what is seo abput

What Is SEO About? A Primer

What is SEO about?

To put it simply Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of strategies that aims to grow a site’s visibility in search engine results.  SEO includes  keyword research,  driving traffic to your website, marketing your site and making it friendly to search engines and, consequently, improving its rankings.

search engine optimizationTo illustrate let us say you are writing about how to make crème brulee.  You will want your article to show on page 1 or at the top of the results to someone who is searching for “crème brulee” and in order to do this you should employ SEO techniques and tools.

Today search engine algorithms have changed so much that the SEO landscape is fast changing.  Search engine companies such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have been making changes in an attempt to make search results more relevant to readers and users.

So it is now not just a matter of making your site friendly to search engines but, even more so, friendly to people.

So why should this matter to you as a website owner?

SEO is about optimizing your blog, your posts and your website as a whole to make these visible to search engines and to readers.  When your site is visible you are able to drive traffic to it; traffic means potential business to you.

Your chances for conversion is increased as your website traffic increases. 

Today there are billions of people online searching for information and solutions to their concerns and problems and having a website will help you establish an online presence that could serve their needs. However, majority of these people would more likely click on one of the top pages in the search results.

If there are billions of people searching online for solutions, there are also tons of other websites competing for their attention.  If you want to get these people to your website you need to have your pages rank as high as possible with the search engines.  And SEO is the way for you to do this.

what is seo aboutSEO can put you ahead of the competition, thus, paving the way to more conversions.

It has been joked in google circles that “If you ever need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Google search results”.

Sounds funny but it actually has a ring of truth to it.  If your page is not on page one of the search results then your chances of being found during search queries is drastically lessened.

Thus, the need to underline the importance of SEO if you want your website to be seen and visited.

What is On-Page SEO?

On-Page SEO is optimization of your website posts and pages that will make them rank in search engines and pull in more traffic.   Optimization includes all the factors that make up a post or a page that can influence how well that post or page will rank.


One of the factors that make up on-page SEO is relevance.   As Google has become smarter and more vigilant nowadays one of the criteria it looks for in a post or page is how relevant it is to the query.

Relevance means well-written posts and pages that are relevant to the search query and that aim to benefit the reader or audience.

Considering that you have only a few seconds to engage your audience on your site, you must offer your them relevant and interesting posts that will hold their attention and give them a great website experience.

When you have great content you are able to drive more user engagement and traffic to your site.  And more traffic means higher chances at conversion.

Title Tag <title>  and H1 Header Tag <h1>.

what is seo aboutThese two tags contain the title of your page and these can have the same content although these can also have different content.  The difference lies in where these tags appear.

When someone searches the net for a keyword and your page appears as one of the search results, the title tag is what is displayed.   This is also what is displayed at the title bar at the top of a web browser and becomes the bookmark title when a surfer bookmarks your page.

H1 Header appears within your webpage and does not normally appear in the search engines. H1 header tag is used to create a title at the top of a page and is the one with the largest text size.

Search engines usually give more importance to the title tag, thus, this should show the engines that your page has relevant content.  H1 tag, on the other hand, gives an introduction to your page’s content, thus, this should be created with the reader in mind.

Header Tags H2 to H3.

You can subdivide your paragraphs in to sub sections by using H2 or H3.  H2 represents a subheading of H1 and H3 represents a subheading of H2.

Headings and subheadings help in conveying to Google what the main topics and sub-topics of your post are specially if you post is long.  It also makes your post easier to read if you divide your post into sub sections.

Description Tag

The description tag simply contains the text that appears below the title of your webpage in search results.

What is Off-page SEO?

Off-Page SEO on the other hand are the things that you do outside of your website to make your pages and posts rank in search engines.   The results of off page SEO gives search engines a good indication of how users see and perceive your website.  A website that is popular with users and other websites will be seen by search engines as a useful website.

Off-page SEO essentially aims to get quality backlinks to your site.  When your site gets backlinks this tells Google that your site is trustworthy.  Thus, link building is one of the main off-page SEO techniques.

Link building refers to developing external links to your website or making other sites link to your website.  When other sites link to a post on your site, this is just like telling Google that your content is good and your article is very useful.

