The Secret to Succeeding in SEO as a Beginner - Brush Up on The Fundamentals before Getting into The Game

The world of SEO and online marketing can often feel overwhelming to someone who has just stepped in. From continually evolving search engine algorithms to advanced technicalities of optimisation, there is so much to baffle you. However, there is a method to this madness. SEO follows a set of logical (almost mathematical) principles based on which every website is assessed.


As a newcomer, you need to go back to the beginning and learn the fundamentals before advancing to the more complex stages. It would be your first step towards eventually mastering SEO and becoming a respected expert in the field. Since search engine optimisation has such a long and winding history, it is natural for you not know where to begin. Below is a brief discussion that is sure to help you out!


The definition

SEO is the process involving several actions and strategies that can result in a website getting high ranking on the SERPs and increased organic traffic through real visitors without having to pay for them in any way. Search engines have specific algorithms which they use to assess the quality of a website before determining its place in the search results list. The higher the site rank is, the higher are the chances of a visitor clicking on the website and visiting it.


The purpose

Good SEO has become critical to the success of a business that wants to prosper through its website. To know the reason behind this growing necessity of proper website optimisation, you must first understand the online behaviour of your target audience. For example, if there is a popular website for watching sports or checking the news, users will most likely visit the site directly by searching for it or putting in its URL in the address bar.


On the other hand, when looking for information, products or services, users place queries in search engines like Google. The search engine then displays a results page containing all the web pages that are a match for the user's query. Google offers several pages of results for each search query, but most users only stick to the first one. In fact, most people just visit the first few sites before concluding their search.


That is why being in the top ranks of the SERPs is crucial to getting quality website traffic. Achieving that is highly challenging, if not impossible, without proper SEO.


On-page and Off-page SEO - the perfect balance

As per the experts at Joel House, there are two sides of every SEO campaign - one is on-page, and the other is off-page. On-page involves optimising the site, its content, and the code running at the backend to make it ideal for both search engines and the users. On-page SEO is more technical than its counterpart. It includes elements such as short and keyword rich URLs, keywords in title tag, H1 tags in content, and attractive and relevant videos and images. Through on-page SEO, experts make sure that the website looks the same on all devices, loads fast, and offers smooth functionalities to all users.


Off-page SEO consists of all the efforts that would make a website gain authority in the respective domain. Link building is the most common strategy for off-page SEO, where the website generates backlinks through original and high-quality content. Article posting and guest blogging are some of the best ways of earning valuable and relevant links.


Black hat vs. white hat SEO

The road to success in search engine optimisation can be filled with ups and downs. Due to the increasing competition, that road is becoming more and more treacherous. In this scenario, some businesses try to take the easy way up, and they try to beat Google in its own game through improper practices. These practices are known as black hat SEO. On the other hand, white hat SEO, as the name suggests, are the right ways of optimising a site according to Google's preferences.


White hat strategies may include the addition of relevant and useful content on the website, images with proper alt tags, good quality content with correct grammar and syntax, HTML code which is compliant to the latest standards, and keyword rich page titles and meta descriptions. Black hat strategies, on the other hand, would use plagiarised or recycled content, overdo the usage of keywords, hide the website behind another website (or redirecting visitors there), or build backlinks from sites that have no relevance to the content of this website.


SEO is like an onion with several layers to it, and as you get into more and more depth, you discover newer aspects of it. Also, it is a continually evolving subject, and if you are looking to master SEO, you would need to keep on educating yourself about the latest techniques. You would also need to keep track of search algorithms and the changes being brought to them every day.


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