Demystifying SEO: Understanding the Basics of Search Engine Optimization

Tara Figg
 Posted on 05, Apr 2023

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving a website's visibility on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. SEO involves using various techniques to improve a website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), with the ultimate goal of attracting more organic traffic to the site.

SEO can be a daunting concept for beginners, but it's essential for any business that wants to be visible online. In this blog post, we'll break down the basics of SEO and provide tips for improving your website's ranking.


Keywords are the foundation of SEO. They are the words and phrases that users enter into search engines to find information on a particular topic. By including relevant keywords on your website, you increase the chances of your site appearing in search engine results pages.

When choosing keywords, it's important to consider both relevance and search volume. You want to use keywords that accurately describe your business or product, but also keywords that have a significant search volume. There are various keyword research tools available, such as Google's Keyword Planner, that can help you identify relevant keywords with high search volume.

So where do you use keywords?

Page Titles: The page title is the first thing that search engines and users see. Use the relevant keywords in the page title to help the search engine understand the topic of the page. 

Headings: Use the relevant keywords in the headings and subheadings of your content. This will make it easier for the search engine to understand the structure of your content. 

Meta Descriptions: Meta descriptions provide a brief summary of the content on the page. Use the relevant keywords in the meta description to help the search engine understand the topic of the page. 

URLs: Include the relevant keywords in the URLs of your web pages. This will help the search engine understand the content of the page. 

Image Alt Tags: Use descriptive keywords in the alt tags of your images. This will help the search engine understand the content of the image and the page it is on. 

Anchor Text: Use relevant keywords in the anchor text of internal and external links on your website. This will help the search engine understand the context of the linked page.

Lastly, use keywords naturally. While it is important to use keywords effectively, avoid overusing them. Use keywords organically and in context to avoid being penalized by search engines for keyword stuffing.

On-page optimization

On-page optimization refers to the process of optimizing individual web pages to improve their ranking in search engine results pages. This includes optimizing page titles, meta descriptions, header tags, and content.

Page titles should include relevant keywords and be no longer than 60 characters. Meta descriptions provide a brief summary of the page's content and should also include relevant keywords. Header tags (H1, H2, H3) help organize content on the page and should also include keywords.

Content is a crucial component of on-page optimization. The content should be high-quality, informative, and engaging for the user. It should also include relevant keywords without keyword stuffing, which is the practice of overusing keywords in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings.

Off-page optimization

Off-page optimization refers to the process of improving a website's ranking through external factors such as backlinks and social media. Backlinks are links from other websites that point to your site. They are a crucial ranking factor for search engines, as they indicate that other websites consider your content to be valuable and relevant.

Social media can also play a role in off-page optimization. By sharing content on social media, you can increase the visibility of your website and attract more backlinks.

Local SEO

Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website for local search results. This is particularly important for businesses that have a physical location or serve a specific geographic area. Example: you own a boutique in Schererville, a Chicago suburb, and want people to know where you are and what you offer. You're going to target the Schererville area, of course, but also branch out to other nearby suburbs - Merrilleville, Hammond - and maybe even downtown Chicago, as well.

This can also be effective for brick-and-mortar businesses in the tourism and hospitality industries. Say you just bought a bed and breakfast in picturesque Door County, Wisconsin. You know that this region is a major tourist destionation, and you want your website to draw in visitors. You also know that a large percentage of the region's customers are from large Midwestern metropolitian areas: Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Paul/Minneapolis, etc. Thus, you'll want to utilize SEO based on those cities rather than in Door County itself. This semi-local SEO application can be helpful for all kinds of businesses in high-tourism areas.

To improve your website's local SEO, you should include your business's name, address, and phone number (NAP) on your website and in online directories. You should also create Google My Business and Bing Places for Business profiles, which will allow your business to appear in local search results. Make sure your business is showing up on sites/apps like TripAdvisor as well.

Mobile optimization

With the increasing use of mobile devices, mobile optimization has become an essential component of SEO. Google now prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in its search results, so it's crucial to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices.

This includes using responsive design, which automatically adjusts the layout of your website to fit the screen size of the device being used. It also includes minimizing page load times, as slow-loading pages can negatively impact user experience and search engine rankings.

Real world examples

Here are some examples of how businesses have used SEO to improve their online visibility and drive traffic to their websites:

  1. HubSpot: The marketing and sales software company uses keyword-rich blog content to drive traffic to their website. They also optimize their website's pages with targeted keywords, meta tags, and title tags to improve their search engine rankings.

  2. The Home Depot: The home improvement retailer uses local SEO to drive traffic to their physical stores. They optimize their website and Google My Business listings with location-based keywords, address information, and reviews to improve their visibility in local search results.

  3. Moz: The SEO software company creates high-quality, long-form content that targets specific keywords related to their products and services. They also use internal linking and social media promotion to boost the visibility of their content and improve their search engine rankings.

  4. Airbnb: The online vacation rental marketplace uses content marketing and social media to drive traffic to their website. They create travel guides and destination-specific content that targets long-tail keywords, and they promote this content on social media to reach a wider audience.

  5. Dollar Shave Club: The online men's grooming company uses video marketing and social media to drive traffic to their website. They create entertaining and informative videos that target specific keywords and share them on social media to increase their reach and engagement.

These are just a few examples of how businesses have used SEO to improve their online visibility and drive traffic to their websites. By creating high-quality, keyword-rich content and optimizing their websites for search engines, businesses can attract more visitors, generate leads, and increase their revenue.

SEO is a crucial component of any online marketing strategy. By optimizing your website for search engines, you can attract more organic traffic and improve your online visibility. While SEO can be complex, focusing on the basics such as keywords, on-page optimization, off-page optimization, local SEO, and mobile optimization can have a significant impact on your website's ranking in search engine results pages.

Imperium Group is an American public relations and marketing consultancy firm. Founded in 2016, it specializes in guaranteed placements, creating utmost transparency for its clients. Imperium Group generates over 15M impressions a month for its clients. Its team is based out of New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles. 

For more information about Imperium Group, please see


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