What is SEO? – Understanding the Basics

Two of the questions I hear most are “What is SEO?” and “How can I improve it?”

Today I want to address the first one of those and take a look at some of the basics of SEO. For starters SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is generally in reference to how well your website is doing in Google searches. A site with better SEO will show up closer to the top of the page when you search for a product or service and a site with poor SEO may be buried several pages into a search or not in the results at all.

How does Google work?

Google’s goal is to provide accurate results when someone enters a search. To do this they store information about millions of websites on their super-computers and every time you enter a search Google looks through all these stored websites to find the ones that best match what you’re looking for.

For Google to do this effectively they store something called meta data fields from websites. These are little bits of text that tell search engines what is on each page of a website. Google has a very complicated algorithm but in a simple explanation it looks something like this:

A user enters a search and Google looks at the search text and matches it with the meta data of a bunch of websites that seem relevant. Google also takes into consideration the popularity of each website compared to the others that match the search. The most popular/relevant websites are then shown near the top of the list of search results.

What are keywords?

One of the meta data fields that used to be important for search engines was “meta keywords”. This made SEO simple because you could simply input the keywords that related to your business and Google would match that with searches. Unfortunately, people took advantage of this by “keyword stuffing” which resulted in inaccurate search results causing Google to eliminate keywords from their algorithm.

Instead Google now looks at two other important meta data fields – meta titles and meta descriptions. These are the fields that show up in the Google search results.


At Ramp, as a part of the website build process we make sure that each page is setup with accurate meta titles and meta descriptions that reflect the content on the pages.

So what can I do to improve SEO?

This is really a topic for a post of it’s own but I want to give one action step that can be helpful. One of the things Google looks at in it’s algorithm is if the site has any new content. Website that are adding new content regularly are more likely to get higher rankings in search results.

A great strategy for increasing your SEO is to consistently be writing blog posts. If these are written with content that is relevant to Google searches then your website is more likely to show up high in a search result.

Still have questions?

Still have questions on SEO and how it works? I’d love to talk through this topic with you further. Feel free to email me at isaac@myramp.co

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