What is SEO? How it Works and a Guide to Success in 2023

SEO stands for search engine optimization.  It’s a technique used to get your website ranked in major search engines like Google.  This is the best type of traffic because it's targeted traffic.

The search engine algorithms that power Google and other web-based platforms use many types of factors to determine where your page will appear in the SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages). These mathematical sequences recognize different ranking criteria when delivering results back from someone who is searching online.

If you want your website or blog to appear in the search results for a specific keyword, then you'll need to employ an SEO strategy.

Search engines will rank a page based on certain factors. This can contain the quality of content, HTML tags, backlinks, search intent, and how relevant the content is.

The algorithm is very complicated, but these are just some that you have control over.

Why Does SEO Matter?

SEO does matter. When your website ranks on page 1, you will get much more traffic which means more exposure for your business and of course, more money. 

SEO, or search engine optimization, plays an important role in online marketing. 

By improving a website's ranking on search engines like Google and Bing, SEO helps businesses and bloggers to reach more potential customers and increase their visibility online.

This can be especially valuable for companies that sell products or services to other businesses, as these buyers are often motivated by factors such as price, convenience, quality, and reputation—factors that may not be as relevant for consumers making personal purchases.

At the same time, SEO also benefits consumers by giving them easy access to the information they need in order to make informed buying decisions. Whether it's comparing prices, reading customer reviews, or finding special offers on products and services, SEO helps online shoppers find the information they're looking for quickly and easily.

And with the increasing number of people using smartphones and tablets to access websites around the world, optimizing for search engines has never been more important. Ultimately, then, effective SEO is essential for helping businesses attract new customers and grow their customer base online.

How do Search Engines Work?

Most people use search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo without ever wondering how they work. But have you ever stopped to think about the process that happens between entering a query and getting results?

It turns out that there is a lot of complex technology at work behind the scenes.

Here's a basic overview of how search engines work: first, web crawlers scour the internet, following links, and indexing website content.

This information is then stored in a giant database. When you perform a search, the search engine uses an algorithm to determine which websites are most relevant to your query. 

The results are then displayed, with the most relevant results appearing first.

Of course, this is just a simplified explanation of how search engines work. In reality, there are many different ranking factors that come into play, and the algorithms are constantly being updated. But this gives you a general idea of the process that happens when you hit the search button.

Differences Between Paid and Organic Search

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), there are two general approaches: paid and organic. As the names suggest, paid search involves paying for ads that appear in search results.

An example would be Google ads on the Google Search Engine. While organic search relies on techniques that help your website rank highly in search engine results pages (SERPs) without paying for ads. Both approaches can be effective, but they have key differences that businesses should be aware of.

Paid search is generally much faster than organic search since you're essentially buying your way to the top of SERPs. However, it can be expensive, and there's no guarantee that your ad will get clicked on. Organic search, on the other hand, is free (although it does require time and effort to improve your ranking).

And while it may take longer to achieve results, organic search is more sustainable in the long run since you're not relying on paid ads. Ultimately, the best approach depends on your business goals and budget. If you need quick results and are willing to invest in paid advertising, paid search may be a good option.

Why is SEO Important for Marketing?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a crucial component of any effective marketing strategy.

By improving SEO on your website or in your content, you can boost traffic to your site and thereby increase sales and grow your brand.

This is because SEO helps to make your website more visible in search results so that more people will see and interact with your content. Successful Affiliate marketers use SEO to increase their ranking in the search engines. It's no wonder, because the higher the rankings, the more money they make.

SEO Strategies: Black Hat Vs. White Hat

When it comes to SEO, there are two general approaches: black hat and white hat. Black hat tactics are those that attempt to game the system, utilizing techniques that violate search engine guidelines in order to achieve a higher ranking.

White hat tactics, on the other hand, are those that play by the rules, using methods that are approved by search engines.

So which approach is better? There is no easy answer, as both black hat and white hat strategies have their pros and cons. 

Black hat SEO can be effective in the short term, but it is usually not sustainable in the long term. This is because search engines are constantly evolving, and what works today may not work tomorrow. In addition, black hat tactics often result in penalties from search engines, which can lead to a sharp drop in traffic.

