SEO stands for search engine optimization (SEO) and describes an online marketing strategy that helps your website, as well as company, earn more online traffic by increasing your ranking in search results on search engines like Google and Bing.
Since 93% of online experiences start with search engines, SEO is essential.
Now that you know what SEO stands for, are you ready to learn how to use it? Keep reading to get started. Or, if you need some insight into your current SEO strategy, use our free SEO checker and get an instant SEO grade and report!
SEO is the process of improving your website so it ranks higher in search engine results for certain keywords. The process of improving or optimizing your site revolves around search engine ranking factors, which influence the algorithms that power search engine rankings.
How does SEO work?
Watch this video for answers to some SEO questions, then keep reading to learn more!
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What makes SEO good or bad?
You know what SEO stands for, but how do you use SEO successfully?
Before you start using SEO, you need to understand the ranking factors that power search engine algorithms. While more than 200 ranking factors exist, you can break them into two areas: On-page and off-page.
On-page SEO focuses on your website. It’s 100% in your control. You determine your page titles, navigation bar layout, and content, for example. If you want to really optimize your on-page SEO, however, you’ll need the help of a developer, copywriter, and marketer.
Off-page SEO focuses on your online presence. It’s outside your control. You can’t make someone share your content or link to your website, for example. Instead, you must create content that people want to share or link to, which often requires outreach to get people aware of your content.
Optimizing for on- and off-page ranking factors involves a variety of optimization tactics. Before you update your first title tag or write your first outreach email, it’s essential to understand the two types of tactics: White-hat and black-hat.
White-hat SEO uses trusted and respected optimization strategies. These are the kinds of strategies that search engines like to see because they don’t try to deceive search engines or manipulate loopholes in a search engine’s algorithm.
A few examples of white-hat SEO strategies include:
- Adding relevant and accurate alt text to an image
- Creating informative, yet optimized page titles
- Fixing 404 errors
Black-hat SEO uses deceptive and unapproved optimization strategies. These strategies get punished by search engines because they manipulate search results and harm the user experience. While once popular, black-hat SEO tactics rarely work today due to consistent algorithm updates.
A few examples of black-hat SEO strategies include:
- Purchasing links
- Stuffing pages with keywords
- Building 301 redirect chains
For the best results with SEO, optimize your off- and on-page factors with white-hat SEO.
How to get started with SEO (3+ strategies SEOs trust)
Ok, so you know what SEO stands for and what influences SEO rankings. Now, you can get started with SEO! Remember, though, that SEO does take time. You probably won’t see a change in search result rankings for a few months.
Get your strategy launched, though, with these four strategies:
1. Create the best possible user experience
Does your site take a long time to load? Do you have broken links? Do people navigate away from your website within a few seconds of arriving on your page, contributing to a high bounce rate? These all provide a poor user experience (UX) for your customers.
A poor user experience doesn’t go unnoticed by search engines.
You will lose rankings (or fail to rank) if your site flops when it comes to the user experience. That’s because search engines like Google look at page speed, bounce rate, click-through rate (CTR), mobile-friendliness, and more when compiling search result rankings.
Work with your development and design team to create the best possible user experience.
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2. Establish a presence on social media
A social media presence can also matter to search engines. Bing, for example, uses various social media platforms and signals as a part of its ranking algorithm. Users will also use social media when researching or vetting companies too.
That’s why you want to establish a presence on social media.
Create accounts for your business on go-to platforms, like the following:
You’ll also want to claim or create a Google My Business account. A Google My Business account provides Google, as well as users, with valuable information about your company, like your phone number, address, and hours.
Learn More About SEO and Social Media
3. Make off-page SEO a priority
Do high-quality websites link to you? Do you link to quality content on other sites? These connections boost your credibility and influence with search engines, especially Google. Search engines want to direct users to content that relates to their search queries.
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How do search engines determine relevance, though? Authority.
The relation between links, relevance, and authority is why off-page SEO is critical to SEO. In fact, getting links from other high-quality websites is the single biggest ranking factor for search engines. You need to make time for off-page SEO. If you don’t, your strategy won’t generate page-one rankings.
