Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Short Conceptual Explanation

Search engine optimization, also referred to as SEO, includes all the techniques used by website creators to ensure their content shows up on a search engine’s results page. It includes the use of high-value keywords and phrases throughout the content on a page or a website, as well as link-building. The ultimate goal of search engine optimization is to increase traffic to a website.

Good Search Engine Optimization

Good search engine optimization includes incorporating keywords and phrases throughout the content on a website. That means using the keywords evenly throughout the content, but integrating them in a natural way.

Places to include keywords:

  • In headings
  • At the beginning and end of the page
  • Evenly distributing the keywords throughout the content

There are additional places to put keywords to increase SEO. They should also be included in the page URL, in metadata, and image title tags.

There is no rule to follow when it comes to how many times the keyword or phrase should appear in a piece of content. However, a general idea is to use it in one to two percent of the content. It ensures there are enough instances of the keyword throughout the content for search engines to identify it without the content sounding like it has been keyword stuffed.


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Keyword research

The majority of SEO efforts rely on using keywords and phrases, so it is important to make sure the right keywords and phrases are used. Before building a website or creating a good piece of content, it is a good idea to do keyword research.

In some cases, keywords and phrases are intuitive. For example, an HVAC contractor will likely want to be searchable for phrases like “heating repair” and “air conditioner installation”. However, in-depth research can uncover additional keyword strategies that can give a business a leg-up on the Internet. This is especially the case when it comes to long tail keywords.

Many businesses are making the transition to using long tail keywords because there is less competition. For example, the HVAC contractor mentioned above may choose to rank for “licensed and certified HVAC heating repair.”

In addition, location-specific keyword strategies can also be very effective. An HVAC contractor located in Minneapolis would want to sprinkle the area they serve throughout their content.

Search engine optimization and linking

Keywords are important to SEO, but linking is also important. One example is using internal links to point users to other pages on the same website. These kinds of links can help search engines, like Google, determine the layout of the site and the overall topic of the content that can be found there.

Outbound links, or links in content that point to other domains, can be an important search engine optimization strategy. It demonstrates that a website is not operating as an island on the Internet. The connections to other sites can help boost exposure on Google.

Inbound links are an especially helpful SEO strategy, but they are the hardest to get. They include links on other sites that point back to a particular domain. Google considers sites that are regularly being linked to as important, which boost their search engine optimization ranking, which in turn can increase the site’s rank on the search results page.

How Google ranks websites

Google uses the keywords on websites to determine the content that can be found there. That is why it is important to include keywords throughout the content. Google wants to return the most relevant, useful information to the user, so optimizing content with high-value keywords can be a great way to ensure a particular website ranks well.

Google deploys Internet bots to scrub the Internet, looking for keywords and phrases being used on new and old pages all the time. That is why, today, there is no need to register a website or webpage with Google. It only takes between four days and four weeks for Google to index a website.

As mentioned above, Google also considers linking an important way to determine whether a website is important or useful. The thinking goes that if a website or webpage is being linked by other sites, it must have valuable content.

The PageRank algorithm not only considers whether a particular site is being linked to, but it also considers the quality of the links that are being posted. Sites that rank high in domain authority get more positive attention than sites that have links with a low domain authority.

Tracking SEO

Search engine optimization is evolving all the time. Keywords and linking methods used one day can become obsolete the next day as Google continues to update the software it uses to rank websites.

That is why it is important to track SEO efforts. For example:

  • Direct navigation tracks the users who navigate directly to a website
  • Referral traffic tracks clicks from links across the web
  • Search traffic tracks the users visiting a website from a search engine

In addition, it is a good idea to track the performance of particular keywords and phrases. By trying a few different keywords, it is easier to find one that ranks well, so it can be used in additional content on the website.

SEO and search engine marketing

Not only can search engine optimization be used as a way for a website to show up organically in the search engine results, it can also be used as part of a search engine marketing campaign.

Based on the keywords and phrases being used on a website, that site can place bids for ads to be placed on that search results page. Depending on the page’s quality score, Google determines which ads to place where. Ads are placed at the top and bottom of the results pages and must be labeled as such. However, it is a great way for websites that are not ranking well to ensure their content shows up on the first page of the search results, as long as the proper research is done to ensure the ads are appearing in conjunction with the right keywords.

Focus on quality content

Although SEO is important, quality content remains the most important aspect of any online marketing strategy.

Google is providing a service to those who are searching the Internet, so it will always be committed to providing what it thinks is the most relevant content for every search. That can sometimes leave small businesses behind, no matter how thorough the SEO strategy.

In addition, Google will not rank a site that does not contain quality content, no matter what keywords are used, how often they appear in the content, or how much internal linking is done. Good content that is promoted using other channels will attract an audience, which can increase SEO efforts through inbound linking, which in turn will increase its ranking.

Ranking on search engines, like Google, is important, but it is not the only place a website can get organic traffic. There are many other websites where a company or business can rank well and point traffic to their website. For example, many users head directly to Amazon when searching for a product. A business would do well to partner with Amazon so their products reach a wider audience.

Etsy is another great place for businesses to establish a presence as a way to point people back to their website. These are both examples of marketing efforts that can drive traffic to a website without the need for search engine optimization (SEO).