White hat SEO, on the other hand, takes more time to achieve results, but the results are typically more sustainable. While it may take longer to see the fruits of your labor, following search engine guidelines will help you avoid penalties and maintain a steady flow of traffic. Ultimately, the best approach depends on your goals and your willingness to take risks.

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is the process of optimizing a website for the search engines with the goal of improving the visibility of the site and generating more traffic.

The term "technical" SEO refers to the aspects of SEO that are not related to content. This includes optimizing the structure of the website, fixing errors, and improving site speed.

Technical SEO is often overlooked in favor of content optimization, but it is essential for any website that wants to rank well in the search engines. By addressing technical issues, a website can improve its visibility and attract more visitors.

4 Tips for Better Technical SEO

If you follow these steps, you can better your technical SEO efforts.

Optimizing Title Tags

There are several key steps that you can take to optimize your title tags for better technical SEO. The first step is to keep your titles concise and to the point, as this makes them more readable and easier to scan for companies or users searching online.

You should also make sure that your keywords are included within your title tags, as this can help improve their rankings in search engines. Additionally, it is important to avoid using generic titles like "Home" or "Welcome", as these will typically have very poor click-through rates and won't contribute much to your overall SEO strategy.

Improving Internal Linking

In order to improve technical SEO, it is important to focus on internal linking. There are several key strategies that you can use to optimize your internal links and strengthen the overall structure of your website.

The first thing to consider when optimizing internal links is the location of your pages within your website. Ideally, each page should be connected to at least a few relevant pages further down the site hierarchy.

This helps make it easier for search engines to reach deeper into your website and index all of its content. In addition, you should aim to create cross-linking between pages that are closely related in terms of subject matter or keyword relevance.

Doing so will help Google understand the interconnections between different parts of your website, which affects how they rank in search results.

Another useful technique for improving internal linking is using anchor text in your links. Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink, and it supports both user experience and technical SEO by providing context and helping users navigate more easily.

To maximize the effectiveness of anchor text, try choosing descriptive words or short phrases rather than generic keywords – this will allow users and search engines alike to more easily identify where they are going once they've clicked through. And as always, be sure to keep your anchor text relevant to the target page to avoid any penalties from search engines.

Focusing on Site Speed

Site speed is a critical factor in technical SEO, as it can impact both the user experience and the ability of search engines to index your content.

A slow website will frustrate users and may even cause them to leave before they've had a chance to explore all that you have to offer. In addition, Google has stated that site speed is a ranking factor for mobile searches, so it's important to make sure your website loads quickly on all devices.

There are a number of ways that you can improve your site speed, but one of the most effective is by optimizing your images.

When uploading images to your website, be sure to compress them so that they take up less space. You can also use a content delivery network (CDN) to serve images from a location closer to the user's geographic region, which can further improve loading times.

Auditing Your Site Regularly

One of the most important parts of technical SEO is auditing your website regularly. This helps to identify any potential issues that could be holding back your ranking. Here are some tips for auditing your site:

Step 1

Check your site's code for errors. Any coding errors could be causing problems for search engine spiders when they try to index your pages.

Step 2

Use a tool like Google's PageSpeed Insights to check your website's speed. A slow website can negatively impact your ranking.

Step 3

Use a tool like Screaming Frog to check for broken links. Any links that lead to 404 error pages could be penalized by Google.

Step 4

Check your sitemap to ensure that all of your pages are being properly indexed by search engines.

Step 5

Use a tool like Webmaster Tools to check for any other potential technical issues that could be harming your ranking.

Auditing your site regularly is an important part of maintaining a high search engine ranking. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your site is in top condition

Setting SEO objectives

In order to create an effective SEO strategy, it is important to set clear objectives that can guide your efforts and help you assess your progress over time.

Some common SEO objectives might include improving site traffic, increasing the number of leads generated by your website, or boosting visibility in major search engines like Google and Bing.

However, the specific goals you choose will depend on your unique business needs and priorities. Setting concrete goals for your SEO efforts early on will allow you to stay focused on the key metrics that matter most for your business and make it easier to measure how well you are achieving those goals over time.

