ELI5: What Is SEO? : Explain Like I’m Five (SEO Defined in Layman Terms)

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of using techniques that helps a website get traffic for free from search engines like Google, Bing & Yahoo.

Free traffic here means that is generated organically instead of traffic generated with paid ads.

So, in layman’s terms ” The term SEO is optimizing your website as per the guidelines of major search engines to generate organic traffic. ”

For example, if you are a new local business that provides plumbing services in Ohio then an SEO expert will use strategies and techniques for getting your website to appear in search engine result pages for the term “plumbing services in Ohio

So, whenever a person will search this term in Google your local business website will appear in search results.

To further simplify imagine that the internet is a very large dictionary with lots of information added to it every day. Now, a search engine like Google organizes that information and provides relevant results to users on the basis of keywords searched by him/her.

eli5 what is seo

Is SEO Easy to do?

The basics of SEO are very simple and easy to learn. However, implementing SEO techniques and strategies that result in getting your website to appear for keywords your customers are searching for is pretty hard. It is a very time-consuming process and mastering the art of SEO needs lots of experience and skills.

How SEO is Done?

Broadly SEO is sometimes categorized as “White hat” & “Black Hat”.  White hat SEO means following the guidelines provided by the search engines and working ethically without using any shortcuts. White hat SEO is time intensive but it yields good results in the long term.

Whereas Black hat SEO means trying to find loopholes in Search engines ranking algorithms and then optimizing your website to utilize those loopholes. This kind of SEO may provide good results in short term but in long term may cause harm to your website’s online presence.

How Can You Improve SEO of your Site?

Learn the basics of SEO online as there are many good resources like MOZ, SearchEngineJournal, Backlinko, etc. Try to create content based on keyword research that is relevant to the search intent of the user.

Identify and try to understand what are the things that your prospective customers are searching for online. SEO is based on data, so avoid optimizing your website as per your own understanding of keywords.

So, one can say that SEO is just using a data-based approach and using search engine guidelines for optimizing your website and getting meaningful traffic from various search engines.

Hope this helped you understand the basic definition of SEO. if you still have any doubts please let me know in the comments section.

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About the author

I am Mat an experienced digital marketer and seo consultant working in this industry since 2012.