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What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Updated on July 30, 2017

What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a series of web page formatting techniques and link building efforts that, when implemented properly, can help a web page rank higher in search engine results and drive traffic to a web page. Search Engine Optimization can is divided into two categories:

  1. On Page Optimization - Formatting a website or webpage to optimize its ranking in search engines.
  2. Off Page Optimization - Taking actions on the Internet to optimize a website's or webpage's ranking in search engines.

Implementing SEO is not nearly as complicated as many people believe. Writing an article that includes these formatting techniques makes an article easier to find by Internet users that use major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, which can drive traffic to an article. Proper implementation also includes additional on-page and off-page tasks, such as setting a web page's META tags (informational tags) correctly and building links from other sites back to a web page, which have the cumulative effect of increasing a web page's ranking in search engines.

SEO is the use of creative writing techniques to include a key word or key phrase in certain parts of an article, so search engines understand what the article is about, which is needed by search engines to properly categorize an article regarding relevancy of the article to the search term that is searched. The key word or key phrase must be repeated a number of times in specific locations within an article, so search engines associate the article with the key word or key phrase. It also includes additional easy to implement actions that can increase the ranking and visibility of an article in major search engines.

Once a page or website has been optimized using on page formatting techniques, off page strategies must also be implemented to make a page or website fully Search Engine Optimized.

What Is SEO? SEO is Search Engine Optimization.


The First Step – Identify Key Word or Phrase

The first step in implementing SEO takes place before a writer even begins writing an article. It is very important that a writer identify the key word or key phrase that they intend to focus on to implement optimization techniques in their article. For example, it should be obvious by now that the key phrase in this article is what this article is about.

To find a suitable key word or phrase, consider searching major search engines for key words or phrases that you are considering using to see how other articles used them in the top search engine search results. Also use online tools such as Google Adwords or similar key word or key phrase analytical tools to determine which words or phrases are used most often in search engine searches.

It is also very important to come up with a title for the article that uses the key word or key phrase and is likely to be searched by search engine users. Always keep the searcher in mind when deciding on a title for an article. What word or key phrase would you use, if you were searching for information that is within your article?

The Second Step – Strategically Place a Key Word or Phrase

The second step involves strategically placing the key word or phrase in the article in areas of an article in which search engine spiders and bots are known to look for key words and phrases. This is the essence of On Page Search Engine Optimization, so take note of these instructions.

Please Note that as of 2013, Google has become more sophisticated in how it ranks articles, and overuse of a key word or phrase may cause a penalty. It is best to now use a key word or phrase sparingly and try to keep the concentration of them to 1% to 2% of the total words within an article. Use synonyms associated with a key word or phrase in their place, as Google now is capable of recognizing synonyms when ranking an article.

The key word or phrase should be placed in the following parts of an article to help search engines identify and properly index the article:

  • In the Title of the article
  • In the First Sentence or Paragraph of the article, highlighted in bold
  • In at least one H2 Heading in the article, and if possible, in other H2 or H3 Headings
  • Elsewhere within the Body of the article, but try to use variations and synonyms
  • In the Name of Photos included in the article and in the ALT Text for photos

That is it. Making a page optimized is not so difficult after all It can be difficult to find ways to work a key word or phrase into an article in the locations necessary for optimization without writing in awkward manner; however, a little awkwardness may be worth earning higher search engine ranking.

The Third Step – Create Good Backlinks

Off page Search Engine Optimization is just as important as on page efforts, and should not be ignored. Off page optimization essentially involves creating high quality backlinks (links from other webpages) to your article to drive traffic to your article and to increase your article's ranking in search engines. Search engines, such as Google, use the number and quality of backlinks to articles in their assessment of how important an article is and how highly it is displayed. The more backlinks from highly ranked webpages (look into a webpage's Google Page Rank), the more likely an article will be ranked highly in their search results.

The Final Step – Things to Keep in Mind When Writing, Uploading, and Maintaining Articles

In addition to carefully following the instructions in the second step above, the following should be kept in mind when trying to achieve SEO for an article.

  • The title should not only include the key word or phrase, but it should also be a title that is likely to be searched for. For example, someone looking to learn about the best time to fertilize grass is likely to search for something along the lines of “what is the best time to fertilize grass”.
  • An article should be at least 400 characters in length, and preferably at least 700 characters in length, as longer articles are given higher rankings by search engines.
  • Consider where you are uploading an article. Search engines rank websites regarding the relevancy of their content, when deciding how high to rank page links in the search results. An article that has included all of the elements of SEO will rank higher in search engines if it is published on a well regarded website versus an unknown blog.
  • If possible, include the key word or phrase in any Meta Tags or Summary Sections that are available when uploading the article to a website. This will help some search engines identify and index your article. Not all search engines read Meta Tags or Summary Sections, but including the key word or phrase in these areas is worthwhile.
  • Create a RSS feed (RSS = Really Simple Syndication) at the bottom of your article to feature updates from your blog. Creating a RSS feed is a good way of not only promoting your other articles, it also helps with achieving optimization, since search engines rank webpages that update their information regularly more highly than static webpages.
  • Periodically visit your article to see if you can make any improvements regarding optimization and content. Check to see that all links and images are working and the grammar and spelling are correct.