SEO Marketing Basics: The A Complete Guide

This is where we will learn about SEO Marketing basics. To excel in SEO, it takes two things - action and time. SEO is a process and it's not for those who lack patience. It's important to understand that SEO is a long-term strategy, not a short-term one.

You can't simply "SEO" your way to the top of Google overnight. It takes time, effort, and a lot of hard work.

Let's jump into the basics


"Content is King". How many times have you heard that? It's said so often because it's true. Google loves great content and so do users. In order to rank well in search engines, your website needs to have high-quality, relevant, and original content. 

That's not always easy to produce, but it's worth the effort. Not only will great content help you rank better in search engines, but it will also improve the user experience on your site, which can lead to more conversions and sales.

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating content for your website:


Make sure that your content is relevant to the keywords you want to rank for. If you're selling shoes, then all of your content should be about shoes.


Google loves original content. That means no plagiarism! Write the content yourself or outsource it to a writer. Once your content is done, always check to make sure your article is unique without any duplicate content.


Your content should be well-written and free of grammar and spelling errors.

Creating great content is essential for ranking well in search engines and providing a good user experience on your website. Grammarly can help with this and the free version is just fine.

Search Intent

Search intent, or the underlying reason that someone is performing a search query, is an important consideration when creating and optimizing content for SEO. Knowing how users intend to use their search results helps you to provide them with the most relevant content possible, which can help to improve your rankings and ultimately increase your traffic and engagement.

The best way to understand Search Intent is to Google your keyword. Pay attention to the top results. What are the Headings? What's in the content? Is it a list-style post like the "best of" or informational? Pay attention to what kind of content is ranking and write similar content but don't copy. Do NOT deter from this or you'll never rank for that keyword.

Post Often

One of the most important things you can do for your website’s SEO is to keep your content fresh. That means publishing new articles and blog posts on a regular basis. But why is this so important? There are a few key reasons:

First, fresh content helps to keep your site relevant and engaging for visitors. If your last blog post was published six months ago, chances are that people will have moved on to other sites in the meantime. But if you’re regularly publishing new content, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Second, fresh content gives you an opportunity to target new keywords and phrases. As you probably know, SEO is all about using the right keywords to attract traffic from search engines. But if you’re only targeting the same keywords over and over again, you’re not going to get very far. By publishing new content, you can target a wider range of keywords and attract even more traffic.

Finally, fresh content helps to build your authority and credibility. If you’re seen as an expert in your field, people are more likely to trust what you have to say – and that can lead to more sales and conversions. So if you want to improve your SEO, make sure you’re regularly publishing new content.

Keyword Research

Whether you're launching a new website or trying to improve your ranking in search engine results, keyword research is an essential part of any SEO strategy.

Keywords are the terms that internet users input into search engines when they are looking for information on certain topics. By learning which keywords are most popular, you can optimize your website content to match these terms and increase your chances of attracting more traffic to your site.

However, simply guessing at keyword popularity is not an effective approach; you need to do careful research in order to come up with accurate data. Tools like Google's Keyword Planner or a paid tool like ahrefs or Keysearch can help you to identify the most relevant and popular keywords for your niche so that you can create relevant and high-quality content that will help you gain more exposure online.

How to Choose the Right Keywords

The first step is to identify your target audience. What are they looking for? What terms are they likely to use when searching for products or services like yours? Once you have a good understanding of your target audience, you can start brainstorming keyword ideas.

Write down as many relevant terms as you can think of, then use a keyword tool to find out which ones are most popular. Be sure to consider both short-tail and long-tail keywords, as well as customer intent.

Once you've narrowed down your list, it's time to start incorporating the keywords into your website. Use them in your title tags, meta descriptions, and throughout the content on your site. Keep in mind that too much keyword stuffing can actually hurt your ranking, so use keywords wisely.

Analyze Your Competitor's Keywords

As a business owner, it's important to stay ahead of the competition. One way to do this is by analyzing your competitor's keywords.

This can give you insight into what words and phrases they are targeting, and how well their SEO efforts are paying off.

There are a few different ways to go about this. One is to use a tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner. This will show you the average monthly searches for a given keyword, as well as how much competition there is for that keyword.