The more sites linking to your site the higher your rank will go in the search engines.

quality contentTo get quality backlinks, again, quality content is essential.  When you create quality, useful content you give your readers and other websites reason to link to your post and pages.

It used to be that article marketing or submission of articles to article directories was a very effective way to get backinks.

But not anymore.

The new Google algorithms now view this type of links as low-quality links and may even be detrimental for your site’s ranking.  Although there are still a lot of people who use this technique today, this technique may soon become outdated and ineffective.

Because the new algorithm aims to produce quality content online and improve the online user experience,  getting backlinks naturally is the way to go as far as Google is concerned.  You can do this by commenting on other quality sites, creating a strong social media presence by sharing your posts on these social media sites, joining forums and generally optimizing your presence online by interacting with other people and websites.

What are the types of SEO strategies?

There are 2 sides to search engine optimization and it would be good for you to know what these are so you are aware

Black Hat SEO.

black hat seoIn black hat SEO, you optimize your content only for the search engines and give no consideration to the people who will be reading these.   This technique results in trashy articles.  And when Google finds them chances are these pages will get banned.

Banned pages equals no content equals no business.  Simple as that.

The risks are so great that I don’t advise taking a chance on it.

I have never endorsed the use of black hat SEO strategies but I am including some examples here just so you know what they are:

Stuffing a short article with keywords.  You have probably seen articles that barely make sense as they are stuffed with keywords to make sure that the search engines pick them up. This used to be an effective strategy for ranking, but not anymore.

Using keywords in an article that are irrelevant to the topic.  This is a practice where irrelevant keywords are inserted in to articles for the purpose of ranking for those keywords.

Article spinning . there are a lot of article spinning  software  for sale out there which “spin” one article into several “new” articles. The articles produced are usually of poor quality and this can get you in hot water for duplicate content.

Posting duplicate content .  Google has always hated duplicate content, more so now that algorithms have changed significantly.

Buying and selling links.  Google sees these techniques as link schemes and is quick to penalize sites that do these.

Link baiting and switching.  This is done when a good, well written post is produced and when the post gets a lot of attention and links, the content is changed to an article that sells a product or service

Comment spamming .  There are available software that will leave comments on several blogs with the objective of getting a lot of backlinks to your site.  Used to work but Google has become good at detecting these spammy comments and quick to penalize sites doing this.

These are only some of the black hat techniques being employed out there which I personally do not recommend.

White Hat SEO.

white hat seoWhite hat SEO focuses on the human visitors to a website and gives emphasis on strategies and techniques that will benefit them.

I have always advocated building an online business that is sustainable, thus, only white hat techniques will truly work for me.  To learn more about how to build a sustainable online business see my post here.

Write for the benefit of your readers and not to rank.   Your articles must be written for the benefit of your audience.  Google loves a website that offers great content that will benefit readers.

The Google Panda algorithm targets “thin and duplicate content with little or no added value”.  If you want your website to stay within the good graces of Google, then create content with your audience first and foremost in your mind.

In writing your content, make sure the content:

  • Is original
  • Is very relevant to your website topic
  • Will be beneficial for your audience

Make sure your whole site gives your audience a great user experience

  • Include a combination of written text, graphics and video presentation to create more value for your readers.
  • Build a site that can be accessed in any platform – PC, phone, tablet.
  • Make sure your site is well built, performs well and is easy to navigate.
  • Organize your posts and pages so that users can easily find what they are looking for.

Do proper use of keywords

Post Panda, optimizing the use of keywords is still a factor for getting your pages ranked.  However, whereas in the past, online marketers were only concerned with keyword density in their articles, more focus is being shifted now to, first and foremost, creating good content.

Google loves good, readable articles.  And creating well organized and well written content that is relevant to your topic is what will make your site look good in Google’s eyes.

But this is not to say that keywords have lost their importance.  Keywords are still a factor for ranking websites so you should still optimize the use of keywords in your posts and pages.

However, DO NOT stuff your articles with keywords you want to rank in. This will ring the alarm bells for Google and if caught you may get penalized for this.

