The term SEO, which was allegedly first used in 1997, has long been used to describe a webmaster’s ability to edit a website’s design and code to favorably influence its rank on search engines. 

SEO strategies have included back-linking, title tags, page architecture, site maps and introduced us to a style of writing content that emphasizes keywords.

These strategies have largely belonged to webmasters and programmers.

Despite significant changes in search algorithms and user-friendly web design tools (ie; WordPress, Drupal, Squarespace), many core elements of what has traditionally been known as SEO have become automated or less technical.

Even Google has restructured its view on back-linking and often favors quality content over its old ‘inbound links = relevancy’ model.

Despite this, the term “SEO” still remains and often intimidates non-technical people who view SEO as some foreign language that only their webmaster speaks.

The fact is, the SEO of 1997 ended a short time ago, but the term lives on.

What has evolved from old school SEO is a need for quality web content that people view, enjoy and share.

Google’s user-friendly guide to SEO states this very clearly when it explains, “creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors.”

Let’s change the way we speak of SEO

Today, SEO has evolved into two unique strategies: website architecture and content marketing.

Good website architecture is a requirement, not a strategy for optimization. It’s fundamental. Good website strategy includes search engine indexing, responsive display and mobile efficiency.

Content marketing is where the optimization occurs.

Create great content and search engines will reward you with premium placement and users thirsty for compelling content.

Gone is the strategy of robotic text stuffed with high scoring keywords. This was a mechanical strategy at best and never satisfied readers.

Given this, don’t ask your webmaster how to improve your SEO. Instead, align your webmaster with your digital marketing team and try this instead:

1. Use a content management system

Use a content management system (CMS) to publish your quality blogs, articles and images.

A simple CMS, like WordPress, removes the technical obstacles for creatives that want to publish straight to the website. The CMS has a lot of search engine friendly tools that are automated for great indexing on search engines.

2. Publish great content, often

Get into a weekly rhythm of creating new content on your website. Keep the content fresh by adding new images, revising text and keeping things up to date.

If pages on your site read the same as they did when the site was launched three years ago, search engines may no longer be crawling your site. Invite them back with fresh content.

3. Google’s spiders love Google’s partner sites

With more search users than anyone else, clearly you want your site optimized on Google and its family of websites.

For this reason, create a YouTube account and embed your videos on your website. Create a Google Places page for local listings and map attribution.

Submit your site to Google’s Webmaster Tools (it’s easy, no need for your webmaster despite the name). Get a Google+ page for your business. Submit your mobile sitemap to Google’s mobile testing tools.

4. Social media distribution

Have a social presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Clearly these are popular tools but they offer strong links to your content and easy content distribution through their sharing features.

As your content gets shared by your fans and followers, more people will visit your website and your community of visitors will grow.

For more on this point, read Econsultancy’s guide on content distribution and influencer networks: How to Go Viral.