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The Gurus of SEO


After carefully analyzing and studying numerous resources, many of which unfortunately come at a cost, I’ve realized there’s one simple truth about the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

“Nobody really knows everything about SEO.”

Now, you might argue that Neil Patel is the true SEO guru and that whatever he says is gospel.

Well, that’s a theory.

But then, explain to me why he sells courses and tools on SEO.

I mean, if he’s so good and knows all of Google’s secrets, why doesn’t he start his own company or collaborate with a serious one and apply his knowledge to get that company’s blog to the top of Google?

It would be free advertising!

Let me answer why he doesn’t do what I just mentioned:

Because Google has changed and keeps changing.

There are principles that govern it and have remained the same, but some algorithms change.

Nowadays, it’s not possible to reach the top of Google searches in just two days anymore.

That’s why Neil Patel has no interest in disappearing from the web by starting his own company unrelated to SEO: because he can’t get to the top spot, so it’s more profitable for him to sell courses.

Mind you, I’m not saying he’s a scammer like other trainers; quite the opposite, Neil Patel has a deep understanding of search engines.

What I contest, and what I contest with all trainers who sell courses, is selling courses full of content that can be found for free on Google and YouTube.

And that’s why I wrote this free blog post.

This blog post aims to serve as a comprehensive manual and a reference point for anyone interested in delving into the world of SEO, whether you’re taking your first steps or you’re already a veteran in search of new strategies.

Furthermore, it will help you avoid purchasing a course from some eccentric SEO guru who sells you information that you can find for free on Google.

Every concept, every technique will be explained in a simple and understandable manner because my goal is to empower you to be self-reliant, capable of navigating the ever-evolving sea of SEO.

You will learn how search engines work, how to optimize keywords, and how to create quality content.

But I will also guide you deeper into advanced strategies that will make a difference.

You will possess the tools to climb search engine rankings and achieve your goals.

Therefore, join me on this exploration into the profound and captivating realm of SEO.


Definition of SEO


If you’re new to this topic, let me introduce you to SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization.

It’s a set of techniques and strategies used to make a website more visible in the unpaid search results of search engines like Google.

The main goal of SEO is to increase qualified web traffic – that means attracting users who are interested in the website’s content, products, or services.

Imagine you have a blog promoting your real estate agency.

SEO is the toolkit that helps you appear at the top of Google’s results when someone searches for a house to buy in your area, and the best part is, it doesn’t cost a penny.

But hold on, it’s not as easy as it used to be.

Getting to the top of Google results now takes months, maybe even years, of work.

In this blog post, I’ll show you a set of techniques to apply to your blog so that, over time, you can climb higher and higher within Google’s algorithm.


No One Knows Anything About SEO


Now, I’d like to revisit the phrase I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post: No one knows anything about SEO.

Isn’t this a great beginning for an SEO lesson?

Well, at least this one is free.

Most SEO courses require payment, and in the end, they only teach you that no one truly understands SEO.

Let me emphasize once again: no one knows how to rank a website at the top of Google searches… except for Google itself, of course.

Anyone claiming otherwise is likely trying to sell you a $1,000 SEO course.

Furthermore, there is currently no available course for purchase that contains the secret and advanced techniques to dominate search engine rankings.

These SEO courses promise to unveil the deepest secrets of Google’s algorithm, but in reality, they provide nothing more than generic theories and clichés that can be found for free on the internet.

Many people boast about knowing the “unspeakable secrets of SEO” or brag about having dinner with Sergey Brin and Larry Page (the creators of Google) which is quite laughable.


But what amuses me the most is that most SEO experts claim:

“Google uses over 200 variables for SEO, most of which are unknown.”

I discovered that this statement was made by Erin Schmidt, the former CEO of Google.

Many years have passed since that statement, and I imagine that the number of variables has increased over time.

The precise number of variables in Google’s algorithm today remains unknown – possibly amounting to a few thousand – due to Google’s deliberate decision not to disclose such information.

However, it is precisely because of this that I have harbored a persistent thought which I would like to share with you.

If Google’s variables remain a secret even to those working in SEO (or those claiming to be professionals in the field), it leads me to believe that it is highly likely that no one truly comprehends the intricacies of SEO.

It seems that all the techniques we are familiar with are simply based on common sense.