Build quality inbound links to your site

link buildingInbound links (or backlinks) are links that come into your site from another website.  Getting a lot of inbound links tells Google that your site is an authority on your site’s subject.


However, you must make sure that the inbound links you get are from quality, authoritative sites.  Getting links from spammy sites will just get you into trouble.

So what is SEO about?

what is seo about

SEO is a marketing strategy that focuses on techniques that will get your sites ranking in search engines.

However, SEO is not just about creating sites that will be good in the eyes of search engines, but more importantly today, it is more about creating a site that will be useful for people.


SEO now goes beyond making your site technically acceptable to search engines.

If you really want your site to rank well in search engines, it is equally important that you create visitor engagement and give your audience a great website experience too.

This is one sure way to build an online busines that will be sustainable for years to come.




24 thoughts on “What Is SEO About? A Primer

  1. Great article of SEO! I could’ve explained it better, which is hard when you have friends and family who want to find out what you do and ask what SEO is. I learned a lot! I didn’t know about these “black” and “white” hat methods and I’m glad that google has learned to see them. I had noticed on google analytics that some traffic was coming from other websites that I’d commented on and was surprised because I hadn’t realized that this was possible! Spamming other websites would be wrong, but I was wondering, how much more traffic you might get if you commented on websites related to your niche? Say you typed into google “muffins wordpress” and then left some nice comments on others wesbites? I’m curious what you think about this idea? Its a bit like guest blogging, both parties benefit.

    1. Hi Emma! Actually commenting is one of the easiest ways to get backlinks to your site. Blog commenting serves a lot of purpose. As you create comments you are able to create relationships with other bloggers and users which contribute to building your popularity. However, it is very important that you give comments that add value to the post you are commenting on. Besides helping to establishing yourself as an authority in your field, your comments can also greatly help in your off-page SEO. Also make sure to read the article you are commenting on and post genuine and quality comments and do not comment just for the sake of getting backlinks to your site. I have come across several comments which were obviously not well thought of, and came across as such, which will not really help your SEO efforts.

  2. Fantastic article! I have done a lot of research on SEO and this explains in beautifully. I am really glad that you mentioned Black and White SEO methods. That is really important, and most people do not take it into account. You will help a lot of people who struggle in this area and no mistake.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Darcy! I have always placed great emphasis on SEO in my online businesses. SEO is key to boosting your online presence and ranking with the search engines. Both on-page and off-page SEO are equally important and should be implemented if you want your website to rank. With the algorithms that Google has implemented recently, it is also important to know which SEO technique work today and which can get you in hot water. Thanks for dropping by Darcy!

  3. Great article Kathy. I’m just starting to learn about affiliate marketing and didn’t know anything about blackhat or whitehat SEO or what strategies to use to get higher Google rankings. There is a lot to learn when you are starting out and I haven’t really looked too much into SEO yet. One question I’d like to ask you, if I leave a comment on your site does that create a backlink to my site or to your site?

    1. Getting backlinks is actually one of the most important reasons to include commenting in your SEO arsenal. When you comment on other blogs this results to backlinks, which in turn creates traffic to your site. In fact for new blogs commenting will help a lot in indexing your site. However, just like in the case of content creation, it is vital that you post quality comments too. Comments such as “Great post!” or “Thanks for this” do not add value and will not add anything to your SEO objectives. Make sure that your comments are on topic, are not one-liners and add they value to the conversation. Thanks for dropping by Diego!

  4. Hi Kathy, this is a really great article on SEO. I felt I learnt a lot about SEO strageties, and how to do things the right way. There’s many people using blackhat methods without realsing they’re black hat, so it’s good that you mentioned the differences. I’ll just stick to writing content that benefits my readers, and making sure its relevant and original.

    1. Hi Stephanie! Continue to do that. Content is still king. Specially now that Google’s main emphasis is on making sure that users get the a good online experience. I actually think that this is good for both users and online marketers. Relevance is key today, which is actually a good thing by me. It will prove to be a win-win situation for both users and online marketers. Users get better and more reliable information online and legitimate online marketers really boost their chances of ranking in the search engines for their quality posts. Thanks for dropping by!

