What is SEO and How it Works: What You Need to Know

You might have heard a lot about SEO and how important it is for a website. But whether you own a business or not, it is not necessary that you know all about SEO.

Whether you are just a curious individual who is interested in digital marketing or an individual who is starting out a business, keep it in mind that you cannot learn everything about SEO in one day.

It is a huge process that is always ongoing and always changing.

But to know about SEO, you have to start from somewhere, right?

That starting point is right here, in this article. Here we are going to tell you what exactly SEO is and how it works.

What is SEO?

SEO means Search Engine Optimisation. This means a website or blog trying to continuously optimize its ranking in the search engine result pages.

As a result of higher rankings, the visibility of the website or the blog will increase and hence that will increase the traffic to the site.

Higher traffic would mean higher conversion rates and better revenue.

Most of the companies have always tried to keep their SEO techniques and processes a secret. But the strategies and criteria required to attain high ranks on search engine result pages is not a mystery.

A website has to show Google or other search engines that whatever people are looking for, their website has the most relevant and well-organized information for that search.

If Google finds out that your website indeed has the relevant information that users are looking for, it pushes up your rankings on its search engine result pages. This is the entire purpose of SEO. But no one can do it in one night.

Now that you have understood what Search Engine Optimisation is, you would want to know how it works, right?

But before you know how SEO works, you have to know how search engines work to serve the best information to the users.

How Do Search Engines Work?

Search engines have two major functions:

  • Crawling through websites and building index
  • Providing users a list of websites based on their search queries that the search engines find most relevant.

1. Crawling and indexing:

Imagine that the entire Internet world is actually a network of many stoppages in a big city.

All the stops in the city are actually respective unique documents, like a webpage or an image or any other file.

Now the search engines are constantly crawling throughout the city stopping at various stoppages, in order to find which path is the best. These paths are the links.

The search engines crawl through search bots known as crawlers or spiders.

These spiders visit millions of websites, and they do the crawling through the various links.

Once the spiders find the pages, they scan the code from those pages and then store the pieces of information in their huge databases.

When a user searches something related to it, the search engine shows them the results from this database.

These huge pieces of information are stored in storage facilities across the world at various offices, which are constantly working to make the user experience better.

2. Finding and providing answers:

Search engines are nothing but answer machines to users who are searching for something online.

When a user enters a search query, the search engine goes through the documents and images stored in its database. Then it does 2 things-

  1. It shows dose results that are relevant and useful to the search query
  2. It also gives thanks to those results based on how popular the websites serving the information are.

So, both relevance and popularity matter a lot in SEO.

Now the question is, how does Google determine the websites’ popularity and relevance?

Earlier when SEO was just another internet thing, search engines would only find the page with the right keywords and show it to the users. That is all that relevance meant to them.

But over the years, Google has worked tirelessly to come up with better ways to provide search results to the users’ queries.

Google and other search engines assume that the more popular a website or a webpage has, the more relevant information it must contain.

The relevance and popularity are not manually determined. Search engines have devised complex mathematical equations known as algorithms to determine relevance and popularity.

Now that you have a fair idea about how search engines work, let us know understand how SEO works in this given scene.

How Does SEO Works?

1. On-site SEO elements:

The most important factor of how SEO works for a website is the onsite SEO elements.

Let us have a brief understanding of what these on-site elements are and how they help with SEO.

  • Title tag

The title tag is what tells the search engines about the elements that matter to the webpage.

The title tag or the title should be 70 characters or less and should have the name of your business or brand and other related keywords that would tell the users what the page is about.

  • Meta Description

The meta description of a web page is a brief and little more elaborate introduction to the search engines about the content of the page.

SEO experts still argue about whether the meta description has anything to do with keyword rankings.

But you have to still write the meta description so that your target audience can have a fair idea of what they should be expecting from the page.

  • Header links

Any blog that is SEO friendly, uses 3 levels of HTML header links.

That breaks the content into categories and further helps search engines to find out what is really relevant in each section of the content.

  • Internal links

Through internal link building, you can have an influence on the crawlers to take an index more about your website by connecting to different webpages on your website internally. This can be done through links in the content.

