What Is SEO? We’ve Got the Answer

what is SEO

Updated September 5, 2023

Are you looking to learn what SEO is and how it works? Well, you’ve come to the right blog post.

If you have just started getting into marketing, you have probably heard the term “SEO” a few times, but not fully understanding what it means can be frustrating. Don’t worry, though, our simple breakdown is here to help!

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization, and can best be summed up as the process of enhancing your brand’s online presence to gain organic (AKA, non-paid or referral) traffic to your website to help increase inbound leads.

There are many different ways to perform SEO, and a few popular methods include:

How Does SEO Work?

Say you write some new content for a key page on your site and incorporate relevant keywords, headers, and photos into it. When it’s added to your site, the newly optimized page is basically telling search engines, “Hey, take a look at my new page!” When the search engine algorithms notice you’ve optimized your page well, they will reward your good SEO efforts by boosting where you appear in searches.

Another way to look at it is that search can be broken up into four different stages, which include the following:

  • Crawling – Search engines will use crawlers to find pages by using sitemaps and following accompanying links.
  • Rendering – Based on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript information that a webpage provides, search engines will further determine how the page is going to look.
  • Indexing – Based on the types of optimizations, or changes, that you make to a page, search engines are going to review the copy and metadata that it has discovered and add it to their database. Keep in mind that there is a possibility that not every page on your website will be indexed.
  • Ranking – Complex, yet not completely known, algorithms will review your page for a variety of different factors and determine whether enough it is quality enough to rank high in search engines.

In short, SEO works by telling search engines to rank your website higher based off of the optimization work that you do. By implementing proven tactics, such as the ones mentioned above, you can give your site and your business a significant boost, putting your services in front of the people who need them.

The 4 Types of SEO You Need to Know About

When considering SEO for your company or business, it is important to note the different types of SEO that can be put into your campaigns. The 4 different types of SEO and tips on how you should use them in your digital marketing efforts include:

  • On-Page SEO – On-page SEO consists of the efforts that your company makes to optimize the content on your own website. This includes optimizing copy, metadata, internal linking, and additional keyword research.
  • Off-Page SEO – As opposed to on-page SEO, off-page SEO is all the exposure that your company receives that does not happen on your website. This can include researching your competitors, pitching articles and guest posts, and additional link building efforts. 
  • Technical SEO – This refers to the stuff you can achieve on your website to help search engines thoroughly crawl your website. Tasks that can help you enhance that user experience include increasing website speed, mobile-friendliness, and overall site structure.
  • Local SEO – Rather than a national focus, local SEO focuses on services that are relevant to the area that your business is in, as well as the surrounding area. If you want to increase your local SEO efforts, optimizing your Google Business Profile, receiving reviews for your profile, and reporting spammy GBPs are great places to start! 

For more information regarding the different types of SEO, as well as the tactics and strategies that you can implement to boost your business, check out our blog post regarding the 4 types of SEO!

Why is SEO Important?

With the rise of digital marketing comes the rise of SEO initiatives from companies and businesses that want to properly attract their target audience. Search Engine Land reports that 53% of all online searches are organic, with SEO being the main driver of that increase in traffic. And when Google serves as the main platform for billions of searches each and every day, you are going to want a website that is well maintained and optimized so your company is more likely to rank in search engine results.

The ultimate goal of having your business listed higher in Google’s rankings is to gain more organic traffic than your competitors, which is more likely when you are the first link on a query. Searchers want their information presented to them quickly and efficiently, and that is why the average click-through rate (CTR) of the first organic search is around 27%, which is 10x higher than the 10th position according to SEMrush.

So ultimately if your website has SEO tactics in place, you should see an increase in qualified leads and sales. What company doesn’t want more business?

Our Final Thoughts on SEO

Overall, as a business owner, SEO is a term that you should start to familiarize yourself with if you have not already. It is a beneficial tool and resource that has since influenced the online market, and we look forward to seeing its effect on marketing as a whole for years to come!

Want to Learn More About SEO?

If you want to learn more about search engine optimization, check out these related blog posts:

If you have any other questions about SEO or how it works, be sure to reach out. We’re ready to help!

Sarah Blocksidge

About the Author

Sarah Blocksidge

Sarah is the Marketing Director at Sixth City Marketing and has been with the company since 2016. Her main role is to attract more B2B clients for the company. Over the years, she has been mentioned on HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, Fast Company, Mashable, and many other notable sites.

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