Best SEO Beginners Tutorial For Business Owners

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In 2024, How to learn SEO step-by-step for beginners for free with live example. SEO tutorial on how to work with all the steps covered in single course.

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Let’s Learn How to Do SEO Step by Step

How to Learn SEO Step by Step For Beginners

Welcome to our free beginner guide to SEO course.

In this SEO beginner tutorial course, I will assume you know nothing about SEO.

Based on it I will assume you are a beginner and teach you SEO step-by-step for free with example and tutorials.

The aim is to give you a clear understanding of search engines, SEO optimization, and how it works.

Now let’s take a look into our free SEO course plan.

Free seo tutorial step by step plan

It consists of 5 different stages:

I will teach all SEO processes in a logical order from the basic SEO, keyword research, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and SEO maintenance.

I will host exclusive Q/A sessions and webinars with our community to further help and solve all your SEO doubts, so make sure to join us.

Also, I will upload all the free SEO videos I create to my YouTube channel so make sure to subscribe to get notified on new videos.

But, do remember SEO takes time to learn and there is no “Secret Pill” for instant ranking so you need to put in effort into learning and practicing all the things which I will teach.

SEO Basics in 2024 – Full Video Course

SEO Keyword Research in 2024 – Full Video Course

SEO Basics Course in 2024

What is a Search Engine & How it Works?

If you ask “what is a search engine?” you will see so many different answers.

The goal of this lesson is to give you a clear understanding of search engine, how it works, top search engines in the market, and how search engine add new websites to its database.

Search Engine Definition

This is how I will define search engine.

It is a platform where you can search for something you want to learn more about, and it will present you with relevant information it has from its database.

That sounds simple, right? Just like a directory.

However, web search engines are complicated because their database is the Internet (World Wide Web) and they need to figure how to show accurate and the best search results to a query.

Let’s look at some facts to understand the complexity:

  • More than 1.1 billion websites exist on the internet and you can just imagine the total number of web pages! (NetCraft, 2021)
  • Search engines contain at least 5.55 billion indexed pages (WorldWideWebSize, 2021)
  • Google alone processes over 40,000 search queries per second, and that’s almost 3.5 billion a day. (InternetLiveStats, 2021)

Here are some potential problems search engines face due to this:

  • How do we find all the webpages on the Internet?
  • How do we store all web page information in our database?
  • How do we find and retrieve data from our database for a search query?
  • In what order should we display the results?
  • How to present the results for a great user experience?
  • What’s the best way to manage all users simultaneously?

A search engine has to find a way to answer all the above questions to be effective.

How Does a Search Engine Work?

Now let’s quickly take a look at how search engine works when you type a search query.

How search engine works
  1. A user goes to the search engine
  2. User searches for something
  3. The search engine scans its database
  4. With the help of machine and human guidelines, it finds the best search results
  5. The user is presented with an accurate set of results to his/her search query

Search Engine Market Share

Let’s find out why all search engines are not the same.

First, we will take a look into the search engine market share.

Search engine worldwide market share

The below market share data is as of Feb, 2021 (StatCounter)

  • Google: 91.86%
  • Bing: 2.71%
  • Yahoo: 1.46%
  • Baidu: 1.13%
  • Yandex: 0.087%
  • DuckDuckGo: 0.66%

From the above percentages, it’s clear that Google is the king of search engines.

It is because they have provided the best answers for all the problems search engines and users faced.

The Google search engine received 88.36 billion visits this year (Similarweb, 2019).

Google’s index or database contains hundreds of billions of web pages. (Google, Unknown)

Since Google is the market leader, it makes sense to concentrate most of our SEO efforts to it.

So, in this free SEO course I will primarily focus on Google SEO optimization.

However, as a secondary option, you can also optimize for Bing & Yahoo since they share databases and all the Microsoft devices, and the operating system’s default search engine is Bing.

How Do Search Engines Add Websites?

Let’s quickly see how search engine identify and add websites to its database.

The process includes three main stages:

Steps to add website to Google from it's end.


In this process, search engines use automated apps that continually search for all webpages on the internet (World Wide Web).

These automated programs are called search crawlers or web-spiders.

There are several ways search engines gather information about web pages, but the most common way is by following links from web-pages already known to them.


In this stage, the search engine visits the pages it crawled before.

Content on every web page, including the text, images, video, PDF, and more, will be analyzed to determine the page’s topic and catalog it so these can be easily retrieved when needed.

