What Is SEO? Definition, Types & Applications

July 24, 2023

What Is SEO?

SEO or search engine optimization is the process of improving your website to get the attention of organic traffic. Organic traffic is free and has high intent because people are actively searching for what you offer. They want to consume your content or buy your product. It's also evergreen, so it grows over time.

According to Search Engine Journal, the top page in a Google search has an average click-through rate of 25.6%. To take advantage of SEO, be there when people search for things related to your offer. Use the right buyer intent keywords and share content relevant to the user's goal.

What Are The Types Of SEO?

White hat SEO is improving your rankings in the SERPs while still staying in compliance with Google's TOS and Webmaster Guidelines—for example, content that meets search intent, an optimized website, and quality UX. Failure to use only white hat SEO can result in penalties or even get your site banned from search engines. 

Black hat SEO is actions that go against search engine guidelines like keyword stuffing, cloaking, or private link networks. Black hat SEO aims to rank higher in the SERPs faster by manipulating the bots. However, black hat SEO tactics can wipe your website from search engines. Or, at the very least, receive a substantial drop in metrics.

Gray hat SEO combines white and black hat tactics like buying backlinks or creating link bait content. Grey hat SEO is risky. At the same time, it might not result in penalties from the SERPs. In 2024, grey hat SEO isn't advised, as it could result in your site losing rankings.

Negative SEO is a competitor attempting to sabotage your site's ranking in the SERPs using methods like negative reviews, hacking content, or sending spammy backlinks. The goal of negative SEO is to lower your position to benefit theirs. Negative SEO is out of your control. But to circumvent issues, have a sound security system. Then consistently monitor your metrics to make sure there's no unusual activity on your site.

What Is A Search Engine?

Search engines are web-based tools that help users find information on the Internet. Search engine algorithms crawl, index, search, and rank webpages to find the most applicable content to the search query based on relevancy, content, and authority. The main goal of the search engine is to generate the best results for the user.

In 2024, the most popular search engine is Google. According to HubSpot, Google controls 80% of the search market share and 95% of mobile traffic. Other favored search engines include Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo. Each search engine is unique and has its own ranking system. But they are all frequently modified based on criteria like keywords, content, backlinks, and user information.

How Does SEO Work?

SEO works by optimizing a website's content to increase its ranking in the SERPs using keywords, link building, and content creation. In 2024, search engines want the most relevant answer for each search query. But according to Google, there are over 200 ranking factors. So the bots' access criteria like speed, backlink profile, mobile responsiveness, and user experience. Then they determine who ranks at the top based on the search query. SEO also requires audience and competitor research, goals, and long-term strategy to get and stay at the top of the SERPs. 

Why Do You Need SEO?

You need SEO because it's one of the best ways to increase your website's visibility online and rank higher in the search engine. According to Saleslion, 81% of consumers search the internet before they make a purchase. They visit sites at the top of the search engine because those listings provide the most relevant answer. But people won't see your site if you're not at the top. So you need SEO to get you there. 

How Does SEO Increase Website Traffic?

SEO increases website traffic in two ways, on-page SEO and off page SEO. BrightEdge says the average SEO campaign generates 1000% more traffic than the average social media marketing campaign. But it's getting harder to capture organic traffic. Factor in the complexity of Google's algorithms and people's short attention span; you need SEO to rank in the SERPs.

But you need to do it right. Give Google what it wants for every part of SEO. Miss one of them, and you won't rank high in the SERPs. In 2024, the top way to generate more organic traffic is to answer people's questions with SEO content. Don't waste time on fluff. Instead, focus on goal completion so users get the answers they need when they visit your site. 

What Are The Three Pillars Of SEO?

1. On-page SEO 

On-page SEO comprises a lot of little details and tells Google you're a good website. But you can't miss any, or you won't rank. On-page SEO includes high-quality content and the right keywords. Use tools like Keywords Everywhere or Google Trends to do keyword research and find the best searches. Then identify what people are looking for now and be strategic with the wording of each heading and title tag. 

