what is seo pic…really, what is it?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization” in it’s most popular internet form, but as I’ve joked about before, it’s also a relatively popular Korean last name.  So, as an SEO Professional who’s Korean, this article should rank high in the search engine results pages (SERPs), right?

However, the question for the majority out there is probably “what is search engine optimization?”  However, the bigger part of the folks out there who are searching for the answer to this question are too lazy or are too busy to type out the entire phrase “search engine optimization.”  Frankly, I’d be surprised if everyone got it right the first time they typed it.  It’s not an easy phrase to even type.  So, let’s stick with the question “what is seo” that’s searched “1,830,000” times (in the U.S.) in the broad sense and even “4,400” in the [exact] way with the three words.  (if you’re curious though, the longer search is punched into google an estimated 880 times a month in the U.S. and 2400 times throughout the world).

There’s a great wiki on SEO it here in Wikipedia.  So, honestly, you don’t need to go too far beyond here if you want just the main SEO Basics.  However, if you want my explanation, you’ll have to spend a few more minutes here.

When I explain “what is seo?” to anyone for the first time, I tell them about the “2 C’s of SEO” which I wrote for Biznik a while back.  Basically, Google tries to return the most “relevant” results for each and every phrase that’s searched on their search engine.  In order to define that, I believe they need to optimize their “content” (the first C) and their “credibility” as a website.  I also emphasize this because Google will constantly update their algorithm to make the search results as “relevant” as possible and if you think in these terms, you will over the long haul “optimize” your website better than focusing on tweaks and individual levers that you sometimes depend on as you learn more about SEO.

Many websites have been significantly hit to the negative because they would depend on one or two “SEO secrets”, but weren’t paying attention to the overall reason why a website should be relevant.  A great example is when Google de-emphasized the value of the keywords in your domains with their SEO algorithm.  For over 11 years, it did matter that you had keywords in your domain and so that’s why domains were purchased for HUGE amounts that had very popular keywords like “sex” or “insure” in them.  If you truly thought about it though, it wouldn’t make sense from either a “content” or “credibility” standpoint, but website owners continued to buy up domains with keywords in them…even I did at one point thinking it would stay around forever.  Frankly, google not changing it for 11+ years made me think that, but if I would of practiced what I now preach, I wouldn’t have bought the 50-100 domains I’ve bought over the years.  At the same time, I didn’t know or refine my SEO expertise until the past year…so I couldn’t have made that judgement call anyway a while back.

Nevertheless, as I write you here today, I do recommend you think about SEO in those terms: “content” and “credibility.”

At this point though, Google defines “content” though as not just the keywords splattered throughout your website, but the “signals” that google takes as your “content.”  They are most of the “on page optimization” variables that are tweaked regularly by us SEO’s.

In terms of “credibility” though, google currently rates your website’s credibility through mainly “links” back to your site and a growing part of the algorithm appears to be “social media signals” like citations in twitter or other places on the internet.  The more you are said or written about, the higher value you are getting on the web.  It sort of makes sense in the old school way of thinking about “credibility” as well, doesn’t it?

So, my argument is think about helping your site get more exposure by applying some old school concepts like “it doesn’t matter what you know, but it matters ‘who’ you know”…i.e., links to your website.

Again, let’s ask, “What is SEO?”  It’s the “2 C’s of SEO” to me plus finding ways to match optimize these C’s as well as possible so that you can rank better and ultimately improve your website traffic.  And obviously, the reason why you’re increasing that traffic is to gain some end like more business or more authority as a blogger or writer.  SEO is also what has helped Amazon.com make as high as $400 million in net profit (Q4 2010).  Showing up in search engines through optimizing your website is clearly something we should all know, but it seems very few truly do.

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