Through my studies and experiments, I have discovered a truth: Google’s algorithm has largely remained unchanged since 1996.

While it continuously improves and eliminates certain aspects while perfecting others, the fundamental principles of the algorithm have stayed the same since Google’s inception in Page and Brin’s Stanford dorm room in 1996.

The algorithm seems like an obstinate grandparent who refuses to leave the house.

I’ve always imagined the Google team sitting at their computers, laughing heartily at all the useless attempts made by “experts” to decipher their algorithm.

Perhaps during their meetings, they jest about how much we have struggled in vain.

The truth is that SEO is built upon rules that we can directly control, while there are others that lie beyond our direct influence.

Regrettably, it is these latter rules that hold the utmost significance for indexing (although we can shape them through our blog post writing style).

Fear not, for I shall guide you through every aspect, providing the finest level of detail.


Google Search Documentation


Everything the world knows about SEO is precisely written in Google’s guide.

Of course, the guide doesn’t cover every insight and topic related to SEO, such as keyword selection and writing engaging blog posts that are also SEO-friendly (you can find these additional resources in this blog).

Nevertheless, all practical techniques for search engine optimization, the ones that truly matter, are explained in the free Google guide I provided.

Those books and courses that claim to have decades of SEO experience or millions of test results are essentially baseless.

It’s not to say that someone hasn’t conducted extensive tests or discovered valuable SEO factors, but if it’s not mentioned in the Google guide, it can’t be considered a certainty.

Perhaps something worked a million times purely by coincidence and no longer holds true.

No one can say for sure.

However, within this blog post, you will find strategies and techniques that consistently and unequivocally work 100% of the time.

That’s why this blog is free.

Charging for information that is already freely available would be insulting and a rip-off.

Unfortunately, not everyone shares this perspective.

I dislike speaking ill of others, but I’ll offer you some advice: if you come across a 700-page book or a 20-hour course on SEO and feel tempted to purchase them, refrain from doing so.

Only 10% of their content overlaps with what you already have in this free blog, while the remaining 90% consists of examples aimed at lengthening the book or course, ultimately making you spend more money.


The Key Concept of SEO Marketing


Let’s begin with the fundamentals of SEO.

If there is one aspect that Google has consistently emphasized, it is the significance of delivering high-quality content.

Beyond the array of advanced techniques that we can apply to our blog posts, the cardinal rule in the realm of SEO is to provide content that resonates with the target audience.

This is an indisputable principle, and its rationale lies in the functionality and purpose of optimization.

Google employs a program known as GoogleBot, which traverses the depths of the web to automatically scan all the sites in the world (excluding those on the Dark Web, a controversial topic best left unaddressed here).

What is the role of GoogleBot?

GoogleBot’s task is to assess the quality of your content from an SEO perspective (which I will explain in detail in this blog) and determine its true value to users.

Now, let’s clarify a crucial concept: Google doesn’t prioritize blog posts of genuine value for ethical or altruistic reasons.


Google is an entity primarily focused on exploiting its users economically rather than genuinely caring for them.

In fact, Google desires the content you create to be valuable for its own selfish and economic ends.

While it is understandable from your standpoint why you should produce quality content (the more your content fully addresses the concerns of your target customers, the more you will be perceived as an authority in your field), let us delve into why Google also possesses a strong economic interest in the success of your blog.

Google is a profit-driven company that only relies on advertising.

Its primary revenue stream is Google Ads, an online advertising service.

Google’s earnings are derived from the number of users who utilize Google Ads: the more people pay to promote their websites, the more revenue Google generates.

It is a basic concept, isn’t it?

So, what does the quality of your content have to do with this rationale?

The answer is simple.


Google is considered the authoritative search engine on the internet precisely because it consistently provides precise answers to user queries.

When you conduct a Google search, it is highly probable that among the top results on the first page, you will encounter a blog post or video that effectively and comprehensively addresses your question.

But what if, starting tomorrow, you were to come across utterly useless blog posts and videos that fail to provide adequate answers to your queries?

Most likely, you would contemplate using alternative search engines, wouldn’t you?

And other people would do the same.

Consequently, fewer users, fewer ad clicks, fewer people utilizing Google Ads, and diminished revenue for Google.

This elucidates why, from Google’s standpoint, high-quality content is indispensable.

I acknowledge that Google presently lacks any true competitors, so the scenario I have described appears rather remote.


