Two questions:

  1. I couldn't find a source to decide whether to assume SEO an acronym or not. How should I pronounce it?
  2. SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimization" while it is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines. At first glance and with nothing in mind you would think this word is related to optimizing search engines and not websites! Correct me if I'm wrong. Shouldn't we use something else to refer the optimization of other websites and not the optimization of search engines?! I think this word makes a misunderstanding for those who does know nothing about it!
  • 3
    This question has nothing to do with things other than meaning and pronunciation of a word in English! I can't accept this as an off-topic question. This is a related question.
    – Manoochehr
    Feb 10, 2012 at 15:27
  • It may well be on topic, but is it a real question, or mostly peeving? Feb 10, 2012 at 16:46
  • I think this question is useful and legit because I have the same one. If you closed it, where else could I find the answer on this Stack Exchange? Jul 5, 2017 at 10:39

2 Answers 2

  • Pronunciation: 'ess ee oh'. An acronym can be pronounced either by the initials or as if it were a word, it depends on how felicitous the word is.

  • "Search Engine Optimization" is optimization -for- search engines. Nouns as modifiers 'X Y' are usually interpreted as 'Y of X' (optimization of search engines) but sometimes can be interpreted as 'for' and that's what is meant in this particular phrasing.


It is an acronym, as you mention in Q2, so should be pronounced S.E.O. It refers to the various techniques used to optimise web sites for use by search engines, so it is optimisation FOR search engines, rather than OF search engines. This is perfectly reasonable use.

There are many other aspects of web site optomisation, so this has to be distinguished in some way.


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