Home » What is SEO? Your Complete Step-By-Step Guide

What is SEO? Your Complete Step-By-Step Guide

If you’ve found yourself Googling “What is SEO?” I’m here to help.

SEO stands for search engine optimization, a marketing strategy that improves your website’s organic visibility in search engines like Google and Bing.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You need to be able to do much more than just define the acronym if you want to increase your website’s traffic.

That’s why I created this in-depth beginner’s guide. If you want to hop to a specific part, I’ve made a handy table of contents to get you started:

Key Takeaways
What Is SEO?
Why Is SEO Important?
SEO Strategies: White Hat vs. Black Hat
SEO Marketing Basics:
Keyword Research and Selection
Site Architecture
Local SEO
Google’s E-E-A-T Guidelines
SEO and Google Algorithm Updates
I recommend reading the article in full if it’s your first time. But if you want the condensed version, read my key takeaways below.

Search Engine Optimization in a Nutshell
There’s a lot to unpack if you want to know how search engine optimization works and why SEO is important, but let me give you the top-level view.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the practice of making websites rank higher in the organic results of Google and other search engines.
SEO is important because it is usually the biggest source of traffic for most brands. It also doesn’t depend on continual reinvestment like paid marketing.
There are two types of SEO: black hat vs. white hat SEO. Both can generate results in the short term, but Google may penalize black hat techniques.
If you want to improve your site’s SEO, then you should focus on the following things:
Finding relevant keywords
Creating great content
Improving your site’s structure
Optimizing on-page SEO elements
Building more backlinks
Optimizing for local searches
Google changes its search algorithm regularly. Don’t try to beat it; just focus on following best practices.
If in doubt, read Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines.
Be patient. Expect to wait at least six months to see results.
What Is SEO?
As I explained in the introduction, SEO stands for search engine optimization. And what actually is search engine optimization? It’s a set of processes that help websites rank higher in the organic results of Google and other search engines.

The key difference between SEO and paid advertising (like PPC) is that an SEO strategy involves “organic” ranking, which means you don’t pay to be listed. Instead, you rank, thereby having the best (or best optimized) content on that topic.

Paid advertising, like PPC ads, on the other hand, lets companies pay to sit at the top of Google. Rather than getting traffic for free, you have to pay every time someone clicks on your ad.

Doing SEO doesn’t mean you can’t run PPC ads. Most companies choose to (and should) run both SEO and PPC campaigns to ensure they get as much traffic as possible.

To better understand how you can rank your content higher in the search engines, you need to first understand how search works. That’s the ultimate goal of this article. By the end, you’ll know the ins and outs of search so you can optimize your content to rank higher on Google and get more eyeballs on your posts.

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