Acronym Monday: SEO

What does SEO mean in plain English?

Today’s Acronym Monday is brought to you by the acronym SEO.

SEO is a huge acronym for people in web marketing, and it stands for search engine optimization.

Search Engines

If you don’t know what a search engine is by name, you’ve definitely used one before. It’s the tool you use to browse for websites on the internet. Google, Bing, Yahoo, AOL, Ask.com, DuckDuckGo, are all examples of some of the most popular search engines. If you’re Chinese, you’ve probably even used Baidu, a popular Chinese search engine.

Business owners, bloggers, organization staff—all those that manage a website—are interested in this next part. Search engines are what many people use to discover your website. Really, most people either find you by browsing on search engines or through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. Even though social media is becoming more prominent, search is still a major part of how people do business.

Optimization

When we talk about search engine optimization, we’re not talking about optimizing a search engine like Google or Bing. Instead we are trying to optimize your website for these search engines. This makes it easier for people to find your website when they search.

It used to be that keywords were pretty much the only thing site owners had to worry about. They could just find the words that people searched for the most and sprinkle them into their content. Even if the keywords were unrelated to what you were selling, you would get a lot of traffic to your website because the search engines would put your website near the top of the results.

More recently, Google and the others have modified how their search engines deal with keywords, so they aren’t as important for optimization anymore. Now it’s about the quality of your content overall. If you try to throw in irrelevant keywords, your website’s search engine optimization gets punished, and you’ll show up lower and lower in the results, making you harder and harder to find. For more information on writing quality content for the web, check out this article.

Most people don’t want to scroll past the first page of results. Usually the farther down you scroll, the more irrelevant the results become. If your website is farther down on the list, people will be less likely to click on your website. Your goal is to have your website show up as one of the first few items in the list for a variety of search terms (words or phrases you type into the search engine to get results).

One thing you can do to maximize your search engine optimization if you have a website is use a quality content management system with your website. An example is CastleCMS, developed by Wildcard. These systems have features built in to help maximize SEO like areas for site descriptions that search engines can use to sort your site in their listings.