What is SEO?

by | Oct 21, 2021 | SEO

What is SEO? aka search engine optimisation

Do you fall into the category of knowing you need SEO, aka search engine optimisation, but what is SEO?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I quite often speak to small business owners just like you about search engine optimisation and how to make their web pages rank higher in search engines.

Let’s take SEO by the horns, though, and break it down and see what SEO can do for your small business.

What is SEO in a nutshell?

Search engine optimisation is about organically improving your website’s search engine rankings to get it to the top of the search results.

If it was only that simple.

There are many moving parts when it comes to SEO, as you’ll see below, but if you can get to the top of those search engines organically, you’re laughing.

how does seo work tips from she rocks digital hobart

How does SEO work

Search engines use crawlers known as spiders that crawl your site and then bring back those results to create an index in Google.

When you search for something in Google, the algorithm then goes through those results and pulls out what they think is the best match.

They pull these results based on the following ranking factors:


Google first looks at pulling up pages that are relevant to your search query.

You don’t want to be searching for vodka, but the search results show you natural spring water. (although perhaps that’s just me and the universe trying to tell me I need to drink more water 😜).

So how do you make it to the top of search pages? Well, Google then looks at:


Show that you’re an expert in your field by the content that you produce.

Knowledge is power here. And you need to showcase your knowledge and demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about. A great way to do this is by linking to other relevant pages that back up or compliment what you’re saying.

You can also include an author bio to showcase your formal qualifications if you have them. But it’s not the be all and end all. 


Ensure that your content is accurate and on point and show Google that you’re an authority by building up your backlinks.

Google will look at the quality and quantity of links that point back to your site. Quality is an essential factor as bad quality links can be detrimental too and you don’t want that.


Trustworthiness refers to the author, the content and the website overall. Your website and the writers need to provide honest and accurate information to show Google you’re trustworthy.

And by doing that, people will use your site as the go to in your industry. They’ll share your website and talk about it on social media as they’re comfortable and confident that the information you provide is on point.

Which then also helps show and tell Google that you’re website is trustworthy.

Having an SSL certificate comes into play with this too. Your SSL is a layer of protection provided by your host company (sometimes there’s a cost and sometimes not, I know Siteground don’t charge but check with your host if you don’ have an SSL).

An SSL displays a little padlock next to the search bar indicating your site is secure and showing visitors that your website is safe. If you don’t have an SSL, visitors will generally get a “do not enter” message or something to that effect which scares them away, and they move on to the next business.

SEO isn’t an overnight success

You need to be aware and remember that SEO isn’t an overnight success, and that is super important to understand. It really is a slow burn, but once the foundations are set correctly, you can keep reaping the benefits years on, and you’re on the right track with your SEO.

If you want to keep on top of the Google algorithm changes and your competitors, you need to keep working on and having a digital marketing plan, or SEO strategy can help with this.

If you want quick results to get traffic to your website, you really need to do Google Ads or social media ads. But remember, once you stop the ads or turn them off, then the traffic instantly stops too. So, you need to weigh up your goals and what you are looking for short and long term. But you don’t need to choose one or the other either. They work brilliantly together.

Where to start with your SEO?

In a nutshell, search engine optimisation all starts with your keywords. It’s about targeting the right keywords, also known as search queries, that will bring you quality traffic and have low/mid competition, so you can rank for them.

There’s no point in targeting keywords that are competitive if you’re a new site. But depending on a few things, one being if your website has been around a bit, then you may be in a position to tackle them.

What is SEO marketing?

SEO marketing refers to the content that you produce:


blog posts and articles





These will all be ranked and picked up in search engine results, which will also help you present as an authority in your field when it comes to your site visitors.

SEO marketing should be one part of your digital marketing strategy but it’s the part that will have Google crawling and ranking your website.

SEO plays a big part in some social media channels too.

When you look at Pinterest and YouTube they’re social media channels but are also massive search engines in their own right. So, if you apply SEO in these areas, too then, you’ll be rocking those channels as well.

Have no idea where even to start with your SEO?

Lucky for you, we have put together a handy checklist that steps you through all the basics you should be covering.

You can work through it, checking off what you’re already doing well, and mark what needs work.

Or if it’s not your cup of tea or hot chocolate then let’s chat about your online presence and we can make a plan to start rocking your SEO.

ruth slade from she rocks digital website and seo expert hobart

Ruth Slade is a Hobart based digital marketing specialist in SEO and website design, as well as social media, content creation and graphic design. Ruth loves working with small businesses and rocking their digital world. A lot of small businesses don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to the digital space, which is where Ruth comes in.

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