However, crafting the programming code for a novel search engine is inherently straightforward, and its simplicity has been further enhanced by the emergence of cutting-edge tools like Artificial Intelligence, such as ChatGPT.

Thus, at the first sign of Google’s failure, new competitors will proliferate like mushrooms in autumn.

Hence, Google aims to prevent this scenario and maintain its web monopoly indefinitely.

Predictions about the future are invariably uncertain since no one can make them with absolute accuracy.

Nevertheless, if Google adheres to its core principles, I believe that over time, it will increasingly reward content creators who satisfy user search queries.

Believe me, I am not urging you to adopt ethical practices for altruistic reasons…

If shortcuts existed, I would be the first to exploit them.

The point is, there are no shortcuts.

This isn’t the usual situation where you follow the rules and get small results while your competitors use deceptive tricks and rank higher than you in the search results.

None of that here.

SEO is a marathon for everyone, where cheaters get penalized.

In 2012, Google released an update called Penguin that penalized suspicious websites employing multiple pages with identical anchor text pointing to the same site (the outdated backlink strategy).

Overnight, countless businesses witnessed their website traffic plummet as they were banned from Google’s index (source: Google Blog).

Thus, your primary SEO objective is simple: produce content that offers unequivocal value to your customers.


How Google SEO Works


Google SEO operates in three phases:

  • 1. Crawling: Google scans text, images, and videos from web pages found on the internet using automated programs called crawlers (specifically, the well-known GoogleBot that we have extensively discussed).
  • 2. Indexing: Google analyzes all the content it has crawled and stores the information in its Index, a colossal database containing all the indexed sites on Google.
  • 3. Displaying search results: If the indexing phase is successful and your site is included in Google’s database, when a user performs a search relevant to your content, Google can present your site to them.

Let’s examine these three phases in detail.

Crawling

Crawling is the initial phase in which Google explores and analyzes the pages of your website.

Once a site is live, GoogleBot automatically receives a notification and begins gathering information about the site.

GoogleBot stores the discovered data (including text, images, videos, and structures) and sends it to Google’s database.

Google employs a vast number of computers to crawl billions of web pages (thankfully, efforts are being made to reduce carbon emissions).

Only Google knows the frequency of GoogleBot’s scanning activities across the web.

The one certainty we have is that by submitting your blog to Google’s database through Google Search Console, you may potentially decrease the waiting times.

I speak conditionally because there are very few certainties in the field of SEO.

Indexing

After scanning a page and sending its data to Google, the responsibility falls on Google to interpret the received data.

Indexing is the process through which Google explores, analyzes, and stores web pages from a site in its extensive database.

During indexing, Google comprehends the blog’s topic, analyzes the textual content, translates the meaning of images (using the “alt” attribute, which we will discuss later in the on-page SEO techniques), counts keywords and tag elements such as <title>, evaluates the number of links to other sites, examines the structure of blog posts, etc.

When we say that a website is “indexed,” it means that after GoogleBot scans the pages of that site, Google assesses their optimization and subsequently includes them in its index and search results.

It’s akin to placing a book in a library so that it can be easily found by anyone seeking information on a specific topic.

CANONICAL PAGES

One crucial point to note: during the indexing process, Google assesses whether a page is a duplicate of another page on the Internet or if it is canonical.

In practice, Google checks for content copying from other sources.

The “canonical” page, the one perceived by Google as the original from which you copied, is the only one displayed in the search results.

How does Google determine which page copied the other?

In a straightforward manner: Google first clusters pages with similar content found on the Internet and then selects the oldest one within the group, assuming that, with identical content, the newer one has copied the older one.

This process, as explained in Google’s official guide, further underscores the significance of writing and generating new content without duplicating it from the web.

Publishing Results on SERP

The final stage of the Google search process involves publishing the results on the SERP.

What is Google’s SERP?

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page.

When you conduct a search on Google, the SERP displays the results that are deemed to be of the highest quality and most relevant to your query.

Take a look at the first page of the SERP for the search query how to find a house in new york.”

As you can observe, each search result on the SERP comprises a title, a description, and a link to the corresponding website.

The relevance of the results, in addition to the elements discussed in this blog posts, is determined by factors such as the user’s location, language, and device (computer or phone).

For instance, a search for “bicycle repair shops” will yield different results for a user in Paris compared to one in Hong Kong.

