What Is SEO and How Does SEO Work?

blog banner for article on what is seo

Achieving a top position on search engine result pages is a goal that eludes many businesses. The concept of Search Engine Optimisation is frequently misunderstood, even among seasoned business leaders and marketing executives. What is SEO, and how does it function to improve a website's standing on platforms like Google?


Leveraging our years of experience in optimising search engine performance, this article aims to offer a clear and comprehensive understanding of what SEO is and how it operates, specifically tailored for businesses of all sizes in Australia.


By the time you finish reading, you will have a well-rounded understanding of SEO, its operational mechanics, and its vital role in facilitating business growth.


What is SEO?


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a fundamental component in digital marketing strategies. SEO focuses on enhancing your website's ranking on major search engines like Google. The objective is crystal clear: position your website as a top contender when potential clients search for the products or services you offer. 


A higher ranking not only increases online visibility but also improves the likelihood of attracting a broader customer base. SEO is your strategic playbook consisting of various techniques designed to improve your website's position in search engine listings.


The Importance of SEO


Search Engine Optimisation has become a non-negotiable aspect of business strategy. A high-ranking website does more than attract clicks; it builds credibility and fosters trust among your target audience. 


Achieving a top spot on search engines like Google not only increases your online reach but also enhances your brand's authority, in fact, 92% of searchers will choose businesses on the first page of local search results. Neglecting SEO in this competitive environment risks losing a valuable market share for your business.


How Does SEO Work?


Search Engine Optimisation is made up of various elements, each contributing to how well your website performs in search engine rankings. One key element is keywords, the terms that potential customers use in their online searches. Choosing the right keywords and placing them strategically on your website can greatly improve your search engine ranking.


Another important factor is the meta description, a short summary that appears under your website's link in search engine results. A good meta description can encourage people to click on your link. Backlinks, or links from other reputable websites to yours, also play a role. These links can improve your website's credibility and help it rank higher in search results.


Content quality is crucial as well. Search engines favour websites that provide valuable and relevant information. Good content can attract more visitors and make your website more authoritative. Technical aspects like website speed and mobile-friendliness also matter. Search engines use these factors to determine how user-friendly your website is, which can affect your ranking.


Understanding SEO Types and Pillars


Search Engine Optimisation is a complex field of study that can be understood through different frameworks, each offering unique insights. Whether you look at it through the lens of its types—On-Page, Off-Page, and Technical—or its foundational pillars—Technical, Content, and Backlinks—each aspect plays a crucial role in your overall strategy.

an infographic on SEO types and pillars

Technical SEO / Technical Pillar


This is the backbone of your website, affecting how well search engines can crawl and index your content. It includes factors like website speed, mobile compatibility, and website security. Technical SEO is both a type and a pillar, serving as the foundation upon which other strategies are built.


On-Page SEO / Content Pillar


On-Page SEO focuses on the content elements of your website, including the depth of content, keyword placement, meta descriptions, and content quality. This aligns closely with the Content Pillar, which emphasises the importance of valuable and relevant information. Both aim to improve user experience and search engine rankings.


Off-Page SEO / Backlinks Pillar


Off-Page SEO primarily deals with backlinks, or external links from reputable websites pointing to your site. A website that is useful and relevant to users will generally have references (links) from other websites. This collectively influences a website’s ranking in search engine results, albeit through a methodology that is not entirely disclosed by search engine providers.


The quality and quantity of these backlinks can significantly affect your website’s rankings. High-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites in your niche signal to search engines that your content is valuable and worthy of citation. 


A strategic approach to obtaining backlinks is focused on building relationships with other credible websites, creating compelling and original content, and engaging in community and forum discussions to naturally encourage others to link to your website. 


Differences Between Paid and Organic Search


For businesses aiming to stand out online, there are two main options: Paid Search and Organic Search. Paid Search, essentially pay-per-click advertising, offers immediate visibility by placing your ads at the top of search results, but requires ongoing financial investment. Organic Search, on the other hand, is built through effective SEO practices and provides long-term online presence and credibility without continuous costs. This makes SEO a smart, long-term investment for sustained business growth.


Why Do Search Engines Care About SEO?


Search engines aim to accomplish one primary goal: to provide users with the best and most relevant information available. This is where the value of Search Engine Optimisation becomes clear. SEO improves the user experience by making websites faster, easier to navigate, and more mobile-friendly—a key metric search engines use to measure user satisfaction. At the same time, SEO ensures the creation of high-quality content that directly meets users' needs, aligning perfectly with the search engines' goal to provide the most valuable information.


