What is SEO and How Does It Work?

What Is SEO and How Does It Work?

Timotheus Update: This post was originally published on 10 June 2019 on this website – Passive Online Revenue. Due to rebranding and consolidation of the two sites, the post is now on this website – https://timotheuslee.com/digital-marketing/what-is-seo-and-how-does-it-work/

In my earlier post, I wrote about How to Learn Digital Marketing Online – The Ultimate Guide. It was an extensive article. And because it was extensive, I could not cover each sub topic in details. As such, in this post, and other future posts, I will share more details about each sub topic. Starting with What Is SEO and How Does It Work?

As mentioned before in the article above, I am sharing all this knowledge to help anyone interested to know more about digital marketing. That person can be someone who is seeking a career in digital marketing, already a marketer and wish to learn more about digital marketing, or even an entrepreneur who wishes to find out more about digital marketing.

Before we dive into SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, let me share about what are search engines and how do they work?

What Are Search Engines?

Picture this. I am getting along the day as usual, doing my scheduled tasks. Then suddenly, I become aware of a need. It can be a product, service or information. So I whip out my smartphone, and I do a search on Google.

Sounds familiar? Have you done something similar? Maybe not on a phone but on a computer or tablet?

What are search engines?

Well, you have just experienced a search engine. It can be Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Baidu, or many others.

Today, many of us rely on these search engines to find lots of things. We use these search engines for research, reading product reviews, finding solutions, purchases, and many more uses.

And Google has the biggest number of people using it to do their searches. As you can see in the image below, currently, they have a whopping 93% share of the search engine market!

Search Engine Market Share
Search Engine Market Share: Google – 92.25% | Bing – 2.41% | Yahoo – 2.07% | Baidu – 1.01 % | Others – 1.11%  – statcounter GlobalStats

While the other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, Baidu and the rest seem to have a small percentage share of the search volume, do not ignore them.

According to Internet World Stats, as of March 2019, there are 4.3 billion people actively using the Internet. Think about it. For example Bing has 2.41% of the search engine market share, which is around 92 million people. That is still substantial amount of traffic to capture, right?

Plus, Bing and Yahoo share the same algorithm. This means that when you rank on 1st Page of Bing, you also rank 1st Page on Yahoo. And this translates to the combined traffic potential from both search engines.

How Do Search Engines Work?

Search engines exist to provide you, the person doing the search, the most accurate and relevant results. Also, results that provide quality information. But how do they work?

Well, first there are these things called spiders or search bots. They crawl the world wide web (hence, the term spider) in search of content.

When they identify content, for example your website, they find out what it is all about. Then they go back to the serach engine database and indexes this content.

How Search Engines Work?
How Search Engines Work?

This is similar to a librarian who receives a new book. The librarian then understands what the book is all about. The librarian then indexes the book, and stores it away in the library.

When someone does a search using a search engine, he or she would usually type in a word or a phrase. This is called keyword or keywords. I will talk about the importance of keywords in a future article.

The search engine takes the keywords and goes to the search engine database. Referring to the keywords, the program searches for quality content that is relevant. Based on search ranking factors, such as quality and relevance (there are plenty more factors), the program produces a list of search results.

This is what you see after you do a search on the search engine. The list is called the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). An SERP usually has only 10 listings with some advertisement listings.

When there are more than 10 listings for the search result, the rest will be listed on subsequent pages. And they will also be 10 search listings per page.

Why Should You Care?

In the above introduction paragraphs, I have mentioned that this article is for anyone interested to find out more about digital marketing. In this article, we are focusing on SEO. It is hoped that the knowledge shared here will help you learn more about SEO, and how to use it for your digital marketing work.

Now back to why you should care about how search engines work and about SEO?

Millions of companies are doing it. They are getting their business websites listed on SERPs. Many are even getting ranked on 1st Page of SERPs.

Some of these companies are your competitors. They are getting ranked. And they are getting traffic that generates revenue.

Here is a study by Chitika that shows how important it is to be on the 1st Page of SERPs.