By following these three stages – crawling, indexing, and publishing search results – Google ensures that users receive pertinent and accurate information based on their search queries.


Off-Page SEO Techniques


The SEO techniques we can apply to our blog posts are divided into on-page techniques and off-page techniques.

Off-page SEO techniques are crucial for improving the visibility and credibility of a website in search engines.

They are much more important than on-page techniques and unfortunately, they are also much more difficult to implement.

Unlike on-page SEO techniques, which focus on improving the content and structure of the website itself, off-page techniques involve activities external to the website that influence its ranking in search results.

These techniques mainly include building quality backlinks from relevant websites, active participation on social media, sharing content on external platforms, engaging in forums and online communities, as well as publishing articles on authoritative sites and getting media mentions.

The importance of off-page SEO techniques lies in the fact that search engines consider backlinks as votes of confidence from other websites.

The more quality backlinks a site receives, the more it will be considered authoritative and relevant by search engines, which can lead to better rankings in search results.

Additionally, the presence of the site on external platforms and social media increases its online visibility, helping to generate traffic and interest in the site.

This, in turn, can lead to increased brand recognition and conversions.

To delve deeper into off-page SEO techniques, read this blog post: What Is Off-Page SEO“.


On-Page SEO Techniques


The on-page SEO techniques focus on directly optimizing elements within a website itself, particularly a blog post.

These techniques include optimizing content, HTML tags, site structure, and other aspects that can be controlled and modified directly on the site.

However, as I explained earlier, while on-page SEO techniques are essential to ensure that a website is well-structured and easily understandable for search engines, they alone are not sufficient to guarantee high rankings in search results.

To delve deeper into on-page SEO techniques, read this blog post: What Is On-Page SEO“.

How to Add Your Blog to the Google Database


As we saw in this blog post, thanks to GoogleBot, Google automatically scans and indexes websites, eliminating the need for any action on your part apart from publishing the site on your web space.

However, relying solely on GoogleBot to add our site to the Google index may result in a considerable delay.

As shown in this blog post from WPBeginner, 21 Tips for Using Google Search Console to Grow Website Traffic,” adding your blog through Google Search Console could reduce the waiting time for Google to index it.

Attention, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll rank first in search results; it simply means that your blog will be reviewed sooner than others that haven’t used this tool.

Google Search Console

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a free service provided by Google that enables you to manually submit your website to the Google database, monitor it, and optimize its performance.

In simpler terms, it is a tool that helps you understand how Google perceives your blog.

But why is it so important for a blog?

Let’s explore the reasons together.

DISCOVER TRAFFIC-GENERATING KEYWORDS

One of the most valuable aspects of Google Search Console is its ability to show you the keywords that bring visitors to your blog.

This information helps you understand which topics are more interesting to your audience and allows you to create more targeted and relevant content.

IDENTIFY TECHNICAL ISSUES

Google Search Console can detect technical issues on your blog, such as crawling errors (when Google is unable to “read” a page) or indexing problems (when a page doesn’t appear in search results).

Resolving these issues is crucial to ensure that your blog is easily accessible to both visitors and search engines.

MONITOR LINK QUALITY

Backlinks, as we’ll discuss in the following blog posts, are a vital component of your blog’s SEO.

Google Search Console provides insights into the external sites that link to your blog and the internal pages that receive more links.

This information allows you to understand which content is considered valuable by other sites and plan strategies to increase the number of high-quality links.

RECEIVE SECURITY ISSUE NOTIFICATIONS

The security of your blog is crucial for protecting visitor data and maintaining a positive online reputation.

Google Search Console sends you notifications in case of security issues, such as hacker attacks or malware, so that you can promptly take action to resolve them.

How Google Search Console Works

Google Search Console goes hand in hand with the hosting service you choose because Google requires domain verification before indexing your site.

This task need to be completed within your hosting service.

I always recommend relying on SiteGround as a hosting provider to get your blog online.

SiteGround has created a comprehensive guide on how Google Search Console works and how to integrate it with your blog.

Now, I’ll share the links with you in the proper sequence.

Please complete the activities in the proposed order to ensure that the entire process functions correctly.

Every time you publish new content, you need to submit its URL to Google Search Console for crawling and indexing.

If you find this blog post useful, please share it on your social profiles!

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