What Is SEO – Search Engine Optimization Guide

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What Is SEO - Search Engine Optimization Guide

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of improving a website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) by making it more search engine friendly. The goal of SEO is to help a website rank higher in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo when people search for related keywords and phrases. In return, drives more organic traffic and leads to the website.

SEO involves both on-page and off-page optimization activities. On-page SEO refers to optimizations done directly on the website like meta tags, content, website structure etc. Off-page SEO refers to activities done outside the website like link building, social media marketing, directory submissions etc. Together, these optimizations improve the authority and relevance of a website for search engines.

Let’s first discover, How Does SEO works.

How Does SEO Work?

In order to understand how SEO work, first we need to understand how actually search engines works and how google finds your website

How Search Engines Work

Search engines like Google use bots “Crawlers” and algorithms to crawl the web and index websites. When a user performs a search, the search engine scans its index for relevant pages and returns the results. Three key aspects determine rankings – relevance, authority and user experience.

Relevance refers to how closely a page matches the intent behind a search query. Pages with content that directly answers the query tend to rank higher.

Authority depends on the number and quality of external links pointing to a page. More links from authoritative sites indicate a trustworthy resource.

User experience considers page speed, mobile-friendliness, safe browsing and more. A positive user experience improves rankings.

How Google Finds Your Website?

How Google Finds Your Website

There are two ways Google discovers websites – crawling and submissions through Sitemaps.

Crawling refers to bots following links to discover new webpages. Starting from popular sites, bots recursively crawl the web to find and index new pages from already known pages to discover unknown ones.

Sitemaps provide search engines a list of pages on a site available for crawling. By submitting a sitemap, webmasters can ensure their site is fully crawled.

Proper on-page SEO and inbound links help search bots easily crawl a site and grasp page content. Off-page optimization and social shares also help Google find new sites.

Why SEO Is Important?

There are several reasons why SEO is important for a website:

  • Increased Visibility – Higher rankings lead to increased impressions and click-through rate from search results. This boosts traffic to a website.
  • Boost Brand Awareness – Ranking for industry keywords helps establish domain authority and brand visibility. Appearing on the first page drives awareness among target audience.
  • Cost Effective – SEO provides better ROI than paid channels like PPC and Social ads in the long run. The traffic is organic and recurring in nature.
  • Generate Leads & Sales – By bringing in more visitors, SEO helps generate leads and potential customers. According to Nosto, almost 70% of consumers conduct a search in Google before landing on a retailer’s website
  • Competitive Advantage – SEO helps rank above competitors in search results for shared keywords. Claiming top positions for valuable keywords gives an edge over rivals.
  • Mobile Friendly – Because, there is more than 5.44 billion unique mobile phone users worldwide. Creating an SEO-friendly website is a crucial , in order to take a share of that chunk of traffic
  • Trust & Credibility – Higher rankings lend more credibility and trust among users. Users prefer clicking on top search results.
  • Link Building – SEO leads to more backlinks, which further boosts rankings and referral traffic. This improves brand visibility too.

Different Types Of SEO

There are three core types of SEO which are :

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to optimizing individual webpages to improve search engine visibility and rankings. It involves modifications to elements Google directly evaluates when crawling a page, such as:

On-page SEO creates a solid foundation for overall SEO success.

Further Reading : What Is SEO Copywriting?

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is set of activities done outside a website to improve its organic rankings through improving the overall SEO. Common off-page practices include:

  • Link building – Getting quality backlinks pointing to your site
  • Social media marketing – Promoting content on social media platforms
  • Directory listings – Adding a site to relevant online directories
  • Local SEO – Optimization for local searches
  • Reviews and mentions – Getting mentioned on authoritative sites
  • Paid advertising – PPC and Digital ads to supplement organic growth

Off-page SEO builds credibility and improves search visibility.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO relates to the behind-the-scenes optimizations on a website that search engines account for in rankings. It includes aspects like:

  • Site architecture
  • Page speed
  • Mobile optimization
  • Proper indexing of site pages
  • Eliminating crawl errors
  • Enabling HTTPS
  • Structured data markup
  • Internal site search
  • XML sitemaps

Technical SEO creates the optimal crawling environment for search bots. It enhances the crawling and indexing capacity of search engines.

SEO Vs SEM : What Is The Difference?

SEO and SEM are related but distinct marketing activities done to improve search visibility.


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization – a free and organic way of improving rankings in search engines.

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing – a paid form of marketing that allows businesses to bid on ad placements and boost search visibility.