All the information will be stored (cached) in their database (Search index).

Serving Search Results

It happens when a person searches for something on a search engine.

Search engines will display the most relevant & best set of search results from its database (Search Index).

The “Best” search results will be determined by several factors, including searcher location, language, device, search engine algorithms (search rules & guidelines), user intent, SEO competition, and more.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

We learned in our previous lesson that search engine delivers the most relevant results for each search query.

Search engines use something called ranking factors to decide the best search results for a query.

These ranking factors describe the internal rules and guidelines that each search engine uses to determine the best results for the users.

FACT: Google never discloses their ranking factors in full, but experts estimate that there are over 200 ranking factors.

Search Engine Optimization Definition

Now, let me define Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your web pages according to ranking factors for your targeted search queries in search engines to rank at the top positions in organic (non-paid) search results.

There are so many ways to refer SEO and here are some common ones:

  • Website ranking
  • SERP ranking
  • Website SEO promotion
  • Search engine submission
  • Search engine placement
  • Search engine positioning
  • And more.

SEO Process Steps

The search engine optimization process can be divided into several logical sub-processes:

It will help us to keep focused and have planned SEO process when doing SEO for our website.

Steps to do SEO

The steps are:

Keyword Research

Analyzing your market to finding relevant, right user intent, and profitable search queries for your web pages.

On-Page SEO Optimization

Optimizing the contextual & logical search engine ranking factors within your website.

Technical SEO Optimization

Optimizing the technical or code-level search ranking factors within your website.

Off-Page SEO Optimization

Optimizing ranking factors that are outside of your website and this step is also known as the link building or backlink process.

SERP Tracking & Maintenance

Monitoring, maintaining, and re-optimizing your SEO by analyzing existing data, new industry updates, and adjusting our content/process accordingly.

Why is SEO Important? Advantages & Disadvantages

Since there are so many digital marketing methods available, let’s see why SEO is one of the best.

For you to realize why SEO is important first we need to learn the pros and cons of search engine optimization.

It will help you to understand the importance of SEO and whether this is the right digital marketing strategy for you.

SEO Advantages & Disadvantages

Now let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of SEO.

SEO advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of SEO

First we going to learn the advantages.

Big Opportunity

Google alone processes more than 40,000 searches per second – that’s over 3.5 billion a day. (InternetLiveStats, 2021)

Which simply mean that there are alot of users who are using search engines daily.

The demand also keeps on growing every day, which alone shows the potential market reach through search engines.

Brings Quality Traffic

Unlike other marketing techniques where you reach out to the customers.

For example: Showing ads to users on social media or printing leaflets for your business promotion.

In search engine users come to you in search of solutions or necessary information for their needs.

So you are not going after users or customers but they are coming to you for help.

As a result, if you rank at the top positions in search results then users will find you and you can offer your solution/information to them.

Free Targeted Traffic

In most digital and in local marketing methods you will need to pay either to display or for every click you receive.

For example: Pay-per-click advertisements in search engines or monthly ad subscriptions for blogs.

But search engine organic traffic is a channel where you don’t have to pay either for clicks or to display.

The traffic you receive is free and also targeted where they already have interest in your solution or info that’s why they are searching for it.

Less Work Once Ranked

After you rank on the top positions for your targeted search queries.

It will become easier for you to maintain your top positions.

This is because when search engine ranks a website at top positions that is indicator which shows the trust search engine have on that website.

So it will be easier for you to maintain your top-ranking positions compared to a new website which looking to earn the top rankings for the first time.

More Opportunities Once Ranked

When you rank high in search engines, it is a sign that search engines trust you and your website has higher SEO power.

Then you can easily rank for other low to medium competition-related keywords without a lot of SEO effort or no SEO effort at all.

SEO is Trust-able than PPC

PPC means pay-per-click advertising.

In search engines, it’s offered as a way to advertise your website & pay for every click you receive on the search results page for target search queries.

These ads are displayed on the top, bottom, and right side of the search results page.

The optimization and management of PPC in search engines are known as search engine marketing.

Due to this, you might think you can invest alot in PPC and get all the organic traffic without any SEO efforts.

It is true sometimes but studies show that only about 15% of people click on advertisements.

There may be several reasons for this, but common reasons include human instincts to avoid advertisements and ad-blockers.

So with good SEO, you can have more visibility and trustability for your websites in search results.

Builds Brand Awareness

Being able to rank on top positions is like an additional trust metric that demonstrates you’re one of the industry’s leading players.

