So, what is SEO anyway?

Let’s think about what is SEO, really. SEO can be the difference between your website’s success and it sitting in a lonely corner of the internet. SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and essentially refers to getting your website to show up when people make relevant searches online – on Google. People often overlook the importance of SEO – sure, having an impressive website is a plus. However, unless you’re lucky enough to have a telepathic connection with your potential clients (a rare yet useful skill), helping people to find your site in the first place should be a priority. That’s where SEO comes in handy.

How does SEO work?

“Fine,” you’re probably saying. “What is SEO, covered, but if SEO is important, how does it work?” It’s pretty simple to put into practice. SEO is all about making yourself look your best in the search engine’s (or SERPs’) eyes. Think of Google like the diva from grade school that controls the social scene. She’s got a rep to keep up, so she’ll be choosing the popular crowd based on two factors: good looks and social connections. So, making yourself desirable is going to be your best bet.
First, and the obvious – Google is looking for a website that looks good. Or, more precisely, Google is trying to find a website that looks good relative to the search that it’s conducting. The more relevant your site appears, the more attention Google will pay to you and the higher up you can appear in search results. Clearly, it’s time for a makeover.

The differences of on page and off page SEO

Editing the content and layout of your site itself is called on page SEO, and is one of the most effective ways to make it more attractive to Google. In website terms, this means filling your site with balanced and effective keywords and keyphrases, using relevant titles and streamlining the layout of your site. Social connections are the next step.
Google will rate the value of your site partially based on how much it thinks other sites like you. This is called off page SEO and is determined by whether or not your site was invited to the annual website pool party”. (Didn’t know there was one? There’s the problem.) Google sees, in part, your site’s relevance and popularity by the number of links to your site from other websites. If another site links to yours, it generally means they’re giving you their stamp of approval. Google sees these links and adjusts how you position in the search results accordingly.
Of course, optimizing your website for both on page and off page SEO can be an in-depth process. However, with a little bit of time, creativity, and fantastic content, the question ‘what is SEO‘ will get clear and you’ll be on your way to a date with Google herself. Have you audited the on page or off page health of your website lately? Where does it fall and what techniques are you looking to incorporate in 2017? We would love to hear in the comments below.
Christina is the Founder and Creative Director of Savy, a digital marketing agency with locations in Bend Oregon and Santa Barbara CA. Christina grew up in Santa Barbara, has a supportive husband, Rob, shoots a Nikon D750 for select clients and loves her three children, chocolate lab, Badger, and wild kitten, Nala.