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What is SEO?


Written by Richard Perrin on 16 Jan 2023

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, a process that can help you increase your website’s visibility and the number of people that land on your website. It makes your website more visible on the search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher your website appears in SERP rankings, the more likely people are to find it. It is one of the most effective ways to attract new customers online and is today an important part of any digital marketing strategy.

In this article, we’ll go through how search engines work and how you can use them to grow your business.

What do search engines do?

Search engines are designed to help you find information on the internet by scouring the web for content and then indexing it. When you type a term into a search engine like Google, it looks through all of its indexed content to show you the most relevant results.

Of course, different search engines use different algorithms to determine what content is most relevant, but generally speaking, all search engines work with similar principles.

The algorithms that power search engines are constantly evolving to give users like you the best possible experience, but there are functions that all search engines do to deliver results.


Crawling is the first step of the search engine optimisation process where search engines send out bots or spiders to “crawl” through the pages of a website and collect data about them.

This data includes the title, meta description, keywords, and other important information that can help the website rank.


After crawlers have collected relevant details from your website, search engines will then record this information in their database or search index.

This process is an important part of search engine optimisation because without it, your website will not be visible to search engines, and potential customers will not be able to find you.

Indexing can be done either manually or automatically.

Manual indexing is when you submit your website to a search engine yourself while Automatic indexing is when the search engine finds your website on its own.


After a search engine indexes your website’s content, it will evaluate whether that material is relevant to the search queries that users type when looking for information. This evaluation procedure known as Ranking determines how many people will get to see your website.

Rank Brain and Google PageRank are two algorithms that Google uses to determine the ranking of web pages in its organic search results.

PageRank is the original algorithm used by Google to rank websites in its search engine results. It assesses each website on the number of quality backlinks it has and the authority of those links. It also takes into account several other factors such as content quality, relevance, meta tags, and more.

However, since Google first began, the algorithm is significantly more complex, and there are other aspects to how search results are displayed.

RankBrain is a component of Google’s core algorithm which uses machine learning (the ability of machines to teach themselves from data inputs) to determine the most relevant results to search engine queries. Pre-RankBrain, Google utilised its basic algorithm to determine which results to show for a given query. Post-RankBrain, it is believed that the query now goes through an interpretation model that can apply possible factors like the location of the searcher, personalisation, and the words of the query to determine the searcher’s true intent. By discerning this true intent, Google can deliver more relevant results.

Rank Brain is a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that evaluates websites based on their relevance and usefulness to users.

How does SEO work?

Now that you know the answer to “What is SEO?” then you need to know how it works. When you change certain parts of your website so it can appear on search engines then what you’re doing is called optimisation.

This may be done in a variety of ways, such as enhancing your website’s content, structure, and code, as well as developing links from other high-quality websites to yours.

Core SEO elements

On-Page Optimisation

In search engine land, the process of optimising your website falls under two categories: On-Page and Off-page.

On-page SEO is the practice of optimising web page content and structure to improve a website’s search engine rankings. This includes activities like optimising title tags, meta descriptions, internal linking, keyword research and density, URL structure optimisation, image optimisation, and more. All these elements help search engine crawlers understand what your website is about and deliver relevant results to users searching for related content online.

Off-Page SEO

On the other hand, Off-page SEO is the process of improving the visibility and ranking of a website by optimising external factors that are not under the direct control of the site owner.

This includes improving the authority and trustworthiness of your site by earning links from high-quality websites, as well as promoting your content through social media and other online channels.

Why is SEO important for marketing?

Learning the basics of SEO is essential for marketing in today’s online-dominated world because more than half of all online experiences start with search engines. First and foremost, SEO helps potential customers find your website more easily.

When people search for businesses or products online, they typically use major search engines like Google. So if your website ranks highly on Google’s search results, it’s more likely that people will click through to your site.

Search engine optimisation can also have a big impact on your bottom line by attracting visitors to your website without needing to pay for ads.

Types of SEO Goals

Different types of businesses have different objectives for their SEO goals. Transactional websites like Amazon want to increase sales, while media websites like The Huffington Post might want to increase website visitors to get more ad revenue

The type of SEO strategy and techniques you need to use will also depend on your goal. For example, a transactional business would focus on keywords that are associated with buying intent, while an informational business would focus its keyword research on ones that are associated with search queries or finding answers. No matter your business, it is important to work with your SEO agency to establish the correct way to measure SEO results based on your goals so you are able to identify a clear outcome.

SERP ranking

Ranking high in search results is essential for any company that wants to be found online because the higher your website appears in the search engine results pages (SERP), the more likely people are to click through and visit your site.

But achieving a high SERP ranking doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a solid keyword strategy, and consistent work on both on and off-page SEO.

Brand awareness

The more you learn about search engine optimisation, the more you understand that brand awareness is a crucial objective. After all, if you rank highly for relevant keywords, searchers will associate your business with those terms. Over time, this can help increase the visibility and reach of your company.

