Lately it has become more common for people I meet, especially business people, to have at least a broad understanding of what SEO is – even compared to just a year or two ago. I find I no longer have to explain exactly what it is I do, but I usually have to expand their understanding.
So what is Search Engine Optimisation and how has it evolved?
Traditionally SEO included optimising your websites code, content, architecture and building links to it. That was about it. But things change.
The reality is that today, professionals employed as SEO consultants do a lot more than this. In fact most aspects of traditional marketing, applied online, should be considered part and parcel of any search engine optimisation (read web marketing) plan.
I consider myself an Internet Marketer, not an SEO Consultant – that is too limiting. In any one week I’ll work on traditional on-site search engine optimisation, pay per click advertising, keyword research, market research, content development, website architecture, link building, analtyics, conversion optimisation and social media. I’ll work with languages including html/xml/css, php, asp and java.
To further illustrate this point I’ve tracked down a few modern definitions of ‘SEO’ from some of the most respected experts in the field:
SEO is the combination of tactics and strategies, including, but not limited to, optimization of information architecture, usability, content focus, audience targeting, design, development, keyword research, keyword placement, link building, social media marketing and any other online or offline branding/marketing elements that support the goal of receiving more traffic from search engines.
Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz
SEO is the art and science of publishing and marketing content in a way that brings significant profitable and targeted traffic to your website. As the web has grown and Google has become more sophisticated, the field of SEO has been aggressively merging with traditional marketing, with emphasis on branding, framing, story telling, user engagement, viral marketing, and public relations.
Aaron Wall of SEO Book
SEO is a component (one of the most important) of Internet marketing. Good SEO entails (a) giving a search engine spider what it wants (b) creating, or optimizing, great content and (c) getting quality websites to link to your website. Good SEO will result in targeted traffic and will drive sales.
Chris Winfield of 10e20
An SEO is someone who understands how people search for information (on the web and in other ways) and ensures that they or their clients are visible in the unpaid listings that are provided.
Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land
The nature of the search engines means that we need to keep up with changes in ranking algorithms, there are emerging technologies that must be embraced and utilised or we risk being left a step behind (think social media) and there new tools designed to make our jobs easier that need testing and consideration for use.
Some people dislike this constant change, but for me it’s this ongoing learning process that keeps me engaged, motivated and compelled to stay on top of the game.