What is SEO? Demystifying SEO in 2021 [Podcast]


Today we are going to be Demystifying SEO. Usually, when we talk about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or when you hear people talking about it, it sounds like this magical thing.

What!? Your website suddenly gets on Google! How does Google even know about your website? Do you throw some potions or what? What really happens?

Digital Marketers don’t make it any easy to understand either because most of them talk at a very technical level.

So, despite being a Digital Marketer myself, I talk and interact with a lot of non-technical people and have learned to simplify things as much as possible, which is what I will be doing for you here.

No complicated jargon.

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

SEO is just about following Google’s guidelines. Google has a bunch of guidelines on how a website should be in order for it to rank on its search engine.

In one of the previous podcasts/blogs, What google wants in 2021, I explained that Google simply wants the best for its users.


It wants to give its users the best answers or the most relevant answers while giving them an awesome experience and it does this by having websites follow these guidelines.

Google Webmaster Guidelines

These guidelines can be categorized into three sections.

  1. The first section is guidelines on what people see when they visit your website.
  2. The second section is guidelines on what takes place outside of your website.
  3. The third section is guidelines on what happens inside your website.

On-Page SEO (On-page webmaster guidelines)

So let’s start with the first set of guidelines, also referred to as on-page SEO. These deal with the content that is on your page.

This is the text, links, images, videos, audio, and anything that is on your page. Google will go through a webpage, read the content on it, then formulate an idea of what it is about.

It also uses keywords (words that searchers type into Google search) that you put within your webpage and your meta title and description (title and description that show on search engine results) to identify what your webpage is about.

Search engine results

Off-page SEO (Off-page Google webmaster guidelines)

Off-page guidelines are concerned with what happens outside of your website. In other words, Off-page SEO looks at the links that are coming from other websites linking to yours.

These links should mostly be from trusted, relevant websites. For example, websites within your industry or trusted websites such as news websites, etc.

Understandably, it is difficult to decide who links to your page and Google understands this, so it does give a bit of leeway to a few spammy-looking links.

Spammy-looking links are those links that come from weird places such as link farms (webpages that just have a list of links to other websites), etc.

Having trusted, relevant websites linking to yours sends a signal to Google that your website is also worth being trusted.

Technical SEO (Website functionality guidelines)

Technical SEO looks at the functionality of your website.

Do the links on your website function properly? When users click a link within your webpage, are they led to the expected page or does it lead them to a dead page (404 page or error page)?

404 error page

Is your website secure? Does the URL begin with HTTPS instead of HTTP? HTTPS helps keep people’s information safe while they are performing certain actions on your website.

Such as filling in forms, credit card details, etc. It prevents this data from being stolen by other deceptive websites pretending to be yours.

Does your website have a sitemap? A sitemap is a list of the different pages that are on your website. There are two types of sitemaps.

An XML sitemap is the first one. It shows a list of URLs to all the pages on your website and is meant for search engines.

An HTML sitemap is the second type of sitemap which is meant for people. It also shows a list of all the pages on your website but it is easier to read and navigate than an XML sitemap.

Suggested: New Website Owner’s Ultimate Guide To SEO


SEO is simply about following the different guidelines Google has set for how websites should be in order to rank on it.

These guidelines can be divided into 3 sections; On-Page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO, each improving your website.

Check out the guidelines for yourself here: Webmaster Guidelines

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