The definition of SEO in 2006 is not the same as it is in 2013, nor will it be the same in 2015.  I knew this, but it became even more clear when I read an article on by Krystian Wlodarczyk recently.  The article had an infographic created by which included definitions from SEO pros and how they’ve changed over the years.  The original article itself is a thorough comparison between how we used to do SEO and how we do it today.  It’s good reading.

But, back to the quotes.  FuzzOne points out that the early days of SEO were governed by the “mindset” of “working in a silo.”

“Search Engine Optimization is a website promotion strategy, the goal of which is to get your site to appear at the top of search engine results under keywords or phrases appropriate to your business.” Scott Fish – SEO Chat, 2006

“Search Engine Optimization means ensuring that your web pages are accessible to search engines and are focused in ways that help improve the chances they will be found.”    Search Engine Watch – 2007

Most recently the SEO mindset could be described as a “multi-disciplinary approach.”

“SEO is about knowing some of the general; principles that help a site or page to rank well in search engines.  Building the best quality site that meets the needs of readers (and as a result attracts links from other sites.)  I guess I’ve come to learn that when you build a high quality site that SEO tends to largely take care of itself.  Darren Rowse – 2008

And one more…
“SEO is a multidisciplinary activity that seeks to generate productive organic traffic from search engines via technically sound and connected sites by matching query intent with relevance and value.  AJ Kohn – 2012

So what’s your takeaway from these?  I’ll share mine.  I love Darren Rowse’s definition.  It’s what I try to follow everyday.  Provide information that your site users will find helpful, engaging, interesting, etc.  If you do that, the rest will follow.

The last quote makes us sound like robots.  That’s also how I find some of the industry blogposts, but that’s another topic for another day.  What we know about SEO is that it continues to evolve like everything else on the planet.