Add professional-level images with alt tags on your site's top web page. According to Growth Marketing Pro, content combined with pictures has an 80% greater chance of being read. Next, include a clear call to action and focus on the user experience. For example, ensure your website is accessible and easy to navigate. Then people will stay longer, and you'll lower your bounce rate. Also, leverage social proof and include testimonials and reviews. And adopt an internal link strategy. Internal links make your site easier to digest. But they're also a chance to develop a clear site structure and maximize your crawl budget.


Use advanced techniques like schema markups and writing for the featured snippets. Or, to rank even higher, adhere to Google's core web vitals like fast load times and visual stability of the page. Provide the best web design and page experience, and have fast load speeds. According to Backlinko, the average page speed of a first-page Google search result is 1.65 seconds.

2. Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO happens externally through a website's backlink profile or online reviews. However, it also drives organic traffic to your website and can influence where you land in the SERPs. For example, Google's public information indicates that almost 80% of its algorithm count elements not on the page.

So the more channels you leverage, the better your chances of ranking. Google has stated that social media shares are not a direct linking factor. But being active on multiple channels can help expand your reach. This SEO effort can result in more visits to your website and secure a higher ranking in search engines.

3. Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to the crawl budget management of your website. Crawl budgets are determined by the size of your site, how often its updated, its quality, popularity, and authority. Don't waste your crawl budget on duplicate content or broken links. Instead, use your robots.txt file to set boundaries for search crawlers. Tell them what pages you want crawled and the ones that are off-limits. The easier search engine bots can crawl and index your site, the more results the user will see.

As a result, the user experience is enhanced, and Google will cast favor on your site. Next, ensure you have fast load speeds. Google's research showed that the chance of a bounce increased by 32% when a page load time went from one to three seconds and by 90% when the page load time went from one to five seconds. Use a tool like Google Page Speed Insights to check how fast your site loads and what areas to improve.


Remove 301 redirect chains, write an SEO-rich meta description for each web page, and fix any errors on your site. Also, consider that 60% of all traffic comes from mobile. So your website needs to be mobile-responsive with mobile-friendly website navigation.

What Are The Most Influential SEO Ranking Factors?

Build a good website

Websites that have a high search engine ranking include specific components like good content, a proper SEO search page title, professional images and alt tags, and well-structured headings. They also use semantic and buyer intent keywords and target keyword variations. But to optimize an article and rank in the SERPs, organize and structure it the right way. For example, put your top keyword in your URL, title, first paragraph, h2 headings, and content. Then use variations in your secondary content.

Use an SEO tool like Surfer SEO. It shares how often you should use your keyword and other variations to add to your content. Content is one of the best ways to generate organic traffic and is a leading ranking factor. Demand Metric says content marketing generates over 3x as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less. 

First, build topical relevance by targeting the right keywords and long tail keywords. Use tools like Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to find the best terms and search phrases you can rank for fast. Then focus on long-tail keywords with low competition. Check out the top-ranked posts. 

  • What are they ranking for?
  • What terms are they missing?
  • Do they have an FAQ?
  • What subtopics do they include?

Understand the meaning of the search. For example, What do you want to give the reader? How can you achieve this goal in the most precise way possible? When you concentrate on providing the reader the information they're looking for and still giving Google what it wants, like relevant text and content that follows the E-A-T principle, your site will rank in the SERPs. 

Next, develop an internal linking system that connects relevant content. As a result, you'll increase the number of users who click on your website through the search engine results page. One local SEO tip for small businesses is to write for your users first and the search engines second to give them the best experience.

Use short URLs optimized for search

Google likes short URLs 3-5 words long. In addition, URLs with the keyword and location tend to rank better in search engines even after updates to Googles algorithm.

Adopt an internal link strategy

Internal links are hyperlinks that point to different pages on the same site and are a way to increase your page authority. They pass link juice and tell Google which website pages are more important. Internal links are SEO basics. But they can improve the user experience and provide easy navigation. Then people stay on your site longer, showing Google you're providing good content.

