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Search Engine Optimization: What is SEO and how it works?

Disclaimer: Digital Marketing is not magic. Nothing can guarantee you success, but if you try and experiment through trials and error, you will find out what works for you eventually. As with all things, and especially so with Digital Marketing, experimentation is essential for today's marketers.

You’ve probably heard people use the term SEO or Search Engine Optimization. But do you know what exactly does SEO mean?

In this simple post, I will briefly share what is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how it works. Only when you truly understand what it is and how it works, you will know how to apply the fundamentals so that you can benefit from it.

Before we start, let’s go through some statistic to understand why Search Engine Optimization is ever so important in this era.

Did you know?

Over the past two decades, we have seen massive growth in internet users. In the year 2000, the total number of internet users throughout the world was only 413 million.1

At present (in 2020), the total number of internet users across the globe are 4.57 billion. The total number of internet users around the world grew by 346 million in the past 12 months – almost 950,000 new users each day.2

Importance of Search Engines

With the rise in the internet population, the importance of search engines started to increase. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are used by people to look for any information or data on the web.

When people search for information in any search engine, they are more likely to click on the website which appears on the top of the search results. Most user will rarely go to the second or third page of search results to find the information he/she is looking for.

Here is where the competition started, and how SEO comes into play. Here are some SEO statistics that will blow your mind:

  • 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine.3
  • 92.96% of global traffic comes from Google search, Google Images, and Google Maps.4
  • SEO drives 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media. 5
  • 53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search. 6
  • Google has received nearly 2.3 trillion searches this year.7
  • On the first page alone, the first five organic results account for 67.60% of all the clicks.8
  • The more backlinks a page has, the more search traffic it gets from Google.9

From the above data, we can see how SEO played a significant role in any business. Before getting into more detail, let’s understand its meaning first.

Infographic - What is Search Engine Optimization
Infographic – What is Search Engine Optimization


What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of unpaid website traffics to a website or webpage.

With the proper implementation of SEO, the online visibility of your website can be enhanced, and therefore generate more relevant traffic.

Here is the definition of SEO according to Moz,

“SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”


What makes up Search Engine Optimization?

  • Quality of traffic. It’s possible to get all visitors to go to your site, but if they’re coming because Google tells them you’re a supplier of (wall) paints when you’re only just a supplier of (acrylic) paints, that’s not quality traffic. But only if they’re visiting your site because Google tells them you’re offering the exact product/service they are looking for.
  • Quantity of traffic. Numbers do matters. But you will only want more traffic from the right group of target audience who are clicking through from those search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Organic results. It’s the cost. They are organic traffic if your visitors land on your website as a result of unpaid (organic) search results. In other words, you do not have to pay for these traffics.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often associated with pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Depending on your budget and business type, you may choose SEO or PPC or both.

The good thing about SEO is that you will not be paying for whatever organic traffic that comes to your website. Whereas for PPC, you will be paying for every time someone clicks on your ads. Both are different digital marketing methods, and both have their pros and cons.


Types of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be classified into three main types. The SEO expert needs to make sure he/she optimizes the website only after considering all the factors involved in SEO types.

  • On-page SEO:

    It includes factors that happen within the website. Under on-page SEO, you have complete control. Different on-page factors are like the title tag, meta description, internal linking, header tags, image optimization, etc.

  • Off-page SEO:

    It consists of factors that are taking place outside of the website. Unlike on-page, you do not have direct control over off-page aspects. Some examples of off-page SEO factors are link building, social signals, and website authority.

  • Technical SEO:

    If your site’s SEO is still performing poorly after doing on-page and off-page task correctly, you need to rectify with technical SEO, otherwise it may lead to problems. Technical SEO factors are sitemap generation, submitting the sitemap to major search engines, adding robots.txt file, setting up Google Search Console, etc.


Search Engine Optimization is long term efforts

Before you start planning to spend some of your marketing budgets on the SEO of your website, it is important to understand this.

First of all, you need to understand that SEO is not a one-time development process. People often think that their website will need SEO just once, which is not true.

SEO is a long-term process, and to stay ahead of your competitors, it is necessary to keep putting in consistent efforts in optimization.


How does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Work?

Different giant search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing want to deliver the right information and the best experience to their users. For example, when you enter any search query on Google, you will get top search results that are relevant as well as high-quality.

How this works is that search engines will send their crawler to gather the websites that are of quality and relevant to what you are searching for.

Crawling the website will give the search engine a better understanding of what the website is actually about and whether it would be perfect for a particular search query.

This is how search engines deliver relevant and high-quality search results to users making different search queries on the web.


How can SEO expert/agency help?

The task of an SEO expert/agency will be to make sure the website is user friendly as well as search engine friendly. They take into consideration of the different factors affecting search ranking and visibility before strategizing and implementing the necessary steps to optimize the website.

With the constant changes in the search engine algorithm, it is also imperative to stay up to date with it.

In short, with the right SEO expert/agency, you can rank your website for relevant and high search volume keywords.

For example, suppose your website is about dogs, and you want to rank one of your posts ‘dog breeds for kids’. To get the top position for this keyword, you need to optimize your post correctly, and depending on the competition surrounding this keyword, you may need some backlinks.


Process of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The SEO process may slightly differ from one SEO expert/agency to another, but here are some of the main steps in the process:

  1. SEO Audit:

    The process starts with an audit. The SEO audit is the process of analyzing the effectiveness of a particular website’s online presence. Through the SEO audit, you can identify fundamental errors that are affecting your site’s organic search performance.

  2. Technical SEO:

    After identifying the issues affecting the website’s search performance, the next step is to perform technical SEO. Under technical SEO, the SEO agency makes sure all the technical aspects are correct. This includes robots.txt file, sitemap generation, sitemap submission, setting up Google Search Console, Google Analytics, etc.

  3. Keywords & competition research:

    Conducting keyword research and competition research will help you understand how well your competitors’ websites are doing. You can try to find out the keywords these websites are ranking for and see if those keywords are highly competitive.

  4. Content strategy & content creation:

    After performing competition research and also finding the right keywords, you can create a content plan. After that, you can start creating and publishing content as per your strategy.

  5. On-page SEO:

    It includes all the factors performed within the website. The good thing is that you will have control over all the on-page SEO factors. It consists of title tag optimization, meta description, keyword placement, header tags, etc.

  6. Off-page SEO:

    You do not have direct control over various off-page aspects. Performing off-page SEO can help you build the trust and authority of your website faster. It includes link building, social signals, directory submission, blog submission, etc.

  7. SEO Reporting:

    Last but not least, SEO reporting is something important throughout the process. The SEO report gives you an idea of how much results you have gained by doing SEO.



One of the main reasons why you should consider doing SEO for your website is because you’d want your page to be the first few search results when potential users are searching for the exact product/service/information your website is offering. 

Believe it or not, your competitors are already doing it. It is something which can help you improve the quality and quantity of your website traffic. By skipping SEO, you will be missing out on so much more than just online business.

Now that you understand what is SEO and how it works, start doing SEO for your website today if you haven’t already done so. Feel free to ask your question via contact me or simply click the button down below.

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