Most people know that search engines won’t rank a site high until it’s trustworthy.

So when more people see your brand it will create a lot of indirect marketing benefits.

For example: Others might link to your website from their articles, potential stakeholders can reach out to you and more.

Growth is Track-able

Most of the time it’s hard to measure growth in marketing strategies.

However SEO is one of the most straightforward strategy to measure your progress.

There many tools which you can use to track and monitor your SEO progress such as:

The SERP tracker which helps you see your ranking growth.

Analytics & search consoles are freely provided by the search engine to monitor your site’s SEO data.

You can also use third-party free or paid software to track alot more SEO data such as backlinks, keywords, on-page SEO optimization, technical SEO, and more.

In overall, SEO can be easily tracked and you can monitor the growth too.

Disadvantages of SEO

Now lets took a look into some major cons of SEO.

Results Are Not Instant

It one of the most important factors you need to understand.

When you want to rank for a particular search query remember that it’s already ranked by dozens or hundreds of competitors who could have been doing SEO or search engine trust their website for a long time.

So you can’t expect to just start SEO today and get ranked tomorrow or in a couple of days.

It will take consistent SEO efforts and resources to get your desired top rankings and to maintain it.

SEO Competition

Many marketers are aware of SEO’s value and profit it can generate if it’s used effectively.

Due to this, SEO competition is at an all-time high, and almost every SEO expert knows that ranking on the first page of search results isn’t easy.

It’s increasingly difficult to rank for keywords even if you’re doing everything right.

This means you will need to be patient and continue to work on SEO smartly.

For Example: Rather than targeting highly competitive keywords, you could go for low-competition keywords within your industry.

Search Penalty & Algorithm Updates

These are the actions or guidelines that taken or set by search engines if you misuse SEO or use bad SEO practices.

Search engines can penalize you by removing your site from its index or push your site to lower-ranking from the top positions.

So this shows how much careful you need to be when taking any SEO decisions because it can either have a positive or negative effect.

Most of the time these negative effects will be hard to recover.

There is No Secret Technique

SEO is not difficult when you know what you’re doing.

However, keep in mind that SEO success will require hard work, creativity, time, and money.

It’s especially true if you’re in a very competitive industry.

80% Users Never Go Past First Page

You should always aim for the top 3 results in search engine rankings because this is where the majority of your users go.

The tail-end of the search results page receives very little traffic and anything past the second page rarely gets any traffic at all.

So it’s vital that you have first-page rankings to receive organic traffic and if you can’t make it to the first page then it will not bring any organic traffic to your website.

SEO Benefit Proof

SEO has many pros and cons; I only listed the most significant ones.

Personally, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and I received thousands of visitors to my websites to prove that point.

Free search traffic I have received in an year for saaspirate
Received over 75K search traffic to SaaSPirate over one year.

The above screenshot shows the traffic I received for SaaSPirate which is a deals platform.

The chart from Google Search Console shows that I received over 76.5K visitors from free search traffic for 1 year.

Depending on your situation & the mentioned factors above, you can decide whether to SEO your website.

And if your answer is “YES” then I will see you on the next lesson.

What is The Difference Between SEO and SEM?

In previous lessons, we discussed SEO’s importance along with its advantages and disadvantages.

In this lesson we are going learn the difference between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) vs. Search Engine Marketing (SEM).


Now that we have a good understanding of SEO, let’s see the differences between SEO and SEM and how to choose right one for you?

SEM and SEO is not the same thing.

SEO is the process of improving your site’s position in search engine’s organic or unpaid results.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to the optimization of the paid advertisement on search engines, also known as PPC advertising which is displaying ads on SERP pages.

Bing and Google are the two most popular search engines that offer ads for their users.

The differences between SEO vs. SEM

Advantages of Using SEO over SEM

You don’t need to pay for clicks since search traffic is free but in SEM you need topay for every click you receive even if they leave your website as soon as they clicked or didn’t make any interactions within your website.

Many people block search engines and other websites’ advertisements with their ad blockers. According to the report (Statista, 2021) in the United States alone, 27% of users block ads using adblocking tech.

Reports show that ads have a lower click-through rate than organic listing. There can many reasons for this factor from psychology to tech.

Even though SEO is slower compared to SEM but SEO has a higher chance of huge profits & ROI in the long run.

