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What is Search Engine Optimization? How does SEO Work?



Search engine optimization is a very important part of website management in the current online world. Without good SEO, your website will languish in the forgotten depths of the internet and nobody will find it when they search for relevant terms. You could hire marketing specialists to help you out, or you could learn how to optimize your website on your own!

Getting started with search engine optimization can be intimidating, however, as it is such a vast field and so hard to understand for many people. That’s why we’ve put together a basic introduction to SEO, which you’ll find below. Our guide will talk you through some of the most important basic information about search engine optimization that you’ll need to know.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of increasing the traffic to your website by ensuring that your website appears higher up in the search engine rankings when users search for relevant terms that might be related to the content of your website.

Search Engine Optimization is all about understanding how people search for information online and targeting the content of your pages to suit the sorts of content that search engines deliver most easily. It requires a solid understanding of both how search engines work and how people interact with internet searches, but a good grasp of search engine optimization can make it far easier for you to connect with the people who are searching online for the sorts of solution that your website can provide.

To improve your website’s search engine optimization ratings, you’re going to need to understand how the process works. That means knowing what search engines use to determine how early on in the results of any given search a web page appears, as well as understanding the sorts of search terms that people looking for.

How does Search Engine Optimization work?

Search engines work by scrubbing through all of the content on the internet and evaluating thousands and thousands of factors for every piece of content to work out which pages are the most likely to contain the answers to your searches.

This is done by a process known as “crawling and indexing”, a process in which the search engine discovers and catalogs all the available online content, and a subsequent process known as “ranking”, where the search engine then determines how well the page matches the query.

A well-optimized web page features the right density of keywords for the search engine to recognize as being both relevant and valuable. Too dense, and search engines will see it as spam rather than as a useful page. Too sparse, and search engines will dismiss the page as irrelevant.

Good quality search engine optimization, especially when set up by marketing specialists, can continue to drive traffic to your web page constantly over time, paying dividends in the long term.

On-Page SEO

The on-page SEO factors are those elements that happen on your website. These are the things that you have complete control over, meaning that you can work to improve these factors over time by following best practices for SEO. This goes beyond just your content marketing to the deeper levels of your site’s HTML.

Here are just a few of the on-page SEO factors that can help you improve your search ranking:

  • Title Tag – The title tag on each page tells the search engines what your page is about. This should be 70 characters or less, including both the keyword your content focuses on and your business name.
  • Meta Description – The meta description on your website tells search engines a little bit more about what each page is about. This is also used by your human visitors to better understand what the page is about and if it’s relevant. This should include your keyword and also provide enough details to tell the reader what the content is about.
  • Sub-headings – Not only do sub-headings make your content easier for visitors to read, but it can also help improve your SEO. You can use H1, H2, and H3 tags to help search engines better understand what your content is about.
  • Internal Links – Building internal links, or hyperlinks to other content on your site, can help search engines learn more about your site. For example, if you are writing a post about the value of a specific product or service, you can link to the product or service page in your blog post.
  • Image Name and ALT Tags – If you are using images on your website or within your blog content, you will also want to include your keyword or phrase in the image name and alt tag. This will help search engines better index your images, which may appear when users perform an image search for a certain keyword or phrase.

When strategically placing your SEO keywords and phrases on your pages, it’s important to avoid over-optimization. Google and other search engines will penalize your page if it attempts to use keywords too many times throughout the content.

In addition, you want to make sure that each piece of content focuses on just one or two keywords. This helps ensure that your content is specific and relevant. Trying to tackle too many keywords at once may negatively impact your search engine optimization as it often makes for un-focused and thin content.

While site content plays a vital role in your search engine rankings, it’s also important to consider your site architecture. You want to use a website design that makes it easy for search engines to scan or crawl your pages and content. Building internal links between your pages and creating a site map can both help improve your site’s crawlability and give your search engines a better understanding of your content.

Yet another concern when it comes to your site’s architecture is whether or not your website is mobile-friendly. Many consumers are searching for information and brands on their mobile devices. You need to make sure that these users are able to view, read, and navigate your website from their mobile device. Not only does this impact the user experience, but it can also affect your SEO.

Off-Page SEO

In addition to the on-page SEO elements that your organization has control over, there are also off-page SEO factors that can impact your ranking. Though you do not have direct control over these off-page factors, there are ways that you can improve your chances of having these factors work out in your favor.

