Making Sense of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is rightfully a hot-button topic but can be overwhelming and confusing to those not specialized in that area. Right off the bat, if you research SEO, you see a variety of terms that seem to be overlapping, confusing, jumbled, and could drive anyone crazy, for example: Content SEO, Semantic SEO, On-Page SEO, Off-Page, Technical, and Local. Honestly, the list could go on and on, but neither one of us have time for that, so today we will try to break down a few of those terms for you and help you gain a better understanding of the types of SEO, what they do, and why they are important. 

Content and Semantic SEO

Content is King! Regardless of where you look, or what you read, you hear the same thing repeatedly when it comes to marketing. Content SEO is the art and the science of crafting and structuring your site's content to improve your rankings. It truly is as simple as writing content designed to help you improve your rank.

Semantic SEO is a similar idea but takes it just a bit further, requiring you to gain a deeper understanding of your consumers. It’s similar to ‘keyword research’ but goes beyond simple keywords to specifically take a look into your audience's search and intention. Semantic SEO makes you think beyond just ‘what questions they start with’ and encourages you to look into what questions are likely to follow—then, you use this knowledge to create in-depth content that will keep your users on your pages, improving the retention.  

Peppering your website with keywords is simply just not enough to rank in today’s day and age - you MUST produce content that meets the needs and intent of your consumers. In 2022, this isn’t optional, and both the concepts of Content and Semantic SEO address this need.

Now here is the confusing part (I warned you!) Content and Semantic SEO are not independent parts of SEO - they are just two different ways of addressing certain aspects of On-Site SEO.

Here is where I see most issues for businesses when they reach out to SEO agencies. Once businesses understand that content is part of On-Site SEO, they tend to go to SEO agencies and simply say, “I want On-site SEO”. Next, the agency will ask if the business will supply content or if they would like the SEO Agency to provide it. This is when things break down.

What the agency is really asking is, “Do you have a good handle on the content needs of your clients, or do you need assistance with that?”. If the answer is that the business will supply their own content, the agency’s takeaway is that their only mission in this area will be to look over the content provided and tweak a keyword here or there. On the other hand, if the business says they want the SEO Agency to supply the content, the SEO Agency will do extensive research and supply them with Semantic SEO content.  

‘Keyword research’ and full ‘semantic topic research’ are different. Don't be afraid to let the SEO agency know EXACTLY where you need help! If you are not clear in stating your needs, you will get what you ask for, but not necessarily what you desire.  

On-Site SEO

Now that we’ve touched a little bit on it above, the question that remains is this:

“Is On-site SEO only about content?”

On-site SEO starts with high-quality content intended for your audience and expands far beyond that to include any content meant for the search engines. So, what do I mean by content intended for the search engines? Let me Explain. Search Engines, like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. use AI bots to scroll and index the internet. Unlike humans that can read a page and gain a real understanding of a topic, these bots need help to understand what they are reading. SEO professionals use Meta Descriptions, Title Tags, Alt Tags, internal links, and more to signal to the bots what the page is discussing and what is important on that page.  

Off-Site SEO

Off-Site SEO is anything you do separate from your website to improve your rankings. The more high-quality sites that link to your content, the more trustworthy and accurate your content is - at least, that is the thinking of Google. In short, Off-Site SEO = link building.  

From Social Media sites to news articles, links from others that cite your content, to guest-posting, there are several ways to build a strong link-building strategy. The tip here is don't waste time buying links; those types of old-school SEO tricks won’t work anymore – Google is always on the watch for those these days.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the process of eliminating site errors and improving the user experience on your site, ensuring that your website meets all the search engines’ technical requirements to improve your search ranking.  

Technical SEO covers everything from site structure to user experience issues like core web vitals. Your SEO agency will start with making sure your site structure is organized and easy for search engines to crawl. Next, they will ensure that your URL structure is consistent, that your website performs well in the areas of Core Web Vitals, that your site map is accurate, and so much more. Technical SEO is by far the hardest area of SEO for non-professionals to effectively correct alone.  

Local SEO

Local SEO is the most self-explanatory SEO type. The purpose of Local SEO is to optimize your site so that those in your service area can easily find your content. It also aids in your ability to rank for certain keywords and phrases, which might be unattainable on a national or international level. Local SEO gives smaller businesses the chance to compete with large corporations.

Please be aware that local SEO is not as simple as shoving your location in as a keyword across your site. It involves everything from your Google Business profile to keywords to your Schema mark-up and more.  

In Conclusion 

Google's never-ending strings of updates can play havoc on your site's rankings. Keeping your SEO up to date will prevent you from losing your ranking. Understanding the key terms for the type of SEO work your site may need will allow you to have a more productive conversation with SEO professionals to ensure that you receive the assistance you want and need.  

NOW that you’re all caught up with SEO types & what they can do for your business needs, can I get a drum roll, please??? 

YES. YOU GUESSED IT — It's time for the Sales Pitch!  

(I know you have been expecting it, so we won't disappoint.)  

I'm sure by now you have discovered that Lionzone created this blog. Surprise! One of my absolute favorite features of our LZservices is that we don't believe in long-term contracts!  

We believe this  If we don't earn your business every day, we don't deserve to keep you! So let us earn your business & assist your company with its Digital Marketing needs. You won’t regret it. 

Contact the LZ team today,, or (615) 235-3200.  


Let's talk about your project! Contact us for your free consultation. 


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