Search engines are essentially the gateway to all of the worlds information.  Kind of like a librarian used to be before the internet.  You simply tell the search engine what you are looking for and it returns millions of results.  However, unlike a librarian, search engines deliver results in a matter of seconds.

Just like the card index system at the library, search engines index your site and store the information until a searcher comes along and types in a query.  If the query is a good match to the information on your website, there is a chance it could show up at the top of the search engine results page.

To understand how SEO works, you must first understand the three aspects of SEO that determine the keywords and keywords phrases any given website ranks for.

The first aspect is on-page SEO.  On-page SEO are elements you have complete control over such as meta tags, title tags, content and the technical health of your website.  Each one of these elements can easily be modified to improve rankings for a specific keyword or keyword phrase.

The second aspect is off-page SEO.  Off-page SEO are elements outside of your control such as links to your website, social media shares and online reviews.  Off-page SEO elements can be challenging to obtain but can provide the biggest boost to your overall SEO success.

The third aspect is data.  Although data doesn’t directly impact your rankings, it can help you determine the right keywords and keyword phrases to target for your website.  When connected to the proper tools, data can give you all the insights you need to make necessary changes to continue improve your SEO rankings.

SEO works by combining all three elements above to send signals to Google and other search engines.  These signals tell Google what your website is about, how trustworthy and how popular it is.  Google then decides, in a matter of nano-seconds, where your website will show up in the search engine results page (SERP) based on the words a user is searching for.