What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) -- including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. It is common practice for Internet users to not click through pages and pages of search results, so where a site ranks in a search is essential for directing more traffic toward the site. The higher a website naturally ranks in organic results of a search, the greater the chance that that site will be visited by a user.
Organic SEO (search engine optimization) is the phrase used to describe processes to obtain a natural placement on organic search engine results pages (SERPs). Some examples of techniques used for organic SEO include using keywords and keyword analysis, backlinking, link building to improve link popularity, and writing content relevant for human readers.
Building an SEO-friendly site
Once you're ready to start walking that SEO walk, it's time to apply those SEO techniques to a site, whether it's brand new or an old one you're improving.
Content and related markup
A site isn't really a site until you have content. But SEO for content has enough specific variables that we've given it its own section. Start here if you're curious about keyword research, how to write SEO-friendly copy, and the kind of markup that helps search engines understand just what your content is really about.
On-site topics You've already learned a lot about on-site topics by delving into content and related markup. Now it's time to get technical with information about robots.txt.
Link-related topics Dig deep into everything you ever needed to know about links from anchor text to redirection. Read this series of pages to understand how and when to use nofollow and whether guest blogging is actually dead. If you're more into the link building side of things (working to improve the rankings on your site by earning links), go straight to the Beginner's Guide to Link Building.
Other optimization Congratulations! You've mastered the ins and outs of daily SEO and are now ready for some advanced topics. Make sure all that traffic has the easiest time possible converting with conversion rate optimization (CRO), then go micro level with local SEO or take that site global with international SEO.
The evolution of SEO Search engine algorithms change frequently and SEO tactics evolve in response to those changes. So if someone is offering you SEO advice that doesn't feel quite right, check in with the specific topic page.
For a more technical look at SEO, check out this short video from Rand Fishkin. Go forth and SEO…
Related Tools MozBar Download this toolbar for quick insight into important SEO metrics like link data. You can also crawl a page as though you were any of the major search engines.
Moz Analytics Measure your search marketing efforts by finding out what keywords you're already ranking for (to get started with your keyword targeting) and get tips on how to optimize your pages plus so much more.
Open Site Explorer Find out who's linking to you and your competitors with this free tool. Discover link opportunities and which pages are earning the most links (and which need a little link building love).