What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and How Does It Work?

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and How Does It Work?

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What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and How Does It Work?

What is SEO? What does SEO stand for? Here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Simple SEO

There is so much information about SEO marketing out there and I’m going to share a breakdown of how it all works in an easy to understand and implement kind of way.

This is a really simple guide for beginners, that you can use right away to help secure some SEO juice in all your posts.

link to free blogging toolkit for beginners

What Exactly is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, essentially means making sure that the words and phrases that you use within your content help to tell search engines like Google what your post is all about so that people searching those engines can find the answers they are looking for and ultimately, your work!

How Does SEO Work?

The big-picture of SEO is actually quite simple.

Let’s say a woman wants to know an answer to something like- how cold should Prosecco be when serving? Or, what goes best with red wine? So, she types it into the search bar at the top of a web search engine like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The search engine crawls or searches the millions of submitted articles looking for the best ones to match those questions.

Search engine optimization comes into play because the articles that are listed on the first page, or search engine results page (SERP) are most likely to have the keywords or phrases that the thirsty girl was looking for.

The fact is, if you aren’t using SEO-rich keywords in your content that people are actually searching for, your hard work may never be seen or noticed.

Why Do You Need SEO?

Although SEO can be very intimidating and even frustrating for the beginning blogger, it’s important to try to incorporate it from the very beginning so that your posts can build some street-cred over time.

Google can take up to a year, even with consistent posting to “notice” your blog and so the earlier you start the better.

It’s also much easier to start this in the very beginning rather tha trying to go back and fix or update old posts. You should still do that anyway from time to time, but small fixes are one-thing and an SEO overhaul is another.

SEO Principles

The principle of SEO is actually quite simple. The more you scatter your keywords and phrases in your title, headings, alt text and within your paragraph, the more likely that those words, when scanned will show up in a search engine when someone is looking.

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and How Does It Work?
Photo by Charles ?? on Unsplash

Increase Your SEO by Doing These Things

Building Backlinks

Backlink building, or having other websites include your links within their blogs can help you quickly build your credibility and search engine optimization.

An easy way to build backlinks is through link exchanges on sites that have similar content to yours or to guest post for other bloggers. You can find these collaborations often times in Facebook share threads.

Take advantage of these when you can and post a mini bio and ask to see if anyone is interested in link building or guest bloggers.

Inserting Internal Links

Internal links are links that will take your reader to other parts within your blog.  The longer that rates stay,  the more that search engines will believe that your content is valuable and that it should be placed higher in rankings.

I always aim to have 3-5 internal links in each post that further develop the ideas I am trying to convey and offer my readers more value to their time spent on my site. 

How to Maximize Your Search Engine Optimization as a Beginner Blogger

Using Relevant Keywords and Long-tail Phrases

The best thing to do when working on your content is to find related keywords and long tail keywords for your topic before you even start writing. Doing a quick search for keywords can help you set up your post in an organized way that also meets the needs for the best SEO.

Once you have this information in hand,  you can use those keywords in your title and first sentence to make it clear what your topic is about to search engines (the closer to the beginning, the better).

You’ll also want to use as many of these keywords and phrases as you can throughout the entire post while still sounding natural. Repeating the same few words over and over again doesn’t get your point across- it will just lose your reader.

Use SEO in Your Headings, Meta tags, Meta Descriptions and Alt Text

Don’t forget to use some of your other keywords and long tail phrases in your headings, meta tags, and meta descriptions.

Your meta tags and alt text can be set in the right-hand sidebar of WordPress in your post view. The meta description is the snippet that is shown in search engines below your post name in a web search.

Meta Descriptions
Meta Descriptions to Increase SEO

These are all great little places to squeeze in a little SEO.

Add SEO to Your Images

Make sure your image titles and descriptions are also taking advantage of the keywords that you have researched.

Also, don’t forget to add a caption to your images! This is an often overlooked and underused spot for extra SEO.

TIP: Make sure to rename your images before you upload them to WordPress because you won’t be able to change them afterward.

Increase SEO By Changing Your Permalink Structure

Did you know that you can change your permalink structure? First, if you’re not sure what one is, it’s the ending of your post name after your URL. www. everydayshessparkling.com/xx-xxx-xxx.

Hopefully, you have already changed the structure from the default date set by WordPress when you started your blog to the name of your post.  If not,  do that asap.

You want the permalink to be straight forward and geared towards your keywords without all the fluff.  Use your title for a catchy intro and the permalink to tell Google what it’s about. 

For example: If you write a post with a title “How to Make the Most Insanely Awesome Muffins in the Universe”, you may not want those words to be part of your permalink structure because it’s not something someone would specifically search for.

Instead, you can change the permalink to something like “how-to-make-best-muffins”.

To change your permalink (before it’s published- only! Or you’ll need a redirect), change the URL setting in the right-hand sidebar in your post view.

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and How Does It Work?
Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Posting Comments on Other Blogs

Posting comments on other people’s blogs who are in similar or complimentary niches as you can also help build your authority, especially when you get to leave your URL.

So, take some time to find some great sites that are already established, read their content and leave some good, meaningful comments on their posts. Win-Win for everyone.

Publishing Consistent and Relevant Content

This is by far one of the best ways to build your search engine optimization and SERP results. Google especially likes when you are posting consistent, relevant and related content on your site. This is why so many bloggers tell you to niche down in the very beginning.

Posting often and consistently is just as important as what you are posting about. Google would much rather push a website to the top of the SERP list that posts once per week every week for a year than another one that posted 52 posts in one month and nothing for the other 11.

Beware – These Things Can Hurt Your SEO

Along with all the things you should do, there’s some things that will definitely hurt your SEO if you’re not careful.

