SEO Basic

 What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process of optimizing your website with the goal of improving your rankings in the search results and getting more organic (non-paid) traffic.

The history of SEO dates back to the 90s when search engines emerged for the first time. Nowadays, it is an essential marketing strategy and an ever-growing industry.

Search engine optimization focuses only on organic search results and does not include PPC optimization. Both SEO and PPC are part of Search Engine Marketing.




The search engines are used by internet users when they are searching for something.

And you want to provide the answer to that something. It doesn’t matter whether you sell a product or service, write a blog, or anything else, search engine optimization is a must for every website owner.

To put it simply:

SEO is all the actions you do to make Google consider your website a quality source and rank it higher for your desired search queries.

Note: Although SEO stands for “search engine optimization”, with the current dominance of Google, we could simply use the term “Google optimization”.

That’s why all the tips and techniques in this guide are mainly about Google SEO, although many things are universal and apply to the optimization for any other search engine.


SEO in a nutshell

You don’t need to know ALL the factors and the exact algorithms Google uses to rank your website. But you need to cover the key components of SEO to be successful.

An easy way to understand the 3 most important factors is to imagine a bowl of soup – the SEO soup.



There are three key aspects of SEO:

  1. Technical stuff – The bowl represents all the technical aspects you need to cover (often referred to as technical or on-page SEO). Without a proper bowl, there would be nothing to hold the soup.

  2. Great content – The soup represents the content of your website – the most important part. Low-quality content = no rankings, it is that simple.

  3. Quality backlinks – The seasoning represents the backlinks that increase the authority of your website. You can have great content and a perfectly optimized website but ultimately, you need to gain authority by getting quality backlinks – the last ingredient to make your SEO soup perfect.

In the following chapters, we’ll take a look at all of these aspects from the practical point of view.

Useful vocabulary

As soon as you start digging into SEO, you’ll come across some common terms that try to categorize its various aspects or approaches, namely:

  • On-page SEO & off-page SEO

  • Black hat SEO & white hat SEO

Although they are not that important from the practical point of view, it is good to know their meaning.

On-page SEO & off-page SEO

The terms on-page and off-page SEO categorize the SEO activities based on whether you perform them on the website

On-page SEO is everything you can do on the website – from the optimization of content through technical aspects.

  • Keyword research

  • Content optimization

  • Title tag optimization

  • Page performance optimization

  • Internal linking

The goal is to provide both perfect content and UX while showing search engines what the page is about.

Note: The terms on-page SEO and technical SEO are sometimes used interchangeably and sometimes used to distinguish the content-related optimization (e.g. title tags) and technically-oriented optimization (e.g. page speed).

Off-page SEO is mostly about getting quality backlinks to show search engines that your website has authority and value. Link building may involve techniques like:

  • Guest blogging

  • Email outreach

  • Broken link building

Off-page SEO is also closely connected to other areas of online marketing, such as social media marketing and branding, which have an indirect impact on building the trust and authority of your website.

Remember that a successful SEO strategy consists of both on-page and off-page SEO activities.

White hat SEO vs. black hat SEO

Black hats and white hats have their origin in Western movies. They represented bad guys and good guys.

In SEO, the terms are used to describe two groups of SEOs – those who adhere to the rules set out by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and those who don’t.



Black hat SEO is a set of unethical (and usually spammy) practices to improve the rankings of a website.

These techniques can get you to the top of the search results in a short time, however, search engines will most probably penalize and ban the website sooner or later.

White hat SEO, on the other hand, refers to all the regular SEO techniques that stick to the guidelines and rules. It is a long-term strategy in which good rankings are a side-product of good optimization, quality content, and a user-oriented approach.

While SEO experts agree that “white hat” is the way to go, there are different opinions on the acceptability of various link building techniques (including link buying).

Frequently asked questions

Can I do SEO on my own?

SEO is not easy. But it’s no rocket science either.

There are things you can implement right away and there are concepts that will take much more time and effort. So yes, you can do SEO on your own.

The only question is whether you are willing to invest some time into learning all the aspects of SEO, or you’ll hire a professional and invest your time into something else.

How can I learn SEO?

There’s a couple of things you should do to learn SEO:

  • Read reliable resources

  • Get hands-on experience

  • Don’t be afraid of experiments

  • Have a lot of patience (SEO is a marathon, not a sprint)

Implementing the things from this guide is a great way to start 🙂

How long does it take to learn SEO?

To answer this question, we’ll use a common answer of SEO experts to almost any SEO issue: it depends.

While understanding the basics won’t take you longer than a couple of weeks, the actual mastering of this discipline depends largely on the practice, which is a question of months, even years.

Last but not least, SEO is evolving all the time. You should always keep learning and stay updated with the latest updates, experiments and findings.

Do I need SEO tools?

If you’re serious about SEO, you shouldn’t neglect the useful data and insights provided by various SEO tools. They give you a great competitive advantage and save a lot of your time.

Here are some essential SEO tools every website owner should use:

Is SEO dead?

When people use the phrase “SEO is dead”, they usually mean that “the spammy attempts to cheat the Google algorithm that were used 10 years ago are dead”.

Other than that, search engine optimization is an essential marketing strategy and an ever-growing industry.


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