SEO Basics

What is Search Engine Optimization

What Is Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization or SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through web page improvements, link building, and other strategies. Unlike advertising, SEO focuses on generating search engine traffic organically. It involves both on-page and off-page strategies.

SEO may sound a bit complicated, but it’s really all about ensuring your site provides value to people and is easy to understand by search engines.

To better understand what SEO is and its value, you have to turn your attention to search engines for a moment.

How Search Engines Work

how-search-engines-workSEO emerged alongside Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. These search engines enable you to find information on the internet by displaying the websites that are the most relevant to your query.

Search engines use bits of software called crawlers to index the information they find on the internet. They then run that index through a complex algorithm that takes into account hundreds of factors about each website.
At the end of this process, search engines determine the search ranking of that site for relevant keywords.

Key ranking factors include:

  • Quality and quantity of your website content
  • Number and quality of links to your website
  • Amount and quality of traffic your site generates
  • Website speed
  • Technical optimizations like meta tags or image alt tags
  • Whether your website works on mobile devices
  • Social metrics like shares and mentions

Search engines display results in the search engine results page (SERP), where they appear in the order of their relevancy.

The Basics of Search Engine Optimization

SEO focuses on organic search traffic or unpaid traffic generated through SERPs. The higher a website appears in the searchbasics-of-seo-dental-websites results page, the higher the chances that the searcher will visit it. SEO aims to generate as much quality traffic as possible.
For example, a local dental clinic could benefit from ranking highly for local searches such as “family dentist”, “family dentist in chicago”, or “dentist in downtown chicago”.

More specifically, the dental clinic will want to use SEO to target users located within its service area. Traffic coming from patients outside its service range is not as valuable since those users cannot become patients.

Effective SEO requires both on-page and off-page optimizations:

  • On-page SEO involves all the elements of your website, including code, web design, and text and visual content.
  • Off-page SEO focuses on factors beyond your website but which contribute to your ranking, including backlinks (authoritative links from other websites) and social media awareness.

The Evolution of Search Engine Optimization


Once upon a time, SEO was limited to making a few website tweaks and creating content with keywords. Today, SEO is more complex. Many people use mobile devices or voice search to find information on the web, which has changed both search habits and the types of keywords used.

For example, many people now ask Google Now questions such as “What’s the nearest dentist?” instead of typing “best local dentist”.

For dental clinic website owners, who want to climb to the top of the search results (or stay there), this shift in how people search for information online creates both challenges and opportunities.

The Bottom Line

SEO makes your dental clinic website more visible online by helping you generate more organic traffic. It can help people find you, often at a better cost than other marketing strategies.

But SEO requires research, planning, and the successful implementation of up-to-date strategies. While quick optimizations can yield positive results, SEO is ultimately an ongoing process that calls for a thorough understanding of your patients/customers, what they want, and how they search for information.

What is Search Engine Optimization – Resources

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