The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO Beginner's Guide

So, you’ve heard about SEO but don’t quite know what it is? It’s the easiest way to drive massive amounts of traffic to your website free or paid, which means more people who visit your website become customers, which means more money in your pocket. If you want to learn about search engine optimization and how to optimize your website to rank higher in Google and other search engines, check out this guide on search engine optimization for beginners! It covers everything from how search engines work to technical SEO tactics!

What is SEO?

Internet marketing as a whole is an ever-changing industry. The term Search Engine Optimization has changed over the years as well. In 1998, the search engine company Technorati coined the term Search Engine Marketing to make it easier for users to understand how they worked. Ten years later in 2008, the term SEO was born when Google created an algorithm that would change search results based on relevance and web presence. Today, we often use these terms interchangeably because SEO and SEM are essentially two sides of the same coin; one doesn’t work without the other.

How Does Google Work?

Search engines use algorithms to determine where your website ranks. But how exactly do they work? Google’s algorithm uses three major signals: links, content and keywords. Links are by far Google’s favorite ranking signal; it looks at both link quantity and quality. Links from authoritative websites help search engines determine what your site is about—and whether you should be ranked highly for a given query. Google also likes content that’s rich in keywords, since it knows people often perform searches that match up with those words or phrases.

How Google Spiders the Internet

Search engine spiders crawl through web pages and parse content, looking for keywords and creating an index based on what they find. Most people search Google by entering a keyword or two into their search bar. The engine then searches its database of web pages for matching phrases, ultimately creating a ranked list of results based on popularity, relevance, and time since publication. When users choose one of these results from their search results page, Google uses that information as feedback in refining its index of sites; after all, if you’re not interested in what a website has to say about something or if you don’t click on it when it comes up in your search results list (after sorting through tens of thousands), that site might be less relevant than others when someone else searches for those terms.

What Are On-Page and Off-Page SEO?

There are dozens of on-page and off-page SEO elements that can influence rankings. It might sound daunting, but they’re really not that complicated. Merely understanding the difference between the two—and how they interact—will be what matters most when it comes to high rankings on the internet. Off- page: We’ve discussed how search engines spider the web, right? Each individual copy of a web page is called an instance, which is essentially just an internet node. When we discuss on-page SEO, we’re discussing what makes each instance unique. On-page optimization can also include aspects like internal links, keyword placement, site structure, and more. If you want your pages to rank well for keywords like dog training, having those words in your text will help search engines know what your content is about. Different search engine algorithms will take a variety of factors into account when determining the rank of a website.

Free (Organic SEO) Vs Paid (Inorganic SEO)

SEO is a nuanced art form and can be achieved using multiple methods, from paid ads and organic SEO to search engine marketing and link building. The two most popular forms of SEO are organic SEO (through content), free, and paid or inorganic SEO, which relies on ranking boosts from Google or other search engines through advertising. When you sign up for a SEM account with Google AdWords, your advertisement shows at different points on people’s internet searches. SEM accounts operate through bidding systems and you pay per click instead of a monthly fee. Organic search results rely on what type of content you have on your site as well as whom links back to it.

White, Grey, and Black Hat SEO

White hat SEO techniques are commonly accepted as the right way to do things, while grey and black hat techniques are often viewed as manipulative and sometimes even illegal. The reality is that not all grey and black hat techniques are inherently bad, and it can be difficult to distinguish between what’s ethical or acceptable and what isn’t. And then there’s spamming: some methods fall under the umbrella of grey or black hat, but it’s impossible for a search engine provider like Google to police them. So how do you tell the difference?  There are three main differences between white, grey and black hat seo: ethics, legality and effectiveness. Ethically speaking, white hat seo should never involve deception; if your rankings rise because you deceived Google by using certain tactics that go against its guidelines, your site will eventually get caught in a search engine penalty cycle. That means no traffic from search engines until you remove whatever practices got your site penalized in the first place—and if they’re too deeply embedded into your site structure to fix quickly, it could take months or years before your site gets reinstated on search engines’ results pages. Grey hat techniques usually skirt around those ethical lines—for example, trying out tricks that aren’t considered outright black hat but also aren’t necessarily recommended by experts either.  While many businesses choose to use white hat seo exclusively, there are plenty of legitimate reasons why you might decide to experiment with other options but do so at your own peril. Some common arguments for grey and black hat strategies include: It’s just one tactic among many – Using only white hat techniques can lead to an over-reliance on search engine algorithms. If search engines change their ranking algorithms at any point, your website may suffer more than if you had used multiple approaches together instead. Regardless of your logic for trying other tactics, it is almost always better to err on the side of caution than having your website penalized by Google.

Putting It All Together

Content is king on the internet. Written content is preferred over videos for ranking results, so you’ll want to start blogging right away. Once you’ve gotten used to writing and publishing a few articles, consider adding YouTube video snippets or slideshows that complement your written content. Each of these platforms helps boost your search engine rankings and will ensure your business stays ahead of the curve as technology continues to change. This can also be applied in reverse. Increasing search traffic will lead to more customers coming directly from the Internet which could increase foot traffic in a physical store.

If you operate a business and are thinking about getting into Search Engine Optimization, utilizing professional remote freelance writers with SEO experience can work wonders for your blog or website.