What is SEO? Your Complete Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Understand the basics of SEO and learn how it can help you grow your business.

What does SEO stand for in marketing?

The acronym SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine’s “natural” or “organic” (not paid for) search results. Search engine optimization aims to increase the number of visitors to a website by ensuring the site appears high on the list of search results from search engines.

E-commerce SEO consistently serves as a primary driver of growth and customer acquisition for online retail stores. One survey found SEO accounts for approximately 30% of ecommerce site traffic, underlying the huge opportunity for online stores to acquire unpaid (organic) traffic.

Often misunderstood, effective SEO involves much more than simply adding the right keywords to a web page. SEO touches on every part of a website, making a basic understanding of search engine optimization best practices important for everyone who works on the user-facing portion of an online business including small businesses competing in local markets.

Now that you know what SEO stands for, are you ready to learn how to use it? Our short video below explains what SEO is AND why SEO is important to your business.

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There are two main areas of SEO: On-Page and Off-Page.

What is on-page SEO?

On-page SEO defines techniques you use on your website to attract the attention of search engines such as Google and your visitors. It also includes everything involved in creating an enjoyable user experience for your visitors. Understanding on-page strategies is key to understanding what is SEO in general and how it optimization of a website works. The main on-page practices are:
  • Writing well written content that is fresh, original, non-spammy and provides real value to your visitors.
  • Use a keyword in the web page URL, titles, subtitles (H1, H2, H3), and content body text.
  • Writing descriptive and engaging meta descriptions and titles to clarify content and encourage clicks (click through rates) from the search engine results page (SERP’s).
  • Using good layout and mobile responsive design that makes it easy for visitors to read and digest the content.
  • A fast page loading time. Google takes this into account within their algorithm for rankings websites.
  • Add alt text to imagery and include the topic keywords.

What is off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO refers to techniques used to show the value of your website to search engines such as backlinking. These factors show search engines how your site fits with the rest of the web and how trustworthy other sites view it to be. Improving your off-page SEO is important to ranking high in Google and includes practices such as:
  • Nurture high quality backlinks from other websites.
  • Build internal links utilizing anchor text from other pages within your domain.
  • Develop content for publications and high quality blogs, linking back to your website.
  • List your business in any applicable directories and local business directories.
  • Build your social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to send social signals to your website along with chance of obtaining backlinks to your site.

What is a good SEO score?

Now that you know what the basics of what SEO is, you can scan your website below to get your SEO score. Our Free Website SEO Score Tool provides a blueprint for your success. It is a valuable aid in discovering how your website is performing online providing an SEO score and what you can do to generate more traffic, leads, and sales for your business by improving your SEO audit score.

What's Your SEO Score?

Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.

Additional Resources

Do you have additional questions about what SEO stands for? Head over to our blog and learn more about search engine optimization including our SEO case studies, checklists and extensive SEO guides to help your business grow.

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“I would highly recommend Operation Technology for any business that is looking for a website that is completely optimized for search rankings. Operation Technology are SEO and digital technologies experts and the team is responsive and an all around pleasure to work with.”

Nick M.

Digital Marketing Executive