Search Engine Land suggests that Google's page ranking algorithm regards links as one of the top two criteria. As a result, internal linking can also provide search engines with a clear path to crawl and index more of your pages. First, use SEO tools like Google Analytics or WebSite Auditor to develop a link-building strategy. Then include internal linking to descriptive anchor text to maximize its effectiveness.

Get backlinks from sites with high domain authority

Backlinks are votes to your site from websites on the Internet. These 'votes' send a signal to Google that your site is legit. Google has stated backlinks are decreasing in importance regarding ranking relevancy. But in 2024, they're still critical to getting the top spots in the SERPs. A study by Backlinko reported that sites in the top position of Google have more backlinks than those in lower positions. The secret is to share the best content. Then other sites will want to link to you.

To increase website visibility and attract more customers focus on building backlinks to the pages that need them the most. Use software like Ahrefs Site Explorer to access the most influential pages (your money pages). How many links do they have? Identify target pages for link building. Then leverage the copycat method and see where your competition gets their links. Can you get a backlink there too? Is there a blog or local business you can reach out to and request a link? Then get links from sites with high domain authority and local or topical relevance.

Pro Tip:

Find link opportunities through local outreach, viral PR campaigns, or creating a digital real estate property to leverage this SEO marketing strategy.

3 Reasons Why Organic Traffic Is So Valuable In 2024

1. Organic Traffic Gives You An Edge Over The Competition

Organic traffic gives you an edge over the competition. For example, when your site is at the top of Google, you own prime digital real estate. Your site is like a digital flywheel that draws quality users and gets them to act on your offer. First, adhere to SEO practice guidelines like hyper-focused content and long tail keywords. (This tip is essential in a copywriting niche that depends on website traffic for leads or sales). 

Next, consider the customer journey and leverage keywords that align with every step to build trust and increase brand awareness. Provide the best response for the search query and give people a reason to visit your site. Think of your website as digital real estate investing. Then be ready to do the SEO work and dominate the market.

2. Organic Traffic Is Sustainable

Organic traffic is sustainable. Unlike paid ads that need continued spend to stay at the top of the search engines. Organic traffic that follows SEO best practices like content marketing, user experience, web design, and a clean backlink profile can secure a spot on the first page of Google. According to BrightEdge, search engines are the starting point for 68% of online experiences. Organic traffic captures the highest-quality visitors because it's highly targeted. And it has a lower bounce rate than paid ads and produces higher conversions.

Paid ads target a large audience. On the other hand, organic search is provided by the SERPs to people actively searching for what you offer. Organic traffic can also build trust with your audience and search engine providers. Therefore, SEO plays a fundamental role in search engine marketing. But your SEO efforts need to be ongoing, and you need to develop a digital marketing strategy to get results. However, you don't need to spend money to get to the top. Just focus on providing the right content for the right people. 

3. Get Higher CTRs For Less $$$

CTRs (click-through rates) measure how often people click on your content after viewing it in the SERPs. Websites at the top of the SERPs get a ton of eyeballs, and they're 10X more likely to receive a click from the user. According to Backlinko, the number one search result listing has an average CTR of 27.6%.

In addition, data suggest that the CRT of an organic listing is 8.5X more than paid ads. So the higher your position in the search engine rankings, the better your CTRs. Userguiding reports that 86% of people ignore paid ads and only click the top organic search results. As a result, listings at the top of organic search results capture some of the best traffic on the internet. Implement a lead generation in digital marketing strategy to stay top of mind and connect with people at the start of their customer journey and get even more traffic in 2024

SEO vs. Paid Ads


Leveraging SEO can get your site in front of people looking for your product or service today. For example, Firstpagesage reports that the number one organic result gets 18X more clicks than the number one paid results. And despite PPC ad placements above the organic search results, they get fewer clicks than the top listings in the SERPs.

