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SEO Overview: What is SEO and Why Should You Care About It

August 13, 2021

Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is a very important marketing practice for getting seen on the Internet. It can be a lot of hard work to get started, but with persistence, you can learn it and use it to your advantage. Want to know the best part about SEO? When done right, getting good SEO won’t cost you any money. That’s right, all it will cost you is your time! Here’s an SEO overview to get you started on your journey.

Make sure to have our list of SEO terms nearby!

What is SEO?

SEO is a way to get more eyes on your website. It’s a practice where you get a search engine’s attention and prove that your webpage is trustworthy and relevant. Once you’ve done this, you will appear on search engine result pages (SERPs) when someone types in a specific keyword.

The #1 goal of SEO is to get yourself on the first page of a SERP.

Why Should You Care About It

When someone searches for “cool mugs” they will see thousands of results. You could be on page 5, but how many people will go that far? Not many.

Using Google as our primary search engine (you’ll see why in a moment) here are some statistics to prove the power of SEO.

Google gets over 3.5 billion searches a day. That’s billion with a B. Of those searches, 46% are product searches.

That’s a lot of opportunities for you to expand your audience.

Circle graph showing a bright green section that's "3.5 billion Google searches daily" and a smaller blue section that's "46% percent are product searches" above the graph is "The power of SEO" in dark blue text

Now, why is the first page so important? 90% of people said they were most likely to pick the first couple of the results.

What about the second page? It drops to around 0.44% that actually looks at the second page of results.

That is why SEO is important to your business and why you need to care about it. 

How Search Engines Work

You can’t have search engine optimization without search engines. Google is the usual go-to when talking about SEO, though most of what we’re talking about can apply to other search engines.

To start on your SEO journey, you need to know how search engines work. Trying to understand a search engine’s algorithm may be too much for the average person.

Luckily, you don’t need to know every little bit to get started.

Search engines rank websites based on how relevant they are to a user’s search. Using mugs again, the top pages will be about mugs instead of t-shirts, because mugs are what the user is looking for.

To figure out how relevant a webpage is, search engines send bots to “crawl” (read) over a website’s content and evaluate it. They usually end up evaluating the keywords you use and how they connect to the user’s search. They also check how trustworthy your page is by seeing how many backlinks you have from other trustworthy sites.

3 cute robots investigating a laptop

Other factors the bots and algorithm take in are:

    • How many people engage with your site
    • Your site’s loading speed
    • How good the mobile version of your site is
    • If you have any broken pages or links
    • How much content you have


We mentioned that a search engine looks at keywords. Keywords may be the most important part of SEO. Keywords are the words that people put in the search bar. Going back to the example above, “cool mugs” would be the keyword.

Keywords are a subject in and of itself, so we will be dedicating a whole separate blog post all about them.

Good SEO Practices

It’s not a proper SEO overview if it doesn’t talk about good and bad SEO practices.

Good SEO practices, also known as white hat, are tactics that follow Google’s guidelines. There are two different options for good practices: on-page and off-page. On-page SEO means things you can do within your website, while off-page means things you can do outside of it.

On-page techniques are:

    • Optimizing title tags
    • Creating good meta descriptions
    • Optimizing Headers
    • Using keywords properly in your content
    • Optimizing images
    • Creating quality content
    • Increasing internal linking

Off-page SEO techniques are

    • Link building
    • Increasing your authority score
    • Making sure your site is crawlable
    • Ensuring your website’s loading speed is fast
    • Improving user experience
    • Perfecting the mobile version of your site
    • Increase social media marketing
    • Guest blogging
    • Finding and getting rid of broken links

Bad SEO Practices

Bad SEO practices, also known as black hat, are techniques that will improve your SEO in ways that break Google’s rules. If you’re caught using these techniques your site may get banned from showing up in search results.

You never want to try to trick a search engine.

Bad SEO practices are

    • Keyword stuffing
    • Hiding text behind images
    • Buying links
    • Duplicated content

How to Tell if Your SEO is Working

So you read this SEO overview and do all this work, and you can’t tell if it’s working or not. What are you supposed to do?

cartoon faceless man scratching his head with question marks around him

It’s all about analytics! Organic traffic is probably the best way to see if your SEO strategies are working. Seeing how many people are coming to your site gives a good indicator of whether your SEO is working or not.

There are different tools you can use to measure the number of visitors you have, how good your keywords are, and other types of analytics.

Tools You Can Use on Your SEO Journey

There are a variety of different tools that can help you with every step of your SEO process. Here are some of our favorites.

    • Can I Rank: SEO software that uses AI to give you recommendations on what to do next to improve your SEO. You can try it out with a 7-day free trial.
    • SEOprofiler: A website that offers a variety of SEO tools in one place. You can make a free demo account and see if it’s a good fit for you.
    • Ahrefs: A website that offers both paid SEO tools and free marketing advice. You can start a 7-day trial for $7.
    • PageSpeed: A Google tool that looks at the content of a webpage and offers suggestions on how to make it faster.
    • Mobile-Friendly: A Google tool that will check how mobile-friendly your site is.
    • Google Search Console: A tool that measures your site’s search traffic and performance.
    • Google Analytics: A tool that can tell you how well your SEO is working from a variety of data.