So what is SEO and how does it work?

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and it is a concept or a process to optimize a website so that it appears for relevant searches on Search engines. The end goal of SEO is to ensure that a website gets traffic from search engines when people search for key terms that are relevant to the business of the website in question.

Now you may wonder, what is Traffic or what is exactly a search engine? If you are unaware of these basic terms, I highly recommend you to read our introductory article – SEO Terminology. This will help you understand the meaning of key terms so you will not get confused while following an article on the internet.

What is SEO?

Now let’s get down to understand what SEO is and how does it work, step by step. I will explain it through a simple example, so you will have no problems understanding how SEO works in the lifecycle of a business which depends on it’s digital presence.

  1. John has a small business which sells fashionable shoes for women at a very affordable rate. John’s store is not very well known and his sales aren’t enough for him to keep the business going.
  2. John wants to increase Sales of his eCommerce Store. He observes that people search for items on the internet, especially on Search engines.
  3. John develops a website which lists all the products that he sells on his eCommerce Store and the website allows anyone to purchase a shoe from his eCommerce Store.
  4. After John finishes developing his website, he is delighted thinking that now his Sales would jump since customers have the convenience of ordering online, compared to visiting his physical shop. Now John is able to accept orders from anywhere and his business is not bound to a single geography.
  5. However, John is disheartened to see no sales coming from his website. He investigates why and finds that his website is not getting enough footfalls every day. Which means, not enough customers are visiting his website on a regular basis and hence, no sale is happening.
  6. John decides to do something about it. He prints banners and sticks those banners in his neighborhood, near the road, bridge and everywhere else. He waits for some time but it does not help to improve sales from his eCommerce Store. Now John is frustrated and has no idea what he needs to do to improve sales from his Store and grow his business.
  7. Meanwhile, John meets one of his friend Harry who is an online marketing specialist and works for a reputed Internet firm. Harry gives some insights to John and teaches him how Search engines work and what John needs to do to ensure he has a steady flow of customers from his eCommerce Store.
  8. John learns that he needs to optimize the content of his website for the words that people are typing in search engines. He learns what keyword research is, and why keyword research is so important to sustain and grow an online business.
  9. After learning about Keyword research and other SEO concepts, John starts making changes to his website. He reads articles over the internet and improves his concept of search engine optimization. He learns how the pieces tie together and what are the changes he needs to do to achieve results.
  10. In a few months, John starts seeing traffic on his website. Now some people are visiting his website and once in a while, a sale is also happening.
  11. John sees some ray of hope. Now he starts focussing even more on the concepts of SEO and performs every single suggested change to the granular level. He writes more high-quality content, speeds up his website, makes it secure, follows all the SEO principles and builds really good backlinks to his website from trusted and authoritative sources. Over time, in a year or so, John’s website starts receiving thousands of footfalls every single day and his sales goes through the roof.

Now you get the idea.

John did nothing but learn what SEO is and using that knowledge he improved the business performance of his website to achieve more sales.

Hence, SEO is nothing but

Applying key concepts to your website, making fundamental changes to it to ensure you improve the quality and the quantity of traffic that the website gets from search engines, when people search for words that are related to your business.

The Process of improving the visibility of your website in Search engine is called SEO.

How SEO Works?

Now that you know what SEO is, let me explain how SEO works.

You have to first understand how Search engines work. If you understand how Search engines work, then understanding Search engine Optimization will not be that hard.

Google and other search engines have their software to assess the quality of each and every website. They call it an “Algorithm” (call it a formula which assesses something).

Google and other search engines want to serve the most relevant results to their users. So if I am searching for “A Cartoon Book for Kids” I should be shown websites who have great content on “Cartoon Books for Kids” and not websites which have poor content or websites that either do not open or are purely spammy in nature.

If search engines do not show the most relevant results to their users, then they cannot be in business since people will abandon them and find alternative ways. Hence, the objective of a search engine is to show the most relevant results for a query that is made by users.

Now that we know the objective of a search engine, let’s get down to the objective of a website owner.

What does a website owner want? The owner of a business or the owner of a website wants more traffic to his website, which usually translates to more sales which is the goal of a business owner.

Hence, the business owner would want to optimize his website so that the website adheres to all the best practices that search engines instruct to website owners. If the business owner keeps everything clean, builds a very useful website which is easy to navigate and provides great content and user experience to its users, then search engines would love to show that website to people who are searching for content. It is a win-win for the user, the website owner, and the search engine. In this situation, everyone is happy because

  • The user got to browse great content – which he was looking for
  • The Business owner got a prospective customer. If that customer likes the content, he may also decide to buy something from his store.
  • The Search engine was able to satisfy the need of the customer and show him content he was looking for. The user was happy and is most likely to use the same search engine again in future.

So now we get to the central idea of how SEO works

The owner of a website or business has to take responsibility to ensure that he builds a high-quality website. He also has to take responsibility to ensure that his website is easy to navigate, provides a good user experience, has quality content and resources, it satisfies the need of users who are desperately looking for a solution to their problem and need. The ownership of this responsibility is how SEO works.

The business owner follows all the best practices laid out by search engines to ensure his website is loved by Search engines and shows up on the first page for relevant searches made by random users on the internet.

That is how Seo works for the owner of a website or business.

Now you may wonder, how will the website owner know what are the best practices laid out by search engines that one needs to follow.

To answer that question, that is the task of “Information propagators”. People like us, who propagate this information over the internet in the form of articles, resources, ebooks and other material which teaches other people how to do Seo for their website, how to start a passive online business, how to build a website with WordPress and lots of other things.

That is our job – the job of a Blogger.

Be Sure to read our SEO Guide which contains useful information about SEO and we have discussed in detail key SEO Concepts with examples