Introduction to SEO: What You Need to Know – 2023

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an essential part of running a website, but all the information and talk about it often makes it much more complicated than it really is. In fact, although SEO is quite simple, it can have a powerful effect on a website’s traffic. We’re going to take a look at SEO and break it down into its simplest concepts.

Reasons for SEO

Search engines provide an important service on the web. They allow us to quickly find relevant information in response to our queries, and they do it quickly. This convenience means fewer people are going to sites they trust or like to find the content they want. Instead, users search for content all over the web and land where search engines take them.

This means that traffic to the site is increasingly coming from search engines as opposed to direct means such as bookmarks or clicks to a homepage. If you have a website, you need a trustworthy SEO company to make sure you’re getting the search engine traffic you should be. Fortunately, SEO is relatively simple. (Get some basic SEO tips in 3 SEO tactics Google loves.) You can also find the best hosting plan here for your website.

SEO Yin and Yang

There are two basic types of SEO: black hat and white hat. Black hat is the dark side of SEO, where a webmaster uses link farming, hidden text, and other controversial methods. White hat SEO, on the other hand, simply involves strengthening key areas of a website to help search engines determine the type and quality of on-page content.

The Anatomy of White Hat SEO

How search engines work is a bit of an open question. There are some factors that we know are important – and then there are a number of factors that we think are important, but aren’t entirely sure about. There are most likely factors that we have no idea about. 

Here are some of the fundamental factors that we know/believe make a big difference in a webpage’s search engine ranking:


Good content is at the heart of what search engines are looking for. They want to provide the best content for a particular query, so if you have informative and useful content, a lot of other SEO aspects fall into place. You have to choose the best SEO services company if you are going to hand over your website.

Inbound Links

When another website chooses to link to some of your content, search engines view it as a positive thing. Essentially, this website is telling its users that something on your site is worth checking out. This link is even more important if the linked text is precise. For example, getting a link for “a great article” is not as important as getting a link for “an article explaining SEO”.


Reliable Inbound Links

Not all inbound links are created equal. Each website creates a profile of itself which is an aggregation of its content. A site like has a high-reliability factor, so a New York Times link to your site is a huge boost. The New York Times has gotten to where it is by producing high-quality content and earning those inbound links, those social media “likes,” etc.

Site Links

While probably not as important as inbound links, your site links help define your content rather than waiting for inbound links to do so. For example, this article will appear as a related link on SEO terms on Techopedia. This means that a) the article is SEO related and b) the terms that feature it as a link are SEO related.

External Links

Providing external links from your content to related content on other sites also provides relational data that can help search engines understand what your content is about. For example, if a piece of content has three outbound links that all go to sites that publish DIY home content, that article is likely about DIY home repair.

Social Media

When search engines see your content being tweeted, liked or shared, it works the same way as inbound links – it’s a testament to the quality of your content. (Learn more about social media in Understanding Social Media: What You Need to Know.)


Traditional keywords – those that could be placed in the background of a page – are practically dead. What seems to work now is naturally integrating keywords into content and then emphasizing their importance. So, instead of making the subtitles bold, you can change them to secondary headers (h2 and h3 tags in HTML).

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