What is SEO? How Does SEO Work?

what is seo

One of the first terms you may hear as a website owner or as a Digital Marketer is ‘SEO.’ If you want to learn more about SEO, I recommend starting with the video below, which you can also watch directly on YouTube.

Video: What is SEO? How Does SEO Work


What is SEO?

SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of optimizing a website and creating high-quality content in order to rank high on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Websites that rank on the first page of search results for keywords and topics can drive relevant traffic on a daily basis.

What Is SEO graphic

SEO Basics

  • SEO = Search Engine Optimization.
  • SEO is the process of optimizing your website and your content for search engines.
  • The end goal of SEO is to increase your website traffic from organic search results.
  • The focus of SEO is to rank high on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for keywords related to the topic of your website.
  • Search Engines use a variety of factors like backlinks, content, website speed, website architecture, and authority to rank websites.

SEO Example

Let’s say I own a website about running. In order to rank for search terms like ‘How to run faster’ and ‘How to train for a marathon,’ I would have to create a user-friendly website with articles, videos, images, and even audio covering those topics. Search engines like Google and Bing want to rank the websites that offer the best solutions on the internet.

Take a look at some of the top results for the search term ‘How to run faster’ below.

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search engine results keywords

While the 2nd result doesn’t feature the keyword in the title, search engines like Google use crawl data and user intent to return a useful solution.


How Does SEO Work?

Search engines crawl websites and their pages to review a variety of factors like content, links, images, speed, architecture, and security. Ultimately, search engines want to rank websites and pages from websites that offer high-quality, unique content that can be easily accessed by anyone.

For every single keyword search, search engines will process on-page and off-page SEO factors to rank the websites that provide the best solution for each search query.

What do Search Engines Look For?

Search engines are first going to look at each individual search query to try to understand user intent. From there, search engines will use the websites and the pages they have crawled to return results that will satisfy the searcher. Websites that are user-friendly, easy to navigate, linked to from other websites, and that provide comprehensive solutions with their content will rank high in the SERPs.

what do search engines look for


What Are SERPs?

SERPs stands for the Search Engine Results Pages. When you search in search engines like Google and Bing, the websites that are listed on each page represent the SERPs. The goal of SEO is to rank on the first page of search results and ideally in the top spot of the Search Engine Results Pages.

You can see an example of the SERPs below for the search term ‘How to train for a marathon.’

search engine results pages serps example


Getting Started with SEO

Search Engine Optimization is a complex topic because ranking high in search engines involves a variety of factors. Ultimately, marketers should focus on creating user-friendly websites with unique, high-quality content.

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The best place to get started is with keyword research. If you want to cover a niche, a topic, or an industry, you need comprehensive content that offers solutions for popular keywords.

What are Keywords?

Keywords refer to the most popular terms and queries that people type into search engines. A keyword can be anything from ‘Apartments for rent NYC’ to ‘Running Shoes’ to ‘Emergency Plumber Near Me.’ You can use popular keywords to determine the types of search terms that potential customers will type in to find your business.

You can see an example of a keyword below that many people type into search engines each month.

example keyword for seo


Keywords are an important factor of Search Engine Optimization because you want your website to rank high in search results for the most searched keywords related to the products and/or services your business offers.

How Does Keyword Research Work?

When it comes to keyword research, you want to find the top keywords for your business using tools like Google Keyword Planner, UberSuggest, and Google Search Console.

You can watch the videos below to learn more about utilizing the Google Keyword Planner and other free keyword research tools.

Google Keyword Planner Video

Free Keyword Research Tools Video


In Summary

While this blog post offers a simplistic view of Search Engine Optimization, it’s a great place for getting started. SEO is a practice used by marketers to rank as high as possible in search engines. Search engines want to return the best possible website results for each individual search query.



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