Search
SEO: Redirects & Moving Sites
SEO: Spamming
SEO: Sitemaps & Submitting URLs
SEO: Titles & Descriptions
We also cover technical SEO topics, including an ongoing SEO for Developers series.

Get SEO News & Advice Delivered To Your Inbox
Subscribe to our daily brief newsletter for a recap of all the latest SEO related news, tips and tactics from Search Engine Land and other sources all over the Web.

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