What is SEO? [How does it work?]

What is SEO? [How does it work?]

We live in a digital world, and everything around us is shaped according to that. In order to blend into this world, we use SEO tools for our website content. All of the major websites owe their success to SEO. That is why we can say that it is something inevitable. So what is SEO, and what makes it so crucial in the digital world?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. To know what is SEO, first, you should know what search engines are and how they operate. Then you can see the importance of SEO. 

What Are Search Engines?

If the internet is a library, search engine is a librarian, and the books are web pages. You go to a library to search for something, and you ask the librarian where are the books that you are looking for.

The librarian shows you where you can find the books. However, a search engine goes beyond that and brings you the results it considers the best. 

When you type something to a search engine, it looks through all the content in its index and gives you the most relevant results. So how does the search engine do it? 

It gives the best results according to the search content. So let’s say you are looking for something specific like ‘floor wax,’ the search engine gives you the most relevant web pages according to the content that they include as keywords. This is where SEO kicks in.  

The web pages the search engine brings out on the first page or the first row doesn’t have to be the best ones. For example, the first web page about floor wax, may not include the best quality wax product. However, there are some adjustments that the page owners did to rank it higher up in the search engine. These adjustments are called Search Engine Optimization. 

How SEO Works?

SEO makes your web page get organic and un-paid traffic. It is all achieved by ranking high on the search engines. You have to make changes on your website design and content. SEO helps you to make these changes in the right way. 

So what are the factors for Google rankings? Now let’s take a look at them below. 

Ranking Factors

SEO is the optimization you make on your web pages to rank higher on Google or other search engines. Yet, what factors should you consider before doing so? Here are the nine factors that you should consider before getting into the SEO game:

1- Domain-Level and Link Authority

This factor includes the quantity of the links to the domain and the quality of links to the domain. That is how it affects the ranking of your page in the search engine.

2- Page-Level Link Features

In this factor, the number of links, distribution of anchor texts, and quality of link sources are included to increase the page rank. 

3- Page-Level KW and Content Features 

What is important here is the topic modelling scores on content, content quantity and relevance. 

4- Page-Level and Keyword Agnostic Features 

This is all about the quality of the content. What matters here is the length of the content, readability, uniqueness and the load speed of the web page. 

5- Domain-Level Brand Features 

What matters here is the quality and the quantity of the names, offline usage of domain or brand name and mentions of them in news, media, and press. 

6- User and Traffic Data

This part includes the data of usage and traffic signals from clickstream, toolbars, browsers, quantity, diversity, and CTR of queries and such in order to rank higher in search engines. 

7- Metrics of Social Interactions

This is about the interactions on social platforms. It includes interactions such as Tweets, Facebook shares, Google comments and such. It is important for increasing the awareness of your web pages. Social media helps to show your online presence of your website. It also helps your website to rank higher. 

8- Usage of Domain-Level Keywords 

Using the right keywords play a significant role in SEO. Using the exact match keywords about your topic will be successful for your web page to range higher in search engines. You can use SEO tools such as Ahrefs to find out what kind of keywords you need to use on your topic. 


9- Domain-Level Keyword Agnostic Features 

This part includes essential points such as the length of domain name, domain HTTP response time, TLD extension and such. 

So, these were the nine factors that would rank your web page higher according to the search engine algorithm. 


As we have stated before, search engines aim to get the best results to searchers. In order to do this, search engines scan and crawl other websites to figure out what your website is about. 

Google follows the links on the existing pages that they know and follows them to the ones that they don’t know about. This is called crawling. Google uses a program called Spider to do crawling. Here is how it works;

If your website has backlinks that lead to other websites which are in Google’s index, the next time Google crawls to those websites, Google will follow the links to your website and add it to its index. First, it reaches to your website’s homepage, then reaches each page of your site throughout the links.

Now your website would be crawled by Google. That is why it is crucial to get good backlinks from high-quality sources. However, it is possible to come across some obstacles that block Google’s crawlers. 

Cases That Block Google’s Crawlers

Everyone aims to have a clean experience when promoting their website. Unfortunately, people can come up with problems that are caused by software or inter-connection issues. Let’s take a look at them:

Poor Internal Linking

Some websites don’t have internal links at all. This is quite an important problem because Google’s crawling mainly relies on internal links. Google will not crawl websites without internal links. 

Links With Nofollow Tags

Google will not crawl internal links with nofollow tags. As you can guess from its name, nofollow links cannot be followed. Nofollow tags are one of the most common HTML tags. They don’t affect the website’s ranking on search engines, that is why Google doesn’t crawl these links. 

Noindexed Pages

If pages on your website have internal links from noindexed pages only, there is a high chance that those pages will not be crawled. Noindex is a meta tag for web pages not to appear on Google. It would be best if you tried to avoid including pages with noindex tags. 

Robots.txt Blocks

Robots.txt is a text file that shows search engines where to go and not to go on your website. If there is a mistake in the configuration of this file, it can mess up many things, including blocking Google’s crawling. 

The Importance of Content

One of the most significant things in SEO is the quality of content. Of course, keywords play an essential role here. Content attracts both search engines and organic traffic. By the right usage of keywords, there is no stopping you. 

