What is SEO in plain English?

What is SEO?


SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is basically the process of improving a website’s visibility in the search engines via the un-paid or “organic” listings.

How it works:

Each search engine (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.) has their own individual algorithm i.e. criteria that determines which websites deserve to rank highly for the keyword or search term that it’s targeting. Understanding these algorithm’s is probably the most important factor when preparing your SEO strategy. Google’s algorithm takes hundreds of factors into account to determine which website deserves the coveted number 1 position. These factors range in their levels of importance and only Google really knows the level of importance given to each SEO factor, it is up to us to figure out what the “Google Bot” likes and doesn’t like!What is SEO

Major Factors:

Here’s some of the major factors that are widely regarded to influence Google’s ranking process:

  • Content! If your site has high quality, regularly updated, informative content when Google crawls your site it sees you are regularly working on your site and therefore views your site as somewhat of an authority on the subject i.e. the keywords you’re targeting.
  • Backlinks! When another website posts a link back to your site Google sees this as a sort of recommendation. The higher the page rank of the website giving you the recommendation, the higher the boost in reputation your site will receive.
  • Keyword in Domain: If your website’s domain name contains a keyword that you are aiming to rank for Google sees automatically what your site is all about. This also applies to H1, H2 and meta tags (The home page headings and the meta tags are the HTML coded tags that the Google Bot sees each time it “crawls” your site)
  • Social Media: If Google sees that your site has shared content via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and people “like” or “follow” you Google automatically presumes this content must be good therefore gives you credit for it.
  • Be proactive: By this I mean creating a blog or reviews page on your site where customers can ask questions or leave reviews on your product or service. Your responses to these show Google that you are transparent in your approach to business and are confident in the product/service that you are providing.
  • Outbound links: If you are willing to provide a link to another authority site from yours with relative content it shows Google you are committed to providing the user with the best possible information available therefore more credibility is passed to you.
  • Get involved! Each change Google has made to their algorithm in recent years has given more credence to those who are taking a proactive approach to their online presence. Admittedly that is a pretty vague statement but basically just try and spend a little more time online, whether it be adding new content to your site, interacting on forums relative to your market niche or simply telling your friends on Facebook about a new special offer you’re promoting.

All these things, however miniscule or unimportant you might think, increase your online presence and shows Google your putting in the effort. Like I say there are literally hundreds of other SEO factors that Google take into consideration but if you’ve ticked all these boxes you are well on your way to decent search engine rankings.

Nearly there!……

I hope I’ve gone at least some way to simplifying what is an extremely complicated (and often baffling!) process. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll be glad to answer them.

SEO & Local Online Marketing Consultant 

SEO, local search marketing consultant & search geek from Donegal, Ireland. Love gadgets, keeping up to date with Google's algorithm changes & all things internet.

Sean P. Fullerton

SEO, local search marketing consultant & search geek from Donegal, Ireland. Love gadgets, keeping up to date with Google's algorithm changes & all things internet.

2 thoughts on “What is SEO in plain English?

  • March 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Nice informative article. Plenty of these basic SEO tutorials around but nice to have one explained in easy to understand language.

    • March 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      Thanks Michael, glad you found it helpful.


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