What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

by Sidick Allaladé on 2/06/2020

Updated at 27/03/2023

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. (moz.com)

SEO seeks to generate organic results, unlike AES(Search Engine Advertising). Search Engine Optimization may seem complex at first glance but it is actually quite clear to understand when you look at it methodically.

In short your SEO strategy consists of improving given website visibility on a search engine (usually Google). When you don't pay ads this is called natural or organic SEO.

In concrete terms, Search Engine Optimization represents a set of techniques aimed at improving the positioning of a web page (can be a single page, a complete site or a web application) in search engine results.

Here are the key steps for an optimization of your SEO strategy (organic) on the web:

  • The amount of traffic

Greater visibility in google results will ultimately allow more visitors to find you on the Internet.

In short, the more users you attract to your site, the better. It is the ability to organize your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that will generate traffic to your site.

  • Quality of traffic

Don't get too excited, a lot of traffic to your site is good, but quality also matters. Suppose you sell dog products, but most of the visitors you attract are interested in technological products. You will get traffic, but it will not be the kind of traffic you need. You will certainly not make your traffic profitable this way, so for you the traffic quality is poor.

Here is a good example of the quality of traffic on Google Search.

Quality of traffic, paid vs organic referencing

 The results marked without the word 'ad' at the beginning are the organic SEO results. That means they have been SEO optimized.

In order to understand what improvements will have an impact on search engine results, let's start by explaining how search engines work and what kind of SEO they prefer.

How do search search engines work?

Search engines simply try to find and understand all the content available on the Internet, and then quickly provide relevant and reliable results based on any phrase the user might search for.

Let's talk about relevance first. When a user searches for something like 'Cinema in Montreal', the search engines want to display a list of results that are relevant to the subject of cinemas in Montreal. They analyze all the web pages they have previously visited and registered, and select the pages they think are most relevant to Montreal theatres. 

To do this, they evaluate many different factors, including how your content is written and coded, and how other websites link to you.

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This info is gathered in a very large and complex index (think of it as a database). In a fraction of a second, the search engine is then able to use complex algorithms to rank and display all these web pages in order of relevance to the phrase the user has just typed, the movie theatres in Montreal. 

It is important to note here that search engines make a very clear distinction between content that concerns Montreal cinemas and content that is relevant to veterinarians, for example.

Search engines are capable of understanding a large number of semantic and thematic links between words and concepts. For example, a search engine knows that pages that sell bird cages are extremely relevant to the bird cage query, but it also knows that websites about animal transporters are also very relevant. And he knows that a website promoting bird food or bird toys may also be relevant for research, but perhaps to a lesser extent.

One of the factors that influence exposure to search engines is authority. See Building your authority on the web, how does the backlink work?

Define your expectations in terms of organic SEO referencing

As in any marketing action, it is important to clearly define your expectations, and according to them define a strategic plan to define your organic referencing. Custom web agencies generally specialize in this field in order to optimize the web pages of a company through a good organic referencing.

In addition to the fact that I agree with whoever said: 

"If you plan nothing, you plan for failure”

SEO is little different from other internet marketing strategies and understanding these differences will help you stay on track to conduct and measure a successful SEO campaign. 

Patience is a virtue and this could not be truer than with SEO. Approach SEO as a long-term process that creates long-term value.

  • Research your keywords and understand their intent. 
  • Create useful and valuable content.
  • Attract relevant links and authority signals and solve technical problems on your site. 

When should you stop your SEO strategy?

Uh Never, too bad if you don't expect it, but SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a never-ending process. There's always work to be done. SEO is not a one-off project. This is a process that you will continue to carry out over the long term.

Google's algorithms, for example, change frequently and your SEO work must follow them. You should also keep in mind that search engines do not necessarily interact with your website immediately. It takes time for them to discover changes to your content and new links to your pages, and to understand the overall structure and performance of your website. It will take them more time to put all these factors into their index and compare them to their algorithms to re-evaluate your quality, relevance and authority before these changes are reflected in the search results.

Of course this is the default method but depending on the search engine the process explained above can be accelerated. 

Let's take the example of the world's most used search engine Google. You can use tools such as Google Search Console, so you can submit your changes faster.

What to expect with Organic SEO?

It is important to realize and accept that these things are beyond your control. Take the example of Safari, where they are always trying to improve their product to help deliver the results that people want and they are always trying new things. Sometimes these changes are algorithmic. Other changes relate more to the characteristics or different ways of presenting different types of content to users in the search results pages.

Search engines will continue to make changes to improve the experience of their users. It is in our interest to work with these changes as best we can. But, one of the biggest expectations for a successful SEO campaign is to realize that you are really optimizing for two audiences: the search engine and real people. It's very easy to focus on what we think a search engine is going to like about our site, but the real audience that generates business on your website is people.

Of course, they may never find us if we do not appear on a search engine's results page, but it is the people who are behind the results and, fortunately, search engines know that. The ultimate goal of search engines is to generate results that people will find useful.

If, for example, you strengthen your authority, and create quality content that is useful and interesting for people and is also user-friendly for your audience, in the long run you will only get better positioning on the web. Website design must also be based on good SEO.


Search Engine Optimization, web design are processes that require a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of patience. This is the job of web agencies.

SEO is a very profitable marketing strategy, due to its nature of generating inbound, targeted and automatic leads.

Also remember that sometimes cheap SEO in the end can cost much more than regularly prices SEO, click here to see how much it usually costs to have good SEO.

If you need any help with your SEO strategy please contact our web marketing agency. We are based in Montreal and we are the best web marketing agency in town.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, your SEO works on the majority of the most used search engines and will bring you results from all of them.

You pay to place an ad at the top of the search engine results, whereas search engine optimization (SEO) is essentially free.

NEVER! Unless you want to reduce your revenue, sales, and overall business success.

The off-site referencing includes all the practices occurring outside the site to be referenced. It considers the presence of your site on other websites or on social networks and other platforms. The on-site referencing is a referencing based on your website. It is the set of all practices that you do on your site to increase its visibility and positioning.

Sidick Allaladé

Sidick Allalade, is Chief Technology Officer at Oshara INC and co-founder of the Osortoo web application. He loves solving complex IT problems, coding and everything IT. He has a good knowledge of online marketing and IT Governance, Audit and Security.
His experience spans hundreds of projects with companies of all sizes which makes him a valuable asset on any team.

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