As I ramp up my own marketing efforts for Boomient, I have been thinking about the various ways you explain SEO to someone. There are so many levels of understanding, and some folks already know a bit, so it’s a challenge to meet someone new and start telling them about what SEO is, and how I go about doing it for a site.
I’ve developed a minor hobby of trying to find the most succinct way to explain it. I’ll try again here.
SEO Definition: SEO includes any deliberate actions, occurring on your website or off of it, which serve to increase the profile of a site on the web by attracting others to its content.
I like that definition… it’s a pretty good one to use at this moment in SEO History, as of September 2010. Notice that I didn’t say “increase the profile of a site in search engines“, or “among those looking for something“. I think SEO is moving beyond the historical definitions which had it so critically tied into Google and the other search engines. The concept of “search” is broadening to include any actions you take on the web to discover content, and are not limited to typing text into a search bar on Google.com or, (if you must), Bing or Yahoo.
Any good SEO practice will include link building, which (definition coming) is the practice of attracting web users to link to web content. In the past this meant that someone copied or typed out a link, and placed it on a web page that they controlled for the purpose of “linking to” another website, and most of the links added on the web probably required at least a minimal level of HTML skill. That webmaster was very conscious of the fact that they were adding a link to a website.
These days, even very non-webby people are creating SEO-friendly links without even thinking of it that way, through the use of social media and other actions on the web. All we’re trying to do is talk to each other, and we are helping people’s sites by spreading the word.