Another option is to use a tool like Moz Keyword Explorer. This will show you both the monthly search volume and the difficulty of ranking for a given keyword.

Keep in mind, that keywords that typically have higher volume will be harder to rank. This is because other SEOs want to capture as much traffic as possible, so you've got a lot of other SEOs gunning for those keywords.

Either way, by taking the time to analyze your competitor's keywords, you can gain valuable insights into their SEO strategies and learn how to improve your own.

Focus on Longtail Keywords if You're Starting Out

If you're just starting out in the world of SEO, it's important to focus on longtail keywords.

These are keywords that are more specific and less competitive than general, broad keywords. For example, instead of targeting the keyword "dog," you could target the keyword "labrador retriever."

Longtail keywords may not get as much traffic as general keywords, but they're easier to rank for, and they can still bring in a good amount of traffic. Plus, they can help you to establish a presence in your niche, which is important for any business.

So, if you're just starting out, make sure to focus on longtail keywords. It'll be good for your business in the long run.

HTML - Url, Tags, Headers, and Descriptions

URL Slug

Your URL slug is the words that appear after your domain name. It also lets Google know what this page is all about. You will want to get in your main keyword here as the URL is one of the most important factors when it comes to ranking your article.

Title Tags

The Title tag is what you see when you in the tab at the top of your browser. It will also be what is displayed on Google.

For example:

You want to be sure that your title tag includes as many keywords as possible in the title without going beyond the 60-character limit.

A free tool I use to ensure I don't go over the limit is the Moz Title Tag Checker.

H1, H2, H3, H4 Tags

The main title (or header) tag is the <h1> tag, which is used for the title of a page. Normally you can have a different H1 tag than the Title tag, but nowadays I suggest keeping these the same.

This is because Google more than often is now indexing the H1 as the Title tag. So, if your H1 tag goes beyond the 60-character limit, it will be chopped.

The h2 tag should be used for secondary titles, and the h3 tag should be used for tertiary titles. The h4, h5, and h6 tags can be used for additional titles, but they are less important than the h1 through h3 tags.

When using headings, it is important to use them in order. That is, an h2 tag should not be used before an h1 tag on the same page. Headings should also be used sparingly; too many headings can make a page difficult to read. When used correctly, headings can help to improve the readability and structure of a page.

Meta Description

A meta description is a brief summary of a web page's content. It is typically used by search engines to display a page's title and description in search results.

Meta descriptions can also be used to influence a searcher's click-through rate (CTR), as they provide information about what a page is about before the searcher even clicks on it.

As such, meta descriptions are an important part of SEO (search engine optimization). A well-written meta description can help to improve CTR, which can in turn lead to higher rankings in search results.

Unfortunately, many webmasters do not take the time to write effective meta descriptions, resulting in poor CTR and lower search engine rankings.

Schema Markup

Schema is a set of HTML tags that improves the way SERP's (Search Engine Results Page) display your content.

You've probably seen Schema in action when doing a search for something online. Here, Schema was used to display ratings for "how to cook fish".

Alt Text

Alt text allows you to describe your image using relevant keywords that relate to your content, which can help to improve your ranking in search results.

In addition, alt text can also be used to help improve accessibility for users with vision impairments. Adding alt text is easy - all you need to do is include the "alt" attribute when adding an image to your webpage or website.

Be sure to use clear and concise descriptions that accurately reflect the content of the image and make use of relevant keywords wherever possible.

Site Architecture

A website's architecture refers to the way its pages are organized and linked together. Creating a well-organized website is important for two reasons.

First, it helps visitors navigate the site more easily.

Second, it helps search engines index the site's content more effectively. When designing the architecture for a website, therefore, it is important to keep both users and search engines in mind. One common approach is to create a "silo" structure, in which each section of the website is isolated from the others.

This can make navigation simpler for visitors, and it can also help search engines focus on specific topics. Another approach is to use a "flat" structure, in which all of the website's pages are linked together in a single hierarchy.

This can be helpful for visitors who want to explore the entire site, and it can also make it easier for search engines to discover new content.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to website architecture. The best approach will vary depending on the size and scope of the site, as well as the needs of its users. However, taking the time to plan out an effective architecture can be well worth the effort.

