What is SEO? And How Does It Work?

Marc BallysmartPRENEUR Blog Series


Search Engine Optimization (also referred to as SEO) refers to efforts of increasing your site’s visibility when people search for services or products that you may offer on search engines like Google and Bing. These major search engines have a method of ranking pages within search results and SEO deals with having your page boosted to the top of the results page and thus increasing visibility.

Search engine bots crawl through the pages of your website, collect information, and then build an index that helps viewers find what they are looking for. This index is then used to determine where your site will rank on the results page when a person searches for something related to your site. Essentially, SEO efforts help search engines determine just how helpful your site will be in helping the searcher find what they need.


There are hundreds of factors that help a search engine determine the ranking of your site. Here are some of the more important SEO rankings factors including content, links, and website experience.


This is one of the most important aspects that the search engine bots comb through. Having original and high-quality content can help visitors and lead to other sites linking your pages. The content also needs to be useful and timely for it to rank highly. Try to keep your content fresh and relevant and update regularly. Lastly, consider keywords or phrases that potential customers might be searching for.


Incoming links to your site help search engines trust your content and value your website. The more incoming links and the quality of those links can help improve your search engine optimization. Even adding relevant links within your text can improve your site’s authority. However, don’t use “Click Here” links. Instead, write out the name of the site or use descriptive links and link keywords.


Overall site usability and user experience are key to any site’s success. This includes your site’s map, loading speed, website security, and mobile-friendliness. These architectural elements help with the accessibility of your site. A slow loading speed could result in users being unsatisfied and not having a mobile-friendly site could penalize your ranking. Keep in mind that your website’s functionality not only reflects your image but also plays into your SEO ranking.  


There isn’t an exact time that SEO will start working. It is more of a process that sometimes takes a little bit of time to see change. SEO might take a bit longer in more competitive industries versus a more niche business. In most cases a time frame of impact ranges from several months to a year. Let’s take a look at what could and should happen over the course of that potential year.

1st Month

Just like building a house, having a strong foundation is vital to seeing success. Within the first month of launching an SEO campaign, you should be using strong keywords in your website. Keyword research can help you find words that might help put you ahead of your competition. These words can help you grow your online presence and help get the attention of search engines like Google.

2 – 5 Months

Over the next few months, keyword fluctuation should be seen as search engines begin to see where your website sites are and the value of those keywords. Around month three, elements like content, pages, titles, and tags are optimized for your current target keywords. Continue to work on building more content for your site and link building throughout these months.

6 – 9 Months

Around six months into your SEO campaign, you should hopefully start seeing some of your keywords showing up towards the top of the search engine’s results page. Make sure to maintain this work so that your ranking can maintain its position or even rise higher to the top. Keep creating new content, build quality links, and continue onsite efforts so that your name can continue to show up on the first page of results.     

9+ Months

A strong foundation of your campaign has been established, and search engines have begun to take notice of your efforts. As your online presence starts to grow, make sure to play on this opportunity by continuing to look for keywords and use them when you can. You will have more visibility if you have quality keywords on your first page.

SEO takes time and effort

Taking the time to invest in SEO can help your business expand its reach and help your overall success. Jumping to the top of a search engine’s results page isn’t going to happen overnight. Once you get to the top rankings, you have to continue to put in the work and effort to maintain your position. If you stop your SEO campaign, slowly over time you will see your website’s keywords fall from the placement you had been working toward. Continuing to put effort into your SEO can help boost your exposure and increase your sales.

About the Author

Marc Bally