  1. Having “dofollow” links on a sponsored post or affiliate link. What this means is that anytime you are being compensated for your work, you do not want a search engine to follow that link from your site to theirs. It’s almost like web engine spam. Make sure that you change the code to “nofollow” or install a plugin to help like Nofollow for External Link, which will automatically add the “nofollow code” to all outgoing links.
  2. Reusing already used/written content. This is also considered spam and Google will penalize you heavily for it. Keep this in mind when you are working with guest posts that you make sure to let the writer know that it must be new content that has never been written elsewhere.
  3. Changing your theme constantly. Search engines like when you appear stable and familiar. Try sticking with your theme and only updating when necessary.
  4. Buying links to your site. Just don’t do it. They aren’t really your audience and it can hurt you in the long run.
  5. Having too many broken links or spammy links. Make sure to do regular site maintenance to ensure that there aren’t potential 404 codes all over your site and that any spam links left in your comments are deleted.

What is SEO in Marketing?

There are other places besides your content that use search engine optimization including:

  • YouTube videos
  • Facebook Ads
  • Landing Pages
  • Pinterest Pins

These all show up in search engines as well as their own platform’s searches. Keep both in mind when creating the copy (wording) for these to maximize their search potential.

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and How Does It Work?
Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Best SEO Tools to Get Started Doing Your Own SEO

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a great tool for beginners to learn the ins and outs of basic search engine optimization. It’s a simple to use, WordPress integrated plugin that will measure all of the content and find places for improvement.

Although it’s great to help you learn the ropes at first, don’t get hung up on the little green dots and happy faces as it’s more important to write for your audience first, SEO second.

Google Search Bar

Google should be one of your next go-to’s to search for keywords and phrases that will perform best with your topic. The reason is simple. This is exactly where people are going to find this information. So take advantage!!

Google will just tell you what they are looking for! To use it best, type in your topic in the search bar and see what comes up in the list below. These will be the top searches related to your topic.

Google Search Bar for SEO
Using Google Search Bar to Do Your Own SEO

Next, scroll about halfway down and see what “other people are asking”. If you can answer some or all of these questions in your post, you are in good shape.

Use Questions to Build SEO
Using Questions to Build SEO

There are also some additional keywords in bold near the bottom of the page. All of this information is GOLD and better than that, it’s all FREE.

Keyword Finders

Use a free keyword tool like KWFinder, Keywords Everywhere or Ubbersuggest. These are all great resources that you can sort by highest searched and include some of those relevant terms and keywords that perform well with your topic.

Some of the keyword tools like Keywords Everywhere, even have a browser extension that you can add on so that it will find all the relevant information as you search it.

Use Free SEO Keyword Finders
Use Free SEO Keyword Finders

Other Places to Help SEO Building

Knowing what your audience wants and needs to know will help you with your authority, help you to use relevant search terms within your posts and will bring readers back to your blog for more.

Some of the best research you can do is to find out what people are actually asking when they are searching. Use Answer the Public and Facebook groups to find questions related to the post and answer them within your content.

SEO takes a lot of time to work but it’s something that you definitely want to be focusing on early on as it will payoff with time.

I hope this answers some of your questions on what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is and how it can help you build your blog! I’d love to hear your comments below!

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61 thoughts on “What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and How Does It Work?”

    1. This was very helpful and in all honesty it’s quite a lot to take in.
      I’ll definitely have to take some notes when I read through this post again.
      Will be bookmarking it.

      Thanks a lot**

  1. Hopefully I crack the code soon. I enjoy your post because you make it sound so easy but something must happen between my brain and actually typing the correct info. Thanks for another great article.

  2. This is so helpful – I wasn’t sure what to put in the alt text – I’m never quite sure with my images if I’m doing it right – also can I ask – is it worth putting tags in – I always add a couple of categories and used to put lots of tags but I’m sure I read that it’s not Worth putting tags in ?? Thanks again for your super helpful and simple to understand post x

    1. Thank you, Steph! I’m glad this helped you out a little! For Alt Text, you should be describing the picture as it is intended for the visually impaired. However, if you are using it as a pin description (no added plugin or coding), then you will want to use a Pinterest keyword rich alt text. I use tags as well and I think that it is another way to add in some SEO love into your site. It doesn’t hurt anything 🙂

  3. Amazing article. Even an newcomer in blogging can understand the point brought out in the article above. Hats off to you madam! Waiting for more such articles to come up, so that we can learn more and more.

  4. I love reading your posts! Your flows and straight to the point on the exact action items to help me and I assure others get up and running much quicker. You are definitely one of my go to blogs. In addition, above all you have the utmost integrity & I trust your referrals immensely.

  5. Thank you for this! Little hard to get used to ‘scattering keywords’ when you just want to write creatively… But one I understand it’s importance so thank you!

  6. How do you become a guest blogger on someone page? How do we get someone to be a guest blogger on our page? This sounds interesting. I am a mom lifestyle blogger. I talk about dance mom stuff? Financial stuff, copibg with loss, gunviolence, business reviews and I am a Amazon and sassnfrass affiliate.

  7. This article has clarified a lot of things for me concerning SEO. As a new blogger, I have read a lot on the topic, but this is the simplest explanation I have seen so far. Thanks.

  8. Such great information, Sasha! I am saving this one because I need to review this a few times. Also, do you have a checklist for a quick reference of this information? If not, you need one and I want it. 🙂

    1. Hey DeShena! SO glad that you enjoyed this post. 🙂 It’s always great to come back and review things from time to time – I do all the time! I don’t have a quick reference of this post but I will keep that in mind to do one. Great idea!

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