  5. Hey Kathie

    That’s a really great article about SEO, Search engine optimization is the best way to get organic traffic.

    It’s needless to say if you don’t respect the SEO rules, you are not going to witness success with your website.

    Thanks for mentioning the Black Hat techniques, you have made us aware that these tricks will only lead you to failure

    Thanks for sharing and have a good day Kathy!

    1. Hi Anis! SEO is really the lifeblood of our online businesses. Without implementing SEO techniques on our website we lose our chance for ranking and therefore we also lose the chance of getting found. And it is also vital that we are aware of the rules that govern the proper use of SEO techniques so that we are sure that our efforts produce the results that we set out to get – get to page 1 of Google and other search engines. Particularly now that Google has updated its algorithms, it is important that we know which techniques still work and which techniques will get us a slap from Google. Thanks for dropping by Anis!

  6. Hi Kathy,

    Absolutely excellent and first class detailed description on what exactly SEO is. I consider myself as an expert at SEO, particularly on page SEO.

    I take my (white) hat off and applaud this outstanding article, in fact, I may even reference and link to it!

    The big difference between black hat and white hat techniques is really and essentially working with google and other search engines in order to obtain good high rankings and, well, cheating them. If your income depends on good rankings it makes obvious sense to work with the search engines long term for the benefit of your online business. – cheating them..well end up only hurting yourself and your online business!

    1. Hi Derek!

      Coming from an expert like you that is a great compliment!

      Through all the years that I have been doing online marketing, I have always placed focus on SEO as I know that this is one of the most important factors that will give my site the much needed rankings from the search engines. It has always been my stance that only white hat techniques will work for me.

      I strongly agree with you that it is better to work with the search engines than to go against them if we want to have a sustainable online business. I would rather look at the long term than consider just the short term benefits, if any, that black hat techniques can bring. An online business is no different from an offline business, it’s just the medium that is different.

      If we want to establish a business that will benefit us for the long term, whether online or offline, we must make sure that we set our business up in a way that conforms to the rules without resorting to black hat tricks. This way we are able to establish credibility and trust, factors that will drive our success.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  7. Hi Kathy and thanks for this amazing post.
    Your article encompasses all the info needed for someone to learn about SEO. From what is SEO to how to implement it correctly, you mentioned it all. One thing that caught my attention however was black hat SEO. I had heard the term before but never made an honest effort to actually go and read about it.
    I would never have thought that it would mean a quick and dirty way to make money lol. This is a ‘robotic’ way and will definitely turn people off, thus decreasing the number of conversions taking place.
    Keep up the good work Kathy.

    1. Hi Hans!

      Black hat SEO is actually cheating not only the search engines, but also users who are actually the lifeblood of our online business. I was actually glad when Google came out with the changes to their algorithms because now we can look forward to better content online that have more substance and that will truly benefit internet users.
      A business is all about trust. And when trust is established between entrepreneur and client then the business relationship flourishes which can only be good for both. When we, as online business owners, are able to create that trust, we are able to establish a sustainable business that will generate us income for the long-term. After all that is what we are in business for. 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by!

  8. I was just about to post this comment on your article when I noticed a reply to another visitor (Emma) that made me stop in my tracks!
    Blog commenting should not include you URL these days – any webmaster should remove all website links before publishing these comments. They give no link juice whatsoever for SEO and will actually hurt the site’s ranking (the actual site you are commenting on).
    The SEO landscape has well and truly changed since I started out 7 years ago…
    What are your thoughts on this?

    1. I agree with you on that point about leaving URLs on comments Chris. I never said that one should leave URLs on their comments to get backlinks. I see blog commenting as an SEO strategy because it promotes the sharing of ideas and builds a relationship between the blog owner and the user. It creates conversation and the more conversation the more your popularity increases. And it creates backlinks naturally. And backlinks are still relevant. As Matt Cutts says “So we’ve played around with the idea of turning off backlink relevance. And at least for now, backlink relevance still really helps in terms of making sure that we return the best, most relevant, most topical set of search results.”