Advantages of Using SEM over SEO

In SEO you can’t expect results within a short time frame but with SEM you can expect it because as soon as you set up an AD campaign and when it’s published then your ad will be shown to all your target audience in SERP results.

You can target many keywords at once: PPC ads cost will range according to industry and number of advertisers bidding for the keywords. It can range anywhere from 0.10$ to 500$ or more for every click so when you have enough budget then you can instantly target as many keywords as you want.

You don’t need to worry about SEO: SEM is not about SEO optimization where you don’t need on-page optimization, backlinks, and SEO power. It’s all about spending money on ads and managing your ads effectively. So if you decide to choose SEM then you don’t need to worry about SEO factors.

SEM is very responsive and flexible: Since you can expect to see results fast with SEM you can immediately check whether the choosen keyword(s) or niche is profitable or it requires any changes in your end then you easily adjust accordingly and restart the process. This makes your workflow very flexible and fast and due to this SEM can be profitable in the short run.

Which to Choose? SEO or SEM

Both SEO and SEM are great digital marketing strategies.

Both have various pros and cons as we seen in this lesson and there is no right or wrong strategy instead you choose whichever strategy you want to focus on most according to your requirement.

Sometimes you don’t even have to choose because you can start working on both simultaneously where you get results in short term through SEM (Since SEO takes time) and get higher ROI in long term through SEO (Since you don’t need to pay for every click).

That should clarify the differences between search engine optimization and search engine marketing.

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS)

In this lesson, we are going to learn what is search engine results page, main elements in it and how you can use it effectively.

What is SERP?

SERP stands for search engine result page which is the list of results you get back once you press the search button in the search engine.

Now let’s take a look at all the main elements which you can find within SERP pages.

We will mainly focus on Google for SEO optimization due to its popularity as we saw in our previous lesson, So in this guide, I will use Google as an example to explain SERP page elements.

SERP Elements

Google auto suggest feature in SERP.
Google’s auto suggest feature

Google auto-suggest – This hidden element inside the search results page where when typing something in Google’s search bar it will try to suggest you related keywords according to its database and other searchers’ past history.

Types of search features inside Google search engine
Types of search features inside Google search engine

There are different tabs in search results page which organize the content using logical groups. These include:

  • All – This is the default which shows all the results
  • Images – Displaying image results.
  • News – Displaying news results.
  • Maps – Displaying location & navigational results.
  • Books – Displaying books & educational results.
  • Shopping – Displaying products & shopping results.
  • Videos – Displaying video results.
Search Engine's settings and tools

“Tools” filter lets you view web results based on specific time frames such as past hour, past day, past week, past month, past year, and more.

“Setting” filter includes various settings which can customize the search results page such as the number of results you want to see per page, language settings, view search history, and more.

Search results index for the entered query

The number you see below the search bar is known as search index count for that specific search query.

This shows how many relevant results Google has for that specific search query.

google serp ads
Google’s PPC ads on SERP

These are Google Adwords listings that you pay for each click you receive and it will be displayed on various positions in the SERP pages including top, bottom and sidebar.

Google search engine local results in SERPS

These are local results which is coming from your local geographical area.

The data comes from “Google My Business” listings and typically will show businesses and services operate in your location.

I will teach more details on this on my free local SEO course.

People also ask section in Google's SERP pages.

People also ask section shows relevant questions which gets asked on industry related to your search query.

When you click on the question it will reveal the answer and link back to the source.

Google shopping ads to relevant search query

These are Google shopping results & shopping-based ads from PPC. It’s usually displayed at top of the search results, sidebar and footer for targeted commercial keywords.

A featured snippet example in Google search

Featured Snippet is also known as zero search place snippet where google curates an answer, link, and picture from the most suitable sources and displays them as a single answer at top of organic search results when it makes sense.

Video snippet in Google search SERP page
Video snippet in Google search SERP page

Video results snippet will show relevant videos from video sites (Primarily from YouTube, Dailymotion and Vimeo) related to your search query.

Images snippet in SERP pages

Images results will show relevant images Google found from it’s indexed websites for your search query.

Social snippets in SERP

Social content snippet shows social messages from popular networks such as Twitter related to your search query.

Google related searches for your search query

Related searches show related search queries to your search based on search engine database, AI & past searchers history.

Google search navigation

Page navigation provides a way to navigate search results for your search query.

What Are The Different Types of SEO?

Based on our previous lessons, we know what search engine optimization is.

Let’s see the definition again.

