Guide: What Is SEO?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 9, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

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 optimization (SEO) can be an effective strategy to use when building your online presence. Using different SEO methods for your marketing campaign can also help you analyze the most effective ways to approach your target audience as well as generate organic traffic. With proper SEO implementation, you can increase quality traffic to your website and increase your conversion rate. In this article, you will learn what SEO is, how on-page and off-page SEO work in tandem to produce results and how to implement SEO into your marketing campaign.

What is SEO?

SEO, short for search engine optimization, is the process of attracting organic traffic to your website. Organic traffic refers to visitors that have found your site through their own searches, rather than through paid advertisements. When implemented strategically, SEO can be used to generate leads for products or services that your business offers. For instance, a content marketer may implement SEO strategies when writing informative articles to generate traffic that can be converted to subscribers or paying customers.

Read more: 7 Ways To Market a Small Business

Types of SEO

There are two main categories of SEO that a marketing campaign might encompass. On-page SEO relates to configurations on your website while off-page SEO refers to the factors that can affect how your website is indexed by search engines. The following information can help provide a more in-depth look at how these two types of SEO work together.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the elements of optimization that you can control directly on your website. For instance, you might allow search engines to index your website as well as specific pieces of content by selecting a 'do-follow' option within your content management system. You can also control other elements with on-page SEO such as internal links, keywords and rich snippets that target key search phrases. Essentially, on-page SEO is something that you can control and configure to ensure your website is ranking within search engines.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to the factors that influence your website rankings through various search engines. These are influencing uncontrollable elements, as they happen outside of your website. Additionally, your on-page SEO strategies such as keyword building can influence how the off-page SEO affects your rankings within a search engine.

A good example of off-page SEO is how major search engines might use information about your website to give it a rating. Some aspects search engine algorithms take into account include the amount of content within the website, how long your website has been active and how relevant your content is to keywords and phrases users might type into the search field. Off-page SEO also works by rating the authority of your website based on the on-page elements you have implemented.

Related: Creating a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

How to use SEO for your marketing campaign

When implementing SEO strategies, it can be essential to choose effective approaches that strengthen your marketing campaign. For instance, if you want to increase your search engine rankings, you might consider SEO with content marketing. The following information provides a guide on some of the ways you can implement SEO into your marketing strategies.

Creating content for the target audience

You can use SEO to create content that specifically relates to your target audience. For instance, you might figure out who your audience is, what information they are seeking when they visit your site and information about how they search for competitor websites. Effective content strategies implement SEO to drive traffic from search engines to a website. This traffic can then be converted to leads and customers, depending on how the content affects them. Creating content that relates directly to the user can be an effective way to implement SEO in your marketing campaign.

Researching appropriate keywords

Another way to implement effective SEO is to research relevant keywords and search phrases your target audience might use when looking for information. You can research specific words and key phrases that relate to the content within your site, and then you can implement these keywords for use within your content creation. For instance, if you sell recipe books online, you might implement keyword SEO as part of your marketing campaign to reach audiences that are looking for relevant information on the topic.

Building internal links and backlinks

Within your website, you should include relevant links to pages and content within the site to point readers in the right direction when they search for related information. Including internal linking within your content can be beneficial because it keeps the reader on your site longer, increasing the chances the reader will make a purchase or subscribe to your business services.

Backlinks work similarly by pointing readers to relevant information on your website, however, backlinks are placed within another business's blog or site to promote partnership and increase reach to your audience. For instance, you might request a partner website to link to your page if the partner site includes information that can be related back to your website. This can generate new organic traffic and increase your site's conversion rate.

Integrating social media content

You can also connect your website content to business social media accounts to promote keywords and other SEO elements you have used. When integrating social media, you might use your posts to introduce new content, information or promote a product. The key to using SEO in this way is that you should aim to include the same keywords in your social media content that appear in your website content.

Evaluating search engine results

As you implement SEO in various ways, you will also need to evaluate the results of each strategy over time. Major search engines can take a long time to rank your website, so consistently assessing how your website is performing can be key to evaluating which SEO strategies have been the most effective for your campaign. Your search engine results can also help you analyze your SEO approaches and how you might improve or develop different strategies for your marketing campaign.

Read more: Marketing's Promotional Mix: Definition and How To Use It

Important parts of SEO strategy

There are several key elements of effective SEO strategies that you can consider when developing SEO for your marketing campaigns. The following aspects of SEO strategy can prove to be essential when you create your SEO strategies.

Audience and industry

A key part of any SEO strategy is the audience and industry focus of the content. As an example, if your website topics focus on fitness, your audience should expect fitness-related content within your site. You might consider who you are creating content for, and what information you are providing related to the industry your business identifies as.

Adequate keyword research

Thinking about your target audience and industry should lead to adequate keyword and search phrase research. You might think about what words and phrases your target audience might use to find your website. Using this information, you can develop a viable list of relevant keywords that help your website achieve higher rankings within search engines.

Results and analytics

SEO strategy will also evaluate the results of various approaches as well as the analytics behind each result. For instance, analyzing the results of your strategies might include assessing the increase in your rankings, which keywords ranked higher or analyzing why specific backlinks are not working.


Indexing refers to the way search engines rank your website and content. This is important for SEO strategy because when done inconsistently, such as using a different URL each time for a single page, search engines can fail to rank and show your site. When done consistently, such as using the same URL for each site element and including relevant internal links, search engines can successfully find and rank your site.

Mobile SEO

As more websites and platforms become available to mobile devices, mobile SEO is also becoming more essential in developing effective strategies. Many search engines now show relevant results from mobile devices first, meaning that optimizing your content and SEO strategies for mobile content is becoming more of a priority. You might consider different website analytics such as the number of mobile visitors vs. desktop users to help you develop new ways of approaching mobile-friendly SEO strategy.

SEO can encompass a variety of different elements, both on-page and off-page. When used effectively, SEO should increase the quality of your organic traffic and help get your website in front of the right audience.

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