Here are a few of the different off-page SEO factors that can impact your search engine rankings:

  • Trust – Trust is becoming an increasingly important factor in a site’s Google ranking. This is how Google determines whether you have a legitimate site that visitors can trust. One of the best ways to improve trust is by building quality backlinks from sites that have authority.
  • Links – One of the most popular ways to build off-page SEO is through backlinks. You want to be careful here as spamming sites with your links is a quick and easy way to get your site banned from the search engines. Instead, take the time to build relationships with influencers and fans who create quality content and will link back to your site in their own content.
  • Social – Another important off-page SEO factor are social signals, such as likes and shares. When it comes to boosting SEO, you want to look for quality shares from influencers. The more quality content you publish, the more likely you will be to get people to share your content with others.

Though you do not have direct control over what happens outside of your organization, you can increase your chances of improving off-page SEO simply by creating quality content that others will find valuable. The more relevant and interesting your content is, the more likely others will be to link to your content and share it on social media. The more people trust your content, the more the search engines will as well.

Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO

When it comes to SEO, there are two different approaches that organizations take to optimizing their sites for the search engines – black hat vs. white hat SEO.

Some organizations are only interested in SEO so that they can rank their content quickly and make some money in the short-term. Black hat SEO involves tactics that focus on optimizing content only for the search engines. This means that organizations are not considering the human visitors that will read and navigate their site content. These organizations will bend or break the rules in order to improve their site rankings to make a quick buck.

In the end, this approach to SEO produces pages that are often difficult for people to read and look a whole lot like spam. Though the sites may rank more quickly than those that are optimized properly, these sites are often penalized or banned by search engines rather quickly. Overall, this get-rich-quick approach to SEO ruins the organization’s chance of building a site that is sustainable and able to bring in new leads for years to come.

On the other hand, white hat SEO is an effective approach to optimizing your website for search engines and building a sustainable business online. This approach to search engine optimization involves focusing on the human audience that will be clicking on and reading the site’s content. The goal of this type of SEO is to produce the best content possible on a site that’s easy to read and navigate while also following the search engine’s rules for optimization.

It’s important to note that though black hat SEO tactics might help you rank quickly, it is inevitable that the search engines will eventually figure out what you are doing and penalize your site. Depending on the severity of the offense, your site may not be able to come back from the penalties. The only way to build a sustainable online business that will bring in more organic traffic over time is to follow SEO best practices and create effective content that your visitors will find valuable.

SEO tips to increase organic traffic

It is pretty useful and beneficial to draw organic traffic. The higher the organic traffic, the more revenue you can earn. If you want to drive organic traffic into your website, you should follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Put up quality content

The visitors will be attracted to your website only if you give them quality content regularly. Many people are habituated to bookmarking a site so that you can put up content. Your aim should be to compel the people to bookmark your website.

If you have an option to make people subscribe, then it is even better. They get notified every time you post something new, and you draw in organic traffic.

You should continuously post quality and engaging content on your website, and the information should add value to them. Ranging from videos to info graphics, you should make your content as attractive as possible to keep people hooked to you. You can also generate memes, eBooks, podcasts, and how-to articles, to make your work more relatable and exciting.

  1. Use long tail keywords

Short and precise keywords are right, but long tail keywords can be as relevant as the latter. The long tail keywords or phrases, when implemented into the website, can help search engines recognize you’re better.

Short keywords can be challenging to make you rank of Google, but long tail keywords can be pretty convenient. The search engine crawlers identify the long tail keywords quickly thereby giving you a chance to boost your ranking.

One of the reasons why most online products have long names is because the entire title is used as a long-tailed keyword! They draw in more viewers and increase conversion rate. Most of the clients use long phrases or keywords to search what they need while short ones can often turn out to be non-specific and not helpful enough.

  1. Get into social media

Once you fill up your website with content, make sure to make the total use of social media. It can be one of the most efficient ways of promoting your business. The SEO experts at YEAH! Local can help you with your social media marketing.

Social media marketing can help to bring about a smooth flow of visitors. Make sure to offer genuine and quality content and promote it across the social media platforms.

Social media can be one efficient platform for promoting your content. It will help you to make the audience of your potential business and how they can benefit from you.

  1. Keep evolving

You should put in efforts to evolve and make changes on your website. This will help to increase the interest of the people on your site. Sometimes these changes can prove to be extremely beneficial.

There are various online tools which will help to keep track of the traffic on your website. You should have a strategic plan for the design and content. These strategies can help to boost your online organic traffic.

  1. Understand the importance of content marketing

A lot of content on your website can be a boost to the website traffic. This can help you benefit in the long term as long as you keep updating content on your site. Content marketing can help to boost up the blog traffic.

Your blog should be well-written and should contain all the essential information. This will help you reach out to the target audience. The contents optimized with SEO and long-tail keywords can help to boost search engine rankings.


SEO is an important part of running any website if you’re looking for a high level of traffic. Mastering search engine optimization can help you to get the edge over your competitors and perform as well as possible in any online situation. Once you’ve got your head around it, it’s not too hard, so it’s worth learning!