Search Engine Optimization & Improving your Website Visibility

When you have a question, you need to find a recipe for cupcakes, or you want to know the best ice cream place near you, you tend to find yourself typing into a search bar. Perhaps you use Bing, or Yahoo, or, like a majority of people, you Google Search. Nonetheless, search engine results have a huge impact on a website’s visibility. Through keywords and algorithms, you can determine what pages and sections of your site will pop up through searches, allowing for increased site traffic and website accessibility. Let’s further explore SEO and its benefits for your site:

Defining SEO – What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic. Essentially, it allows for better visibility when people search for products relating to your website. You can gain more exposure for your site and reach a wider range of people–after all, search engines are the fastest way to find information. But what exactly is a search engine?

Search Engine

    • Search engines work as “answer machines” that absorb millions of pieces of information and content and use that information to figure out the best answer to your question

    • They do this by looking through internet content such as websites, PDFs, images, videos, etc.

The SEO Hierarchy of Needs

In order to reach visibility for your site, it’s important to work at the bottom to reach the top. Similar to the psychological concept that fundamental needs must be prioritized in order to reach more advanced needs, the Hierarchy of SEO Needs shares the same idea that less “advanced” needs should be addressed first. For your content to be reached and maximized, you must start with good crawl accessibility, which will allow you to stand out in SERPS (Search Engine Result Pages).

Now you may be wondering: how exactly do search engines work? Well, there are three main ways they function:

    • Crawling

    • Indexing

    • Ranking

Let’s define each of these terms and explain their functions:


Crawling addresses the issue of whether search engines can find your page. The way it works is by sending a team of robots to find new and updated content, such as web pages, images, PDFs, and videos. It’s an important aspect needed for your website to show up in search results. For example, sites like Google and Bing will use crawling bots to collect information from various sites. 

But How do I know if my Content is Showing up?

If you are unsure whether your pages are showing up, you can check using the following techniques:

  1.  Use an advanced site operator to check your indexed pages – “” is an example of one. This gives an approximate idea of which pages are indexed on your site and what’s actually showing up in the search results.
  2. Monitor & use Index Coverage Report in Google Search Console for more accurate results. You can use this to submit sitemaps for your website & keep track of how many submitted pages have been added to Google’s index.
In addition, you want to make sure your website is accessible so the crawlers can see all of your site. Some common mistakes made on websites can be found here. Now, let’s move on to the second search engine function: Indexing


Indexing is a process in which search engines decide how to organize information. The pages discovered by the crawling process are then stored in the index. The index works similar to how an index is in a book–it’s a record of useful words and information that provide the extra content on a subject. Now, how do you tell search engines to index your site? You’ll use Robots meta directives, which are instructional tags that determine how your webpage will operate. Here are some examples of the tags:
  1. Meta Robots tag – this tag is part of the site’s HTML code and is found in the <head>. It can exclude specific search engines or all of them.
Some other common meta directives include: index/noindex, follow/nofollow & noarchive

2. X-robots-tag – this tag is used in the http header of the URL. It can control the indexing of the page as a whole and is far more flexible and functional than the meta robots tag. If you want to block search engines, you can block non-HTML files, apply noindex tags to the entire site and use regular expressions.

Once the search engines have gone through indexing, it’s now time to determine where to display specific content on the SERP. This is where ranking comes in.


Ranking is the process of organizing search results from most relevant to least relevant for a particular question. There are several factors that go into determining ranking, such as content relevance to the search term, number of backlinks, URL structure and plenty more. Further examples can be found here. An important factor when considering ranking for your site is using keywords.


Keywords ranking refers to what position a website’s page has in search results for specific keywords. When using this process, it’s important to establish what your audience is looking for, and then use this insight to figure out your keywords. For example, if your website is a bookstore, you’ll want to figure out questions such as “what types of books are customers most interested in?” and “how many people are searching for a particular book?” You’ll figure out which words they’re using and then utilize the information to develop your keywords. This research allows you to better understand your target market and how they’re searching for your content, services or products


You’ve learned about what SEO is, the role of search engines, and you discovered the different ways to increase your site visibility through means such as crawling, indexing and ranking. There are notable benefits to SEO and it remains crucial for websites in order to gain high site traffic. Continue to explore SEO tools, such as Google Search Console and other SEO platforms in order to grow your brand and help it to reach its maximum potential. 

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Hi Bruna,

    I liked reading your blog, you took a somewhat complex topic and broke it down into understandable chunks perfect for those who have never heard of search engine optimization. Personally, I had no idea that search engine optimization could be effected by the actual code of the website. I was under the impression that it was strictly based on the content of the website. Here’s a link to a website that offers some more tips on how to generate traffic on your website.

  2. Hi Bruna!

    Great blog post this week. I think your tone carried really well throughout the piece and made it really easy and entertaining to read. Something I found really helpful was the graphic you included of Mozlow’s Hierarchy of SEO Needs. I was having a hard time conceptualizing the hierarchy so putting a visual to it was very helpful. I found an entire website dedicated to explaining Mozlow’s Hierarchy. Here’s a link:
    Great job again!

  3. Hey Bruna. I thought your blog did a really good job of explaining SEO. The thing that I appreciated most is that you did not focus solely on defining SEO and explaining why it is important, but you also explained some of the more intricate details about SEO. I feel like this helps strengthen my understanding of your topic and better prepares me to use SEO to my advantage in the future. One part of this discussion that I found interesting was the part about keywords. I did some more research and found a blog from that explains how you can do keyword research to help improve SEO. Here is a link!

  4. Hey Bruna. This is a really good post and I found it particularly interesting to think of how our most widely used search engines are optimized. I particularly liked the SEO hierarchy of needs and what get’s looked at first versus what get’s looked at last. I also found your explanations of the three main methods with which search engines work to also be interesting. Especially Crawling, and how it uses bots to look for new content. Again, this is a really great post!

  5. Hi Bruna! This is a really challenging topic, so I like how you broke the content down into very understandable chunks. SEO is also talked a lot about in the Ad/PR major because it can help direct traffic to your website to spread awareness of your brand or to get people to purchase a product. At my internship, I use SEO in the blogs that I write. Here is an article that I read when I just started that expands more upon how to optimize your blog using SEO that you might also find useful: ​​

  6. Hi Bruna! I loved your blog this week. SEO is so important, especially in my major, so it was great to get a refresher through this post. I like that it starts with accessibility and ends with standing out in any market. I really enjoyed looking at the hierarchy of SEO and the different aspects attributed to it. When looking at keywords, it can be tricky to know which words to use to increase the searchability of your website. This Hubspot blog is great at giving tips for what to use when writing a blog with keywords.,in%20quality%20what's%20currently%20ranking.

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