What is SEO and how does it work?

What is SEO and how does it work?

Are you just getting started with SEO? Perhaps you’ve heard that SEO can boost your website’s ranks and increase traffic, but you’re not entirely clear how it operates or what areas to concentrate on. You’re in the correct place, I suppose. Discover what every digital marketer needs to know about SEO by reading on.

Search Engine Optimization Definition (SEO)

To begin, let’s state the obvious: What precisely is SEO? Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the technique of obtaining visitors via unpaid, editorial, organic, or natural search results in search engines. It seeks to raise the position of your website in search results pages. Keep in mind that more individuals will view a website the higher it appears on the list.

Numerous diverse tasks go into effective SEO, including:

• Finding pertinent keywords with a lot of potential search traffic

• Producing valuable content of the highest caliber and optimizing it for both consumers and search engines • Adding pertinent connections from reputable websites

• Monitoring the outcomes

SEO is now regarded as a crucial marketing strategy.

Search engine differences between paid and organic

It’s critical that you recognize the distinctions between paid search and organic, natural search, sometimes known as SEO. There are five significant variations:


The top of search engine results pages for paid search results are displayed, while those for organic results are displayed below them.


Time is another important distinction between paid and organic search. While results from organic search can take weeks, months, or even years to appear, results from paid search can occasionally be obtained in as little as a few minutes. Hence, with organic search, you must play the medium- to long-term game.


As the term implies, paid search traffic is compensated when it comes to payment. You pay for each click (PPC) based on the cost per click (CPC). This implies that each time a user clicks on your advertisement, you are charged. Thus, you buy traffic for your page by paying Google to display your ad when a visitor searches for your keyword, as opposed to depending on organic traffic to your website. Although it does involve a time and resource investment, traffic for organic search is free.


It’s actually lot simpler to calculate the return on investment, or ROI, using paid search. That’s partially because Google offers additional keyword information that Google Analytics can collect. The ROI of paid search, however, may stagnate or even decrease with time. ROI for organic search is a little bit more difficult to quantify, but it frequently gets better with time. Organic search can provide a very excellent return on investment over the long term.

portion of traffic

Approximately 20% to 30% of searchers click on paid results, while 70% to 80% of searchers click on SEO results when it comes to traffic share. As a result, the majority of clicks are on organic results.

Comparisons between organic and sponsored search

There are parallels between paid and organic search as well as differences:

• Keyword research: Both sponsored and organic searches on search engines involve keywords that users must enter. So, you must conduct keyword research for both paid and organic search.

• Landing pages: You must construct landing pages for both sorts of searches. The landing page must be linked to your website for SEO purposes. It might be the exact same landing page you use for organic search for sponsored search, or it can be a totally different standalone page that lives outside of your website.

• Traffic: Both paid and organic search have the purpose of generating traffic. Most essential, user intent is included in both sponsored and organic search traffic. That is, when someone searches on Google for information or asks a question, they are acting actively and are therefore more likely to act on the information they discover.

The three SEO pillars

Knowing how to get your brand, website, or business found by searchers is a basic competency for digital marketers, and keeping up with SEO changes will keep you at the top of your game. Although SEO is always changing in tiny ways, its core principles remain constant. We may divide SEO into three main pillars or components that you must be aware of and practice regularly:

• Technical optimization: Technical optimization is the process of finishing tasks on your website that aren’t directly related to content but are intended to increase SEO. Behind the scenes activities are frequent.

• On-Page Optimization: On-Page Optimization is the procedure you employ to make sure the information on your site is pertinent and offers a wonderful user experience. A content management system can help you accomplish this, which includes choosing the appropriate keywords to target inside your material. Content management systems like Word Press, Wix, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Shopify, and Expression Engine are typical examples.

• Off-Page Optimization: Off-Page Optimization is the practice of improving your site’s ranks in search engines by actions taken away from the site. Back links, which help to establish the site’s reputation, are a major factor in this.

How exactly do search engines operate?

When someone has a question and wants to look up the answer online, they use search engines. Search engine algorithms are computer programmers that sift through data to provide users with the precise results they want. To identify websites and choose which ones to rank for a particular keyword, search engines use algorithms. In order to find information, search engines go through three stages: crawling, indexing, and ranking. Crawling is the discovery stage; indexing, the filing stage; and ranking, the retrieval stage.

