SEO Definition

SEO definitionThis article will provide an SEO definition and explanation without going into advanced SEO topics.

When you’re done you’ll understand basic SEO methods and why they’re essential for every website that wants to be found.

What does SEO mean?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of
influencing the way your website is shown in the results of
search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

Looking for SEO Services? Get Started with my SEO for Small Business


SEO Optimized Sites Get Found By People and Google

SEO Optimized Sites Get Found By People and Google

At the start of 2012 there were 644 million active websites, each with any number of pages. Yet the majority of all web traffic to all of those sites comes through just three search engines: Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

If your site is not optimized, search engines won’t consider it a relevant result to display to people in the SERPs. Even if those people are searching for what your site offers.

In fact, without basic optimization it’s possible that your site won’t appear in search results at all.

The bottom line: without SEO you miss out on the opportunity to be seen by countless people who are using search engines to find you, or the products and services you offer.

Optimized Sites Get More Traffic
When your website is optimized and contains well-developed and relevant content, the result is valuable exposure in SERPs and a steady stream of visitors and potential customers.

SEO is Ongoing
SEO should be considered a key component in your an ongoing marketing efforts. Though some aspects of SEO can be done once and yield improvements, the overall process of optimizing and marketing your site will require continual maintenance and fine-tuning.

Many business owners launch beautiful, well-designed websites with the mistaken idea that their site will automatically appear in Search Engine Results.

SEO Methods

SEO involves a variety of activities – some are basic, some are complex, but they’re all performed with a common goal: increasing the number of appropriate visitors to your website.

I’m just going to skim the surface here.

SEO Definition DiagramSetting Real-World SEO Goals
A typical SEO campaign starts by setting clear goals. Where does your website fit in the big picture of your business? What’s it’s real purpose? SEO is wasted if it’s not done intelligently.

The clearer your target is at the start, the more likely your SEO campaign will produce genuinely valuable results like sales, and increased traffic.

Keyword Research
Your SEO campaign is about making sure your site gets found when people type certain search terms into Google. What words and phrases do they use? Since this is an ongoing campaign that your business depends on, you don’t want to just guess. Keyword research is a foundational and critical next step in the SEO process.

Evaluating The Competition
SEO is competitive insanely competitive. Before the wheels of your SEO campaign are set in motion, we need to know what level of competition we’re in for.

For example, trying to attract visitors to a shoe store using the phrase running shoes means going head-to-head with competitors who’ve been targeting those keywords for years.

Evaluating the competition beforehand gives us some idea of how attainable our goals are and can help you avoid sinking precious resources into a campaign that might take years to win.

I use the best research tools available to analyze how your site appears to search engines and to uncover the SEO strengths and weaknesses of your competition.


Once goals have been set, keywords have been chosen and competition evaluated, it’s time to get into the nuts-n-bolts of SEO. This involves countless tasks and activities. Generally speaking, they can be divided in two main categories:

  1. SEO: On Site SEO / On Page SEO
  2. SEM: Search Engine Marketing

On-Site and On-Page SEO
On-site optimization includes improving the site content, the navigational structure, the load time, and creating special documents on your server to help search engines get a clear picture of your site.

Other on-site SEO includes determining canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content (Google doesn’t like duplicate content), fixing broken links, and making sure there are no defunct (404 error) pages on your site.

Search Marketing and Link Building
The most significant off-site signal being evaluated by Google is the number and quality of inbound links (backlinks) pointing to your site.

These are authentic links from blogs, social media pages, legitimate business directories, or any reputable website.

SEO Link building the right way takes time and patience. But doing it correctly can literally make or break your visibility in search engines.

Good vs. Bad SEO

There are two main attitudes, or approaches, toward SEO practice: White Hat (good) and Black Hat (bad). Not to mention everything in between. But for now let’s deal with the extremes.

White Hat SEO
The real deal. Practiced by experts who follow Google’s rules and regulations and get reliable results while protecting the reputation of the site.

A site optimized using White Hat practices is most likely to gain, and maintain high search visibility over time.

Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is sneaky SEO because it’s an effort to manipulate search rankings using SEO tricks that violate Google policies.

Black Hat SEO can get seemingly good results in the short term. But in the long-term can result in having your site penalized or dropped from the search rankings altogether.

Bryant Web Design – White Hat SEO
I’m only interested in using authentic White Hat SEO methods. I stay on top of Google rules and regulations, changes to search algorithms, and SEO industry best practices so I can assure my clients of squeaky-clean, reliable, and long-term SEO results.

How Much Does SEO Cost?

SEO and SEM can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per month, depending on the SEO agency, the condition of the site and it’s current SEO health.

Since I work with individuals, and small or home businesses and budget is a key consideration, my SEO for small business involves a combination of services:

  1. SEO consulting, service and maintenance
  2. optionally, training you to maintain as much of your own SEO as you can manage going forward

The important thing is to get started as soon as possible!

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