Tips To Improve Your Website's Site Architecture

There are three factors to consider when planning your website's architecture:

Set up Your Sitemap

A sitemap works like this. It essentially is a file that provides information about posts, pages videos along with other files that you have on your site and the relationships between them.

A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, videos, and other files on your website, and the relationships between them.

Search engines like Google will then read this file to be able to intelligently crawl your site. A sitemap tells the crawler which files you think are important in your website, how often you update them, how they relate to each other, and any other information you think the crawler should know.

This helps the crawler index your site more efficiently and discover all of your content. You can also submit your sitemap to search engines as a way of helping them crawl and index your site.

Sitemaps are an important part of website architecture for both small websites and large ones with complex structures. By providing this information upfront, you can help ensure that search engines are able to find and index all of your content so that it can be discovered by users.

If you're using WordPress (which you should) be sure to install either the Yoast Plugin or Rankmath plugin. You'll be able to set up your sitemap with ease.

Check Your Core Web Vitals

Google introduced Core Web Vitals not long ago and they stated that it is a ranking factor. The vitals are a set of metrics that measure the experience a user has when they visit your website.

You can access your Core Web Vitals in Google Search Console. Here is what mine looks like currently:

a graph of meeting core web vitals in mobile and desktop for drews-review.com

As you can see, I am meeting Core Web Vitals for both mobile and Desktop. This was no accident - it took some work.

There are three factors that make up your website's core web vitals:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures how long it takes for the main content of your page to load. You should aim for an LCP of less than or equal to

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures how much unexpected movement there is on your page as it loads. You should aim for a CLS of less than

First Input Delay (FID): This measures how long it will take for your page to become interactive. You should aim for an FID of less than

You can check your website's core web vitals using Google's PageSpeed Insights tool. Just enter your URL and click "Analyze." Once the analysis is complete, scroll down to the "Opportunities" section to see your website's core web vitals.

Learn more about Core Web Vitals here.

Correct Canonicalization Issues

Correct canonicalization is a crucial part of optimizing your website for search engines. Canonicalization issues can arise when multiple URLs point to the same page, or when there are duplicate pages with similar or identical content on your site.

Such issues can lead to content being crawled and indexed incorrectly by the search engines, causing problems with rankings and lost traffic.

To correct canonicalization issues, you should first identify any problematic links or duplicate pages on your site. Then, you can either implement redirects from incorrect links to relevant pages, or you can directly 301 redirect duplicate pages to the canonical version.

By taking steps to address canonicalization issues on your site, you can ensure that your content is visible and highly ranked in search engine results.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is a critical element of an effective SEO strategy. By including links to related pages within your own site's content, you can improve both the overall crawlability of your site and its relevance to search engine algorithms.

Not only does internal linking help users to find relevant information more easily, but it also helps to signal to search engines which pages on your site are most important for particular keywords or topics.

Additionally, this technique can be used to direct more organic traffic towards your most valuable web pages and improve their rank in search results. With proper internal linking, you can boost your website's visibility online and gain more exposure for your business.

Backlinks - OFFpage SEO

So far, we've discussed the elements of on-page SEO. Backlinks are what entails Off-Page SEO.

In short, backlinks are links from other websites to your website. Google and other search engines use backlinks as a way to determine the quality and relevancy of your site. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your site will rank in search engine results.

There are a few ways to get high-quality backlinks:

Create Great Content That People Will Want to Link To

If you want to create great content that people will want to link to, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

First, it is essential to focus on topics that are relevant and valuable to your target audience. This means researching your audience's interests and needs, as well as what other similar websites and blogs are already covering.

Next, you should make sure that your content is engaging and well-written. This may mean using vivid images, interesting facts or statistics, or eye-catching formatting.

Finally, be sure that your content is approachable and easy for others to share. By keeping these things in mind, you can create content that people will not only read but also want to link to and share with others.

Submit Guest Posts on Other Blogs With a Link Back to Your Site

If you want to strengthen your online presence and increase your audience, it's important to reach out to other bloggers in your field and ask them to link to your content. This is a great way to quickly build valuable relationships with other influencers in your industry and get the word out about your work.

