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The Difference Between “Search Engine Friendly” and “Search Engine Optimized”

We’ve talked a few times about not showing up in search engine results, and why that could be happening to you.  One of the possibilities for this is that your website isn’t search engine friendly.

What exactly does that mean?


Well, it can mean a number of things.  Sometimes, it means that search engines can’t get into your site to see what’s there.  Search engines have these web bots (pieces of software) that crawl the various pages of your website, document what’s there, and then pull that information back into the search engine.

But sometimes, there are things on sites that prevent them from being able to enter, and so, search engines like Google don’t know what’s on your site, and therefore, cannot put you in their search results.

Imagine a home inspector came to your door to review the condition of your house.  If your door was locked, and no one was there to open it for the inspector, they could not get in, and thus, they would not be able to report on the condition of your house.

But why is there something blocking search engines?

In some cases, there could be a setting on your website that might be activated to deter search bots from crawling your site.  This is useful for sites that are still in development.  Other times, it’s because your website isn’t search engine friendly.

Search Engine Friendly Websites

A search engine friendly website is one that’s designed with search engine crawling in mind.  From the way the pages connect to how the content is displayed on the pages to the very URLs the website generates, a search engine friendly site allows search engines to move through it and understand what’s there.

One of the easiest examples to illustrate is the URL.  Let’s say your website has a page about how to weave baskets underwater.

A search engine friendly site would have a URL like mysite.com/underwater-basket-weaving.

A non-friendly site would have a URL like mysite.com/p-123.ajax.

Search engines can easily identify what the page is about on the first example.  On the second example, that page could be about anything.  That’s just one minor example.

underwater baskets

But Wait, There’s More!

Not only do search engine friendly websites come with great accessibility right out of the box, but they have built in capabilities to do far greater things.  Search engine friendly platforms are perfectly positioned to be optimized further for search engines with keyword pages, meta tags, site descriptions, blogs, and more.

Basically, if you want to do search engine optimization, you’re going to need a site that’s search friendly.  That said, search engine friendly is not the same as search engine optimized.

A Search Engine Friendly Site is Not Necessarily Search Engine Optimized


Just because you have a search engine friendly website does not mean you’ll suddenly start showing up in the tops spots of relevant searches.  In fact, it’s still possible you won’t show up at all depending on how competitive the keyword is.  You see, a search friendly site is just step one in the journey of search engine optimization.

Once you have a search engine friendly site, you can begin to further optimize it for search engines.  This is a big picture, on-going process that never truly stops.  It starts with developing a strategy for keywords, phrases, and general search demographic.

From there, you begin to create pages geared towards specific keywords, write industry relevant blog posts, fill in all of your meta data, and more in an effort to boost your search engine rankings.

All Part of the Plan

SEO is actually a part of a larger strategy called inbound marketing that can include everything from paid adwords to email marketing and more.  That said, it’s arguably the most important piece in the long run.


So What Does Radiate Provide?

At Radiate, we provide WordPress based websites that are search engine friendly and ready to be optimized.  However, we no longer provide search engine optimization services.  But we have a lot of experience in the field, and we’re more than willing to give a little advice.

For starters, you can download our 25 Website “Must Haves” that can help you on your road to search engine optimization.

If you have further questions, feel free to ask them below.