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Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is a field that aims to increase traffic and visibility of web pages through placement on search engine results pages. Several factors contribute to a website’s SEO, some of which are the job of engineers and others to make sure everything behind the scenes is working smoothly. But there are many things that writers can do to help their writing get a better chance at ranking higher on Google searches.

Without going into the technical details of how it works, Google and other search engines use algorithms and “bots” that scan web pages. The bots then use this information to rank the pages according to how useful it thinks it will be to the person doing the search. Search engines update this algorithm regularly to ensure the best results for their users.

The bots scan for things like:

  • Relevance
  • Quality and readability
  • Uniqueness (ie that it isn’t plagiarized and/or doesn’t contain large blocks of text from other sources) 

SEO is a huge and fascinating field of expertise, so if you’re interested in learning more about it, check out these handy resources:

The Beginner's Guide to SEO

SEO Training Course by Moz (Free, 3.5-hour course)