What is SEO? Introduction for beginners

As we all know SEO is one of the hottest subjects in the IT industry. The term SEO is being widely used in between the business owners or online business people, website owners, webmasters, blog owners etc. Thus we shall discuss about what is SEO, where it is being used, why is it being used and also who and how is it used. Those who are very new to SEO (beginner level) or who are planning to build a career in it are the intended readers of this article. Thus this basic level module that describes about SEO and its benefits.

What is SEO?

The term SEO is the short form of Search Engine Optimization. We do research on several topics or data on internet using different web search services such as Google, Bing etc. These service providers are called search engines. When we do a search in these search engines, they give us plenty of results, which may even show 100 pages of results. Such results are called SERP, which is the short form of Search Engine Result Page.

As we all do, we stick on to the website results in the first page and may move to 2nd or third page if we don’t get the desired result of our search. It is so rare that we do not move on to the pages after 5th page. Even going till the fifth page happens for only a handful of people. This implies that if a website needs traffic from search engines it is mandatory for them to be listed in the first 2 pages.

Being in the second page also does not attract much of traffic as we know all human beings usually focus on quick results. Hence for better traffic from search engines a website or web page need to be listed in the first page. There are millions of websites over internet from which billions of web pages are listed. While a lakh of web results for a single topic is available, in order to get traffic, the website needs to be on the first page.

It is not so very easy to uplift a website or content to a better positioning by pushing down lakhs of results. The optimization done in order to bring the content or website in such a better position is called Search Engine Optimization. In other words, the optimization done on our website for routing the traffic from search engines to the website is called search engine optimization (SEO). It is very easy to understand as a straight term is used for that profession.

Role of SEO

We started seeing the trend of website in the 1990s. There weren’t much of websites available over internet on a topic. Thus people who started website on several topics with a short writing and a good title used to get good traffic from search engines. But as ages faded, the revenue from this gained wide publicity that attracted many individuals and Companies to the world of websites. Thousands of websites are being started a day these days, resulting in lakhs of results for a topic.

As the number of websites increased, there were different quality of content were available over the internet. Thus Search engines started giving priority to the good quality content by altering their search engine algorithms in order to provide their customers with good end results. Meanwhile there were few webmasters who used illegal techniques to bring their websites in better position using illegal ways, which are known as Black Hat SEO. For bypassing and giving penalty for Black Hat SEO and understanding the quality of content, the search engines started updating their algorithms time to time.

Here comes the role of a SEO specialist. A good SEO specialist will be so well updated with all changes and updates of every change and algorithms of the search engines. Unlike every other field, the SEO field changes very dynamically.

Companies like Google releases regular updates and the SEO specialist has to strictly monitor for such changing guidelines and go through each line and understand them. They also need to make necessary changes and take all actions on the websites they handle, as per the updated guidelines.

Their responsibility is always on to the higher side that they need to be keen watchers of their websites and the updates from search engine companies to do make in regular updates and changes on their websites in order to give them a better positioning in the search engines. Thus they are called SEO specialists.

SEO Service Types

A website owner or company owner, who would like to do SEO, has different options before him. The first one is one time SEO. That is he engages a SEO specialist for a single time. That SEO specialist studies and audits the client’s website on a first line study of keywords, contents etc. and points out the issues and flaws to prepare a report. Such a report making is known as SEO auditing report, which makes different parameters to overcome the flaws. Based on this report, doing a one-time SEO, is being followed by few website owners.

While doing a one-time SEO, the basic SEO factors and flaws are being fixed once on the basis of the report. This one-time SEO is being followed by a part of people. But for some others, who expect quiet a big volume of traffic, from the internet. Those clients will be mostly ones who will be facing competition in the market. Such clients will opt for on-going SEO from SEO companies or SEO specialists on a monthly or yearly remuneration basis. It is the responsibility of their assigned SEO specialist or SEO Company to monitor the client’s website regularly and fix all flaws then and there. They also make sure that their client maintains the best position in the search engines for the keywords they choose. This regular fixing and monitoring is called on-going SEO.

