What does mean seo (search engine optimization)?

What does mean seo (search engine optimization)?

What does mean seo (search engine optimization)?

Search engine optimization” is known as SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the act of making changes to your website to better position it when users search for:

  • Products you sell.
  • Services you provide.
  • Information on topics in which you have deep expertise and/or experience.

The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to be found and clicked on. Ultimately, the goal of search engine optimization is to help attract websitevisitors who will become customers, clients, or an audience that keeps coming back, Search Engine Land.

What you’ll learn in this guide:
  1. How SEO differs from SEM and PPC
  2. Why SEO is important
  3. SEO types and specializations
  4. How SEO works
  5. How to learn SEO
What distinguishes SEO from SEM and PPC?

The phrases SEM and PPC are also frequently used in the greater search marketingcommunity as well as here on Search Engine Land.

Continue reading to discover more about these two concepts and how they apply to SEO.

SEO versus SEM

SEM, or search marketing as it is more formally known, stands for search engine marketing.

Digital marketing includes search marketing. It is a catch-all phrase for the collection of SEO and PPC efforts designed to increase traffic from both organic and paid searches.

Search marketing, to put it simply, is the act of increasing exposure and traffic through search engines through both paid and unpaid initiatives.

Then how are SEO and SEM different? Strictly speaking, they are the same thing; SEO is just a portion of SEM:

SEO is the process of increasing natural search engine traffic.

SEM is for generating both organic and paid search engine traffic.

Now, this is where things start to get a little murky.

Many individuals today confuse PPC (which we’ll discuss in the next section) and SEM.

This notion appears to undermine SEO. Yet just like PPC, SEO is a form of marketing.

The ideal way to approach SEO and SEM is as follows:

Consider SEM to be a coin. One side of the coin is SEO. The opposite is PPC.


PPC, or pay-per-click, is a form of online advertising in which advertisers are compensated each time one of their adverts is clicked.

In essence, advertisers place bids on particular terms or phrases for which they want their advertising to show up in search engine results. The advertiser’s ad will show up among the top results when a user searches for one of those terms or phrases.

SEO and PPC are two sides of the same coin, with SEO being the unpaid side and PPC being the paid side, if we think of search marketing in this way again.

Another crucial issue is that since SEO and PPC are complementing channels, it’s crucial to avoid thinking of them as “SEO vs. PPC” (i.e., which is better). Never make an either-or decision; always pick both (as long as your budget allows it).


The phrases SEM and PPC are interchangeable in the industry, as we previously indicated. That’s not the case, though, on Search Engine Land. 

Anytime we use the term “SEM,” we’re referring to both SEO (organic search) and PPC (paid search).

If you’re interested in learning more about how “SEM” came to signify “PPC” instead of SEO, you may read these articles in depth:

Why is SEO crucial?

An important marketing channel is SEO. First and foremost, 53% of all website traffic comes from organic search.

It is a significant factor in the estimated $122.11 billion worldwide SEO market by 2028. For brands, businesses, and organizations of all sizes, SEO produces tangible business results.

Every time a person wants to do something, go somewhere, learn something, gather data, conduct research, or purchase a good or service, their journey usually starts with a search.

However, the search is incredibly dispersed today. Users can conduct searches on retailer websites, social media platforms, and conventional web searches engines like Google, Microsoft Bing, YouTube, and TikTok (e.g., Amazon).

In actuality, Amazon is where 61% of American online customers begin their product search, as opposed to 49% who use search engines like Google. What’s noteworthy from the same research is:

32% start on Walmart.com.

20% start on YouTube.

19% start on Facebook.

15% start on Instagram.

11% start on TikTok.

Every year, trillions of searches are made. Being “search engine friendly” on any platform where people can search for your brand or business is crucial because search is frequently the main source of traffic for websites.

All of this indicates that increasing your exposure and placing ahead of your competition in search results might have a favorable effect on your bottom line.

Due to the fierce competition and abundance of search options on the search engine results pages, or SERPs, SEO is also crucial (and PPC ads). Features of SERPs include:

Knowledge panels.

Featured snippets.




Top stories (news).

People Also Ask.



Another reason SEO is essential for brands and companies is that, in contrast to other marketing channels, effective SEO work is long-lasting. The traffic ceases to exist after a paid campaign. At best, social media traffic is unpredictable and only a small portion of what it formerly was.

The cornerstone of holistic marketing, where everything your business does counts, is SEO. You may put what you learn about your users’ needs into practice across your:

  • Campaigns (paid and organic) (paid and organic).
  • content on a website.
  • societal media platforms.


You can get the traffic you need from SEO to accomplish important business objectives (e.g., conversions, visits, sales). Additionally, it fosters trust because highly ranked websites are often seen as reliable or authoritative, both of which Google values and rewards with higher rankings.


Types of SEO
  • Three categories of SEO exist:
  • Technical SEO involves improving a website’s technical components.
  • On-site SEO is the process of making website content more user- and search engine-friendly.

Off-site SEO: Developing brand assets, such as individuals, marks, values, vision statements, catchphrases, and colors, as well as actions that will ultimately increase brand recognition and awareness (by showcasing and escalating its know-how, authority, and dependability) and demand generation. 

Both content and technical optimizations remain entirely in your hands. Off-site activities are still an important component of this SEO trinity of success, even though that isn’t always the case (you can’t control links from other websites or if platforms you depend on shut down or undergo significant changes). 

Consider SEO like a team of athletes. To win, you need both a powerful offense and defense, as well as supporters (a.k.a., an audience). Consider off-site optimization as a strategy to attract, engage, and keep a devoted following while technical optimization is your offensive, content optimization is your defense.


How to learn SEO

How can you learn more now that you are more aware of what SEO is and how it operates? Search Engine Land

It should become a regular habit for you to read (or, if you prefer, watch or listen to) the most recent SEO news, research, best practices, and other advancements, whether daily, weekly, or monthly. Moreover, make an investment by going to at least one or two events annually.

Algorithms must adapt regularly to keep up with the changing expectations and behavior of searchers. It, together with recent technological advancements (look no further than the explosive rise of ChatGPT in late 2022 and the sudden addition of generative AI to search results in 2023).

Here are some trusted resources and tips to help you grow as an SEO professional.

Resources for SEO from Search Engine Land


Since 2006, Search Engine Land has covered SEO. In addition to news pieces authored by our editorial team, Search Engine Land also publishes articles from contributors representing a variety of topic matter specialists that offer SEO advice, strategies, and analysis.

Although we may be biased, we strongly advise you to subscribe to Search Engine Land’s free email newsletter, which features a daily overview of the most recent SEO news and insights.

Moreover, you may find it useful to browse Search Engine Land various topic sections on subjects related to particular niches and platforms:


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