2. Offsite SEO elements:

This is also known as link building.

It is the most important element of offsite SEO. The main aim is to get high-quality websites to link back to your website.

That will eventually increase your traffic, visibility and ultimately your search rankings.

When you get high-quality backlinks, your website ultimately gets the position at the top few spots on the search engine results page.

But getting backlinks can be quite a task, and you need to have the right approach for that. When you are trying to get backlinks, you will understand that there are 3 kinds of link building systems:

  • Organic links– These are the best kinds of links because you do not have to request to get these links.

They might not always come from high authority websites when you reach that stage where you get links from high authority websites, it is the best thing ever.

  •  Whitehat links– These are the links which you request for and get through legal and authorized methods recognized by Google.
  •  Blackhat links–  These are spams and as a website owner, you should stay away from them. When Google finds out that you are using blackhat SEO techniques, it will heavily penalize your website and push down your rankings.

A lot of websites have difficulties in generating high-quality backlinks. But you can always begin somewhere to get high-quality links. Here are a few things that you can do to get started.

The first thing you can do is to submit a guest blog post to different famous and prominent online website and blogs in your niche.

Through this, you can then add a link at the bottom of your post which will be redirected to your website when clicked.

Apart from this, you can also create lots of local store profiles and accounts on different social media platforms. This will help you to get in clicks which will eventually increase the traffic to your site.

Ask other businesses, organizations or entrepreneurs whether they would want to link back to your website.

You can be polite about it and do not sound like you are forcing them to link back.

A nice way to do this is to first check whether they have link pages on their sites that mention a link back to various sellers or partners etc. If you find, they do link back, ask for links.

Another thing that you can do is to submit your website to various industry directories or you can also purchase advertising.

For example, if somebody owns a digital marketing training institute, he can get his website listed on various directories and also get a link back to his site from other related things like digital marketing course, etc.

Keep in mind that when you are listing your business on directories, you should avoid the low-quality ones. Also, avoid sites that have links to shady sites.

3. Content- the most important factor to drive SEO:

The most important factor in SEO and content marketing is obviously content. Now, in such a highly competitive market, you have to ensure that your content is up to the mark.

It should be highly informative and highly engaging. Users should be able to take away something from the content and also be interactive on your platform.

Your content should be relevant to both the search engines and the users.

When users and guest find that your content is interesting and informative, there are chances that they will keep coming back to your website every time they want, to read something interesting about your industry.

Google recognizes this user behavior of visiting one particular site and that influences its search indexes.

Keep creating unique content if you stick to only one form of content. You have to be experimental with different kinds of content on your website, all of which should be high-quality content.

Try experimenting with forms like industry articles, E-books, ‘How to’ guides, podcasts, videos, gallery articles in the form of slides, etc.

What are the Factors That Affect SEO?

When we are on the topic of SEO, you should know that apart from the ones already mentioned, there are other factors too that affect the SEO of a website.

Various onsite and offsite factors that affect SEO are:

Domain authority:

Domain authority means how much credibility and trust your domain has been able to build over a period of time via backlinks and years of existence.

The more websites talk about you, the higher is your domain authority. Also, the longer you have been around, the higher is your domain authority. This is a huge factor that affects SEO.


Picking the proper keywords after doing the necessary amount of research is very important.

The initial strategy to follow is to pick keywords that have very low competition and then slowly create a post to be able to target highly competitive terms.

Every website will aim to rank higher for the given set of keywords. In such cases, you should use a keyword that is generally the synonyms of the terms you have targeted.

For example, if you are selling power banks, target keywords like ‘portable chargers’, ‘portable phone batteries’ etc.

Context and relevance:

Google, after it’s numerous algorithm updates has gotten smarter than it ever was.

Google can now pick out the difference between original content and scraped content.

Also, when you are building your website, make sure you stick to your niche and do not deviate.

Wrapping Up:

So, now you know how important SEO is and how it works.

SEO goals cannot be achieved overnight, especially with the kind of competition that exists on the internet.

Its all about researching and trying to rank for the right keywords, but there is more to it. Do your research, make mistakes and learn from them.

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