Search engine optimization (SEO), a subset of search engine marketing, is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it "ranks," the more searchers will visit that site. SEO can also target image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.
A typical Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
As a marketing strategy, SEO considers how search algorithms work and what people search for in order to increase a site's relevancy. SEO efforts may involve a site's coding, presentation, and structure, as well as fixing problems that could prevent search engine indexing programs from fully spidering a site. Other, more noticeable efforts may include adding unique content to a site, and making sure that the content is easily indexed by search engines and also appeals to human visitors.
The term SEO can also refer to "search engine optimizers," a term adopted by an industry of consultants who carry out optimization projects on behalf of clients, and by employees who perform SEO services in-house. Search engine optimizers may offer SEO as a stand-alone service or as a part of a broader marketing campaign. Because effective SEO depends upon the source code of a site, SEO tactics may be incorporated into web site development and design. The term "search engine friendly" describes designs, menus, content management systems and shopping carts that are easy to optimize.
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