How Do Search Engines Work?

an infographic on how search work

To boost your website's performance, it is important to understand how search engines like Google work. They use formulas, known as algorithms, to decide which websites appear when someone searches for something. These algorithms look at how closely your website matches what people are searching for, how good your content is, how easy your site is to use, and how other reputable sites link to you.


Search engines use automated tools called "crawlers" to scan websites and collect information. This information is then organised and stored. The easier it is for these tools to understand your site, the better your chances of ranking high in search results.


The final step is ranking. Here, the algorithm decides the order in which websites appear in search results. The better your site meets the algorithm's requirements, the higher you'll rank. Understanding this process helps you make your website more visible and relevant to your audience.


How To Make SEO Work For Your Business 


Search Engine Optimisation is a must-have strategy for business leaders, marketing experts, and entrepreneurs. Selecting effective keywords is your starting point. These are the terms people use when searching for services or products like yours. Tools like Google's Keyword Planner or SEMrush can guide you, and it's also beneficial to monitor your competitors. 


A user-friendly website is crucial—it should load quickly, be easy to navigate, and perform well on mobile devices. These factors not only keep visitors on your site but also improve your search engine ranking. Rounding it off, high-quality, engaging content is key; consider incorporating various media like images and videos to maintain audience interest.


Understanding Search Intent in SEO


Understanding why people search online is key to SEO. This is known as search intent and it comes in four main types: looking for information (informational), finding a specific site (navigational), shopping around (commercial), and making a purchase (transactional). Creating content that matches these reasons can help your website rank higher in search results and attract more visitors.


Real-World Example: The Success Story of Lonely Kids Club


The importance of SEO extends beyond simple hype in delivering tangible and measurable results for your business.


Take, for instance, Lonely Kids Club, an independent clothing brand. Marketix Digital, a Sydney SEO and Google Ads Management Agency,  partnered with them to enhance their online visibility and boost sales. Thanks to a well-crafted SEO strategy, we secured the top spot for the keyword "Cool Hoodies," outperforming industry giants like Myer and ASOS. This achievement didn't go unnoticed; it resulted in a remarkable 185% increase in organic conversions within just 12 months.


This case study illustrates the significant impact of a carefully executed SEO strategy. It went beyond rankings, focusing on meaningful engagement that ultimately drove substantial revenue growth. Thanks to Marketix Digital's strategic SEO efforts, Lonely Kids Club transitioned from a small player to a dominant force in the cool apparel market.


Key Takeaways


As we wrap up this detailed guide on SEO, here are the must-know points for business leaders, marketing pros and executives, or entrepreneurs. These highlights give you the basics you need for long-term success online.


1. SEO is Essential: SEO is not a luxury but a necessity for businesses looking to establish a strong online presence.

2. User-Friendly Websites Win: A website that is easy to navigate and mobile-friendly not only keeps visitors engaged but also ranks higher in search results.

3. Quality Content Matters: High-quality, engaging content is important for both attracting and retaining website visitors.

4. Trust Factor: Organic search results are often viewed as more trustworthy than paid ads, enhancing your brand's credibility.

5. Understand Search Intent: Knowing why people search online can help you tailor your content to meet their needs, improving your website's search ranking.

6. Long-term Investment: Unlike paid search, the benefits of SEO are more long-lasting, making it a smart investment for sustainable business growth.

7. Real-World Impact: As demonstrated by the Lonely Kids Club case study, a well-executed SEO strategy can yield significant business results, from increased visibility to revenue growth.

8. Expert Help Available: Companies like Marketix Digital offer specialised services in SEO to help you maximise your online presence and revenue.




Search Engine Optimisation is key to a strong online presence. It's a mix of the right keywords and technical tweaks to your website. Unlike paid ads, SEO brings in people who are actively searching for what you offer, making it a smart, cost-effective way to market your business. It also helps build trust online, as people often see organic search results as more credible than paid ads.


If you're looking to get the most out of SEO, consider partnering with Marketix Digital. Based in Sydney, we specialise in SEO, PPC, and Google Ads, and have a proven history of boosting sales and revenue. With our help, you can make SEO work for you and see your business grow online.

Click the button below for a complimentary SEO proposal, and let us leverage our expertise in SEO, SEM, PPC, and Google Ads to drive impactful results for your business, just as we've done for numerous Australian enterprises.