What is SEO? Why Do We Need It, and How Does It Work?

What is SEO? Why Do We Need It, and How Does It Work?

Grzegorz Graczyk

This article is part of our beginner's series on SEO. If you missed the first part, you can read "Getting Started with SEO: A Beginner's Guide" here.

What is SEO and Why Do We Need It?

Search Engine Optimization, referred to as SEO, is the practice of enhancing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website. It achieves this by making your webpage more visible to search engines like Google. Think about this - if you have a spectacular product or a service, but it's buried deep in the wilderness where no one can find it, it's practically useless. That's where SEO comes in. It makes your website stand out, attracting more viewers and potential customers.

How do search engines work?

Search engines use complex and constantly evolving algorithms to index and rank billions of webpages on the internet. These algorithms utilize 'crawlers' to scan and collect data from webpages. This data is then indexed and ranked based on various factors, including the relevance and quality of the content.

What are important factors for SEO?

Successful SEO depends on several key factors. Here are some in more simple terms:

  1. Keywords: These aren't simply words or phrases that people type into search engines, and using them on your site doesn't necessarily guarantee higher search result rankings. The process is much more nuanced. Google, for instance, focuses heavily on understanding the intent behind a user's search. It strives to provide answers relevant to the searched topics, often derived from the overarching themes or topics on your website, rather than specific keywords alone
  2. Quality Content: The better your content, the more it attracts users. High-quality, interesting, and unique content could lead to more people visiting your site.
  3. Site Speed: Nobody likes a slow website. The faster your site, the better your chance of ranking higher.
  4. Mobile Optimization: Many people use their phones to go online. If your site looks good and works well on a mobile device, it could rank higher on search results.
  5. Backlinks: These are links from other websites to yours. Having many good quality backlinks tells search engines that your site can be trusted, which could boost your ranking.

SEO is all about making your site visible and interesting to both people and search engines. Doing good SEO can take time, but it's worth it to attract more visitors to your site.

SEO Dictionary

If you’re just beginning your SEO journey, you might feel overwhelmed by some jargon. But don't worry, understanding these terms is easier than you'd think!

  • Keywords: Terms or phrases that people use while making searches online. Including these in your content helps to increase your rank in search results.
  • Backlinks: When another website links to your content, you gain a backlink. This is a trust signal for search engines and helps improve your site’s ranking.
  • Indexing: Search engines crawl webpages, collect information, then organize it in an ‘index’. This index is used to find the most relevant results to a user's search query.
  • Organic Traffic: This refers to the visitors who land on your webpages through unpaid search results, unlike paid ads. Organic traffic is often a main goal of SEO.
  • Crawlers/Bots/Spiders: These are programs used by search engines to scan websites, following links on pages to collect data about the website.
  • SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages): This is the page you see after you search for something on a search engine. It displays a list of results that the search engine considers relevant to the searched term or phrase.
  • On-Page SEO: This involves optimizing individual webpages on your site, such as using relevant keywords, optimizing page titles and images, and ensuring high-quality content.
  • Off-Page SEO: This refers to actions taken outside your website to impact your site’s visibility, including obtaining backlinks from other websites, managing social signals, and increasing brand mentions.
  • Black Hat SEO: This refers to aggressive SEO strategies that focus only on search engines, not the human audience, and usually do not comply with the search engine guidelines. These strategies can lead to penalties from the search engines.
  • White Hat SEO: In contrast to Black Hat SEO, White Hat SEO refers to the use of optimization strategies that focus on the human audience and follow search engine guidelines.


 Can I handle SEO on my own?

Yes, you certainly can! With some research and a lot of patience, it's entirely possible to conduct basic SEO for your website.

How can I acquire SEO knowledge?

Begin by reading online tutorials and guides. You can also take online SEO courses. Experimenting with your own website with the knowledge you gain is the best way to learn!

Do I require SEO tools?

Having SEO tools is helpful. They offer insights into the performance of your website, track keyword rankings, and analyze your competitors' SEO strategies. Consider Seodity, which offers a comprehensive set of tools to help with your SEO efforts.

How long does it take to see results from SEO?

The timeframe to see SEO results may vary, but typically, it can take anywhere from three to six months. However, keep in mind, SEO is a long-term strategy and continuous efforts are required to maintain and improve your search rankings.

Will SEO ensure my page always appears first in the search results?

SEO certainly improves your odds of ranking highly in the search results, but it doesn't guarantee the top spot. Search engines use hundreds of ranking factors in their algorithms, and the top results change frequently. However, good SEO practices will consistently keep you near the top.

Is SEO a one-time activity?

No, SEO is a continuous activity. Search engine algorithms constantly change, and so do user trends. It is vital to regularly optimize your website and update your content to maintain your rankings.

In the next article of our beginner's series on SEO, we'll delve deeper into one of these components - tracking your keywords' position on Google and why it's important. You can read "Why is Tracking Your Keywords' Position on Google Important?" 

Grzegorz Graczyk

Co-founder of Seodity

Seodity - AI Content Generator fueled by Real SEO data. | Product Hunt