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What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving the technical quality, as well as the textual and visual content of a webpage to help increase its chances of ranking higher in search engine result pages (SERPs). This process can be as simple as improving the quality of the content to as complicated as delving into technical shortcomings of the website code, and the hardware on which a website is being hosted.

How Does SEO Work?

There are three basic areas which need attention in doing SEO: technical SEO, on-page SEO, and content optimization. Each of these three element work together to provide search engines with easily digestible webpages. The goal of search engine optimization is to help search engines easily access website content, which is of high quality and utility.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO consists of improving site speed, and removing technical barriers which might prevent search engines from fully accessing the public content of a website. The primary focus of technical search engine optimization, is the quick delivery of web pages. This task depends on the efficiency of the website code, scripts, images, and the capability of the hardware which houses the website structure and data (e.g. databases).

The technicals of a website which, if not set up correctly, can slow down a website are:

On-Page SEO

The web elements involved in on-page search engine optimization cover a wide range, but the fundamental building blocks are:

Content Optimization

The optimization of website content consists primarily of expanding, adding, or improving textual, visual, and interactive content on a webpage. This content can be comprised of articles, videos, graphics, guides, and other informational elements. The content is generally developed around a given topic (or topics) which the site is about. Multi-topic (e.g. ecommerce sites, blogs, etc) can be compartmentalized so that topics are logically housed in a hierarchy that makes sense to not only website users, but also the search engines.


The most problematic portion of SEO is the development of backlinks to a website. Often, the problem arises from a low-quality site aiming to improve rankings by the force of links. This usually results in low quality links (which may work temporarily) since no high quality site would want to link (reference) a low quality source. To have a successful link outreach campaign, it is important to lay the groundwork by developing unique, useful, and well-written, and easily digestible content.

Backlink development is a complicated undertaking with a multitude of pitfalls for the inexperienced website owner or SEO. So, it is important to do the proper research and lay a well-formed foundation to help make a link development campaign successful.

Keyword Research

Before any on-page optimization can begin in earnest, it is necessary to establish the list of keywords for which the site will be optimized. The mistake which his often made is to focus on the most highly searched keywords in the niche for which the website is being optimized. There is not anything inherently wrong with aiming high, but for sites which have little or no rankings, it is important to establish some validity by focusing on less competitive keywords (i.e. long-tail). A well researched and selected keyword list can help virtually ensure the success of an SEO campaign, everything else being equal of course.

SEO Learning Resources

To learn about how to implement SEO changes on your website, you can use one or more of the following resources which are designed for those looking to learn SEO.