What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the process of setting up your website and other online assets to make the absolute biggest splash possible on the web: the optimization part means configuring your site to look the best with what it has.
Boosting your impact & appearance in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), particularly the Google search engine, is the primary goal. Ranking & position are important, and all too often the sole focus. Other key factors are local and mobile search, sidebar “tiles” or “cards”, the actual appearance and presentation of listings, and paid search advertising.
Site content is a primary, but often ignored factor in SEO. Ultimately, as they say, Content is King. Without compelling content, SEO is a losing proposition. Nobody gets to #1 on Google without offering substantial value. Nonetheless, presenting site content in a way that is accessible (and importantly, indexable by a search engine), organizing content in ways that boost impact (siloing & internal linking), ensuring that all pages are listed in an XML sitemap, etc, are ways to get this done right.
Social Media is a primary source of traffic, and you can be assured that it will generate many visitors. Tiles, Twitter cards, Open Graph markup, and other special- and general-purpose microdata embedding help ensure your site appears, and control how your site appears when shared on popular social platforms. Without the groundwork, it’s apt to be ugly and unprofessional.
Metas & Tagging
Ultimately, a search engine is a robot that downloads a site’s raw data and parses the data into a usable format (to the robot). Not exactly fine literature appreciation. The robot needs guidance to know what the relevance of each element is, whether image content, text, headings, individual pages, etc. That’s where clear back-end markup (often referenced as meta tags or metas) comes into play. Without the right tagging content and structure, you miss out on the relevance, and if absent? You roll the dice and leave it to chance whether the robot assigns your content as high a relevance and value as you might like.