SEO, What It Is, How It Works

What is SEO?

Let me shock you right now, there are a lot of websites, blogs, and junk on the world wide web. Anybody can put whatever they want on the web but most of the stuff on the internet is not that great. So there has to be a system of organizing and relating everything on the web. This is what search engines like Google and Yahoo! do for us. They look at every page that they can access and decide what it is about, what it connects to, and then ranks them based on different criteria. The exact criteria and how important each one is differs from search engine to search engine, but there are many that are universal.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the practice of refining a website or blog so that search engines rank it higher on their lists for specific keywords. For example if you sell widgets you would want to be the #1 results for “buy a widget” search term. There are many aspects of a website that can be optimized in order for a search engine to rate your website higher.


How SEO Helps.

Think about the last time you were on Google or any other search engine, how often did you go past the first page of results? Probably not very often, if ever. The first page of search results is a gold mine and the first five spots on the page are the gold.  The first page of search results on Google takes up 95% of all traffic for a specific search term. The third page of Google search results barely gets 1% of the traffic.

Given the great disparity of traffic received it can be easy to see how important it is to rank at least on the first page of Google for a search term. However just as we mentioned above there are a lot of people with a lot of websites out there that are trying to get to that prestigious first page. Some of the companies that you are competing may have far more resources than you to develop their websites, but don’t despair, you can still be on the first page.

How SEO Can Work For You

Unless you run a huge company SEO can be a bit tricky. The problem is that search engines take a lot of different factors into consideration. For example Google analyzes everything from HTML, CSS, content, images, videos, and links. The combination of technical and creative capabilities can be a bit much for one or even several people. There are however a number of things that anyone can do to improve their ranking without years of study.


  • Choose your keywords. Below is a list of several tools that will help with SEO. One of them is Google AdWords which allows you to look at how frequently certain search terms are used. It will also show other terms that are similar to one another. From there pick your keywords to include in your content. It is optimal that specific keywords are about 2-3% of your written content. Keep in mind that the more searches there are for a term the more competition there is for those keywords. Sometimes it is better to try for less popular keywords.
  • Learn to code or hire a web developer. Google and other engines will penalize websites that are poorly coded and have issues. Web developers may not be cheap but they are worth it in the long term.
  • Use longer keyword phrases. Two word phrases are incredibly competitive.
  • Bulletize, italicize, or bold your keywords.
  • When posting images or videos don’t give them names such as 12f1234.jpg. Instead use a descriptive tag so Google can understand what it is.
  • Share your website or blog on Google +.
  • Unless required, don’t use high resolution images that slow down load times.
  • Get other websites to link to your content. The easiest way to do this is to create great content.
  • Use Google Analytics or other analytical tool to find weak spots on your website. Improve on those points.
  • CREATE GREAT CONTENT. Really, this is probably the most important point.


Tools For SEO

There are a number of tools that you can use in the quest for SEO. There are many others out there but this is a basic list that will help you out.

Google Analytics – Google Analytics is a great free tool for analyzing traffic coming to your website and identifying any issues.

Google AdWords – One of the most popular tools to find keywords and keyword ideas. Google also provides great support and How To’s if any part of AdWords confusses you.

Google Webmaster – Google Webmaster tools will allow you to optimize your websites coding and links. It will point out what Google may be penalizing or what coding issues the website has so that you can correct them.

Open Site Explorer– A tool that will help you link opportunities through competitor back link research. Also a great way to snoop on your competition.

Bing Webmaster Tools – Like Google Webmaster tools but for Bing!

PageRank Status – This is a free browser extension that shows your the page rank of every website you visits. It doesn’t mean that one website is better than another, just means it is doing better.


Things To Think About

1. What are some other simple things that anyone can do for SEO?

2. Are there any other great tools for SEO?

3. What is more important great content or SEO?


8 thoughts on “SEO, What It Is, How It Works

  1. Pingback: Content Writing for SEO - Webware Studios | Everything about the web | Webware Studios | Everything about the web

  2. Hi Janis,
    I think you hit most of the main points when it comes to what great tools are out there for SEO and what are some sample things people can do to increase SEO. I have noticed that before learning those tips I would just leave whatever title was on the picture and not think to add a title to it. Also, when I would link to a different article, I wasn’t always specific when it came to the internal coded title that I added, now I know that all of that makes a big difference. The only other thing I would mention is that having a category and a tag in a blog is also very helpful. Making the tag the same as the keywords also helps. I think the most important part of SEO is content, if there isn’t good content, then there is no engagement, which is the goal, right? Great post!

  3. I think that in order to beef up your SEO, you need to create great content. Not just well written and interesting content – you need to be posting and sharing unique content that users can’t find anywhere else! Putting your own spin on the “typical” things that people can search for is a great way to ramp up that SEO – just simply filling your well written posts with keywords and phrases might get your information out there, but you have to be able to keep those users coming back for more and for them to really stay interested and loyal to your site and information.

    • Lacee,

      Content seems to rule everything. It is really hard to imagine something online that is not dominated by the quality of your content. I wish there was an easier way to make the unique material. At times it seems incredibly hard to come up with a sentence that is different from everything else on the web.

  4. Great content really is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Well, that and keywords. What you decide to tag yourself as/with is how you will be recognized, so making sure that you keep this in mind when you tag yourself (in your pictures or in blog entries, etc.) is incredibly important.

    I think the other important thing to consider when it comes to SEO (that we did not get into) is to consider how companies use SEO to bury things. It’s one of those tactics that help you get rid of all those messy things you’d like to keep hidden. Because most people don’t look past page 5 on Google, if you can use SEO to make your keywords searchable, you’re pretty safe. A little off base for this post, but something to think about. 🙂

    • Kristin,

      I like your idea about keeping things hidden. I have read a bit about manipulating Google in order to reduce the page rank of a page. Unfortunately it may be that when you want to keep something hidden it is somebody else who is trying to bring it out. However this is something that I will keep in the back of my mind.

  5. Pingback: Five Best Keyword Research Tools for Better Ranking in Search Engines | shameem

  6. Pingback: Industrial Surplus Chooses Geo Targeting For SEO « Industrial Surplus World

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