Many of you may already know, I’m involved with SEM (including SEO & SEP) with my employer.
First off, let me give you some background and define terms:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What is SEO?
- This term is almost universally used incorrectly.
- Most SEO Strategists or “purists” call this “on-page” SEO; in other words, SEO is optimizing your sites, your pages, and your content in such a way that search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!, et. al., ad nauseum) can easily “see” your content.
- More specifically, they “see” the content that you want them to see in the order that you want them to see it.
- SEO involves the proper use of language, grammar, and keywords (including keyword density).
- SEO involves the proper use of valid markup and styling languages (html/xhtml, CSS, etc.).
- SEO involves the proper use of meta-data to further (and accurately) describe your content (including, but not limited to; the title, description, and (although not used often these days) keywords meta tags; the values of the title attribute on anchor (hyperlink) elements; the values of the alternate (“alt”) attribute on image (“img”) elements; etc.
- SEO involves the proper use of hyperlinks: intra-page links, intra-site links, and inter-site links (links from one of your sites to another of your sites).
- SEO involves the use of “alternate presentations” of the data (sitemap.xml files, rss/atom feeds, etc.).
- In short, SEO is entirely within your control and relies on absolutely no one else.
What isn’t SEO?
- SEO doesn’t mean how high a given page ranks in any particular search engine for any particular term
- SEO doesn’t involve anything external to what you have complete control over.
- SEO is not getting incoming links from other sites.
- SEO is not not submitting your pages to search engines or directories.
- In short, SEO is not any kind of advertising or marketing.
Be forewarned, although to you and I the above statements may be factual and correct, to your boss or your client, SEO (incorrectly) means “ranking well in search engines.”
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
What’s SEM? That’s the topic for the next article in the series…