But keyword research is not just about finding the right terms to target. It’s also about understanding how people search and what they are looking for. This requires an understanding of not just search engine algorithms, but also of human psychology.

Only by understanding both can you hope to create a website that ranks highly for relevant keywords and resonates with searchers.

Lead generation

One of the most common goals for SEO, particularly for small and medium businesses is lead generation. A website is an amazing tool to generate leads from serious customers who find you online while they’re searching for a business to solve a problem for them.

We’ve helped businesses significantly increase the number and the quality of the leads their website generates through SEO. This is where the keyword strategy becomes extremely important, because certain keywords can produce leads far more effectively than others.


Ultimately, all businesses want to increase sales, and SEO can certainly help in this regard. In some cases, SEO can directly influence sales, in other cases, it can only indirectly influence sales.

Service-based businesses are a great example of where SEO can only indirectly influence sales. For a service based business, better SEO can directly increase leads, however, the sales skills of the business then determine how many sales are produced by those leads.

In contrast, an ecommerce business can directly increase their sales by improving their SEO, since a visitor can land on the website and make a purchase with zero interaction with the business.

White hat vs Black hat SEO

As an entrepreneur, you’re always looking for ways to increase your website’s search engine ranking and visibility. When it comes to SEO, there is a right way and wrong of doing it.

White hat SEO are methods employed to optimise a website for search engines that follow the guidelines set by search engine providers like Google, Yahoo or Bing. This usually involves using content that is useful and relevant, ensuring the website is easy to navigate on all devices, and focusing on long-term growth strategies. Black hat SEO practices go against the rules set by search engine providers, utilising tricks such as keyword stuffing, link schemes and cloaking in order to get a quick boost in rankings. This can have serious long-term consequences and eventually lead to your website being penalised or even removed from search engine results pages altogether.

SEO Metrics you need to track

If you want to improve the SEO of your website, here are some of the metrics I suggest you track:


You probably didn’t come here to just to rank higher on Google, as we discussed earlier, it’s important to understand your Goals when you start SEO, and it’s equally important to track them. This could consist of tracking new leads through your website contact form, or product sales.

Google Analytics is the industry standard for tracking conversions as well as traffic to your website, and I highly recommend using it.

Keyword Rankings

Monitoring keyword rankings can help you assess the competition. By seeing where your pages rank compared to others based on keyword research tools, you can get a better sense of how strong the competition is and what kind of SEO strategy they’re using. This knowledge can be useful in creating your own.

Additionally, by understanding how different keywords are performing, you can adjust your content and web page design accordingly. For instance, if you notice that a certain keyword is not performing as well as others, you can opt for a better one when you writing relevant content.

Organic Search Traffic

Organic traffic is the most valuable traffic you can get to your website. It’s free, it’s targeted, and it has a high conversion rate. That’s why you need to track it and optimise your website to gain more of it.

If you’re looking to improve your search rankings, then tracking organic search traffic is a must-do activity in your SEO strategy because when you know which keywords are attracting visitors to your site, you can increase your efforts in creating high-quality content using the same.

Bounce Rate

One of the ranking factors that search engines use to evaluate your website is your bounce rate, which is the percentage of people who leave it after viewing only one page.

A high bounce rate tells a search engine that people who visit your website are not finding answers or high-quality content, and as a result, your website will rank lower in the search results.

A low bounce rate, on the other hand, tells Google and other search engines that people are finding what they’re looking for on your website, allowing it to have higher search rankings in their search results.

The time that users spend on your site

You need to know how long people stay on your website to see if there are any pages or sections inside it that are causing people to leave prematurely. If you see that most people are leaving after only a few seconds or minutes, then you know that you need to work on those pages to improve their quality.

This will also prompt you to make similar pages to those that your visitors spend the most time on.

Number of high-quality backlinks

Tracking your backlinks gives you valuable insights into which parts of your website are performing well and attracting links, and which areas could use some improvement.

This information can help you fine-tune your SEO strategy and ensure that you’re producing the kinds of content that people want to link to.

Another reason to track them is to ensure that your website is receiving quality organic traffic. Backlinks from low-quality websites can hurt your search engine rankings, that’s why it’s important to monitor where your links are coming from so you can remove the bad ones right away.

Referring domains

Similar to backlinks, tracking your referring domains is an important step in evaluating the quality of your content. After all, high-quality content is among the ranking factor of search engines. If you notice that you are getting a lot of traffic from domains that are unrelated to your business, then it may be a sign that your content simply isn’t up to par.

Tracking the domains that are referring people to your website can give you an idea of the ranking factors that Google uses to determine how high or low your website appears in search results. For example, if you receive a lot of referrals from high-authority websites like Wikipedia or other authoritative blogs, it may mean that Google places greater weight on those links and ranks your content higher as a result.

Alternatively, high volumes of referrals from spammy sites and illegitimate sources could signal that Google penalises your website, negatively impacting your search ranking factors as a result.

Emerging SEO Trends

If you’re an entrepreneur, then it’s safe to say that you’re always looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve. By understanding the latest trends in digital marketing, you can make your site more visible to search engines and improve your chances of ranking high in SERPs.

