Search Engine Optimization - What Is It?

SEO - what is it and how can your business leverage it.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the multi-step process of improving your website’s visibility to consumers when they search for products or services that are related to your business in major search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

In simpler terms – SEO is the art of getting your website to appear on top of all the search results when a consumer has searched for products or services related to your business.

Search engines, such as Google and Bing, aim to provide web surfers with the most relevant and accurate information relating to their search query.

To do this, search engines make use of a complex set of algorithms and rules which determine the order (rank) of each website they display – beginning with the site which they believe contains the best and most useful information.

The Benefits of SEO Efforts

Search engine optimization is one of the best investments you could make for your website and business.

The benefits of having a well-optimized website which ranks highly for its targeted keywords that are related to the business are significant, and can bring in more new clients than any form of paid-advertising.

In fact, according to the State of Marketing Report compiled by Hubspot, 70% of marketers say that SEO is better than paid-advertising for generating leads and sales.

And it makes sense!

Answer this question quickly, when was the last time you searched for something and clicked over to the 2nd page of Google search results to find your answer?

Probably not too recently.

And you’re not alone…

Because according to the same Hubspot report – an alarming 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search results!

And of that 75% that remain on the first page, 32% of them will click on the very first website placed in front of them. 

Beginning to see why business and website owners are fighting for those top 3 ranked positions on all the major search engines?

A Quick Calculation for SEO

To make our point even more clear, we’ll demonstrate a very basic calculation of the power of SEO.

Keeping in mind the 2 statistics mentioned above (75% remain on page 1 & 32% select the very 1st website), lets suppose that you own an online store which sells gardening tools.

In order to start ranking high and for customers to be able to find your website on all the major search engines – you’ll need to start ranking for targeted keywords/phrases which relate to your business and its offerings (gardening tools).

Now, suppose that after your keyword research is completed – one of the keywords/phrases you decide to target is “reliable gardening tools.”

Using the Google Keywords Planner tool, you’ll be able to see the average amount of monthly searches for the phrase “reliable gardening tools.”

For this example, lets say it receives 10,000 average monthly searches.

You can then work out what type of shared traffic the websites on the 1st page are receiving (75% of 10,000 = 7,500 monthly searches).

And if you manage to get yourself ranking in the top spot for the phrase “reliable gardening tools”, well then you can expect to have 3,200 (32% of 10,000) monthly visitors directly heading onto your website.

And the best part?

It’s FREE and ORGANIC web traffic consisting of “ready-to-buy” consumers – the only kind of traffic to possibly get excited about!

So How Do Search Engines Rank Websites?

SEO services by a professional SEO agency

This section explains how search engines rank different pages and websites.

Search engines – for example, Google – perform 3 key processes in order to provide results for a particular search query:

  1. Crawling: Search engines have specialized software programmers called “spiders” or “robots” that crawl the internet and discover all of the different websites. They then store and order them based on relevancy to a particular search query.

    These spiders are continuously crawling the internet and storing the information they find into the search engine’s database where it can be later called upon to answer other relevant search queries being made – which brings us to the next process;

  2. Indexing: The database in which the spiders store all the information they have collected is known as an “index,”

    Which can simply be thought of as a massive digital library, from where different websites and webpages can be quickly found and called upon by search engines in order to answer a particular search query.

    As mentioned above, these indexes are constantly being updated by the info it receives from the ever-crawling internet spiders.

  3. Serving: Once a search engine has dug out all of the content in their index which is related to the particular search query,

    They then order or “rank” the different websites/webpages based on what they believe to be the most relevant and accurate information for answering the search query.

    This results in the final list of search results that we’re given by a particular search engine.

It’s important to note that while all search engines will perform the above processes, most search engines will have their own algorithms and give different preferences to certain ranking factors,

Meaning that your rank can differ from one search engine to another, for example – between Google and Yahoo.

But for the most part – a website with good SEO on Google is a website with good SEO on other search engines too.

And the majority of website traffic comes from Google, anyways.

What Are The Different SEO Rank Factors?

We’d love to be able to tell you which rank factors to give the most attention to, but that’s just not possible when Google updates their algorithms up to 600 times per year.

We could tell you that something is is absolutely crucial today, and by next month it could be x3 less as important – it all depends on Google.

BUT, that’s not to say that there’s nothing we can do about getting our pages and sites to rank higher.

By performing some SEO practices in each of the following categories, you’ll undoubtedly improve your SEO rank:

  1. On-page SEO: Refers to SEO work that’s done on your website in order to improve its ranking.

    On-page SEO contains a number of activities, such as placing keywords in your titles, headings, content, blog posts, meta-descriptions and alternate tags. 

    An important on-page ranking factor is your site’s loading speed – which needs to be quick for a good ranking.

  2. Off-page SEO: Refers to work that’s done off your website in order to improve its ranking.

    The most important off-page ranking factor is backlinks.

    These are links to your website coming from another website’s domain.

    This is important because it tells Google that other people have read through and been satisfied enough with your content to place it on their own website.

    It’s basically a vote of confidence in your website by other online peers. 

Some Important SEO Factors To Consider

In no particular order – we’ve listed few of the more common SEO rank factors which HAVE to receive some attention if your website is to rank highly:

This brings us to our next section, where we’ll touch on the “DONT’s” of SEO – a section you NEED to be aware of.

What Is Black Hat SEO?

Unfortunately – there is a dark side to SEO.

And those who go there generally don’t come back.

Black Hat SEO refers to a set of actions or practices performed in order to help a page or website improve its ranking. 

The problem?

Black hat tactics violate the terms of service and regulations of search engines, which in turn can result in heavy penalties.

And these penalties usually come in the form of an extremely poor, and often unfixable, page ranking.

Some typical Black Hat tactics involve:

  1. Keyword Stuffing: this involves the excessive use of your keywords throughout your content, headings, and meta-tags. It also includes placing keywords in your meta-descriptions for which you shouldn’t actually be ranking for, like a competitor’s brand name, for example.
  2. Invisible Text: text on your website should be easily readable and not blended in with the colors of your background. Over the years, businesses have been penalized for placing important T&C’s in similar colors to their background – trying to hide crucial information from potential customers which needs to be visible.

Please, do your research on Black Hat SEO and make sure you don’t accidently violate any of the terms set out by a particular search engine – they will find you, and they will penalize you.

Here’s a link to an article which dives deeper into the “dont’s” of Black Hat SEO.


Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving a website’s ranking on a search engine’s results pages when a consumer has searched for terms or phrases related to the website.

Put simpler – it’s the process of getting your website to show or rank higher once a web surfer has entered a search query related to your website’s content.

There are several different ranking factors, each with their own level of importance and relevance.

On the down side – there are some frowned upon tactics known as Black Hat SEO tactics – which you should be aware of and avoid at all times. 

SEO is an ever-evolving field and requires constant attention in order for a website to rank highly and maintain its position.

Looking for an SEO Specialist?

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a tedious and time consuming process – prohibiting your best work on the core function of your business.

That’s why our team of SEO specialists are perfect for your business!

We perform all of the keyword research + implementation, on-page and off-page fixes, backlinking and monthly reporting for your business.

Contact us to find out more and to receive a free quote.

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