Better quality content means better rank on search engines. It also means that the visitors to your website will spend more time on your pages. So it also gains you more session duration. 

To create content that would have the quality and the ability to draw traffic to your website, you should include a piece of content from all of the keywords that are related to your topic. 

Like anything, there are trending topics for website content as well. Some of the trending content material for websites are such as the following:

  • Articles and blog posts.
  • Content about social media.
  • Videos and audio files (recordings.)
  • Visual content, such as infographics or others.
  • Tutorials and how-to guides that answers frequently asked questions.
  • Whitepapers and e-books. 

On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO

We can mention two types of SEO; On-Page and Off-Page SEO. As you can guess from the name, the first one is more visual and related to the content. The second one is more related to the software aspects. Without any further due, let’s take a look at On-Page and Off-Page SEO more specifically. 

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is more related to the visual part of your website. The content you include on your pages are pretty important when it comes to On-Page SEO because the content consists of the elements that you have full control on. 

It focuses on the correct usage of the exact keywords. Of course, not only the usage of keywords but your marketing strategies are essential here as well. What do we mean by marketing skills? It is simply the best way you can present yourself and your business through your website. 

It includes elements such as title tags, meta descriptions, sub-headings, internal links, image names, and alt titles. Now let’s focus on the aspects of these elements in terms of ranking your web pages higher. 

Title Tags

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Title tags work as a guide for search engines. It tells what your page is about. Title tags should include the keywords and content about your business and should not be more than 70 characters. 

Meta Description

Meta description is like a summary of your web page. It tells what your page is about to organic traffic. You should include a meta description for your web page because it helps the searchers to see what they are looking for. 

That is why it is essential to have the keyword in the meta description. It is good to include some details in it, however, not many details that would discourage the searcher from visiting the page. 


Sub-headings help the reader to understand your text easily. No one likes to read long and uninterrupted texts. Interrupt your text with sub-headings and give the reader some space to refresh his/her mind while reading. 

Of course, this is the same for search engines as well as readers. By using the sub-headings in the right order, (like H2-H3-H4) you can help the software system to aline your text. It is also useful for creating a table of contents. 


Internal Links

Adding internal links to your web pages helps search engines to learn more about your website. It also helps the visitors to search deeper if they need to, and they will be thankful for your website for that. 

Of course, you can address other content on your website by adding inbound links and create a circulation zone for your visitors. 

Image Names and Alt Titles 

If you have images on your web pages, then you should consider putting your keywords in them as well. This way, people searching for something through images can see your images and click on your website. 

It also helps search engines to better index your web page through images. 

Off-Page SEO

Unlike On-Page SEO, you do not have full control over the elements in the Off-Page SEO. However, these elements are pretty important to make your site rank higher in search engines. 

As you can guess from the name, the factors of Off-Page SEO are the external results of the things you did for On-Page SEO. These are; trust, links, and social signals. Now let’s take a closer look at them. 


Trust has become a significant factor for ranking high in search engines. By building high-quality backlinks from high authority websites, you can increase the trust of your website and prove that you are a legitimate website about your content. 


Building backlinks is one of the most prevalent factors of Off-Page SEO. Not only high-quality backlinks are important; collaboration is pretty significant when it comes to Off-Page SEO as well. 

Build relationships with other websites that share similar content as yours. It may seem like an odd idea at first; however, building good relations with your rivals may integrate your businesses and make you more visible and rank higher. 

Social Signals

If your website gets heard in social media, you will definitely have more chance for awareness. Social media is inevitable. If you want to be successful on the internet, you must have an account on relevant social media platforms. They are the best way to get in contact with your audience and definitely will help you with your Off-Page SEO.

Shares, likes, and comments will help your website to get noticed, and your chances will be higher to get a better ranking for your web pages.


SEO is the key to success on the internet. Without good SEO work, you don’t have many chances to rank higher in the search results. It is either SEO or advertisements. You can try to advertise your website and rank in the first place. Yet if you want to rank in the first place permanently, we recommend you to have a successful SEO work behind your web pages.

We have covered what is SEO and mentioned some of its features and factors that you need to take care of. We hope this article has been helpful to answer your questions about SEO. Thank you for reading our article. 

If you want to learn more about SEO, check out our other articles about it. You may be interested in how to write an SEO friendly article.

Frequently Asked Questions

A keyword is a word or a phrase that makes your website to be found on the search engines.

It is the job an SEO specialist does. It includes analyzing, reviewing, and implementing the changes to websites.

They are the main keywords of your topic. Primary keyword should include the word or phrase that searchers type on the search bar.

Diego Manson

Posts: 217

My name is Diego Manson, or as people call me, Seodiego. I'm an SEO enthusiast and blogger. Because of my interest in the internet, I wanted to make it a better place for myself. That's why I'm into SEO. I try to share all I know and learn with everyone to help people improve their online skills.

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  1. Hamd Ali
    Hamd Ali

    Great content man! really covers all the topics with more understandable language! keep it up. 🙂

    • Deniz Gökçe
      Deniz Gökçe

      Thanks, glad you liked it.