What is SEO?

New  to SEO? No problem. This article will explain all main SEO concepts at beginners’ level.   

what is SEO

What is SEO and How it Works?

What is seo

If you are planning to get SEO done on your website or you want to learn SEO yourself – this article is for you? You must have heard that SEO can help drive traffic to your website and rank higher in search engine (like Google) search result page (SERP), but you’re not sure how it works or which areas to focus on. Well, you are in the right place. Read on to find out what every digital marketer needs to know about SEO.

Let’s Define Search Engine Optimization (SEO) First

Let’s start with the obvious question: what exactly is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the process of improving the performance and the trust of your website according to Google (or your target search engine) guidelines. The main aim of SEO is getting traffic from organic, editorial, or natural search results on search engines for your website, by improving the ranking of your website on search results pages. Remember that the higher the site on SERP, the more people will see it.

A good SEO process involves many different activities, for example:

  1. Find relevant keywords that can generate good search traffic
  2. Create and improve high-quality, useful content for search engines and users
  3. Improve the site performance
  4. Add relevant links from quality websites
  5. Measuring results
  6. Etc.

Today, SEO is an important marketing activity. You cannot expect your website to perform better in search results with SEO.

Why is SEO so important?

Now-a-days, a business cannot flourish without marketing. But in the era of internet, online marketing has left traditional marketing far behind. Online marketing or as commonly known, digital marketing is far more effective and cost efficient than traditional marketing.

Most of the digital marketing methods involve paid marketing like Google Ads (PPC) and Social Media Ads. This sort of paid marketing only works as long as you keep on paying for your ads. The moment you stop paying, your ad stops and so does your marketing response. So “paid digital marketing” is only a short run marketing solution.

In the long run you need organic marketing. Every day, trillions of searches are made on search engines like Google and Bing. People are actively searching for the products and services which your business may be offering. If you have a website where you sell your products/services, you would like to get your share of business out of these unlimited online searches. This is possible only through SEO. Without proper SEO, your website cannot rank in Google (or Bing) and you cannot expect any organic (natural) traffic from search engines.  

Now you know what is SEO all about, lets dive into the topic and explore different aspects of SEO to get an in-depth understanding.  

On Page SEO Vs. Off Page SEO

In SEO you will very frequently hear the terms “On Page SEO and Off Page SEO”. On Page SEO represents the SEO process performed on your website. It involves things like optimizing meta tags, keyword density, site responsiveness, loading time, alt. text for images, checking site navigational structure, improving user experience, checking duplicate content, improving content quality, internal linking etc.

Off page SEO represents the SEO process performed away from your website but for your website. This includes submitting your website to different directories, establish a N.A.P. (Name, Address & Phone Number) I.D. for your website, profiling, branding, social media sharing – but most important of all, creating backlinks for your website.

International SEO Vs. Local SEO

When we simply say “SEO” we are referring to international SEO. All the above explanation is about international SEO. In most of the cases in international SEO, we target one particular country and some times more than one country. But international SEO performs the best if you target only one particular country. However clear cut boundaries cannot be defined for international SEO.

Local SEO on the other hand, focuses only a particular area like a small area of, New York, London or Lahore etc. It involves only a small fraction of on page SEO but a bigger fraction of off page SEO. You can get local SEO services for you even if you don’t have a website. Your Google My Business (GMB) account will act as your workplace for local SEO.

White Hat SEO Vs. Black Hat SEO

Another classification of SEO is “White Hat SEO” Vs. “Black Hat SEO”. There are certain SEO techniques which are not only accepted by major search engines like Google, but also encouraged and promoted. In other words the search engines approved search engine optimization techniques are called White Hat SEO.

In contrast to White Hat SEO, the Black Hat SEO refers to the SEO techniques which are violating search engines’ (like Google) SEO guidelines. They consist of non-approved SEO methods which violate the “terms of use” for websites or web pages. Examples of Black Hat SEO are keywords stuffing, copied content, getting paid or unnatural and unrelated backlinks, invisible text, doorway pages, thin content etc.

While there are many SEO techniques which cannot be defined as White Hat SEO or Black Hat SEO because they are in the gray are between the two extreme, professional SEO agencies like “SEO Services Lahore”, always avoid Black Hat SEO, relying mainly on White Hat SEO. This is because if a search engine establishes that there is reasonable doubt that Black Hat SEO techniques have been used on a website, it can de-rank or even deindex the website from SERPs. This is called a “penalty”. A search engine “penalty” is a punishment for a website (or web page) for violating the marketing practices enforced by the search engine, through its algorithm. A “penalty” can be auto-generated by the search engine’s algorithm or it can be manual by its staff.

