What’s web optimization • web optimization for Rookies • Yoast


Marieke van de Rakt

Marieke van de Rakt is the CEO of Yoast. Her main focus is on growing the company. She attaches great importance to maintaining an open and friendly corporate culture. Marieke is also heavily involved in the marketing of Yoast and with the Yoast SEO Academy, the online course platform.

The pandemic made it necessary for many companies to focus on their online presence. But long before that, we saw a steady increase in everything that went online. Perhaps you want to get started and you have decided to quickly get a website up for your business. Or you have decided to revive your existing website. Big! What now? One of the ways to get (and keep) people to your website is through SEO. You have probably come across this term somewhere. But what does it actually contain? In this post, we explain what SEO is and how to get started!

What is SEO

SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. It is the practice to optimize your web pages so that they rank high in search results from Google and other search engines. This means that users are more likely to find your website when they search online. SEO focuses on improving the rankings in the organic – even unpaid – search results. If you have a website and want to get more traffic, there is no doubt: SEO should be part of your marketing efforts.

Google's search results for the term Neptune PlanetGoogle’s search results page for the term “Neptune Planet”

In the picture above we see the first results when someone searches for the keyword ‘Neptune Planet’. In this case, Wikipedia is the first result and that means that your page on Neptune is number 1 for this search term. The idea behind SEO is that if you optimize your page for the best result, you can climb those rankings and become one of the first results people see. Which will bring you more clicks and traffic to your website!

While this example only shows us organic results, it is not always the case. Depending on what search term someone is using, some ads or a rich search result or some products from Google Shopping may also appear at the top. There are many different options, and what Google shows may also depend on what it knows about the searcher (for example, the country they live in).

Google’s algorithm

How high each result ranks is determined by Google’s algorithm. And although parts of the Google algorithm remain secret, we have gained insight into the most important ranking factors through years of SEO experience. These ranking factors can be divided into two categories:

On-page SEO factors

The ranking of your pages is determined in part by on-page factors. On-page SEO factors are all the things on your website that you have direct control over. These factors include technical issues (such as the quality of your code and the speed of the site) and content issues such as the structure of your website or the quality of the copy on your website. These are all crucial on-page SEO factors to work on.

Offpage SEO factors

In addition to on-page SEO factors, your rankings are also determined by a few off-page SEO factors. These factors include links from other websites, social media attention, and other marketing activities that take place outside of your own website. While not impossible, these off-page SEO factors can be more difficult to manipulate. The most important of these offpage factors is the number and quality of the links pointing to your website. The more high-quality and relevant websites that link to your website, the higher your position on Google.

Another off-page factor that plays a role in SEO is your competition in relation to the niche of your particular business. Some niches are much more difficult to rank than others. The competitiveness of your market therefore also has a great influence on your ranking chances.

Holistic SEO

At Yoast we practice “holistic SEO”. With holistic SEO, your primary goal is to create and maintain the best website possible. You’re not trying to fool Google, you’re investing your time and effort in a sustainable long-term strategy. As you work on improving your pages and having a quality website, you will improve your chances of ranking. Because Google wants to offer its users the best results for their search query and the best results are those that have great content, but are also user-friendly, fast and easily accessible.

Ranking well on search engines like Google requires a comprehensive SEO strategy that focuses on every aspect of your website and its marketing. The technical side, the user experience (UX), the content on your website: everything has to be first class. In order to continue to rank well on Google, you should – as we call it – develop a holistic SEO approach.

How can we help you get started?

At Yoast, our mission is to make SEO accessible to everyone. Because of this, we have a few plugins that can help you with this, like our popular Yoast SEO plugin. We have a free and premium version of this plugin. One of the main advantages is that you can use it to create high-level content. Our free SEO and readability analysis gives you detailed suggestions to help you create text and enjoy search engines!

The premium version of our plugin helps you to reach the next level and to optimize your content for synonyms and related keywords and to improve your page structure with our internal linking suggestions. You also get access to all of our SEO courses that teach you key SEO skills that you can use right away!

Go premium and Get access to all of our functions!

Premium comes with many features and free access to our SEO courses!


SEO is the practice of optimizing websites so that they rank high in search results from Google – or any other search engine. At Yoast, we believe that holistic SEO is the best way to rank your pages as you focus on optimizing every aspect of your website.

Do not use black hat SEO tricks as this will ultimately have negative consequences for your ranking. Instead, practice sustainable SEO for the benefit of your user and you will benefit from it in the long term. Read More

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to WordPress SEO »


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