What is the definition of SEO?

What is the definition of SEO?

SEO is a term with multiple definitions in the field of web marketing.

Initial definition of SEO:

In the past, the term SEO was used in retail/consumer. It referred to the art of managing product catalogs so that the products are always present on the shelves. [Do you understand the choice of visual? 😉]

Today, this term is used in the field of digital marketing. It is used to designate a certain number of practices aimed at increasing the visibility and notoriety of a company on the web. In this article, we present a definition of SEO as well as the different types of SEO existing on the web.

Definition of SEO

Referencing is the act of referencing.

In the field of web marketing, the term "referencing" refers to all the techniques used to obtain better positioning for a website, a page or a blog in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages in French). We say that a site is well referenced when it appears among the first results displayed on a query (keyword) entered.

Improving the referencing of a website therefore consists in implementing actions to improve its positioning in the result pages of the targeted search engine.

There are 4 types of referencing that can complement each other.


By definition, natural referencing consists of making a site appear in the non-sponsored results (unlike SEA) of search engines.

Non-sponsored results are those that the search engine deems relevant and displays naturally, without financial compensation. We also talk about non-paying referencing.

The more relevant a result is (in the eyes of Google) for the user's search, the better it is ranked. The difficulty here lies in the fact that all websites have the ambition to appear on the first page of results. However, this page only displays 10 unsponsored URLs.

To achieve the feat of obtaining a place in the first results, it is necessary to adopt a certain number of good practices:

  • Optimize research and the use of keywords
  • Complete the tags (title, meta description, etc.)
  • Regularly publish relevant and quality content,
  • Get backlinks (inbound links) from influential sites.

All of these good practices form what is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is time-consuming work, the first results of which only appear after months of work. This is why it is recommended to delegate your natural referencing strategy to an SEO agency.

However, getting a spot in the top search results has many benefits. This provides better visibility and a higher volume of traffic. In fact, 70% of Internet users click on the first three results displayed in the SERPs.

What is the definition of SEO

Definition of paid referencing

Paid referencing consists of buying keywords at auction on a search engine.

As soon as a user performs a search involving these keywords, the ad will be displayed to them in the boxes of sponsored links. This is done through specific advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads. This is called SEA (Search Engine Advertising).

The position that the ad occupies in the result pages, however, depends on the bids made by the competition and the quality of the ad page. In addition to buying sponsored links, each page must also meet a minimum set of quality and search relevance rules.

Paid referencing is a complementary strategy to SEO.

The advantage here is that it is not necessary to be well referenced naturally to obtain visibility and traffic. But keep in mind that when you stop showing ads, you no longer appear in search results.

You pay, you are seen; you no longer pay, we no longer see you...

Social referencing

This type of referencing is the fact of exploiting the power of social networks to optimize its web referencing.

The objective is to encourage the commitment of targets on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to enhance the visibility of its website.

This type of referencing comes in addition to SEO and SEA. It is usually part of the company's social media strategy. We are talking in particular about SMO, (Social Media Optimization).

Indeed, social networks also appear in search engine results. Thanks to a good social referencing strategy, companies can increase their visibility and their e-reputation with their customers. SMO optimization is part of a digital communication strategy. It develops on three interconnected axes:

  • The regular dissemination of relevant content,
  • The creation of backlinks to the website,
  • The use of keywords.

  • Definition of Local SEO

Local referencing consists in optimizing a website so that its pages appear in a search engine during a search including a geographical criterion.

It can be a postal code, a locality or when the Internet user authorizes geolocation. This new type of SEO is gaining more and more momentum with the democratization of mobile browsing.

Search engines, Google in this case, are increasingly taking local SEO into account. They thus aim to offer relevant results to Internet users according to their locality or the targeted locality.

For businesses, local SEO provides opportunities to offer their products and services to a targeted audience based on geography. A local SEO strategy takes the basics of SEO by adding local criteria. Concretely, it is necessary:

  • Target local keywords,
  • Create your Google My Business listing,
  • Register in local directories
  • Display its number and address on the pages concerned by local referencing,
  • Obtain customer reviews.


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