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