SEO Definition

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your web pages according to ranking factors for your targeted search queries in search engines in order to rank at top positions in organic (non-paid) search results.

SEO Types

The SEO process is the same for any type of SEO, but workflow and metrics will differ according to some specific requirements due to specialized SEO types.

Once the introductory free SEO course is completed, I will create separate free SEO courses for each of these SEO types.

Now let’s take a look at major types of SEO which you can do.

What different types of SEO
Different types of SEO such as mobile SEO, WP SEO and more.

International SEO

It is the most common SEO process of ranking our pages in higher positions in search results pages that target the worldwide audience.

Local SEO

In this type of SEO, you aim to boost your ranking in specific geographic areas by focusing your efforts on a particular country, state, city, or neighborhood.

You can use local SEO for:

  • Your business website
  • Google or Bing business listing
  • Promotional video for your business on YouTube
  • and more.

This SEO type is ideal for small businesses who are looking sell products or offer services in one particular geographical area.

Now let’s take a look at some facts (Hubspot, Unkown) that shows the importance of local SEO to business owners:

  • 72% of buyers did a local search and visited stores within five miles.
  • More than 97% of people get their information about local companies online.
  • 88% of mobile searches for local businesses result in either a call or visit within 24 hours.
  • 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase.
  • “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years. Eg: “best digital marketing agency near me”

YouTube SEO

It is the process of optimizing your videos to rank higher on YouTube search results and making it appear frequently on suggested and related videos.

Here are some main reasons to SEO for YouTube (YouTube Press, Unkown):

  • More than 2 billion people use YouTube.
  • YouTube is localized in over 100 countries and is accessible in 80 languages.
  • 1 billion hours of video are viewed every day.
  • Youtube videos can be monetized, and over the past 5 years, they’ve paid more than $2 bn to partners.

Videos SEO

It is the process of optimizing your YouTube videos to rank higher in search engine search results page.

Few important reasons on why you should optimize your videos for search engines include:

  • Google owns YouTube, so search results will show YouTube videos prominently.
  • Unlike new websites where you need to earn trust from Google but when you create a YouTube video, it is hosted on YouTube, where the website is already trusted so it will speed up the ranking process.
  • Videos are more captivating compared to texts, and people watch videos for longer periods compared to reading.

Image SEO

Image SEO means optimizing your website’s images to rank higher in image search results or image snippets in SERP pages.

The reason for optimizing your images for search engines include:

  • Report shows that 33% of whole searches in search engines return an image snippet. (MozCast, 2021)
  • Search engines have dedicated sections for image search.
  • Lots of people use Google Images when they are expecting to find only image results.

Mobile SEO

Search engines show different sets of SERP results for the same query from desktop and mobile devices.

The increasing level of mobile users makes it one of the most important factors of SEO.

Therefore, search engines have specific set of guidelines to have your website optimized for mobiles, or you won’t rank well in mobile search results.

So definition for Mobile SEO is:

It is a process of SEO optimizing your website for mobile devices, focusing on mobile user experience to gain higher rankings in mobile search engine results pages (SERPs).

Below are some of major reasons why Mobile SEO is beneficial:

  • 52.2% of all worldwide website traffic comes from mobile phones. (Statista, 2019)
  • There are more searches on mobile devices than desktop. (ThinkWithGoogle, 2016)
  • 87% of smartphone users use search engines at least once a day. (Yahoo, Unknown)
  • 40% of mobile website visitors will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. (ThinkWithGoogle, 2016)

eCommerce SEO

eCommerce is the process of selling products or services over the Internet.

Some of the major examples include AmazoneBay & AliExpress.

We perform SEO differently for eCommerce store websites than we do for regular websites or blogs.

So my definition of eCommerce SEO is

Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your store website and product pages to rank higher in the SERP results for commercial intent search queries.

Some facts to help you understand the importance of eCommerce SEO include:

  • By the year 2040, it’s estimated that 95% of all purchases will be through eCommerce. (Nasdaq, 2017)
  • 44% of people start their online shopping with a Google search. (nChannel, 2015)

WordPress SEO

WordPress is a free web software known as a content management system (CMS) that helps you create and manage a website or blog without web technical knowledge or advanced HTML.

It’s one of the best and easiest ways to create dynamic websites.

There are at least 500+ new WordPress sites created every day and WordPress CMS powers around 40% of websites on the whole Internet (W3Techs, 2021).

We even use WordPress at Digital Marketing Mind.