The main differences are:

  • Search Engine Optimization is free while SEM requires ad spend
  • Search Engine Optimization results are organic but SEM shows paid ads
  • Search Engine Optimization has long term results while SEM works faster
  • Search Engine Optimization depends on content quality but SEM relies on bidding strategy
  • Search Engine Optimization needs inhouse effort whereas SEM uses external tools

SEO and SEM complement each other in boosting search presence.


PPC stands for Pay Per Click advertising. The main differences between SEO and PPC are:

  • Search Engine Optimization is free but PPC requires paying for each click
  • Search Engine Optimization has a slower effect but PPC ads show instantly
  • Search Engine Optimization traffic has higher conversion rates while PPC traffic is colder
  • Search Engine Optimization depends on rankings but PPC relies on ad budget
  • Search Engine Optimization needs ongoing optimization but PPC just needs good targeting

Search Engine Optimization brings in visitors more likely to convert while PPC quickly shows ads to relevant users. Using both maximizes search presence.

How To Do SEO?

Doing SEO involves working on three broad areas – on-page optimization, off-page optimization and technical optimization. Whereas, the output of these three core modules , contributes to the whole search engine optimization efforts done on your website.

On-Page Optimization

This includes modifications to page content to improve relevance such as:

  • In-depth, useful content answering user queries
  • Keyword optimized meta titles and descriptions
  • Proper heading tags structure (H1, H2, H3)
  • Optimized image file names and alt text
  • Internal linking between relevant pages
  • Mobile responsive design
  • Fast page loading speed

Off-Page Optimization

The off-page activities to boost rankings include:

  • Guest posting on authority sites in niche
  • Commenting on blogs and forums to get links
  • Securing backlinks from review sites
  • Listing business on citation directories
  • Building local citations for maps rankings
  • Promoting content on social media
  • Running link worthy content campaigns

Technical Optimization

This focuses on site architecture and performance such as:

  • Clean and semantic URL structures
  • Easy site navigation and internal linking
  • Making sure site pages are indexed
  • Fixing broken links and redirects
  • Structured data markup implementation
  • Optimizing page speed and site performance
  • Enabling HTTPS across site
  • Creating XML sitemaps

SEO Strategies and Best Practices

Let’s explore those SEO strategies, best practices and tips to help you get the most out of your SEO efforts

  1. Finding The Right Keywords
  2. Always Run Analysis Against Competitors
  3. SEO Takes Time
  4. Always Update your content
  5. Quality over Quantity
  6. Adjust Your SEO Strategy From Time To Time

Expand Your Knowledge About Search Engine Optimization

Here are some trusted SEO resources and blogs to further expand your SEO knowledge. These SEO resources helped me alot in my SEO journey and till date. On daily basis i check out on those websites to check for industry updates, news and insights.

Read SEO Blogs and Resources

  • Search Engine Journal : Big SEO resources, guides and tutorials written by experts in SEO.
  • Ahrefs Blog : Ahrefs is a well-known SEO tool, their blog is a goldmine for SEO tips , advices and data-driven guides.
  • Moz Blog : Moz is another competitor to Ahrefs, also Moz Blog is really a good point to start learning about SEO or expand your SEO knowledge.
  • Search Engine Land : Is a big SEO media publication originally founded by Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman, there are tremendous SEO resources there ranging from beginners to advanced SEOs.
  • Semrush Blog : Is another SEO tool like Ahrefs and Moz, their SEO blog is really organized in a good way, clustering their topics by topic difficulty better to check their blog.

FAQs About SEO

Below are some frequently asked questions about Search Engine Optimization we might think people are most likely to ask those questions while learning the SEO for the first time.

How SEO Contributes to Marketing?

SEO contributes to the overall marketing in many ways, like :

  • Driving organic and targeted traffic to your website
  • Increasing the brand awareness through the SEO channel
  • SEO is a vital marketing channel as the overall organic search represents 49% as per some marketers.

Can I Do SEO myself?

Basic Search Engine Optimization activities like keyword research, on-page optimization and content creation can be managed in-house. However, for best results on competitive keywords, it is advisable to hire an experienced SEO agency. They bring in expertise, save time and accelerate results.

How To Learn SEO?

You can learn SEO through this guide, in addition to we already have other SEO guides some of them already linked within this article and here are the other guides:

Is SEO Hard To Learn?

Search Engine Optimization has a learning curve but can be adopted by anyone willing to put in the effort. With the basics, ongoing learning, and practice, it gets much easier over time. Having background in marketing, writing or web development can help speed up the learning process.

How To Improve SEO Rankings?

By following and implementing the SEO techniques and best practices we covered in this guide. Search Engine Optimization is an ongoing process. Which means you do not SEO once and for all, instead, you do SEO on a daily basis.