The name makes it sound much more complicated than it is.
It stands for ‘search engine optimization’.
A ‘search engine’ is basically, a website that allows you to type in a word or several words. After you type them and hit enter, it looks through its database of website pages, and finds the one that is most relevant to whatever you typed in.
That’s a search engine.
So, what is search engine optimization? It is the action of optimizing (improving, tweaking, adjusting) your website so that it is regarded as a higher quality website, an authority in the eyes of the search engine; so that when people use the search engine, it will favor YOUR website and put you at the top, above other websites.
From this point on it gets complex on what exact types of ‘optimizations’ one can do to their website to win the search engine’s favor. But one of the most common optimizations is simply adding more pages to your website. But not just any pages, they must have text that is unique (original, not copied from other sites), and the topics have to be relevant to your website’s field/subject. In addition to being unique and relevant, it also has to be quality, it cannot be some random blocks of text created by a computer; it has to be real sentences. Lastly, there needs to be a high quantity of this text. To summarize: high quality, quantity, relevancy, and originality.
There is only one search engine worth mentioning, and that is Google. There are others like Yahoo and MSN, but their user-base is negligible. The overwhelming majority of web users just use Google.
Therefore, SEO is all about getting Google to like your website, and the best way to do that is with creating content with the above parameters. You may hear guru’s raving about various tricks and hacks, but those seldom last. Content is ever-green, and content is still king.