In addition to being a popular CMS for sites and blogs, WordPress can also be used to convert your website to an eCommerce store with a free WordPress plugin called wooCommerce.

So WordPress SEO is the process of SEO optimizing your WordPress blogs to gain higher SERP rankings in search engines.

Other Types of SEO

That’s not all types, and there are more types such as:

  • App Store SEO: Process of SEO optimizing app in PlayStore’s search engine.
  • Blogger SEO: Process of SEO optimizing Google Blogger blogs.
  • Wix SEO: Process of SEO optimizing of Wix CMS blogs.
  • Voice SEO: Process of SEO optimizing your audio content to rank for voice search.
  • News SEO: Process of SEO optimizing your news content to get indexed fast and rank higher in the search engine’s news section.

What is Google Algorithm Updates & Penalty?

We know that Google works to deliver relevant search results for a user’s search query.

To provide more accurate results, Google uses algorithms, ranking factors, and guidelines.

Google will be adding, updating and removing its rules & guidelines over the time.

We call this “Algorithm updates.”

How to Track Latest Google Algorithm Updates?

The latest Google algorithm update will consistently be changing because they release it frequently.

Google doesn’t typically announce all the updates, but if they are significant and cause many changes in SERP then they will.

When they announce, it will be published in their webmaster blog or official Twitter channel.

The algorithm updates are also monitored daily through search results fluctuations by third-party tools such as MozCastSemrush & more where you find about search updates even without an official announcement from Google.

There also various SEO authority blogs and news channel which you could follow to keep updated on SEO updates and these include:

What Are the Main Google Algorithm Updates & Changes in the Past?

Major Google Algorithm Updates

As I said, in the beginning, there are a lot of search algorithm updates and some are not even officially announced so now let’s see some of the biggest updates in the past.

TIP: When Google does not announce an update but if we find it as a major update then we call these core updates.

If you do not understand some of the terms which I am going to mention then don’t worry, as I will explain them in-detail on our free SEO technical and on-page optimization course.

Panda Update

The purpose was to check the content quality of web-pages.

It checks for duplicate content, plagiarism (copied), thin content (empty pages) & spam.

Penguin Update

The focus was to find low quality or spammy backlinks.

It checks for spammy linked websites, buying backlinks, public blog network, irrelevant links, over-optimized anchor texts & more.

Hummingbird Update

The focus was on logical content analysis & optimization.

It checks user intent, analyzes search queries, and identifies keyword stuffing and low-quality content.

Mobile Update

The focus was to make sure websites are mobile-optimized due to the growth of mobile search users.

It checks for the responsiveness of websites for mobile and also checks mobile user experience.

Mobile responsive website is no longer an optional choice but a mandatory requirement for Google search engine.

RankBrian Update

The focus was on user experience and understanding the user intent.

Using the advancements of machine learning, they try to determine the meaning or intent behind search queries and delivers the best-matching search results.

Medic Update

The focus was on medical, law, and educational websites which provides life altering information.

The reason for this because there are so many spams or shady websites which started offering various solutions without a proper background check, authenticity & expert knowledge.

So in order to make the information is fully ethical and trust-able, Google introduced this search update.

It validates the quality of medical, law, and educational websites by implementing E-A-T metrics, which stands for expertise, authority, and trust signals.

Bert Update

The focus was on optimizing content and establishing authority.

The content is checked using natural language processing to understand search queries better, identify entities and relationships between entities in order to improve the accuracy of related search results.

What is a Google Search Penalty?

This is an important action you need to understand in SEO.

When a website does not meet Google quality standards according to its algorithm & guidelines, Google will take one of 2 steps for this:

Automatic Penalty

The search engine finds your site is not following their rules without any human involvement using automated search algorithms and negatively affect the website’s ranking in SERP pages.

It will lower your site’s SERP ranking, and to get your ranking back, you have to identify the errors you made, fix them, and continue to do SEO.

Eventually, search engine will reverse the penalty.

Manual Penalty

A person from the search engine web-spam team visits your website and checks whether you have abused SEO in any way and places a manual penalty if they find any proof.

It is hard to recover from this since this is the worst-case scenario where you have to fix everything mentioned and send a request to a search engine so they can manually re-evaluate your site.

It is possible but will take a lot of time and effort to get back on track compared to the automatic penalty.

It would be best if you kept in mind that any SEO work you do can positively or negatively affect your website.

However, even if your website is correctly optimized for all the current SEO algorithms, that does not mean it’s protected from future algorithms.

