What is Search Engine Optimization? (and How does it work)

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization refers to the technology and process of obtaining website traffic from natural search results.

More rigorous definition can be expressed as:  “Search Engine Optimization refers to the search engine natural ranking mechanism, based on the internal and external adjustment of the site optimization, improve the site in search engine keywords natural rankings, to obtain more traffic, so as to achieve the goal of website sales and brand building.”

What is Search Engine Optimization?

In simple terms “SEO is all about ranking your website on the Google search result page.”

Imagine you are an administrator who manages books of all over the world. People rely on you to find the books they need. What are you going to do? You need a system.

You need to know the content of each book and the relationship between each book and books. So your system needs to receive a lot of data and that can meet the customer’s inquiries.

This is certainly not a simple task. Search engines such as Google and Bing are like library administrators on the Web. Their systems collect all the Web pages on the network to help users find the data they want. Each search engine has its own secret “recipe,” called a “Google Algorithm” which converts all the data into search results.

If you’re running a website, it’s important to search for results. When one of your pages has a higher ranking, it helps more people find you.

The essential key to getting a higher ranking is whether your site has the required “ingredients” to conform to the “recipe” that the search engine has formulated.

Let us understand the basic concept of Search Engine Optimization with a video:

Courtesy – SearchEngineLand

why pay attention to SEO?

The purpose of doing SEO is to use a series of methods, so that “search engine” can understand your site content, and then make your site rankings appear in the natural search results in front, and then get high traffic. And the ultimate goal of search engine optimization is to get your site in the first page of Google search result, the higher you rank more clicks you get and that will ultimately grow your business by increasing traffic to your website.

As per survey, 69.6% of people use search engines as the most important way to get information on the Internet.

I hope you will have a brief understanding of SEO after watching this video. The definition of a search engine is easy to understand, but it is confusing in when you try to implement it in reality.


Search Engine optimization periodic table

Courtesy – SearchEngineLand

Seo is divided into 2 categories on page & off page SEO. To understand the difference between the two, you have to understand, at a basic level, how search engine algorithms work. Let’s dig deeper.

  1. On-page: what is your site (or your page) about?
  2. Off-page: how authoritative is your site? How popular is it?

Let us have a look at the factors that affect the Search Engine Ranking.

On Page SEO

On page SEO (also known as on-site SEO) is basically all the optimization activities that you do on your website, which includes optimizing Meta title, Meta descriptions, etc. which affects your search engine ranking is considered as On page SEO.

Optimizing on-page SEO is very important to increase your search visibility in Google.

Title Tags

Put your focus keywords in the title tag of each page on your website. There are several best practices that go in writing an attractive and effective title tag.

The title tag should contain targeted keywords for the page, search engines pay a special attention to the title tags when crawling or indexing pages. The title tag should also make sense to humans. Since we are focusing on the search query of the users.

Title Tag example

Heading (H1) Tags

Headings are normally the biggest words on the page, search engines consider them as an important ranking factor and prioritize it a bit more than your other page copy.

It’s a nice idea to work on your focused keywords into the headings of each website page but make sure you correctly reflect your page content.

Heading (H1) Tags example

Url Structure

Put keywords into your permalinks if possible. However, do not change all of your present URLs just to put your focus keyword inside it.

You shouldn’t change old permalinks unless you plan on redirecting your old website page to your new ones by applying 301 redirections. Consult an expert before doing this.

Url Structure example

Alt Text For pictures

Any CMS (Content Management System) would allow you to add an “alt text” to all the images on your site.  This alt text is not visible to the website user – “alt text” is used by screen reader applications to help out the internet users who are blind and trying to find out the content of the images.

Search bots also crawl the images in a similar way, try to insert some relevant keywords while correctly describing the image will help crawlers to understand your page’s content.

Alt Text example

Page Load Speed

Google always wants to help its users to find exactly what they’re searching for to provide the best UX (user experience). Hence, optimizing your website pages to load faster will help your site rank higher in the search engine.

search engine optimization Page Load Speed

Page Content

Content is the King! The content on your website pages needs to be useful for the visitors. If they search for something which is too specific to find on your page, they need to be able to find what they are searching for.

It needs to be easy to read and provide value to the site visitor. Google has several ways to find out if your content is useful or not.

Internal Linking

Linking internally to different pages on your site is useful for the visitors & it’s also useful for search engines.

On-page SEO ensures that your website is readable to both your site visitors and to search engine bots.

