Search Engine Friendly vs. Search Engine Optimized: Let’s Discuss

Surely a site that is search engine friendly is, in fact, search engine optimized. And vice versa. Right?

Not so fast. We have reservations making this claim and encourage our clients and partners to avoid thinking of these concepts as interchangeable. Most often, we move through these conversations when performing Launch Support and/or our Technical Audits and Reviews.

To explain further and address some of the common confusion, let’s begin with a few definitions.

Search Engine Friendly

A site that is search engine friendly has been built and designed to allow proper indexation and crawl-ability by Google and other search engines. Essentially, a site that is search engine friendly has good technical “bones” in place that allow search engines to access and understand the website.

Search Engine Optimization

Moz defines SEO as “a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results.”

We love this definition and to take it a step further, we’ll add that search engine optimization takes a search engine friendly (SEF) website and introduces specific tactics designed to increase visitors, improve SERP rank and enhance the user-experience.

Better. Together.

Better Together, cat dog

Now that we know how a search engine friendly website and search engine optimized website differ, let’s move on to a few examples of how they work in tandem.


The SEF website will allow proper crawling and indexing of valued content. The SEF site will also ensure the pages in which the content lives are accessible.

The SEO tactics will methodically include keywords and concepts into the content, addressing searcher’s needs and intent.

Links & Link Structures

The SEF site contains logical link structures that allow Google to crawl the interlinking of the domain.

SEO makes certain that pages provide helpful and relevant links to related pages and topics within the site, encouraging users to browse further and deeper before converting.

Title Tag, Meta Description & Headers

The SEF site merely introduces unique and crawlable meta tags across the site, but with no optimization.

A search engine optimized website will match titles, descriptions and header tags with search intent and needs, all the while incorporating relevant keyword targeting.

It goes without saying that SEF and SEO are closely related. The characteristics that make a website search engine friendly provide us the platform required to enact change and improvement. But remember, these concepts are different and a search engine friendly website will not rank without the help of SEO.

Does this fall in line with how you think of search engine friendly vs search engine optimization? Do you agree with some of the distinguishing examples? Strike back and let Volume Nine know! Source By:- Search Engine Friendly vs. Search Engine Optimized: Let’s Discuss



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