Here are a few:

Schema Markup

If you want search engines to understand the content of your website better then you need to understand Schema Markup. Using it will help you can ensure that your site appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs) with the correct information and that your site’s links receive the desired level of authority.

Organic search is still by far the best way to attract traffic to your website, and link building is an essential part of any SEO strategy. Schema markup can help you improve both metrics, so it’s worth taking the time to learn how to use it correctly.


EAT, or “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness,” is one of the many factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking websites. This means that if you can create content that is both authoritative and trustworthy, and build links from other reputable sources, you will be better positioned to rank higher in SERPs.

Voice Search SEO

You need to understand voice search because it’s changing the way people are finding information.

People tend to phrase their voice searches differently than they would type them into a computer. For example, they might say “Where is the nearest pizza place?” instead of “pizza place near me”

This change in phrasing can impact your website’s SEO. So if you’re not targeting your website and blog post for voice search, you could be missing out on a lot of traffic.

Top SEO Tools

Unless you’re an experienced SEO professional, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to improving your website’s search engine rankings.

Fortunately, there are several tools out there that can help you track your search engine traffic and monitor your progress.

Google Search Console

One of the ways Google Search Console (GSC) helps with SEO is by providing information on your website’s organic search traffic. You can see how many impressions and clicks your site has received from Google search results over time, as well as which queries drove the most traffic to your site.

Google Search Console also assists you in sorting high-quality links from other websites s by supplying you with data on how many of them are linking to your site. This information can help you determine which keywords are most important to your business and focus your SEO efforts on them.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics can help you track and improve your website’s SEO in several ways.

First, it can give you insights into which keywords are driving organic search traffic to your site. Second, it can help you identify which link building efforts are paying off, by showing you what links people are clicking on. Third, it can help you troubleshoot any areas of your site where people might be dropping off or bouncing back to the SERPs.

By understanding how Google Analytics works, you can use its data to fine-tune your online strategy and get better results from SEO.

Screaming Frog

What’s unique about Screaming Frog is that it is a website crawler that helps you audit your website for SEO purposes. It can help you find broken links, duplicate content, and other errors that could be hurting your ranking on search engines. It’s also helpful for link building since it shows you which other websites are linking to yours so you reach out to them to get links back.

This in turn will allow you to improve your website’s search engine rankings and increase traffic from organic search results.


One of the most powerful tools you can use for your search engine optimisation efforts is Ahrefs.

Aside from helping website owners know which other websites are linking to them, it also shows who their top competitors are, and what keywords those competitors are ranking for in organic search. In other words, it’s a valuable resource for link building and SEO analysis

In addition to links and competitor information, Ahrefs also provides website owners with useful insights into their own site’s data, including traffic statistics, organic keywords, backlinks, and more. This data can be used to improve your website and online marketing strategy.

All in all, it’s an effective tool that can help website owners like you gain access to vital information about your website and the web ecosystem.


SEMrush is similar to Ahrefs because it allows website owners to see how they are performing compared to other websites. It also gives suggestions for improving your ranking in search engines and provides information on what keywords people are using to find your site.

Additionally, Semrush can be used to build links to a website, which can help improve your ranking even further.


If you need help with your link building, on-page SEO, and finding potential sites to buy or partner with then KWfinder is the tool to use.

It gives you an in-depth analysis of any keyword you enter, including search volume, competition level, and other important factors. This information can be very helpful when planning your SEO strategy.

You can use Kwfinder to find high-volume keywords that have low competition, which will give site owners like you an edge over your competitors. You can also use it to research the backlinks of your competitors and find new ways to improve your link building efforts.


Last but not least is Surfer SEO which helps you optimise your site for search engines by providing content marketing ideas, and guidance on how to craft effective meta descriptions and title tags. It also gives recommendations on creating content strategies that can help your site rank higher on SERPs.

In short, Surfer SEO makes it easier for you to get found by potential customers or clients online. And that, in turn, can help you grow your business.

SEO is a long-term process, and the more you invest in it, the higher your website will rank. However, there are some basic steps that you can take to get started.

1. Research your keywords

2. Optimise your website content

3. Build links to your website

4. Monitor your SEO


SEO is an ever-evolving and complex field that requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and knowledge to perfect. But it’s worth it because the benefits can be enormous. Not only will you see an increase in website traffic, but you’ll also see a rise in brand awareness, engagement, and even conversions. Plus, with the help of the right tools, SEO can be made much easier than before.

If you’re not sure where to start or just don’t have the time to do everything yourself, enlist the help of an experienced SEO company like Paramark to guide you through the process and help you achieve the results you need. We specialise in a variety of online marketing services that will increase traffic to your website and help improve your bottom line. Contact us today, and let us show you how we can help your business grow.

Richard is the founder of Paramark. With over 15 years of website design experience and a passion for Search Engine Optimisation, he enjoys explaining complex marketing strategies in simple terms.


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