Organic Search Vs. Paid Search

The main aim of all SEO practices is to rank your website on SERP (for the given keyword) in organic searches. To understand the concept of the “organic searches” you need to understand the difference between organic searches (or natural search) and the paid searches.

seo paid ads vs organic search

The Differences Between Organic and Paid Search

From the start, it’s important to understand the difference between organic search and natural search, synonymous with SEO and paid search. For our convenience, we are taking the example of Google. There are five main differences:


The first difference is that paid search results appear at the top of search engine results pages and below organic search results and have a tag “Ad” at the beginning.


Another big difference between free/organic search and paid search is time. With paid search, you get results almost instantly, sometimes in a matter of minutes; On the other hand, organic search ranking, can take longer, often weeks, months, and even years. Therefore, in the medium and long term, it is necessary to play with organic research.


When it comes to paying for ads, as the name suggests, you get charged for a certain amount for paid search traffic. Pay per click (PPC) based on cost per click (CPC). So you have to pay a fee every time a user clicks on your ad. So instead of relying on organic traffic to your site, you can buy traffic to your pages by paying Google to show your ads when visitors search for your keywords. Traffic is free for organic search, although it requires an investment of resources and time for SEO.


In terms of ROI or (Return on Investment), it can be easily compared to paid search. This is partly because Google provides more keyword data than you can collect in Google Analytics. However, with paid search, the ROI can plateau or decline over time. In organic research, ROI is a bit difficult to measure, but it often improves over time. In the long run, organic research is more productive when it comes to the return on investment.

Traffic Share

When it comes to traffic, around 20-30% of users click on paid results and 70-80% of users click on SEO results. So most of the clicks are actually on organic results.


The average CTR (Click Through Rate) of Google Ads is around 3% (though it varies substantially from industry to industry and from place to place). Whereas the average CTR of only the first organic result of SERP is around 32%. So the average CTR or the organic results are far better than Google Ads.


Similarities Between Organic and Paid Search

It’s not just about differences, there are also similarities between organic search and paid search:

  • Keyword Search: Users search engines for organic and paid searches, which require users to enter keywords. So you need to do keyword research for both organic search and paid search.
  • Landing Pages: Both types of searches require the creation of a landing page. For SEO, landing pages should be relevant to your website. Paid search can be the same landing page you use for registration, or it can be a completely separate page outside of your site.
  • Traffic: Driving traffic is the primary goal of organic and paid search. More importantly, organic and paid search traffic includes user intent. In other words, someone asks Google a question or searches for information – they have presence of mind and are therefore more likely to act as soon as they find the information.

How Do Search Engines Really Work?

People use search engines when they have a question and find answers on the Internet. Search engine algorithms are computer programs that look for clues to provide search engines with the exact results they are looking for. Search engines rely on algorithms to find web pages and determine which pages are ranked for a particular keyword. The work of the search engine consists of three stages: the survey, the discovery stage; indexing, or presentation stage; and finally classification, i.e. the ranking.

The First Step: Exploration

The first step is the examination. Search engines send web crawlers to find new pages and record information about those pages. We sometimes refer to these web crawlers as “spiders” or “bots”. Its purpose is to discover new web pages, as well as periodically check the content of previously visited pages to see if they have been changed or updated.

Search engines crawl websites by following the links they find. So, if you have a blog post that contains links from your homepage, then when a search engine crawls your homepage, it will look for other links to follow and may follow the link to your new blog post.

how search engines work

Step 2: Indexing

The second step is indexing. With indexing, the search engine decides whether or not to use the crawled content. When a search engine thinks the crawled web page is appropriate, it is added to its index. This index was used in the last step. When a web page or piece of content is indexed, it is categorized and stored in a database where it can be retrieved later. Most websites that provide unique and valuable content are included in the index. Websites may not be indexed in the following cases:

  • Content is considered duplicate
  • Your content is considered low quality or spam
  • The website/web page has “noindex” attribute.
  • The page is not connected to any other page of the website by internal links
Google Indexation

The Third Stage: Sort Results – Site Classification

The third step is the most important step which is determining the niche. Classification can only be done after the crawl and indexing phase is complete. Once search engines crawl and index your website, your website can be ranked.

The search engines classify and rank the indexed websites according to their pre-determined formula, known as “algorithm”. There are more than 200 ranking signals that search engines use to rank and rank content, and they all fall into the three pillars of SEO: technical optimization, on-page optimization, and off-page optimization.

Google’s main search algorithm is known as Google Hummingbird and determines how Google search results are sorted and ranked.

Google also has a sub-algorithm of its machine learning (artificial intelligence) searches called RankBrain.  When RankBrain sees an unfamiliar word or phrase, it uses artificial intelligence to better understand it by matching it to a similar search. It allows Google to understand this search by converting keywords into common topics and concepts, which means you can provide better search results to search engines even when the search is unusual. Instead of trying to be the best keyword optimizer, RankBrain rewards sites that satisfy users and deliver the results they expect.

SEO Strategy

SEO Strategy

A good SEO strategy is to optimize your website to improve user experience and satisfaction and try to take full advantage of the RankBrain factor.

