Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic the comes to your website. This is accomplished through a series of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that help make your website stand out amongst all the other sites to search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
Search engines are managed by algorithms that have three primary tasks. The first task is to crawl through the Internet looking for code for every URL that they find. The second task is to index or organize, the content discovered during the crawling process. The third task is to rank each piece of content, determine which ones are relevant, which results in a higher or lower ranking for a site after you enter your key phrases into the search engine.
The search engine algorithm is unique to each company and each company attempts to fine-tune their search engine to provide better, more relevant results to the user. As an example, Google is constantly updating its algorithm with minor updates and frequently conducts a major update as discussed here by Search Engine Land.
The goal is to optimize your website so that it ranks as high as possible with organic search. Organic search is when someone is searching for a search engine and clicks on a non-paid result. This results in organic traffic, which is unpaid, coming to your website.
So how do you optimize?
By focusing on an inbound marketing strategy, you optimize your site by adding a large quantity of quality content to your website while ensuring you have title tags, meta descriptions and provide an adequate amount of internal links. You can also conduct a website audit and identify keywords that people use to find your website. If you identify new keywords, then produce content that utilizes those keywords so that users can more easily find you when searching.
All of the above can be done through research and time, but another way to help boost your results is through paid search engine marketing. Also known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC), this is where you pay for ads that are displayed at the top and bottom of the search results. A good SEO strategy utilizes both organic results and PPC, but the more quality content you can produce the less money needs to be spent on PPC to reach your desired target audience.
When will I be done optimizing?
Never! Optimization is an ongoing process. Because the search engine algorithms are continually changing, this means that the techniques to optimize must continually be modified. It also means that you must continue to add relevant content to your website to help improve your odds of getting a higher search engine ranking.