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 different kinds of search, including 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.