The three most effective ways to do this are:

  • keyword optimization (keywords are two or three words long).
  • Optimize clickable page titles and descriptions to make people more likely to click on your ads when they search (Title Tags & Description Tags). This is done to improve the Click Through Rate (CTR) of your website. CTR is the percentage of people who saw you on Google and then clicked through to your website.
  • Optimize content to increase dwell time (time users spend on a page) and reduce bounce rate (percentage of visitors who leave the site after viewing a page).

Remember that the three most important factors for Google ranking are:

  1. Backlinks
  2. Site Content
  3. RankBrain


The RankBrain rewards the website with high E.A.T. E-A-T in SEO stands for Expertise (Experience), Authority (the acceptability in the field) and Trust (Reliability). This concept is covered in detail in Google’s Quality Assessment Guidelines. Showing good E-A-T on and off your site has the potential to help improve Google rankings. We believe E-A-T is very important for most websites.

SEO Goals

Setting SEO goals is an important part of any SEO strategy. It’s important to define your SEO goals and align them with your overall business goals for the following reasons:

  1. It encourages “buy-in” from key stakeholders.
  2. It helps you formulate your SEO strategy.
  3. You can ensure that the business objectives are achieved.


How To Measure SEO Performance Towards SEO Goals

 While setting goals may seem like a daunting task, measuring those goals can actually help you achieve long-term SEO benefits. So what kind of things do you need to measure? Well it depends on the type of your business. You can watch such benchmarks as increase in the sales, website traffic, lead generation, brand awareness etc.

Although all of these things matter, you must remember that the main objective of SEO is to increase the website traffic for the given keywords. So if this traffic has increased (and you are ranked on better positions on SERPs) but sales/revenue has not increased much, you have to find its solution in other digital marketing ways e.g. Content Rate Optimization etc.

How SEO Works for Medium and Small Businesses

Now when you have understood all the basics about what SEO is, the question remains: How can it help you in your business? Well, we have explained it with the help of the following diagram. When we make on-page and off-page SEO improvements on your website, Google notices these changes and rewards your website with a better position on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). For example if you are selling wooden furniture and your website is ranked on 34th position (where no one notices your website) on SERP for the keyword “the best wooden furniture in the town”  , your site position may be improved to number 3 on SERP where your site starts getting a lots of clicks which means a lot of website traffic for you. In turn, more traffic means more potential customers and more business for you.

what is SEO and how it works for small businesses

Benefits of SEO for Small and Medium Size Businesses

Small and medium size businesses can use SEO to increase brand awareness and traffic to their websites. Good SEO can also help build a community, and establish a strong online presence.

1.Gain a Competitive Edge

The Internet is used by more than three and half billion people worldwide to search for information and shop for goods or services. It can seem impossible to cut through this severe competitive online market as a small business owner. SEO is an effective and cost-effective way to improve your brand’s visibility in search engine results where you can beat your competitors.

2.Effectively Reach Your Target Audience

SEO lets customers quickly reach you, rather than going to them. Both off-page and on-page SEO strategies can be tailored to specific audiences to motivate them to take action. Proper management of search engine optimization helps small businesses build meaningful relationships with target customers.

3.Increase Your Brand’s Visibility

You’ve probably seen the potential for brand investments in off-page optimization if you’ve ever been exposed to a brand’s story through news articles, guest posts, or Twitter feeds. Off-page SEO can make your brand’s online presence more visible. It is an organic way of branding.

4.Educate Prospective Clients

SEO is all about creating compelling content. Content is not only a tool to help you rank higher in search results for various topics but also a way to establish your brand authority. To entertain and educate your audience, you can create content in different formats such as presentations, video and infographics.

5.Establish Lasting Relationships

SEO is a way to build long-lasting relationships with your customers. SEO allows customers to easily find your business online, establish a connection and remain engaged with your brand.

6.Improved Creditability

SEO helps your website rank high in Google searches. Google has gained the trust of billions of people around the world. So when someone sees in Google searches that Google has placed your website on the first page of the search results, Google’s trust is passed onto your business and its credibility improves.

7.Maximize Your Mobile Reach

Mobile is the future of digital marketing. It’s obvious that optimizing websites to work on mobile devices has become an imperative task after Google announced that a website’s responsive will be a ranking factor. Your small business can use SEO to improve its rankings for specialized content, as mobile users tend to be searching for specific information. Your business will see a significant increase in the number of leads that you receive.

8.Access Valuable Data

Imagine that you launched a direct email campaign and now you are anxious to get a detailed report on how people interacted with your e-mail messages. But the problem is that direct mail campaigns don’t provide this level of data. SEO is able to do this. Segmenting your audience, and customizing SEO practices for each persona, allows you to gather data that provides insight into your customers’ behavior. We can get all sorts of your website data from Google Analytics (Analytics 4 Property) and Google Console.

9.Cost Effective

In the long run, SEO is much more cost effective than other forms of paid digital marketing techniques like PPC, E-mail marketing, social media marketing etc.