Search Engine Optimization (SEO for short) is when you actively try to improve your rankings in search results without paying. This is also called your “natural” or “organic” rank. This can be very important, if you have a website that’s about parenting you want to show up in search engine results when someone searches for “parenting”.
Realistically gaining a high ranking on a term as broad as “parenting” is very hard. Most people decide on a few keywords they would like to work on that are more specific, like “natural parenting” or “attached parenting”, and try to increase their rankings on pages that include those keywords.
Why should you care? Good question. You should care, because you want people to find your site when they need it. Unless you expect all of your traffic to come from word of mouth or advertising you should expect to spend a great deal of time working on your SEO. Without it, you are doomed to pay for page traffic when you could be getting it for free and from people that are looking for what you have to offer!
How does it work? Search engines look for a few things: content, performance, experience, and a few other things. They’re looking for good clean content on a webpage that loads well and has a good user experience. Loading a website up with a bunch of keywords over and over will actually hurt your ranking more than it will help. Your site should be optimized for mobile devices, thus increasing it’s usability to all viewers. SEO is a constant process, you can’t just do a few things and leave it alone for the next ten years and expect to keep the same rankings.
Over the years SEO has changed drastically, once upon a time you could rank your page by simply filling it with keywords and collecting links from other sites to yours. Now those things can actually hurt your ranking more than help it. Quality content and trust are key.