What is SEO?

Ashton College
4 min readMay 6, 2022

Before moving forward into reading the article, please keep in mind that the information below is intended for those who have not heard of SEO or have very limited knowledge of what SEO is and what it can do for your online profile.

This article will cover the definition of SEO, the difference between SEM, and how to get started with SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. If you do not know what it does, it essentially helps you and your company better appear in search engine queries (ex. Google Search, Bing Search, Yahoo Search).

We all currently have an appearance on the web. So, SEO helps with “optimizing” your appearance or making you stand out more.

This modern tool is what drives the future of online business and businesses in general. As it should be, owning a storefront is expensive, considering the price of renting a building/space and utilities. Not to mention that it does wonders for your consumers, because for them, they can shop from anywhere at any time. Creating an online presence for your business cuts down on these costs and you would be able to have a wider reach of potential customers.


Can SEO help you? Why yes of course! And you may hear that SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is the same thing, but keep in mind that the main difference is in the price, timing, and execution, according to WebFX. SEM helps with making you more “out there”, being up close and personal with people. You could think of SEM as more traditional marketing, where the more money you invest, the more “in your face” you get to be towards potential consumers.

SEO does not force it, and instead monitors “organic” foot traffic. It will take time for it to initiate, but unless you want results fast and forced, SEO is the most cost-effective option for companies on a budget or if you are starting out as a company altogether.

The following are a few things to keep in mind when optimizing your SEO ranking: how to appear more prominently, the guidelines for ethical marketing, and using the right keywords.

1. How to Appear More Prominently

You may think to yourself: “where do I start”?

According to Google, you can start by typing in “site:…” and the name of your site to see if your website exists on google. An example would be site:ashtoneducation.ca.

If you do not appear in the search engine’s database (which of course it won’t for a first timer), then you would have to use their Google Search Console.

If your website is built with an existing platform such as Wix, they can help you refine your search.

2. Guidelines for Ethical Marketing

There are many rules and regulations for SEO, and they differ from search engine to search engine.

What we will be focusing on is what you should be doing vs. what you should not be doing.

And what is White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO.

You can think of them in the same light as hackers. The “White Hat” are the good guys and the “Black Hat” are the bad guys. Same applies to SEO.

Below are brief descriptions of Black Hat and White Hat SEO.

Black Hat SEO

They are the gunk at the bottom of your shoe. Their main goal is to aggressively advertise by violating the rules and guidelines of SEO for short-term profits. They mainly put in keywords that focus on exploiting the search engine instead of focusing on what consumers actually search.

White Hat SEO

This is what you should be doing. The main goal for White Hats is aiming for long term profits, company longevity, all while not violating any SEO rules and regulations. The keywords here are meant to predict what consumers would type onto the search bar.

You can go to Geeks for Geeks to see more information.

3. Using the Right Keywords

Now, you have been hearing the word: “keywords”, all around the article but what are they? They are basically words that relate and encapsulate what your business is. For example: if you are in the coffee business, your keywords would have to be “coffee”. Same applies for schools (“education”), law firms (“legal”), and restaurants (“where to eat”).

Keywords are usually one or two words, but they can be longer with three to four words. More words will then equal to more specific searches from your desired targeted audience. Just keep in mind the rules and regulations when doing so, as we want to avoid using Black Hat SEO tactics.

Make sure to add more keywords and experiment with what specific words that could help with your google search position.

This is just one of the many ways you can improve your SEO via keywords. For a more in-depth explanation, you can find it on HubSpot, which provides a necessary understanding of the elements of keyword research, which could help further optimize your SEO.

To Finish Up…

Go and further optimize your SEO today, it is a good way to get your name out there without breaking the bank.

Although there is more to learn about how SEO truly works, this article serves to educate you on how they work and how this is one of the many marketing tools at your disposal to improve your online presence. For more information, you can take our digital marketing certificate program if you want to learn about SEOs and marketing as a whole, or if you only want to learn select parts about digital marketing, you can take one of our online digital marketing courses and have your pick on select topics you want to learn.

Written by Adam Rosman