What is SEO ?

Defining SEO = Search Engine Optimizaton

"SEO is an online marketing format focused on getting more relevant visitors to your website and achieve more conversion thanks to the quality and content offered by those web pages"


Search engine optimization:

  • Is a marketing method (linking consumers with products and services offered by a company)
  • The job is not finished with the consumer arriving on your website: you are expecting this consumer actually takes some form of action of your website.
  • You want visitors who have relevance. (you won’t be happy with a visitor looking for garden furniture on your shoes webshop.)


Search engine optimization (SEO) <> search engine advertising (SEA)

Don't confuse SEO with SEA:

Search engine optimization:

  • Search Engine Optimization, SEO
  • Natural search results
  • Only indirect costs (your work...)


Search engine advertising

  • Search Engine Advertising, SEA
  • Are sponsored results
  • Direct costs (you have to pay Google or others)


Search engine optimization: A false start.

In the early years (1990-2001), it was easy to trick a search engine:

  • Hide keywords
  • Often keywords out of context with the website
  • Cloaking
  • Black hat


You could hide a long list with keywords somewhere on the website. Often, those keywords where even not in relation to the topic the website was covering. In the early years, this did effectively work. But it had also as consequence that people ended up on your website searching for content you where not offering. Is this useful ? E.g. does it really make sense to let people who where searching for something that is completely unrelated to kitchens arrive on a kitchen website ?

Cloaking means you are offering the search engine different information from what the end-user is being presented. For example, a long text giving you a good scoring for the search engine, and a text for the end-user focusing on a high conversion rate. Cloaking is nowadays prohibited by search engine providers.

Black hat search engine optimization relates to prohibited techniques and playing tricks to fool the search engine crawler


  • White hat


White hat search engine optimization on the other hand is completely legitimate. This class will be covering white hat techniques for search engine optimization.


Search engines - the early days

In the early years (1990-2001) Google arrived quite late on the scene. And in its first years, it certainly didn't have the dominance it has today... The search engine landscape was very crowded then:

Source:  http://www.bruceclay.com/serc_histogram/histogram.htm


Search engines - today

How dominant is Google ?

In 2007-2008, google had a market share of 92 to 95%. Caused by the default configuration of Bing in Microsoft IE, this share has dropped somewhat the last years. Microsoft has taken a share in Yahoo, so you could consider the combined market share as a little bit relevant. Anyway, Google is clearly your main focus for doing SEO (and SEA) right. You should consider spending effort and money on the other search engines only when time and money left.