I was just reading this thought-provoking blog post from Krista LaRiviere, on the evolving definition of Search Engine Optimization (a.k.a. SEO).
The field of SEO has certainly changed over the ten years I've been involved in doing it for my clients. I agree with Krista that the notion of doing things to make a particular web page appear at the top of search engine results for a given set of search phrases is too narrow a definition for the practice that serious consultants deliver these days. And so I particularly like the notion of "Web Presence Optimization" and the infographic showing its various components.
If I sell widgets and someone wanting to buy said widget finds a way to reach my company as a source by searching the web, I don't really mind if they reach me through my Facebook fan page, or my website, or my blog, or my LinkedIn profile. All these things contribute to my "Web Presence."
The piece I'd like to add to the discussion is the element of business purpose and objectives. Adding the business dimension to the definition is important because at the end of the day, it is what makes the incremental effort or expense of "optimizing" worthwhile.
This gets pretty broad, when you think about it. Now landing page optimization ("LPO") becomes an important ingredient too. If my business objective is to sell widgets, its not enough to be found in a search for widgets - I need the person who finds me to pickup the phone and call, or submit an inquiry, or place an order.
So while it broadens definitions a bit, I think it is important for we who help other businesses with their internet marketing, to remember to begin with the end in mind, and to help our clients understand how their business objectives connect to those activities, and make sure all the pieces are in place to achieve the ends.