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,, 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.


When we talk about search engine optimization, we’re not talking about optimizing the search engine its self. Rather, SEO refers to the optimization of a website so that it's easier for search engines to read and rank in a results list. This makes it easier for people to find your website when they search for related terms.

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 so most people don't make it past the first page of results. If your website is farther down on the results list, people will be less likely to click on your website. Your goal is to have your website rank high on a search engine results page, or 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).

It used to be that keywords were pretty much the only thing search engines used to determine search results. As the internet grew and competition for web traffic increased, site owners simply filled their content with more keywords to boost their ranking, even if the keywords were unrelated to what they were selling. They could just find the words that people searched for the most and sprinkle them into their content to boost their ranking. This was unpopular with users though, because it meant their query results would be a lot less relevant to what they were searching for and make it harder to find what they wanted.


More recently, Google and other search engines have modified how the platforms 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 will actually get downgraded, causing your site to show up lower and lower in the results, making it harder and harder to find. Search engines now use other criteria to rank websites such as how mobile friendly a site is, content relevance, page speed, and web accessibility. This may seem like a lot to worry about, but maintaining all of these factors is not as difficult as you might think.

With a seemingly endless amount of content available online, getting your website more exposure can seem like a constant battle. For those who are unfamiliar with the intricacies of search engine crawlers, implementing SEO practices might seem far too complex to tackle alone. Many marketing companies have taken advantage of this knowledge divide and will sell SEO services. But SEO isn't so complex that you can't implement it yourself for FREE.

One easy way to improve your website ranking is to use a CMS (content management system) with built in features to help you maximize your site SEO. One example is CastleCMS, developed by Wildcard. The CastleCMS system has features that make site descriptions and rich media tags (information that search engines use to rank you website) easy to add along the way as you manage your website content. 

Learn more about DIY organic SEO practices in our article Organic SEO Services in which we explain some ways to improve your website ranking in search engine results.