Initially, crawling

Crawling is the initial action. Web crawlers are sent out by search engines to discover new pages and collect data on them. These web crawlers are sometimes known as robots or spiders. Their aim is to find new web sites that are available and to frequently check previously viewed pages to determine if the material has changed or been updated.

Search engines use links they’ve already found to crawl web pages. As a search engine searches your homepage, it will look for another link to follow and may follow the link to your new blog post if you have a blog post that is connected from there.

Next, indexing

The indexing process comes next. A search engine determines whether or not to use the content it has crawled during the indexing process. A search engine will include a crawled web page in its index if it determines that it is worthy. At the end of the ranking process, this index is employed. A web page or other piece of material that has been indexed is filed and saved in a database so that it can be retrieved later. Most websites that offer distinctive and valuable information are indexed. If a webpage’s content is deemed duplicate, low quality, or spammy, or if it cannot be crawled, it may not be included in the index.

• There were no inbound links to the page or domain

3rd step: ranking

Ranking comes as the third and ultimately most crucial phase. Only once crawling and indexing are finished can ranking take place. Your website can be ranked once a search engine has crawled and indexed it.

More than 200 ranking factors are used by search engines to categories and rank content, and they all fall under one of the three SEO pillars: technical, on-page, or off-page optimization. Search engines employ a variety of signals to determine how to rank web sites, as follows:

• Title tag keyword presence: Whether the term or a synonym was used on the page and in the title tag.

• Web page loading speed – Check to see if the website loads quickly and is compatible with mobile devices.

• Website reputation: How well-regarded the web page and website are for the subject being searched for

Results arranging and rating

The Google Hummingbird main search algorithm is in charge of selecting the rankings and order of search engine results.

Moreover, Google uses RankBrain, a machine-learning search engine sub-algorithm:

• RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to better grasp words and phrases it is unfamiliar with by relating them to related search searches.

• By transforming keywords into well-known themes and concepts, it enables Google to comprehend these inquiries, enabling it to deliver better search engine results—even for unique queries.

• RankBrain rewards websites that satisfy users and deliver the outcomes they anticipate, as opposed to aiming to be the greatest keyword optimised result.

Maximizing the potential of RankBrain

An effective SEO plan entails optimising your website to increase customer pleasure and experience as well as to make the most of the RankBrain ranking element.

The three best methods for doing this are as follows:

• Focus on medium-tail keyword optimisation (key terms consisting of two to three words).

• Make page names and descriptions click-friendly to increase the likelihood that people will click on your listing when searching. The percentage of people who find you on Google and then click over to your website is known as the click-through rate.

Increase dwell time (how long visitors stay on the page) and decrease bounce rate using content optimisation (the percentage of visitors who leave after only viewing one page).

The top three ranking factors used by Google are:

• Links

• Content

• RankBrain

Defining SEO goals

Any SEO strategy must include setting SEO objectives. Setting SEO goals and coordinating them with your entire business goals is crucial because: • They promote support from critical stakeholders.

• They assist you in developing your SEO plan.

• They guarantee that objectives are achieved.

What ought to be measured?

Setting goals may seem like a cumbersome process, but over the long run, tracking your progress will be quite beneficial for your SEO. What sort of things ought you to measure, then?

Think about measuring:

  • Lead generation,
  • Traffic,
  • Market share,
  • Brand awareness,
  • Reputation, 
  • E-commerce

A few examples of SEO goals

Here are three SEO objective examples that can be utilized as a model for developing pertinent goals for your own company or website:

Within nine months, get 50% of our top 20 keywords on Google’s front page. Ranking for keywords is the emphasis of this objective.

Increase our organic traffic year over year by 20% in the third quarter and by 25% in the fourth quarter. This goal concentrates on boosting natural website traffic.

“In the upcoming fiscal year, increase our SEO market share from 3% to 5%.” This goal is to increase market share.

establishing goals for various business kinds

Depending on whether your business is transactional or informational, the objectives you set will be different.

Set your targets around measuring sales and lead conversions if your firm is transactional and includes an online component. If your website is a business non-ecommerce one, you should concentrate on lead creation.

If your company is in the information industry, you are more likely to develop goals that emphasise website traffic or brand awareness.

Finally, keep in mind that SEO is never finished, even after you have fully implemented your approach. When it comes to SEO, you might need to switch up your strategy in the middle of the process and wait to see the final results.

But, with a strong SEO foundation in place, some patience, and a better user experience for clients, the advantages of your SEO approach should become obvious. This will increase conversions for your company.