Percentage of Google Traffic by Results Page - Chiitika. This shows how important it is to be on 1st Page of search results

As you can see from the above research, 91.5% of searchers will choose and click on a listing that is on the 1st Page of search results. This makes it very important for marketers to make sure that the business website is on the 1st Page and stays on the 1st Page.

When searchers click on a listing that is on the 1st Page, they visit the web page. As such, being on the 1st Page drives more traffic to a site. And when the searchers visit the site, it is an opportunity to convert them to customers.

SEO is a long term opportunity. More and more people are getting online. The mobile phone has made it much more easier to access the Internet, and find stuff. As such, more and more people are spending more time online and searching for what they need.

According to internetlivestats.com, Google gets over 3.5 billion searches PER DAY! That is traffic that has potential customers for you.

More Stats About SEO You Should Know

When your website is listed on 1st page of SERPs, your web traffic increases 9-fold. There is sales potential with increase of up to 42% in the 1st month. And 100% increase in sales in the 2nd month. (‘problem solved’, BtoB 92, no. 15, November 12, 2007, p21)

With such potential for sales and revenue, as a marketer, it is your job to see that your company’s website gets listed on search results. Preferably on the 1st Page of SERPs.

So, What’s Next?

Next, as a marketer, you need to understand about On Page SEO and Off Page SEO. I will be writing about these two important topics next. Stay tuned. Better still, sign up for my newsletter to get updates.

Can’t Wait?

Eager to find out more about digital marketing? And you would like the full and complete knowledge Now? Here is a link to the platform where I learned digital marketing, and stay updated on the latest trends.

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The Bonus!

When you sign up, add a comment below to let me know. The bonus is that you get me as your mentor. Who am I? I have over 20 years of digital marketing experience, and I can help you succeed as a digital marketer or in your online business. If you would like to know more about me, go to this page About Me.

If you have ANY questions or comments about this article, ANY at all, please submit them as comments below. I will be happy to help out.

May everything you do succeed & prosper!


11 thoughts on “What Is SEO and How Does It Work?”

  1. Thank you Timotheus for the comprehensive guide on SEO.

    SEO is the heart and soul of traffic and that’s why it takes so much time and effort to create a very good content to rank in Google.

    Organic traffic are the most targeted visitors you can get to your blog posts.

    If you can master SEO, you can dominate Google Traffic!

    1. You’re welcome, Winson. It is going to get even more comprehensive. haha
      Watch for my upcoming articles on On Page SEO and Off Page SEO. I am sure you will appreciate them. So, please do join my mailing list to get updated. 🙂

  2. As someone who is currently trying to build traffic to their new website, this article is very helpful! Thanks for writing it. I’ll bookmark it to keep it as a reference.

    1. You’re welcome, Daniel. Glad this helps you to build and grow traffic. Watch for my upcoming posts about On Page SEO and Off Page SEO. I am sure these upcoming articles will help you with traffic even more. Please join my mailing list to get updates. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the article on SEO, I really enjoyed it. I have been working online for a while now but have never really paid any attention to the other search engines. You have really opened my eyes on how much traffic they get which we should go after and leverage. I know the importance of being on page one of the search engines and if I have not been worried about ranking on Yahoo and Bing I bet many others are not either. Maybe that would be a nice playing field.

    1. You’re welcome, Dena. And you are right. Others ignore Bing and Yahoo. Those who work to get ranked on these search engines can take advantage of that, and get ranked higher and faster. I have many of my posts rank on Page 1 of these search engines, and getting lots of traffic from them. 🙂

  4. This article is brilliant because it talks about SEO and exemplifies it in the way it’s written. This could have been a boring article on SEO but instead was engaging and made me the reader want to keep reading. You use relatable analogies to reinforce your points and push the narrative forward. Impressive job.

    1. Thanks very much, Thabo! Your kind words of compliments made my day. 🙂

      I do hope all readers will enjoy this article as much as you do.

      Also, I have elaborated more about SEO, particularly On Page SEO. Please check out my new post about the 12 On Page SEO Techniques that can help you rank on 1st Page of search engine results.

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