What is SEO? Definition and important types to know about

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a method of improving online visibility. SEO is important to improve website rankings and to increase organic traffic on your site. SEO can make it easier to market to a target audience and get the best return on investment for your team's marketing funds. In this article, we answer the question, 'What is SEO?' and explain how you can use it when marketing a product or service.

What is SEO?

If you're wondering 'What is SEO?', it's simply a set of practices to improve a website's content to improve the site's rankings. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a collection of techniques used to improve the searchability of a website. Instead of using the traditional methods of advertising to potential customers or subscribers, SEO is a new way to help you generate organic traffic to a website.

The most preferred method for a person to get information about the solution to a problem or to fulfil a need is to search it online. This means that most people looking for a service or product try to find it online first by typing a relevant keyword in a search engine. If you use SEO, you can increase the chances that your product or your client's product shows up in the search results.

Related: Digital marketing skills: definition and examples

What are the different types of SEO?

The following are the two main types of SEO techniques you can use to increase visibility:

On-page SEO webpage

Internal linking, key phrases and rich snippets are different ways to help ensure that search engines rank a website. These are crucial to optimising the content on the page and can help generate higher organic traffic. It's also why many refer to it as on-page optimisation because all changes take place on the site only.

Related: How to become an SEO expert

Off-page webpage

This type of SEO relies on factors that may be slightly challenging to control. These optimisation strategies require in-depth knowledge of how different search engines categorise a website and its algorithms. It's also important to know the exact keywords or phrases that are being popularly used by people to search for particular business, products or services in a certain industry.

Different search engines take into account the size of the website, its launch date, the design, the amount and quality of content it contains. Search engines focus on the use of relevant keywords added in title tags or descriptions. The two methods are different because of their implementation and the way they function for effective SEO.

How to use SEO for business growth

Whether you're using SEO for a small, medium, or large-scale business, it's important to have a strong online presence for marketing. Here are six steps that you can follow to employ SEO for business growth:

1. Conduct market research

Before implementing the tools of SEO in a marketing campaign, it's helpful to know about your target audience. For example, if you're selling hiking equipment or sports gear, then it might be good to try to market to a younger or more adventurous audience. If you're providing a spa service, the demographic to target might be different.

The next step is to figure out the terms that they might search for your product or service. Knowing this can allow you to customise your SEO techniques to target the audience that's likely interested in the content or the service your team or client wants to offer. Then, you can integrate those keywords in your content.

Related: 8 essential marketing manager skills

2. Use relevant keywords or phrases

Keywords and phrases are an essential method of getting a website to rank better on search engine results. These are essential terms with a higher search volume. For example, a website for a yoga class might be more likely to appear at the top if people are searching for fitness solutions, exercises or weight loss techniques.

Even though all of these do not include yoga or stretching, the content is still relevant for the audience that's searching for it. They may want to join a yoga class to get fit, lose weight or gain more flexibility. By incorporating relevant keywords or phrases, it could become easier to generate organic traffic to the webpage and bring more people over to a business. This way, the business you work for, or your client's business, can maintain a steady bottom line and generate more revenue.

3. Add high-quality backlinks or links

Backlinks work to increase organic traffic to a website in a short span of time. They direct visitors from credible blogs or guest posts to a particular product, service or business web page. For example, a popular cooking blog can feature a link to a business that sells organic produce or kitchen appliances.

These backlinks are also known as inbound links, because you can get inbound traffic from such links through different sources. It's important for businesses to focus on generating high-quality backlinks because that increases the ranking of the website in search engine results. Using quality links within a website that take the visitor to different landing pages or sections can be a good idea for optimisation. The following are two ways that internal linking can prove to be useful:

  • Visitors can easily find items of interest on the site and quickly make a purchase.

  • Visitors spend more time on the website exploring other content.

Related: 11 ways to increase organic growth

4. Incorporate social media accounts

Many small to mid-range businesses use social media marketing to promote their products, content or services. By incorporating your social media accounts into a website, you can increase its credibility and also boost its visibility. It also makes content sharing easier because many people use social media.

There are a number of different methods to share your content across social media networks. You can make a video, take photos, use a graphic or write a post. This allows you to engage various groups of consumers across the globe and pitch your items or business to them.

5. Increase mobile responsiveness

It might be helpful to optimise a website for mobile use. Having a mobile-friendly or responsive web page can increase the chances of visitor engaging with your content or browsing through for a few minutes. This can improve its ranking among the top ten results in the search results, for example, and establish trust with the consumer. Many people use their smartphones to access the Internet rather than computers or laptops, so they expect websites to be accessible on such devices and have all the information displayed clearly.

For mobile optimisation, it might be necessary to first use analytical tools and get an idea of the search preferences of your audiences. If the target customer is likely to look up products or businesses on their smartphones, then you can experience business growth in a short span of time. Your website can rank higher than your competition this way, especially if your competitor has not optimised their website for mobile users.

6. Focus on indexing

This is an effective SEO strategy that you can implement with the help of a professional. Search engines are likely to rank a website if different pages are consistently indexed. Having the same URLs, with a proper linking structure, for various sections of web pages allows the search engine to rank it higher and boosts visibility.

The meta tags and titles are also indexed by search engines, and if relevant, they're included within high priority results. If indexed, the web pages automatically appear in search results when people search for specific topics or keywords. You can also submit individual pages for indexing to search engines to further boost visibility.

Related: What is a web crawler? (Plus definition and importance)

Why is SEO useful for marketing?

One of the biggest reasons why SEO is useful and crucial for marketing is awareness. Optimisation is highly effective for to create awareness about a business or brand and make more people familiar with your products, services and logo design. Businesses and individuals alike conduct searches when they want to find the best solutions for their problems or answers to queries. The higher a website ranks in the search results, the more traffic it's likely to get.

SEO can also be directly responsible for increasing revenue and sales. It could help you achieve your marketing goals and objectives in specific time periods. It includes a variety of techniques and methods that help attract consumers to a business. By applying them successfully, you can plan and execute an effective SEO strategy that results in a substantial increase in traffic for a company or client.

Related: What does an SEO analyst do? (With skills and duties)

Explore more articles