SEO taps into the greatest source of online traffic, which is a significant benefit. Data suggests that SEO captures 53% of site traffic. In addition, Backlinko reports that the top three organic search results get 75% of all traffic. For people who want to start a digital marketing agency, learning SEO can give them an edge over the competition.

SEO is an essentially cash-free marketing strategy (you pay with your time). Organic traffic is evergreen, so you can get in front of a ton of eyeballs even without spending money. Of course, it takes time and a lot of hard work to land a spot on the top page of Google. But it's still cheaper than running paid ads, and traffic is more stable. 

Paid Ads

PPC ads need constant cash and maintenance to make money. Plus, be an expert at crafting profitable ad campaigns. But even then, you could lose money unless you take a course like John Crestani's Super Affiliate System, but it's not a guarantee.

PPC advertising allows you to pinpoint your target audience and are the right choice for things like limited-time offers or the launch of a new product or service.

Google ads can get quick wins, especially for business models like Shopify dropshipping. But they can be expensive. According to Videnglobe, Google ads are expected to increase by 20%-30% in 2023. SEO drives websites to the top spots that best answer the users' questions. So they're perceived as providing quality information for the user. But paid ads don't answer the question. Instead, they're shown based on the keyword's relevancy in the search bar.

What Is An SEO Strategy?

An SEO strategy includes on-page, off-page, and technical SEO factors to improve where your site sits in the SERPs. SEO is a long game, and the rules are always changing. Use tools like Google Search Console, Google Analytics, or SEMRush to track metrics and monitor key KPIs. Then you can see what SEO technique is working and where you need to pivot to get the most organic traffic. An example of an SEO digital marketing strategy is to adopt SEO-centric AI with a tool like ChatGPT. Then you can create a ton of valuable content with the right target buyer-intent keywords.

Start by prioritizing the level of importance for each keyword. For example, what words drive traffic? What are people looking for online? Next, identify what your audience wants and what questions they need answers to. Use platforms like Answer The Public to find a list of terms that aren't super competitive but that people are looking for now. Then answer those questions as directly as possible. But because you're sharing valuable content, people want to visit your site. As a result, you'll get more organic traffic. And this sends a clear message to Google that you're an expert and deserve a spot at the top of the SERPs.

What Are Applications Of SEO?

National SEO

National SEO is a marketing technique that focuses on ranking in the SERPs on a nationwide scale as opposed to a localized market. This style of SEO uses non-geographical keywords. Instead, the priority is on relevant and most popular keywords. National SEO leverages advanced keyword research and strategic keyword mapping. But it also includes high-quality content, a user-friendly website, and an active online presence on multiple channels. National SEO is a long game and takes considerable time and skill and, getting to the top of Google is a lot harder than other SEO applications.

Local SEO

Local SEO targets a specific location using geo-specific keywords, localized landing pages, and GBP optimization. As a result, your business is more discoverable and visible in web searches. In addition, local SEO can land your listing a spot in the Google 'map pack.' Then your business is listed on both organic and local map searches. But this can improve online visibility and generate more traffic to your website. 

Ecommerce SEO

Ecommerce SEO can funnel in new buyers. But it's also a chance to get free traffic to your online store. Use product descriptions with relevant keywords on every product page, simple URL structures, and a user-friendly website. Get reviews and testimonials and add them to your site. Then adopt an internal linking strategy to maximize your online exposure and get free traffic. 

Voice Search SEO

Voice search SEO is optimizing your content for the right keywords (this includes slang). According to Think With Google, 27% of the global population uses voice search on mobile devices. The secret is to deliver quick and informative answers in your content so Google can quickly pull facts relevant to the search query. For example, use bullet lists, FAQs, or graphics. 

How To Start An SEO Agency

Starting an SEO agency is a way to earn an income online. But you need to follow a process to be successful, and this needs to include things like:

Decide on your SEO niche

Dial down and get super niche-specific. Don't be a generalist, and try to help everyone. Be a specialist. For example, pick one specific offer and one specific market. But look for a niche with high demand that offers high payouts, like attorneys and dentists. 