When it comes to off-page SEO, you can’t settle for mediocre sites. While they may work at the start of your SEO strategy, you’ll need to eventually attract links from websites with a high domain authority, meaning they’re respected and trusted by search engines like Google.
Outreach for links can take time, as well as patience, but it’s essential to your SEO strategy’s success.
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4. Target long-tail keywords before short-tail keywords
Keywords serve a critical role in SEO, providing a vital ingredient in the recipe of a page-one ranking. If you want to not only rank number one but also attract valuable traffic, then you need to ace keyword research and integration.
When starting an SEO strategy, you want to focus on long-tail keywords.
For reference, long-tail keywords are keywords with three to four words. While they have less search volume, they also have less competition, which means it’s easier for you to rank for them. Even better, long-tail keywords are specific, which makes determining the search intent easier.
In comparison, short-tail keywords feature one to two words. Due to their length, they have more search volume and competition, which makes them harder to rank for, especially for a brand-new site. Short-tail keywords have less specificity too, which can result in a broad search intent.
Give your SEO strategy the best chance at success by focusing your efforts on long-tail keywords.
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By increasing the number of inbound links from authority sources, targeting keywords to produce quality content, and providing a great user experience on your site you’ll boost your website’s chances of appearing in search results for high-value keywords.
Plus, you’ll build an evergreen SEO strategy.
Why is SEO important?
SEO attracts qualified traffic with high conversion potential. By examining user intent and providing content that is targeted to the needs of a particular audience, SEO allows companies to get more traffic to their site and convert more visitors into paying customers.
From Google’s perspective, SEO is important because it helps them show users the best possible results for their queries. Without a sophisticated search algorithm and websites that practice SEO, Google would have to recommend sites almost at random, which would provide a poor experience to their users.
SEO is also highly targeted, meaning you can attract new visitors to your site from a variety of different niche audiences. Plus, once you’ve started an SEO campaign, you can evaluate every element of your SEO strategy with programs like Google Analytics to measure your return on investment (ROI).
When integrated with traditional marketing, SEO can take your Internet platforms to the next level, earning your company a higher ROI than traditional marketing alone while achieving your goals for growth.
That’s why it’s important to think of SEO as an investment with high return potential — not just a cost. When you consistently improve your site, the returns can be huge.
In a nutshell, SEO increases sales without costing a fortune, allowing it to grow your profits exponentially for years to come.
Why do people use SEO?
Ultimately, SEO helps you get more customers. Your website is a crucial point of contact between you and your customer base. And no matter how good it looks or performs, it’s useless unless people can actually find it. That’s where SEO comes in!
With SEO, your website becomes a perfect employee, generating new leads and raking in sales without ever taking weekends or sick days.
SEO gets your business noticed by making sure your site ranks high in search engine results pages (SERPs). It also builds credibility by making your brand more recognizable.
On top of all that, people who visit your website may decide to share it with friends, coworkers, or family. And if your page is positioned at the top of the results pages, you will appear as a more trustworthy, authoritative source.
FAQs about what SEO stands for
Do you have additional questions about what SEO stands for? Use our FAQ!
What does SEO stand for in marketing?
In marketing, SEO stands for search engine optimization (SEO) and serves as an online marketing strategy. Using SEO, companies can improve their rankings in search results, which can lead to more organic traffic, online transactions, leads, and revenue.
What does SEO stand for in business?
In business, SEO stands for search engine optimization (SEO) and acts as an online strategy for marketing a company, as well as driving company revenue. With SEO, businesses can increase their visibility in search results, which can result in more site traffic, sales, leads, and revenue.
What does SEO stand for in social media?
In social media, SEO standards for search engine optimization (SEO) and operates as a complementary strategy to social media marketing and social media advertising. Using SEO for social media, businesses can direct social media users to their website to build awareness, drive sales, and more.
Need help with your SEO, marketing manager? Check out our SEO Guide for Marketing Managers to start driving more site traffic, leads, and revenue!
Are you ready to use SEO for your business?
Convinced that SEO should be a key part of your marketing plan? WebFX is a full-service Internet marketing company with a full team of veteran SEO experts. Contact us today to learn how WebFX can make SEO stand for success in your company!