What is SEO? Demystifying Search Engine Optimization

seo for beginners explained

Have you heard of algorithms? Do you know how search engines work? What does it mean to rank high on SERPs? These are all terms and language used by SEO professionals. These questions may be confusing for someone who never used SEO, but in reality they’re not complicated.

Search engine optimization first came into the spotlight in the 1990s, but it remains a mystery to many businesses

The truth is, SEO has helped many businesses stay competitive and generate rewards for years.

However, because it is often misunderstood, SEO is still being ignored by many companies. They continue to treat search engine optimization as a passing fad, even after many of years. To help you better understand what SEO is and why you need it, we put together a list of important ideas to show you.

SEO is not complicated

There is nothing mysterious about SEO and what it does. It stands for search engine optimization, which is all about making your website appear online, making it easy to find when people go on Google and other search engines to look for information on topics related to your business.

What makes SEO complicated is not what it does but how it is done. How do you make your website appear on Google? Google has more or less 200 ranking factors in its search algorithm. That’s a lot of work to do before ranking high in search engine result pages (SERPs).

SEO is generally split up on on-page and off-page SEO and encompasses a variety of techniques and strategies to ensure your website can be easily found online.

So does your business really need SEO? The answer is yes and for many good reasons. Below are just a few of them.

SEO is vital for businesses

Keywords are the words or phrases your customers use when they go to Google to search for information about something or someone. They also give visitors an idea of what your content is about. Google likes to look at the keywords in your content and then use them to determine your page’s rank in searches.

Relevant, well-written, and high-quality content is an essential component of SEO. It’s even more important than keywords. You can use all the high-ranking keywords you want, but if your content is barely understandable, if you just haphazardly put some words and paragraphs together, Google will not pay attention.

Keywords are important in SEO, but high-quality content is king

Keywords are the words or phrases your customers use when they go to Google to search for information about something or someone. They also give visitors an idea of what your content is about. Google likes to look at the keywords in your content and then use them to determine your page’s rank in searches

Relevant, well-written, and high-quality content is an essential component of SEO. It’s even more important than keywords. You can use all the high-ranking keywords you want, but if your content is barely understandable, if you just haphazardly put some words and paragraphs together, Google will not pay attention.

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For example, you write an article about how yoga changed your life, and you want it to show on top of Google and other search engines when people type “yoga benefits.”, you need to use the right keywords.

Visitors like content that’s unique, informative, easy-to-understand, and well-written. They want something that has a purpose, something they can learn from.

So, what type of content attracts the most traffic? Below are some of the most popular types of website content.

  1. Listicles or list articles – A list of the top 10 things to do to prepare for the holiday season is a good example. Many readers find these lists easy to read.
  2. How-tos or How-to Guides – How-to articles are popular because they’re what most people search for online. How to Make Pepperoni Pizza, How to Dance Like a Ballerina, and other similar topics generate a lot of audience interest. Some How-tos include video guides.
  3. Authoritative Blog Posts – These articles feature stories, news, opinions, and updates in a particular field or industry. Authoritative articles intend to solidify your reputation as an authority in your industry.
  4. Videos – Visual content like videos attract a lot of attention. Featuring at least one or two videos on your website increases audience engagement.
  5. Infographics – Infographics are a new way of presenting the information. They’re visual, brief but concise, and easy to understand. They’re also very light on the eyes.
  6. Trending News – They’re not as long-lasting as other content types, but they generate a lot of attention and feedback. People love being the first to know about things they care or are passionate about. The most popular ones of this type are TV shows and movie news. You write the stories as they’re developing.
  7. Photo/Visual Galleries – Don’t forget to add some photos to your content. A visual gallery always draws a lot of attention.

Posting fresh and relevant content on a regular basis is also important. You don’t have to write and publish every day, but the content you create must be interesting, informative, unique and entertaining.

SEO works but requires consistency and persistence

There are businesses that turn to SEO expecting quick results. It’s likely they’ll be disappointed because SEO is a long term game.

Search engine optimization is not an overnight solution. Creating high-quality content and building organic traffic doesn’t happen quickly.

To see the results, it might take you anywhere from 4 months to a year. But don’t let this discourage you. SEO can provide a great return on your investment, but to reap these rewards you need to stay consistent and not quit if you don’t see the immediate results

About the Author

Shawn Byrne is the founder and CEO of SEOPhoenix.net. Shawn started his career in I.T. troubleshooting workstations, servers, and networks then went on to doing SEO as a side project and quickly found success in ranking websites. It was easy for him to grasp not only the algorithms but also the technical side which most SEO strategists miss and neglect because of its complexities. SEO Phoenix then grew based on its own rankings and referrals.

Gene is Web Developer & the Founder of BigAppleMedia. He helps clients get leads & grow traffic by building smart & result driven websites and applying the latest SEO strategies. Schedule a Free Consultation

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