Search engine optimization (SEO) should be familiar to you if you have done any work online. It’s a term that’s tossed around a lot, mostly from people who want to sell you SEO services or advertise their expertise by mentioning SEO techniques. In our three part series on mastering SEO, we share SEO basics for 2014 like local SEO as well as common pitfalls to avoid.

What is SEO really, and who is it for?

Search engine optimization itself is the most misunderstood term of any relating to this website popularity strategy. So what is SEO? Think about the terms; this is what we call any form of optimization that caters to search engines. What does it mean to optimize for a search engine?

Consider first the reasons why search engines are important to the owner of a blog or website. Search engines are the way that most people who use the internet find what they’re looking for. These days if you need anything, from a book to a plumber to ideas for a kitchen redesign, you probably look online first. And you use a search engine to do it.

What do you want to see when you use a search engine? You want the search engine to return results that are relevant, useful, and varied enough to give you a few good options. If you search for a recipe for turkey, you want turkey recipes not chicken recipes. If you search for advice about buying a used car, you don’t want to see a new car dealership’s website at the top of your search results.

In essence, SEO is a category of actions you can take to ensure that when people search for what you offer, they find your blog or website. You’re using SEO basics so that the right people find you, so when you optimize for a search engine, you’re really optimizing for your potential customers, readers, and followers.

SEO Basics are Always Changing

It’s important to consider what is SEO because besides the SEO basics for 2014, you’ll be learning new techniques all the time. Most recently we’ve seen Google adopt local SEO as the key piece of SEO basics.

In our next installment we’ll talk about what SEO basics in 2014 are critical and also learn more about SEO terms like local SEO.