With proper on-page optimization, search engines can quickly index your website pages, and also help them to understand what’s your website is all about and to navigate the website structure and content of your website, thus to make your site rank accordingly.

Search engine optimization internal linking

Off Page SEO

Off page SEO is a major focus on improving the DA (Domain Authority) of the website by getting backlinks from other quality websites.

A perfect example of how authority really works. suppose, you have a tub (website) with yellow duckies in it (consider the ducks as your website pages), and then you fill the bathtub with water (consider water as backlinks), all your rubber duckies will start to float to the top.

That’s how a website like Wikipedia ranks for almost everything.  It’s a goldmine of links the tub is so filled with water (backlinks) that if someone creates a rubber duck inside it, it’s going to rise to the top without much effort.

What is Search Engine Optimization? (and How does it work) 1

There is a term called DA which calculates the quality of backlinks and authority of your website by comparing it to other websites. You can check the DA (Domain Authority) by including this free tool from MOZ.

Few ways you can build links to your website are:

  • Creating Informative content that people want to link to because it provides value.
  • Share your content on Social media to generate traffic and it will ultimately generate links.
  • Outreach e-mails to big influencers in your niche and ask them to share our content that will give your content more exposure and also ask them to link to you.
  • Guest blogging on sites related to your niche. Guest posting is the most effective ways to create backlinks for your site.
  • Competitor analysis is important to try to check from where your competitors are getting a valuable backlink and approach those sites via an email for a guest post request.

Link quantity is still considered as an important ranking factor, but the content writers & SEO experts are focusing on link quality rather than link quantity, writing shareable content is the major step to earn quality links and to improve site ranking.

How many links do you need for good off-page SEO?

That is tough to say and it’s going to be based on the DA (Domain Authority) of your competitors, also try to do some competitor analysis before creating content, there are several tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, etc. That can help you in doing that.

some professionals also used to believe that buying links was a valid way of link building.

buying a backlink example

Never ever buy a backlink, Google will penalize you for buying backlinks if you try to manipulate your site Page Rank, you can also be penalized if you try to submit your website links to link submission directories, link directories purpose is to increase your DA.

Quality link always wins out over quantity links when it comes to building links.

On page and off page works together to increase your website ranking in a complementary way. However, search engines generally advise optimizing your site on page SEO before focusing too much on off page SEO.

But, I would both are equally important for search engines, optimize your site accurately and creating valuable content will help you in getting rank on the first page of Google.

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About the Author: Amit Purohit

Amit Purohit is an SEO expert and pro-blogger, besides blogging amit assists in planning, organizing, and implementing SEO and content strategy for clients to generate leads and conversions.


  1. Thanks Amit! For writing such an informative blog on search engine optimization, I have read out lots of article on seo but most of the articles are outdated or miss out some valuable information. But you have covered most of the points that other sites are missing. Thanks for writing and sharing your valuable insight on search engine optimization. Keep up the good work! Cheersss 🙂

    1. Thanks mate! glad to hear that, if you have any query or question related with digital marketing or SEO you can ask me by simply filling out the contact form in the contact me page. Cheers francis!

  2. Nice article amit purohit! Its quite an useful article for people like me who are just being part of this huge world of digital marketing..keep on writing such helpful blog and keep on inspiring people like us. Waiting to read out your next article 🙂

    1. Thanks maria, My purpose is to help each and everyone who wants to learn more about online marketing. Thanks for your kind words and I’ll be adding few more post in the coming month, Stay tuned 🙂

  3. I agree on this one “Search engine optimization is basically ranking your site on google” by tweaking your on page and building links with off page seo. I hope everyone will find this article valuable. Nice work amit!

  4. Cool..love the example you shared easy to read and easy to understand can your share me your email address i want to learn more about seo and want to be an expert like you in digital marketing 😉

  5. Wonderful article on seo. Thanks for sharing it..looking forward to read out more articles on your site..cheers mate!

  6. Great post! I really like your article can you write something on link building tactics in 2018. I also have a website but its very difficult to rank it can you suggest me some link building strategies? I have also mailed you via your contact form. Talk soon 🙂

    1. Hi Abhishek thanks for your kind words, Ofcourse I would love to share and guide you to how to create a perfect link building strategies in 2018. Few thing that you can follow right away are List your site in trustworthy directories, Discover competitors backlinks, Turn your mentions into backlinks, Forum and Blogposts Comments.

  7. Wow, superb blog format! How long have you been running a blog for? you made blogging look easy. The whole glance of your web site is fantastic, let alone the content material!

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