What is SEO? SEO Basics & Fundamentals
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the marketing and site process to make your content more visible and interpretable to search engines and more valuable to users. When you create content that satisfies both of these criteria, you will find your pages naturally rising in the SERPs, thereby attracting traffic to your content and revenue to your business.
What does it mean to use SEO?
It's easy to misunderstand SEO. Many people, unfortunately, confuse SEO with so-called black hat tactics that were popular before the Google algorithm matured, such as keyword stuffing or purchasing backlinks from link farms. Quality SEO focuses on providing relevant content to the end user and not on trying to game the Google algorithm.
Not only does this provide a better user experience, but it also makes your efforts impervious to penalties from future algorithm updates. SEO is different than paid search because it is based on the quality of the content, not the amount of money used to secure exposure and visitors.
There are two main areas of SEO: On-Page and Off-Page.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO describes practices used on your website to attract the attention of search engines and visitors. It also includes everything involved in creating an enjoyable user experience for your readers. Understanding on-page tactics is key to understanding SEO in general and how it works. Main on-page practices are:
- Writing well-developed content that is fresh, original, and provides real value to users.
- Use the keyword in the URL, titles, subtitles, and body copy.
- Writing descriptive and engaging meta descriptions and titles to clarify content and encourage clicks from the search engine results page.
- Using a good layout that makes it easy for visitors to read and digest the content.
- A fast page loading time.
- Setting alt text on images that includes the topic keyword.
What is off-page SEO?
Off-page SEO refers to practices and techniques that you use to show the value of your website throughout the digital ecosystem. These factors show search engines how your site fits with the rest of the web and how reputable other sites view it to be. Improving your off-page SEO includes practices such as:
- Cultivate high quality backlinks from other websites - learn how in this whitepaper.
- Build internal links using the anchor text from other pages within your domain or other sites you manage.
- Develop content for publications, linking back to your website.
- List your business in any applicable directories.
- Build your social media presence.
How do I start using SEO effectively with my content?
- Make sure your content has been developed for the user.
- Write content that adds value to your brand.
- Design web pages that are good for the user-- easy to read on desktop and mobile while also being fast to load.
- Use target keywords throughout the content, including the title, meta description, URL and content body.
- Encourage backlinks by promoting your content on social media, developing relationships with influencers and seeking opportunities to write guest posts or articles.
- Make sure your content is well connected with the rest of your website with internal links.
So, what is SEO? SEO is a comprehensive process that should guide everything including the layout of your site, the content produced and how that content is promoted. To run SEO effectively, you need to integrate it into your content production process.
- Read the white paper "Content that measurably performs" to efficiently drive up your site rankings and get your brand in front of interested customers
- Practical tips - learn effective SEO writing
- Approach SEO strategically - explore SEO Management best practices