A Definition Of SEO That Is Commonsensical & Practical

The definition of SEO varies greatly depending on who you ask (and how much money they hope to collect from you). My aim with this article is to give you a working definition that will contribute to getting practical results. In my conception, SEO is the specialized art and science of getting your content found online by the internet visitors you most want to attract. This is a commonsensical definition.

SEO, an acronym for search engine optimization, is also sometimes used to describe the professionals who specialize in planning and executing search engine optimization tactics.

SEO can be regarded as different from SEM (Search Engine Marketing) which, while it includes organic SEO, goes beyond that to include paid search engine advertising - like Google Adwords/PPC, Bing CPC ads, etc. While search engine optimization covers how you show up on the unpaid part of the search engine results pages (SERPs), search engine marketing accounts for how you show up on both the unpaid and paid sections of those precious search results pages.

Why Specialized?

It takes time, and know-how to build a robust online presence that generates web traffic of strategic business value. Serious and professional SEO consultants do more than just build inbound links to your website. Depending on the needs of customers their tasks increasingly include:

  • Digital Strategy - Map Business Strategy, Constraints & Resources To Digital Assets.
  • Content Strategy - Identify "customer conversation", convert to editorial curriculum.
  • Keyword Research - There are often 10 different keywords and keyword phrases that can be used to express the same idea. Choosing keywords and phrases correctly can greatly accelerate the growth of your website traffic and rankings.
  • Website Optimization - SEO specialists understand the details of web page optimization, website internal linking, local search optimization, ecommerce website optimization, enterprise SEO, and the optimization of special files (see PDF optimization, image SEO, etc).
  • Search Engine Methods and Search Algorithm Adjustments - Understand how search engines work, sidestep common mistakes and make adjustments to search engine algorithm changes.
  • Website Usability & Conversion Optimization - Website usability and conversion rate optimization are more important than ever in the aftermath of Google Panda. Experts understand these factors.
  • Online Reputation Management & Digital Publicity - Specialized knowledge of online reputation management and digital publicity.

Specialized expertise is in the details. It's in knowing the details, and executing the details.

The Art And Science of SEO?

Without a strategic SEO approach that includes customer insight, business analysis and content marketing strategy, SEO professionals can under-achieve greatly or completely miss out on business objectives. The "Art of SEO" involves applying secrets of "design thinking" to your digital strategy and communications. It means being able to join the conversation going on in the mind of your preferred visitor. It also means identifying and targeting the most preferred visitor in a way that makes business sense.

The "Science of SEO" has to do with the quantitative aspects of keyword research, website metrics and analytics. In addition to competitive analysis, it means having the knowledge to make the right technical adjustments. It also sometimes means having the technical knowledge to fix problems, and develop (maybe even automate) solutions to common SEO challenges.

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Gogo Erekosima is Founder and Lead strategist of Idea Age Consulting - a firm specializing in helping small and mid-sized businesses harness hidden assets to strategy, sales and marketing execution for faster and more sustainable revenue growth.

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