Thus summing up, SEO service is being provided as follows:

  1. One-time SEO
  2. On-going SEO
  3. SEO Auditing Service

General SEO Techniques Categories

Now we move on to SEO techniques. Generally there are three types of SEO techniques:

  1. White Hat SEO: those webmasters who strictly adhere to the guidelines provided by the search engines are classified as white hat SEO providers. 
  2. Black Hat SEO: As the name suggests, it is just opposite to White Hat SEO. It is following of those things, that are red flagged by the search engines and expressly specified  to be not done. This is usually done to get quick results but providers like Google continuously update their algorithms for bypassing this black hat SEO. It is not at all recommended nor safe. Even though we get a quick good result, it is very obvious that it gets blacklisted on some update of Google. It is so easy for such a huge Company to find this black hat SEO and penalize it.
  3. Grey Hat SEO: When white hat SEO and black hat SEO are so specific, then the question is what grey hat SEO is. It is none other than white hat SEO but it is mixed with 5-10% of tricky methods that may be in black hat SEO. Thus it is not 100% white hat SEO. These tricky methods may be in the form of link building or keyword stuffing etc for ranking. Grey hat SEO is being used on a very wide basis. Even though a complete white hat SEO is recommended, at some point of time on basis of the content or the websites and its competition, the SEO specialist may need to use grey hat SEO, manually.

The above said three names as used technically but we do not go deep into the methods of them, here in this topic. Accordingly, we have seen the classification of SEO work into one-time and on-going SEO and the techniques into white hat, black hat and grey hat SEO.

Now let us look into where SEO has to be done in a website. As far as a website is concerned the relevance of SEO comes in all areas of a website. From the domain registration, website name, the server where it is hosted, speed of server, technology used for making website, its designing, the mobile friendly view, loading speed of website, navigation structure inside the website, content, its quality, keywords in the content, title of content, meta tags, schema…. 

And not limited to these internal factors but also the external factors, such as such as links of this website from other websites, building domain authority etc. all are relevant in SEO. This implies that SEO is not just limited to the internal side of it but it is so vast to the outside world. In the language of a SEO specialist it is called as:

  1. On-page SEO: It means that the webmaster gives importance to the pages inside the website. Their focus is on the website area such as website design, its speed, its content, keyword presence in content, distribution, title, scheme etc. and thus main concentration is on website and content. As the name suggest, the SEO specialist over looks on the website pages.
  2. Off-page SEO: again as the name suggests, it is the focus on the external factors of the website such as domain authority, website based social media influential score, back link creation or link building  from other websites and social media etc. Thus all external factors of website is said to be off-page SEO.

You can use our following free tools to optimize images for your on page optimization.

Thus while technically working on website SEO, both On-page and off-page SEO has to be done. But according to the requirements of the customers and website nature, certain website may require only on-site SEO only.

As we discussed earlier, one-time SEO may be required for those clients who doesn’t have much of a competition on their keywords or field. In such cases only on-page SEO need to be done for such websites. By doing these will bring their website in a better position as they do not have much competition. For eg: a resort in a remote place where there are no other resorts nearby.  In that case, this resort will rank high when people search for the relevant keywords in that place. But to list their website in Google, certain basic steps have to be followed on on-page such as title, description, keywords, speed, mobile responsive etc.

Only those things need to be taken care of in these cases. These cases call in for only a one-time on-page SEO. But when the competitions are high it is always advisable to do on-time SEO. While doing on-time SEO, both on-page and off-page has to be done with the same priority.

The search engines bring in changes or guideline updates very frequently. The new ranking factors updates are also being updated very regularly. Hence those who monitor them up-to-date can bring in take required actions on a timely basis. For eg: it is seen in this near future that those websites that are not mobile friendly had the tendency of going down in ranking.

Ranking factor was high for the mobile friendly websites.  The other example is that of SSL certificate (https protocol): those websites which had this SSL certificate were given additional ranking. This was also introduced in the near future. Similarly, many other guidelines are being introduced by the search engines like Google. Thus it is the responsibility of a SEO specialist to look into these changes and make necessary changes on their websites.

Those who do on-page SEO need to be bothered about these updates as those who do the one-time SEO need not be bothered about all these. Summing up, we have so far discussed or seen what SEO is, by giving a basic description on SEO and its definition, the benefits of doing SEO, what is the importance of it, how it is being done, different ways and types to do SEO, and thus have covered all aspects of it.

The technical sides are discussed in other articles. Many of us have a general doubt as to digital marketing and SEO, the difference between them, or as to what has to be done for better results- SEO or digital marketing. All these are being rectified in our article Digital marketing vs SEO

Follow on LinkedIn Share

Meet the author
Syam K.S. is a digital marketing professional and trainer in Kerala. With over 18 years of experience, he is an SEO expert in Kerala. Syam serves as the lead trainer for our Digital Marketing course and online SEO course.

Copyright © 2024 Brain Cyber Solutions.