Identify the SEO services you plan to offer

SEO aims to increase a business's visibility online. SEO includes things like on-page, technical, off-page, and semantic strategies. An SEO agency offers services like:

  • SEO analysis & audits
  • Competitive & keyword research
  • Website page speed optimization
  • Technical SEO
  • Backlinks & citations
  • Content creation & marketing
  • PPC & social media SEO
  • Google Business Profile performance (for local businesses)

Select a few, and you can expand your services as your agency grows. Use SEO tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to track metrics. Or leverage third-party software like SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Surfer to monitor KPIs. But get the results you promise, and you'll build strong relationships with your clients.

Market your SEO services

The goal is to get your clients' websites in front of the right people at the right time. For example, 

  • How do you want clients to perceive your brand?
  • What is your solution?
  • How long will it take you to achieve identified goals?
  • How do you stand out from the competition?

Find clients on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn or launch a cold email campaign. Another option is to connect with a service like a web design firm that makes websites for your ideal client avatar but doesn't provide SEO services and sell your expertise. Or coalesce with a company that deals only in high ticket sales

Get its high end offers in front of the right people, and you're services will be in constant demand. Focus on the results your SEO agency can deliver, not the problem. Explain how SEO gets them more visibility, more leads, and more income. Then create a risk-free offer they can't refuse, like a 30-day trial or website audit. But make your proposal one that's easy to say yes to.

Develop your SEO pricing

You can offer monthly or per-project price points. But have at least three options available. The idea is to increase the price and what your SEO agency will provide for each level of service. Work on your pitch and know when to say no.

Increase your agency's perceived value. For example, if you know how to get a site to the top of Google, you have a skill people are willing to pay for. Take the time to vet each client. Then set realistic expectations and timelines for deliverables.

Hire an SEO team

You don't need to be an expert in every area. Instead, consider outsourcing. Or hire a freelancer who provides white-hat SEO where your skills are lacking. 

In 2024, starting an SEO agency is a way to generate a predictable cash flow. SEO is a monthly and recurring income, and you get paid month after month. Unfortunately, an SEO agency isn't a passive income; the work is ongoing. But if you keep your clients happy and get real results, it's a way to make money online. 

What Are The Benefits Of SEO?

  • A benefit of SEO is its value for money. SEO is cost-effective and delivers some of the highest ROIs in digital marketing. According to WebSiteBuilderExpert, SEO marketing has an average ROI ratio of 22:1. That's 2200%, compared to average ROIs from paid ads that sit at 5:1 (or 25%-50%).
  • SEO taps into the greatest source of online traffic, which is a significant benefit. Data suggests that SEO captures 53% of site traffic. In addition, Backlinko reports that the top three organic search results get 75% of all traffic.
  • An SEO benefit is its ability to enhance the user experience. Sites that share quality content and have low bounce rates rank well in search engine results. Google wants its viewers to have the best experience possible. So, leveraging search engine marketing tactics to drive organic traffic is the fastest way to the top.

How Does The Local Lead Generation Model Use SEO?

Local lead generation leverages local SEO tactics to rank generic websites at the top of Google. The lead generation business model builds and ranks micro websites that target one location for one service. When these websites get to the top of the SERPs, they're in front of people actively searching for the service they provide. As a result, they start producing leads. Then you sell these leads to a local business owner.

But lead gen uses SEO tactics instead of relying on paid ads. So you're not out of pocket a ton of cash. You own the sites, the tracking number, and the leads. Instead, you're like a digital landlord and rent your lead generation websites. Each website can make you $500-$2000; lead generation gets profit margins of 85%-90%. Because the focus is on the local market, your sites rank in as little as six weeks to 6 months. But you don't need to be an SEO expert to get to the top. Once you understand the concept of lead generation, you can scale fast and earn passive income. 

Follow Me
Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}