Chapter 1

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO for short) refers to the practice of increasing a website or web pages visibility on search engines.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Technically speaking

Search engine optimization (SEO for short) refers to the practice of increasing a website or web pages visibility on search engines. This is not the same as “paid search”, which is when companies pay search engines to show their website at the top of search results. Rather, SEO focuses on improving what are called un-paid search results, referred to as “organic” results. This is accomplished by creating content your target audience enjoys and then making it so search engines can understand what your content is about.

Creating a lighthouse in a sea of websites

Think of the internet as a vast, constantly-growing ocean. There are 47 billion indexed websites on Google as of September 2018, and without optimization, your websites might as well be invisible. The techniques and skills taught in this chapter will help you make your lighthouse as bright as possible.

Why Should I Practice SEO? 

Search is king

Did you know that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine? How else would we navigate the stormy seas of the world wide web?

There is a tongue-and-cheek joke SEO meme that says, “the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of the Google search results”. All this means is that, if your website does not show up on the first page, it might as well be invisible. Only 25% of search users navigate past the first page, so if you are not actively working to improve your rankings, you could be missing out on 75% of your online target market. That is a lot of revenue you could potentially be missing out on!

white lighthouse searching for boat engines
competition board game pieces seo

SEO benefits everyone

Consider this. Search engines are only as successful as their ability to quickly connect users with relevant, accurate information. Not only does the content have to be easy for search engines to understand, it has to be useful – even to people with disabilities such as blindness.

User experience is baked into the DNA of search. Websites that load quickly, update their content often, are mobile responsive, maintain consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) information are just a few qualities that search engines reward, and all of them ultimately benefit the end-user. By investing in SEO, not only will you increase web traffic, but you will be improving your audience’s experience online. Everyone wins.

Why Can’t Search Engines Find Me Naturally Without SEO? 

Combining our strengths

Search engines may be very good at what they do, but they are far from perfect. From understanding the structure of a website, to being able to understand the most important subject matter on a page, search engines often need some assistance. That is where SEO comes in. Until search spiders ascend to the intelligence of a sentient being (something most science fiction readers would advise against), search engines will continue to rely on the help of SEO to understand why your website is the best search result for your target market!

road map
Chapter 2: Keyword Research