Keep in mind that search engines typically need a few weeks to months to find and index articles published on the Internet, so be patient when searching for your article via search engines to see if your optimization efforts undertaken when writing and publishing an article are effective.


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    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      3 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks Hub Guru. SEO is just as important as its always been, if one wants their online content to be found and read. SEO is not really all that hard to implement. At a minimum, SEO is about the way an article should be structured, which is easy enough to adhere to.

    • thehubguru profile image

      The Hub Guru 

      3 years ago from 24 Ocean Drive, Kennebunkport, ME 04046 USA

      Absolutely recommendable article for SEO beginner. Here all things maintain for SEO in simple and easy language. Especially it help everyone, who don't know about SEO.

      Just now which best and top technique in off page to get #1 in google?

      Thanks, John Coviello for this great article.

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 

      6 years ago from Uruguay

      For the first time someone can explain SEO in a way I can understand it,thank you for that.It had to be someone from the greatest state.......NJ, figures!

    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks WalterPoon. I'm glad you found my SEO article so helpful. It wasn't long ago that I didn't understand SEO either. This article is based on what I learned about SEO. I'm glad I conveyed it to newbies in a clear and concise manner.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 

      7 years ago from Malaysia

      RockNJ, well done! This must be the best article on Search Engine Optimization that I've read so far! I've read many, but I still don't know what SEO is all about until I read your article.

      The strong point of this hub is that you give a complete, overall picture, whereas the articles that I've read are in great detail, but I don't know how it all fits in. Kudos!!!

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 

      7 years ago from Iowa, USA

      It's great when you do a google search and your own article comes up on the first page. I have managed to do this accidentally a few times- these tips should help me do it on purpose!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Excellent points here on SEO I have been trying to stick to the keywords of my title and it works perfectly, it is very important indeed to stick to the main keywords.

    • younghopes profile image

      Shadaan Alam 

      7 years ago from India

      thank you Rock_nj for your detailed response, it gives me quite a bit relief because i have made this mistake in some of my earlier posts when i wasn't much aware of the importance of long tail keywords and hence wanted to change them but couldn't do so as i felt url will be changed and hence google wont index it. So, thanks for the answer, now i will change the title and not the url to make it more reader friendly.

    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      younghopes, It is a good idea to change the title of the post to include a highly searched phrase, such as "top 10 body moisturisers", to see if you can capture some of those searches. In fact, that's an important part of ongoing SEO. Check Google Adwords, or a similar site, to see if you can come up with a more highly searched title. But, keep in mind that a lot of other writers may be competing for that highly searched phrase, so you may have trouble ranking well for it in search engines. If it doesn't work out, you can revert to the original one.

      As far as the URL goes, search engines supposedly do not consider the URL for ranking keywords these days because so many webpages are now dynamically delivered from databases, rather than the old static HTML pages. There's no benefit to republishing the article using a new URL that has the new keyword phrase in it from a search engine point of view. However, searchers may see all the keywords in the URL when they see the search results and may be more inclined to view your article, so there is ultimately some benefit to changing the URL. The downside is that you will lose any backlinks to your article and any ranking Google is giving it based on age and backlinks, and will have to start all over again with ranking in Google. I tend to leave the URL alone when I change the title, but if the article is fairly new or doesn't have any backlinks, then chaning the URL is a good idea.

    • younghopes profile image

      Shadaan Alam 

      7 years ago from India

      thanks for this useful hub, as u said we should keep on looking back at our articles to make them more seo friendly, i wanted to know if i have written an article- best body moisturizers and now i am finding that top 10 body moisturisers are being searched more than should i change the title of the post? if yes then it will also have an effect on the url of the post? what should i do if i think my title is not good to catch google's attention and i have already posted that article. please help me out

    • MOS SEO Services profile image

      MOS SEO Services 

      7 years ago

      Very Useful...

    • amithak50 profile image


      8 years ago from India

      Keyword research is the most crucial thing and if you want to rank than We should research long tail keywords,you can rank easily ,meta tag,title ,h1 tag,meta description are the most important for SEO ...Thanks for the nice hub

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 

      8 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      RockNJ Thanks so much for this excellent information. I will begin to look over my hubs and blogs to adjust everything you said. It is a wonder I am not getting any traffic or click for that matter. Great Hub.

      Voted UP and Useful


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