What Exactly is SEO?

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Getting to know the basics

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. According to moz.com, this is “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” There are two different types of SEO: On-Site and Off-Site SEO.

  • On-Site SEO (a.k.a. on-page SEO) is the art of optimizing aspects on a website in order to help generate more traffic from search engines and rank higher on search engine result pages (SERPs). Just like the name implies, it includes things you can do on your website. Some of these include optimizing both the HTML source code and content on a page. For a more in-depth explanation on “On-site” SEO, click here.
  • Off-Site SEO (a.k.a. off-page SEO) includes acts outside of your own website to help impact rankings and generate website traffic. For a more in-depth explanation on “Off-site” SEO, click here.

Although there are two types of SEO, in this post we are going to be focusing on some of the best On-Site SEO techniques to help boost your website rankings. Ultimately, the goal of this type of SEO is to help make your website user-friendly so visitors can quickly understand: 

  • What the webpage is about
  • If it’s useful for what the user is trying to search/worthy of ranking
  • Whether the page is relevant to the search query used

What goes into SEO?

  • Quality of traffic. You can attract all the visitors in the world, but if they’re coming to your site because Google tells them you’re a resource for Apple computers when really you’re a farmer selling apples, that is not quality traffic. Instead you want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in products that you offer.
  • Quantity of traffic. Once you have the right people clicking through from those search engine results pages (SERPs), more traffic is better.
  • Organic results. Ads make up a significant portion of many SERPs. Organic traffic is any traffic that you don’t have to pay for.

How does SEO work?

You might think of a search engine as a website you visit to type (or speak) a question into a box and Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or whatever search engine you’re using magically replies with a long list of links to webpages that could potentially answer your question.

That’s true. But have you ever stopped to consider what’s behind those magical lists of links?

Here’s how it works: Google (or any search engine you’re using) has a crawler that goes out and gathers information about all the content they can find on the Internet. The crawlers bring all those 1s and 0s back to the search engine to build an index. That index is then fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with your query.

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