The definition

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, which is the combination of strategies that make a website show up for different terms on the search engines. When people search for a specific phrase, commonly refer to as keyword, the search engine will return a list of results.

The search engine returns these results based on its algorithm. So Google, for example, has their own secret algorithm that receives an input, the keyword searched by a user, and returns all the websites and pages that are relevant to that specific search.

Now, each algorithm is different, which means that they will have their own unique way of calculating which websites should show up. It’s said that Google takes into account over 200 different factors when ranking a website on their search results.

What SEO’s do?

So what SEO companies and professionals do, is try to look for the most important factors that Google takes into account and implement the right strategies to make sure that their websites show on the first page results. 75% of the users never go past the first page, so ranking on the second page of Google is not very interesting.

A lot of the most important factors have not only be revealed by Google, but tested by a lot of big companies who have spent millions testing different hypothesis. Which means that we now know what the most important factors are, and how we can use them to rank websites on the search engines.

On-page and off-page SEO

Usually, when doing SEO we divide our strategy into on-page optimization and off-page optimization. These mean exactly what you think they mean.

On-page is the optimization done on the website itself, which includes writing unique and relevant content, adding the right title and image tags, completing the Meta data, and so on. I’ll have a more in-depth post on this soon.

And off-page is the optimization done outside the website, these are primarily links. A website gets a link every time someone links to that website. Links come from blogs, forums, social profiles, videos… Pretty much everywhere on the internet.

I hope you know have a better understanding of how SEO works. I’ll be releasing new posts soon on specific strategies that you can use to try and rank your website for certain keywords.

If you’re a local business I highly recommend that you download our The Ultimate Local SEO Checklist, it’s going to help you understand the main factors that you should be looking at when ranking a website for local term.


About Gonçalo Costa

Co-founder and CEO of Costa Marketing, a web design and digital marketing company founded in the UK, by two Portuguese entrepreneurs. We help businesses all over the world establish a strong online presence.