To start, find bloggers who share similar content or are writing about a topic that relates to yours. Then, send them a personalized email explaining why you like their blog and what topics you would like for them to link to on their site.

Make sure that you include a compelling reason as to why they should help promote your work, such as letting them know that their readers will find value in the information you have shared.

If you do this consistently and effectively, you can significantly improve the reach of your blog and grow your audience over time.

Use Social Media Platforms to Share Your Content and Include Links Back to Your Site

Social media platforms are a great way to share your content and build an audience for your website or blog.

When you post links to your content on social media, you're providing potential new readers with an easy way to find your site. And, if you include links back to your site in your posts, you're giving readers a way to easily access your site and see what else you have to offer.

In addition to making it easy for new readers to find your site, linking back to your site from social media can also help to improve your search engine rankings. Search engines consider the number of backlinks to a site when determining its rank, so including links back to your site on social media can give your site a boost in the search results.

As you can see, there are many benefits to sharing your content on social media and including links back to your site. So start sharing today and watch your traffic grow!

Use Haro

HARO, short for Help A Reporter Out, is a great way to get backlinks to your website.

Here's how it works: Journalists post queries on the HARO website, looking for sources for their articles. If you are an expert in the subject area of the query, you can submit a response. If the journalist chooses to use your response in their article, they will link back to your website.

In order to make the most of HARO, you should sign up for email alerts for queries that relate to your area of expertise. That way, you can be sure to submit a response as soon as a relevant query is posted.

Check out my Haro guide on how to get backlinks using this free service.

You can also follow specific journalists on Twitter so that you can see their queries as soon as they are posted. By using HARO, you can get high-quality backlinks from well-respected websites.

Link Quality

Link quality is very important when it comes to SEO. A high-quality link is a link that comes from a reputable website with high domain authority. Domain authority is a metric that measures the strength of a website's backlink profile. The higher the domain authority of a site, the more valuable its links are.

It's much better to get a link from a quality site than from a low-quality site. In fact, a link from a low-quality site can actually hurt your SEO. This is because Google looks at the quality of links when determining where to rank a website in the search results. If your site has a lot of low-quality links, it's likely that your rankings will suffer as a result.

So, don't focus on the number of links - focus on the Quality of links. When you're working on building backlinks to your site, always keep link quality in mind.

SEO Constantly Changes

So in short SEO is a constantly changing beast.  

What worked in the past does not necessarily work now.

It is best to stay in the game and follow what the experts say and keep yourself in the loop because SEO can change sometimes overnight.

However, do not get discouraged because as mentioned before if your web page has quality content you will be rewarded.  So put in the time to get quality content and your website will start to appear in the rankings. 

SEO is for Affiliate Marketing, Ecom, Blogging and More

This has been a general overview of what Seo is and looks like today.  If you’re looking to learn more please keep coming back to my site because I promise to update you with everything that I know.  Information I learn from other Seo experts will be passed on to you so you always stay fresh, informed, and in the loop.

So whether you are an affiliate marketer, ecommerce store owner or blogger, SEO should be in your back pocket if you want to succeed long term.

Are There Courses That Teach SEO?

I reviewed The SEO Checklist by SEO Buddy - it's a course that teaches you how to do SEO as a beginner. The strategies are up-to-date and very easy to understand. Even if you've never done SEO before, you're going to benefit from this checklist. 

SEO is methodical, and this course or "checklist" if you will, is going to help step up your SEO game.

Some of the best courses for SEO are taught by Affiliate Marketers. This is because a lot of money is made with Affiliate SEO. Affiliate SEO is a billion dollar industry. I've seen some bad courses in my day and many are badly outdated. To keep up what's fresh, you should check out my roundup of the best Affiliate Marketing courses.

Final Thoughts

SEO is a complex process that involves optimizing your website for the search engines in order to rank higher in the search results. There are many factors that go into SEO, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest changes. However, by following the tips I have provided in this article, you can give your website the best chance of ranking high in the search results.

And, as more and more people use Google to find information online, improving your SEO is essential for success in 2023. So what are you waiting for? Start optimizing your site today!

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Drew Mann