Importance of Setting Realistic SEO Expectations

SEO is long term process so you need to understand realities & how to set SEO expectations.

This lesson teaches you what’s possible and not possible in SEO.

Normally this type of lesson is most often ignored in SEO basics.

However having a clear understanding of achievable SEO goals, expectations and myths is important for SEO success.

Why Understanding SEO Realities is Important?

Let’s take a look at why understanding SEO realities are important:

For Your-self: When you are learning SEO for yourself, setting realistic SEO goals will help you to stay on course, keep you motivated and plan your resources effectively.

When Hiring: Sometimes just to get your order someone might make fake promises but when you have a clear understanding of SEO realities then you know whether it is true and achievable.

When Selling: If you are planning to offer SEO services for your clients then you can educate your clients on achievable SEO goals and not mislead them unknowingly.

Realities of SEO

Now let’s take a look at some of the major SEO realities which every SEO marketer should know.

It’s Not Easy to Rank in Top SERP Positions

It’s most often misunderstood or misused in the SEO industry.

Most of the time ranking on top SERP positions takes significant time, effort and resources.

When you build a new website or optimize a webpage for SEO for the first time, there are already dozens or hundreds of websites that have been doing SEO for years and search engines trust them to keep them at top SERP positions.

Therefore, you have to perform better SEO than all of them to convince search engines to rank your website higher than them where the process is not going to be easy.

TIP: Ranking time varies based on multiple factors such as keyword competition, industry websites SEO, your site SEO stats, and more.

Realistic Time Frame for Ranking

Here’s an estimate from my experiences regarding time frame for ranking when you do SEO effectively:

Low Competition Search Queries

If your SEO competition is really low where your competitors do not do SEO at all or do a very poor job then you may be able to rank in the search engine top spots within 1-3 months.

Medium Competition Queries

If your target search queries have moderate SEO competition where some competitors perform good SEO, but most do not then you might be able to achieve higher rankings in 3-6 months.

Hard Competition Queries

If your targeted search query has high SEO competition and most of your competitors are doing solid SEO & some are doing good enough SEO; then search engine rankings can be expected within 6-12 months.

Highest Difficulty Search Queries

If all your competitors are actively doing excellent SEO for years then you expect SEO ranking in no less than 12 months.

Again, these are not fixed, and any number of factors can alter the time frame, but these are reasonable estimates to keep in mind.

Additionally, you can shorten the time frame of ranking by investing more resources like time and money.

However, remember that if you want to appear natural, you need to maintain the growth; otherwise, it will appear unnatural, and search engines may negatively affect your website.

SEO is Not a One-time Process

SEO process is not a series of one-time steps.

SEO is a continuous process that involves optimization of on-site website factors & outside ranking factors.

You have to continually perform SEO to ensure that your competitors don’t overtake you and you retain your top rankings.

There are valid reason why some people might assume it’s a one-time process:

  • If there is very little SEO competition, then you can rank with just on-page SEO optimization.
  • OR If you have an extremely high SEO-powered website, you are more likely to rank for low to medium competition search queries with little or no SEO effort. 

Therefore, you need to understand that SEO requires continuous effort to achieve and maintain SERP rankings.

On-page SEO is Not Enough for Competitive Keywords

As we discussed in our search engine optimization chapter, SEO is a 4 step process.

It consists of Keyword research, On-page SEO optimization, Off-page SEO optimization & SERP Maintenance.

You can only get away with good keyword research and on-page SEO when your target market is not competitive.

Generally to get better rankings, solid SEO work will be needed on the four major areas of search engine optimization.

SEO Can Cost You

SEO optimization can be done for free, but it has many limitations

Now let’s see the reasons on how SEO can cost you:


For example, when we do keyword research, paid tools will get us data faster & accurate, whereas free SEO tools will provide limited data, and will require more manual research.

Complete Metrics

Whether it’s for keyword research or off-page SEO, relying solely on free solutions will not provide complete data for SEO and sometimes it’s not possible at all.

High Competition

Popular industries tend to have highly difficult SEO competiton since all your competitors know the return on investment for top ranking so they invest lot of time, money, and premium SEO resources, so you won’t be able to compete or beat them by just using free resources in a short amount of time or without investing a lot of resources.

Inaccurate Data Will Lead to Failure

Optimizing an SEO campaign using insufficient or inaccurate data can lead to a lot of mistakes.

