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What Is SEO?

By Snap Agency January 20, 2017

These three letters will have a big impact on your success online.

If you’re new to internet marketing, you’re likely feeling a bit overwhelmed. Maybe you’ve heard the term “SEO” before but aren’t really sure what it means. That’s OK—we’re here to help. Check out our complete SEO guide below; perfect for beginners and anyone who wants to brush up on the basics:

What Does the Term “SEO” Mean?

“SEO” stands for Search Engine Optimization. There’s no one type of SEO action. Instead, SEO is an umbrella term for a variety of different techniques and strategies. Some of these strategies are complicated and technical while others are pretty simple. All SEO techniques work toward the same goal: increasing traffic.

SEO emphasizes organic traffic. Organic traffic is also called free, natural or editorial traffic. This is the type of traffic where someone is searching for a product or service you provide, but they aren’t necessarily searching for your specific business.

Let’s look at an example:

Joe wants to buy a bed for his dog. So he goes onto Google and searches for “dog bed.” The results he gets back are organic results. Joe has no particular brand in mind, he just wants to see what his options are.

If you sell dog beds, you want your business to be on that first page of search engine results. Ideally, you want your business to be the top result, but being on the first page is the most important. Most people choose a business from the first page of search results.

How Search Engines Work

Google, Bing and Yahoo (and smaller search engines, too) all work in the same basic way. They rank web pages according to relevance. When someone inputs a search term, the search engine algorithm tries to determine which results that person will find most useful.

Determining exactly HOW and WHY each search engine ranks a site is a bit of an art and a bit of a science. Each search engine has its own algorithm, and each algorithm is kept secret. Plus, algorithms are regularly updated to adjust how pages are ranked so to better serve searchers everywhere.


Still, SEO pros have a pretty good idea about how search engines rank pages. Implementing the various techniques to improve your site’s ranking is how you optimize your site for the search engines.

The Major Types of SEO

One confusing aspect of SEO is that the term is very broad. Most of the time, SEO refers to strategies that are free to create and implement. Strategies you purchase, which are mainly pay-per-click ads, are usually referred to as “paid SEO” or something similar.

For our purposes right now, we’re only focusing on free strategies. Here’s a look at some common SEO concepts:


These are certain words you’ll want to include in your content. They help search engines understand what your site is about. Using keywords increases the chances of your site being displayed in the search results.

For instance, if you’re selling a dog bed, you’ll want to include the phrase “dog bed” in the copy on your site. But you’ll also want to include other phrases that people are likely to search for. This could be “cheap dog bed,” “best dog bed” or more.

Finding the right keywords to use isn’t a simple process. But if you can identify the terms people are using to search for your products, search engines will guide potential customers to your content.


If you’re new to the world of internet marketing, get used to hearing this phrase: Content is king. You’ll need to create a regular supply of fresh engaging content. Much of this content will be in the form of blog posts. But you’ll also want to create videos, podcasts and more.

Not all of your content is designed to sell your products. Most of your content will only minimally focus on your business. Instead, you’ll create informative content about your industry, which establishes your site as an informative authority for your respective topic.

How-to guides, tutorials, current event discussion and more will help you connect with readers. You want to provide readers with useful information. People, and search engines, will start to consider your brand an authority in your industry.


Search engines like sites that connect to other sites. You’ll want to get backlinks from reputable organizations. This is when a site places a link to your site on their page. For instance, say the American Kennel Association really likes your dog beds. They post their recommendation on their website, which includes a link to the dog bed for sale on your site.

Search engines consider a link like that to yours to be basically an endorsement, and they will rank your site higher as a result.


Search engine optimization can seem a bit confusing, but the basics are pretty simple. Even if you’re totally new to e-commerce, you can implement a few simple strategies to start off on the right foot!


Check out our blog section for more SEO strategies.

If you’re new to internet marketing, post your questions below. If you’re an experienced internet marketer, feel free to offer any helpful tips.