      I never made it a practice to leave URLs on my comments. And I do not recommend it too. Although to quote from Matt Cutts again “I leave topically relevant comments on topically relevant sites all the time. So somebody posts an SEO conspiracy theory and I’m like, “No, that’s not right,” I’ll show up and a leave a comment that says, “Here is the pointer that shows this is not correct,” or, “Here’s the official word,” or something like that. And I’ll just leave a comment with my name, and often even point to my blog rather than Google’s webmaster blog, because I’m just representing myself. So lots of people do that all the time and it is completely fine.”

  9. I remember years ago in the early years of Google, it was far easier to game the system. It was easy to get to the top of Google just by keyword stuffing or throwing thousands of bad quality backlinks to a page. The more that Google refines its algorithm, the harder it is to game the system using sneaky tricks. But this is actually a good thing for those of us who want to rank for high-quality content. It’s now easier to rank just by writing great content.

    But there are some key things that you can do to maximize your chances of appearing on page 1 of Google for your chosen keyword. You are right about using the H tags. The advice about making use of using H2 and H3 tags is particularly important. I often put related keywords in as subheadings.

    Another good thing to do is to include a video with your keyword in the video’s title. I’ve found this often helps me rank better.

    1. Hi Marcus! Yes I agree, gone are the days of tricks. It is now the total user experience that is the focus of search engines. And rightly so I believe.

      It is the contention of some that making use of H tags do not have value anymore in Google’s algorithms today. But I believe that these continue to be valuable tools, both for search engines and users to take notice of your pages. And yes, including keywords in subheadings is a wise practice too.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  10. I think SEO is something that some website owners don’t know how to implement, some know how to do it properly, and others try to game the search engines which is a very bad idea.

    As a blogger, I do agree that SEO put us way ahead of those who aren’t using it. I’ve tried many different methods to build by site (mainly social media) but the traffic just isn’t targeted enough and I’m spending too long sharing my content. At least with SEO, if your blog is freshly updated, you’re gonna be able to hold page 1 positions longer and attract targeted visitors. 🙂

    I really appreciate your breakdown on SEO, and especially the “gaming” strategies to avoid.


    1. Hi Neil!

      I agree with you on that. SEO when done right gives gives your site the edge that it needs to rank in search engines. Particularly today with Googles new algorithms, it is important to create a website that will really serve its purpose – answer the needs of users. Gaming the system may have worked for online marketers before but today it is really quality content that matters. Coupled with legitimate and proper on-page and off-page SEO practices, your blog can get in the good graces of Google and eventually get up there in the top page. Thanks for dropping by Neil!

  11. Wow, this is awesome! I really learned a lot about SEO. I didn’t know about Off-page SEO. And the black hat, white hat list helps immensely.
    I still feel like I’m just starting out. Which is your favorite SEO method to utilize?
    (PS, I want a creme brulee now lol)

    1. Hi Seth! Only white hat SEO works for me. In buiding online businesses, it has always been my objective to create ventures that will last and be sustainable. And use of keywords is still my favorite SEO tehcnique. I have always enjoyed looking for keywords to utilize and the fun really happens when I am able to find those keywords that have very few or no competition at all. And there are a lot. And the fun continues when I am able to create posts that use these keywords. Thanks for dropping by. I have a great recipe for creme brulee. Just let me know. 🙂

  12. Great tips here!

    I totally agree that relevance and user experience are super important when it comes to SEO.

    Keywords and all that is covered all over the place but people do sometimes forget that it’s the person who is “looking for relevant information” who has to be satisfied.

    What do you think is the hardest part of SEO?

    Personally, I always found it tricky to lower my bounce rate and I worry my content isn’t “catchy” enough to get people to stay longer.

    1. Hi Philip! Off page SEO can be more challenging than on page SEO for a lot of marketers. Getting your site ranked and increasing its traffic are two objectives that will require a SEO campaign strategy on the part of an internet marketer. I would like to emphasize that offering your audience and your target market relevant, quality content should be part of that strategy and should be your main focus. When you give your target market the solution that they are looking for, you gain traction, are able to attract traffic to your site and consequently increase your chances at conversion.

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