What is Search Engine Optimization – The Basics

search engine optimization
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What is Search Engine Optimisation?

If you’re interested in getting your site to rank well on search engines, then you need to get acquainted with SEO. Here are the basics of what you need to know about SEO.

First and foremost, let’s look at the definition of SEO.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving the ranking of a website on a search engine result page (SERP).

When you search for something on Google or Bing, you are presented with a list of websites in order of what the search engine algorithm deems most relevant to your search query. A company that optimizes their website’s SEO with the latest SEO trends is more likely to rank higher in search results. This is because the search engine believes that the website is providing valuable information.

SEO can be broadly categorised as On-page SEO, Off-page SEO and Technical SEO.

On-page SEO – This deals with all the optimisations that you need to do on your webpage.

Off-page SEO – This deals with all the things that you need to do away from your website to build your website’s authority.

Technical SEO – The technical part of facilitating better visibility of your website for search engines.

How does Ranking Work

Now that you know what SEO is, it’s time to learn how SEO works.

Google and other search engines have automated systems (bots) called Crawlers or Spiders. They “crawl” through every new and old webpage that they encounter and put them into a massive index of pages.

Next, the ranking algorithm of Google analyses all such webpages, and ranks them on the basis of hundreds of factors.

When a user searches an answer or a specific keyword (such as a product), Google returns a list of the web pages that it thinks are the most relevant for the search term.

The webpage that comes on top typically gets clicked by the user more often than the rest. It is the webpage that is “ranked at the top” for the search term or keyword. The next is at rank 2, and so on.

These algorithms are constantly updated and improved to reflect the changes in technology, users’ needs, etc.

How to Rank Higher in Search Engines

For those who want to rank higher in search engines, there are many factors that play into it. Most of these factors are not publicly disclosed by Google. However, experts have done their homework well and a lot of these metrics are known to us. Here’s what you can do to get started:

User experience

Unlike the 2000s, search engines these days give a lot of importance to the user experience a website offers to its visitors.

Your website should:

  • Be well-structured and easy to navigate – by both the crawlers and humans.
  • Have a clean code without any bloat.
  • Be quick to load even on slow internet connections.

Keyword research

The first step is optimizing your site for the right keywords. This can be done by choosing phrases that people are searching for and matching them with your content.

A good way to do this is by analyzing the keywords that your competitors are targeting. You need to check only those websites that are ranked on the first page of Google.

Quality content

Another thing you can do is to create relevant, well-written blog posts that provide information people are looking for. Google gives a lot of importance to high-quality content that offers value to the users.

Go for long-form content. This means, try to provide as much information to the visitors as possible while staying relevant to the topic.

Mobile optimization

Mobile optimization is important for SEO. Most of the web searches these days originate from mobile devices. Due to this, Google has altered its algorithm to rank websites in relation to mobile search. If your website is not mobile-friendly, Google might give more preference to the other website that is.

Build quality backlinks

Link building is a vital part of SEO. Google considers backlinks from authority websites as a vote of confidence that your website offers value.

Links from other websites can send traffic back to your site and help you rank higher in the search engines.

Building quality backlinks is a long-term SEO strategy that needs to be well thought out and planned for. Without the right approach, the potential negative effects of building too many low-quality backlinks can outweigh the positive effects of building high-quality backlinks.

Promote your website

You need to promote your site to get it seen. Share it on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, relevant online blogs and forums. This is a little different from usual link building and needs to be done a little differently. The idea here is to spread the word.

These are just a few of the things that you need to take care of. An in-depth discussion on how to do SEO is the topic for another article.

Track the progress

It’s important to note that SEO should be approached like any other long-term investment – the return on investment takes time and there is no way to tell whether or not your efforts will pay off for at least six months. So, you must track your progress and alter your strategies as and when required.

Black Hat vs White Hat SEO

Like everything else, the methods of doing SEO have been abused to death time and again. You need to choose the right path.

There are two ways of doing SEO – White Hat and Black Hat. These terms are used to classify good and bad tactics to increase SEO rankings.

White hat SEO is an ethical approach to SEO that does not violate search engine guidelines. White hat SEO is generally the best choice for businesses because it avoids the risk of getting penalized or banned by search engines for using underhanded tactics to gain higher rankings.

Black Hat SEO refers to unethical practices that violate the guidelines of Google. It is unethical, but when done correctly, can be very successful. These include keyword stuffing, link manipulation, duplicate content, cloaking and other sneaky tricks. Black hat SEO is considered spammy by Google and can result in harsh penalties for you.


As you just learned, there are many different factors that search engines use to rank websites. A successful SEO strategy requires understanding the search engine’s algorithm, optimising your site with the best SEO practices, and tracking progress to ensure that the changes you are making are having the desired effect.

I hope you’ve got a hang of the basics of Search Engine Optimization from this article. If you have any questions or want to share your opinion, I’ll see you in the comments section.

Thanks for reading!

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