Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of understanding searcher behavior and audiences, and optimizing web content to deliver a relevant experience. It includes essential elements of technical web mastering, including providing search engines with directives, annotations, and signals for them to efficiently crawl, index and therefore rank a web page. This process ultimately results in increased search traffic and revenue.
SEO can be boiled down to three core elements, or functions: crawling (discovery), indexing, and ranking.
"We believe quality SEO helps create an improved user experience. Our approach at Merkle focuses on relevance and technical efficiency: helping search engines deliver the right result, at the right time, to the right user, with the right messaging. When this lofty goal is hit, amazing things happen to traffic, revenue, and the growth of a business. For millions of users a day, the user experience begins at the search results."
Technical SEO is defined by configurations that can be implemented to the website and server (e.g. page elements, HTTP header responses, XML Sitemaps, redirects, meta data, etc.). Technical SEO work has either a direct or indirect impact on search engine crawling, indexing and ultimately ranking. As such, Technical SEO doesn't include analytics, keyword research, backlink profile development or social media strategies.