What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process or technique of improving your website/blog so that it ranks higher in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) on Search Engines (SE) like Google, Bing Yahoo, etc., for certain keywords. Typically people focus on appearing in Google, but there is also Bing and the up-and-comer Yandex. We know that search engine loves good content and every search engine whether it’s a Google or Bing wants to deliver the best User Experience (UX) by displaying the most relevant result as per the asked query.
It is all about getting users to visit your site without directly paying for advertising.
You need to remember that Google’s function is to provide the right answers to searchers, it basically has three rules:
Rule 1: Google is for answering people’s questions
Rule 2: Google knows more than us and SEO experts
Rule 3: Google wants answers not ranking tricks
How Many Types of SEO are there?
There are three main types of SEO:
White hat SEO – This type of SEO simply means doing exactly what Google says you should do (Following Google Webmaster Guidelines). Most especially not acquiring links. This includes genuine link-building techniques like guest blogging, broken link building, infographic submission, etc. This is the secure link-building technique that is not going to harm your blog in any way.
Gray Hat SEO – These techniques are in between White hat and Black hat. They include some fake stories to get coverage on some big sites, buying relevant spam-free expired domains and building sites on them, using spin articles on blogs and there are many other techniques as well.
Black Hat SEO – This is the most dangerous and quick-win SEO technique. In this technique, you just trick Google’s SEO algorithm and get a quick ranking for any keywords. This included buying links from sites, inserting spammy links in site by hacking them, doing 301 redirect with expired domains, doing bulk commenting, creating bulk profiles, acquiring backlinks that are suspicious but albeit powerful such as PBNs (private blog network), spamming other websites with your content in hopes to get a link back, and many other unethical activities.
There is also what some call negative SEO, which is the practice of using black hat techniques on someone else’s website with the intent of causing harm, this is usually used to harm a competitor so you can move up the search results. It can be illegal in some cases and is most definitely unethical by any standard.
The biggest difference between Black and White is how they go about creating backlinks.
The significance of the colors is from the western movies and everyone knows that the good guys wear white hats and the bad guys were black.
So, what is SEO, and what is involved in SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and there is much more involved than what most people think. I’m going to go over a very high-level view of what is involved in SEO. These are bullets are not in any particular order, nor it is 100% inclusive:
On-page SEO – The most important on-page SEO is, Optimize your page titles, Optimize your H1 Tag, Optimize your headings, SEO for Images, Page formatting. It refers to actual on the website and pages on the website optimization.
– Page Title Tag – working, optimized, unique, relevant, and correct length
– Description Tag – working, optimized, unique and correct length and good keyword-rich content
– Keywords – working, optimized, not spammy, density
– URL – Page names are good and descriptive
– Content optimization (Readable/Freshness/
– Image Meta tags (Alt/Title/description)
– URL Structure
– Image compression
– Broken links
– Inbound and outbound links and Anchor Text
– Header Tags H1, H2, H3 …
– Canonical Tags
– User experience analysis
– 301 redirects / 404 error pages
– Easy Navigation
– and more
Off-page SEO – This is probably the most important and most forgotten part of SEO. It refers to all of the activities that you and others do away from your website to raise the ranking of a page with search engines.
– Backlinks (Link building)
– Keyword research
– Domain authority
– Social Media Presence
– Domain name
– press releases
– written articles
– local citations
– social bookmarking
– Submission (Search Engines/Blogs/Forums)
– Page Ranking
– Niche and competitor analysis
– and more
Technical SEO – The main goal of technical SEO is to ensure that search engine crawlers can crawl and index a website without any problems. Technical SEO is all about making sure your site loads properly and is visible to Google.
– XML Sitemaps
– SSL Certificate
– Broken links
– Hosting speed
– Loading Speed
– Mobile-Friendly (Optimized/Accelerated Mobile Pages)
– Voice Search
– Banning (Check to ensure the site is not banned)
– Bug fixing
– Crawl Rates
– and more
A good SEO person will have strong working knowledge and understanding of the Google algorithm (past, present, and future). It is best if you select an SEO person that you can form a lasting relationship with, SEO is not a simple set and forget it thing. SEO is always ongoing and changing, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.
Once you start SEO, you need to commit to being in it for the long haul. When being done right, it is not just a few hours here and there it can and is a long process and most SEO people have a process they follow that works for them and should work for you. As much of SEO is learned from experience, it is often referred to as “trade secrets” as to exactly what they do and how they do it. There are many little details that are involved in good-quality SEO. Anyone can do local citations, but a good SEO will be able to squeeze a little more out of each one to help your website.
Some SEO Terms You May Hear
PBN (private blog network) backlinks are links built from a network of connected websites and blogs. These sites are commonly owned by the same person, who’s using them all to build links to their money site.
CTR – click-through rate
CTA – call to action
CRO – conversion rate optimization
If you want to start learning about SEO, the first stop should be Neil Patel, who is basically the SEO Guru. Neil is one of the most successful digital marketers around. You can start learning SEO on Neil’s main website and his YouTube channel.
Another great place to learn about SEO is from Matt Cutts. Matt once worked for Google as the head of their team which protected the quality of Google’s web search results. Matt has several web assets that are worth checking out, one is his blog, and is a frequent guest on Search Engine Watch.