What is SEO?

I was just asked this question. Its sort of a tough one for me to answer – b/c I almost don’t know where to start – its such a huge piece of what I do, yet I need to realize that its still a fairly niche/specific idea that is not by any means as widespread and well known as I sometimes think it is, despite the overwhelming growth of awareness in recent months.

So, What is SEO? Here’s how I responded in my email:


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell it refers to the tactics, strategies and initiatives used to gain higher rankings in the search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) in order to get more targeted traffic to a website.

Specifically it refers to the “organic” aka “regular” listings – which are different from the paid ads you see when you do a search in Google (the ads are typically to the right of the screen and sometimes at the top, highlighted).

Those ads are pay-per-click – aka PPC, which is what the campaign we’re setting up for ABC CLIENT is all about. Each time someone clicks the ad to go to the site after searching for something like “ABC search phrase” ABC CLIENT pays X amount. This is how Google makes its money.

The other type – the “organic” or “regular” I mentioned above do not cost per click. You can get 0 visitors or 10 million and the cost is the same. They also tend to get more volume. Those sites (the non-ads) are essentially Google’s opinion of the most valuable or relevant sites for what you searched on. Achieving these rankings takes time though, and does have fixed costs (hard costs as well as man hours) associated with it, but can have tremendous upside.

In that email, ABC Person was requesting my input regarding the press release so that I can help tweak it a bit to help get some benefits that may help generate higher search engine rankings (organic) for the blog site down the road.

Search engines are the source of more than 75% of all internet traffic, according to some estimates. Further, most users don’t browse past the first 10 or 20 sites – so the value in being one of those top 10 sites is enormous!

Hope this helps.