SEO 101 – What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for any business in today’s competitive market. Companies trying to generate more traffic on their website should explore SEO as a means to stick out from the crowd by appearing higher on search results and, consequently, portraying the legitimacy of their business.

What is SEO and why is it so important?

SEO Defined

SEO is a set of rules and guidelines used to rank sites in organic search results. The more guidelines a site follows, the higher it will be listed among similar search queries. For this reason, businesses that follow SEO guidelines can be discovered easily in a Google or Yahoo search and draw in new customers, rather than potentially losing those clicks to competitors who appear before them in the search’s results.

Key SEO Terms

In addition to SEO itself, there are a handful of terms you should learn to gain a deeper understanding of how SEO works. When you hire an SEO expert, you don’t need to grasp the jargon completely, but having a basic understanding will help you determine if SEO is right for you. Here is an explanation of the most important terms, along with their relevance:

  • Ranking position – This is the position (or place) that a site will appear in a search, based on provided search terms.

For example, if you search “Restaurants in Baltimore,” the first few results that appear in that search will be businesses that have taken efforts to optimize their site’s SEO for that keyphrase. Several pages later, you will start to find lower-ranking establishments that have not taken these measures yet.

They will appear to the potential customer as less successful than those that rank ahead of them, even if they are more successful than the others. It’s all about perception.

  • Keyword/Keyphrase – These are words or phrases chosen to accurately represent a brand, services, productions, and location, based on how commonly they are searched. Keywords and phrases should be chosen thoughtfully since they can impact how a search engine indexes and ranks your site. An SEO expert can steer you in the right direction for keywords and phrases, so your website is optimized for what people are searching for to increase your rank (as described above).
  • Backlink – These are links to your site that are present on external sites (not cross-referenced in your own website). Search engines view backlinks as a “vote of confidence” from other sites, which allows your business to increase its ranking position due to this perceived authority.
  • Targeted Traffic – The goal of targeted traffic is to use SEO guidelines to attract customers. While attracting traffic is beneficial, converting those visits into actual sales is paramount. Working with an SEO expert can target and attract those types of visitors to your site, turning clicks into clients.

Optimize and Enhance Your SEO with Harford Designs

There are many nuances to effective SEO, and we’d love to help your business get optimized! To get started increasing your site traffic and SEO rank, give us a call at 410-855-4499 or email

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