For example: choosing the wrong target keywords will make the entire SEO process useless.

This does not mean any data from free SEO tools is wrong but with a limited database or features set it might mislead you.

Outreach Can Be Expensive

There so many outreach techniques and you need to work on them smartly since your SEO competitors will also outreach a lot.

There will always be some expense involved when you are doing link building, outreach, and partnerships.

For example: Sponsoring an event or paying for press release submissions or paying for software to outreach, and more.

This does mean in order to outreach you need to pay instead most time there will some kind of cost directly or indirectly.

More Traffic Does Not Mean More Profits

When it comes to SEO, search intent and targeted traffic are more important than search volume.

I mentioned this in my SEO trends video too, and I will discuss this in my free keyword research course too in detail.

You will get fewer conversions from search traffic that is not targeted compared to traffic that is targeted even if the search volume is lower.

Therefore, do not mistake more search traffic for greater profits instead focus on intent and understanding your target audience’s mindset.

Search Engine Optimization is Not Risk-free

It would be impossible for search engines to evaluate each site using humans, so they rely on their automated search algorithms, use AI & cutting-edge tech.

It aims to identify websites that misuse SEO or use spammy practices and negatively affect them on search rankings as we learned in our search algorithm & penalty lesson.

So don’t forget that any process you do for SEO has a risk and if do something wrong then it can negatively impact your website.

White Hat vs. Black Hat vs. Gray Hat SEO: What’s the Difference?

In SEO, there are no fixed set of methods for ranking.

SEO strategies can range from ethical tactics to unethical practices.

As a result, SEO strategies are classified into three categories.

They are called white hat SEO, black hat SEO, and grey hat SEO.

SEO Classifications

White Hat SEO vs Grey Hat SEO vs White Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO refers to the practice of using unethical methods to trick search engines into improve SERP ranking.

This is completely against Google search engine’s guidelines and most of its search algorithm updates’ goal is to prevent this.

People still use this because it works in the short term and likely to fail in the long run.

Some of the techniques include:

  • Hacking websites for links
  • Hidden link injection for links
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Cloaking pages to show different pages to search engines & users
  • Hidden & doorway pages
  • Duplicate & copy others’ content
  • Blog comment spam
  • and more

A few examples where Black Hat SEO is commonly used include casinos, adult industry, sneakers, and loans niche, where even ranking for short time could mean a lot of profits.

Although not every black hat SEO method is illegal, some of these methods are illegal under the law could cause serious harm to your business and reputation.

White Hat SEO

White hat SEO refers to the practice of using ethical methods to improve SERP rankings.

In this strategy you mainly focus on user experience and this is what Google encourage you to do.

Some of the white hat SEO methods are:

  • Schema & structured data optimization
  • Relevant SEO marketing outreach
  • On-page SEO optimization
  • Content optimization & SEO copywriting
  • Brand awareness building
  • User intent focused keyword research
  • and more

This is the most safest SEO approach which protects your website in the long run too.

Grey Hat SEO

Grey hat SEO refers to the practice of using semi-ethical methods to improve SERP rankings.

It’s like a hybrid between Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO.

Different people will have various definitions and strategies which they consider has grey hat SEO.

Some of the Grey Hat SEO techniques include:

  • Buying high-power expired domains
  • Paid links outreach
  • Automated backlinks creation

These grey hat strategies still haven’t been announced as bad practices yet by search engines, but we know that it’s not entirely ethical too.

What SEO Technique Should You Choose?

SEO strategies will keep on changing along with their SEO type classification.

A grey hat SEO method can easily change into Black Hat SEO method tomorrow.

So don’t spend too much time worrying about classification.

I advise you to focus on ethical strategies if you want to do safe SEO and protect your website or web properties in the future from SEO algorithm updates.

SEO Quiz for Beginners – Test Your SEO Basics

I have created this quiz for you to test your SEO basics knowledge you got in this free course.

It will help you to check what you have learned.

Getting “PASS” means you have a good SEO foundation and ready for the keyword research course.

In case you receive “FAIL”, try to go through our SEO basics course again.

Good luck!

Beginner SEO Tutorial Conclusion

Awesome you have completed this free SEO basics course.

However you have just begun your SEO learning journey.

My goal for this course was to quickly teach you all the basics of SEO so that you have clear understanding of the fundamentals.

We will now move on to “Keyword Research” SEO course.

It is the most important and critical stage of the SEO process since picking the wrong keywords can make your entire SEO useless.

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