What is SEO?

what is seo, what is search engine optimization

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website to rank better in search engine results pages, thereby increasing organic traffic to the site and ultimately turning this traffic into conversions. Small businesses need to have a good SEO strategy as part of their marketing plan because so many people use the Internet to find local businesses.

SEO may target different kinds of search, including local, image, video, academic databases, news aggregators, and social media. If you have asked, “what is SEO?” this Balboa Capital blog article is for you. It provides helpful information to understand SEO better, how it works, and why it is crucial for your small business.

How does SEO work?

If you are a small business owner or marketing professional who does understand how search engine optimization works, you are not alone. SEO is one of the most complex website-related practices, and it is constantly changing with the introduction of new or modified search engine page ranking factors and algorithms. Following is a simple explanation of how SEO works.

You use Google™ or another search engine to look for “best dog food” online. You type the search query “best dog food” into the search box, and the search engine goes to work. The search engine uses web crawlers to instantly gather information from the Internet about the “best dog food.” Complex algorithms are also part of the search result process; they help determine the most accurate and relevant list of organic search results for “best dog food.” It is worth noting that this process happens in less than one-tenth of a second. Talk about speedy results!

The list you end up with features the most relevant website links based on your search query. In the sample scenario above, the organic search results for “best dog food” may include website pages from dog food manufacturers and local pet food businesses, blog articles, news articles, and dog food reviews. The results at the top of your search, excluding paid advertisements, have the best search engine optimization.

Why is SEO important?

SEO is important for your small business because it can help your website rank higher on search engine results pages, and get your brand noticed online. If you can rank higher, you are more likely to get the attention of potential customers online. Ultimately, reaching out to a broader audience can help you grow your business and increase its brand awareness. In addition, the more organic (unpaid) traffic your website receives, the less you have to spend on paid advertising campaigns.

Organic landing pages that rank high typically get the most clicks and conversions, providing they have a strong call-to-action and a form. Unfortunately, you cannot pay for your website landing pages to rank high in organic search results. This can only be achieved with a paid advertising campaign.

Another reason why SEO is so important is that it can help attract high-quality traffic. If your landing pages and blog posts are written and optimized for organic search, they are more likely to match the user’s search intent. As a result, an increase in high-quality visitors to your website can result in more conversions, which means more revenue for your small business.

What are the best practices for SEO?

The SEO process has evolved over the years and has become much more complicated than it used to be. It is essential to have an expert in this field manage your website’s SEO strategy to ensure that you get the most out of it, and generate a positive return on your marketing investment. The first and most crucial step is keyword research when it comes to best practices for SEO. Finding relevant and popular keywords for your small business would be best. You can use Google™ to research keywords and learn their monthly search volume.

The next step in SEO is on-page optimization. This refers to everything you can do on your website’s landing pages and blog posts to make them more visible and rank higher for search engine results pages. On-page optimization includes the following:

  • Having original copywriting on your website
  • Integrating relevant keywords into your landing pages and blog posts
  • Optimizing your title tags, headings, and meta descriptions
  • Optimizing images with ALT attributes
  • Using relevant and optimized internal links
  • Having code for a good user experience and fast page load times
  • Adding schema markup to your website’s pages and posts

Finally, ensure you adhere to the best practices outlined by the search engines when writing title tags, meta descriptions, and structured URLs. These essential on-page elements should never exceed the recommended character limits; otherwise, they will get cut off in the search results and result in fewer clickthroughs to your website.

Tactics to avoid.

When optimizing your business’s website for search, there are some tactics that you should avoid. These include using duplicate content and keyword stuffing. Many content mills sell generic landing pages and blog articles for pennies on the dollar. However, you get what you pay for. Your content is not unique if you have identical landing pages or blog articles on other websites.

The search engines’ algorithms negatively affect websites that post duplicate content, especially those that do not post fresh content. In addition, recycled content websites do not have good organic search ranks in many cases. So, when it comes to content writing, do not cut corners. Instead, allocate part of your digital marketing budget to original copywriting for landing pages and blog articles. Many small businesses have dedicated content writers on staff.

Another tactic to avoid is keyword stuffing. This is when you place keywords in a web page or blog article to rank higher in search engines. These days, search engines take this behavior into account, which can work against you if your content isn’t on topic or contains too many keywords.


SEO is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy. It can help you rank higher in search engine results and drive more traffic to your site. However, it is essential to remember that SEO is a complicated and ever-changing digital marketing discipline that can be hard to navigate.

There are many ways to do it wrong and not enough time to do it right. An SEO specialist will help you reach the right audience by optimizing your website for search engines. They will also create content people are looking for, leading them back to your site.

Balboa Capital, a Division of Ameris Bank, is not affiliated with nor endorses Google. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.