SEO is your website’s ability to rank on the first page of Google’s search results for a given keyword related to your products or services.
In the long run, organic traffic can be much cheaper than pay per click advertising. Organic traffic usually leads to a much higher conversion rate and the cost per acquisition tends to be much lower than pay per click. Without SEO, the only way to rank as the first result on Google would likely be through a paid ad and depending on the targeted keyword, it could be extremely expensive. If your keyword was in the first position of the organic results, your website would be in an advantageous position with the potential to gain a good percentage of click-throughs from Google searchers.
SEO is really about providing a great customer experience on your website which in turn provides a great customer experience on Google as well.
Google is really smart – instead of having to search Side Gig Startup Entrepreneurs, you can search Side Gig Startup, Gig Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneur Startup, Side Gig Entrepreneurs, etc. Google not only adjusts the order, but it also will help you rank for like-keywords through content clustering. Once your website as a strong reputation, you may be able to rank for keywords that are synonyms of your targeted keywords.
Blackhat SEO refers to using aggressive SEO practices aimed at ranking the website and are often positioned to support search engine bots and not actual humans. Google and other search engines are against these practices as they often result in a poor customer experience. If these practices are discovered by the search engine bots, the search engine will flag the website causing its position to drop on the SERPs, often significantly.
Some SEO agencies will promise to get your website ranked in less than 30 days. Often, they are adding your website to a slew of websites that allow anyone to post on them. Google states “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” Some SEO agencies may claim to have a special relationship with Google, but according to Google, there are no priority submissions. Companies should never promise that a company will rank due to their ever-changing algorithm.
Keyword stuffing refers to the over-usage of a keyword in each of the page elements when it doesn’t make sense for the page. In the ’90s and early 2000s, websites would place thousands of keywords with the font colors matching the background color so it would be hidden. Google’s algorithm has since updated to avoid sending users to pages like that.
Buying links: Check Fiverr and see how many freelancers are offering thousands of backlinks for $5. Google could flag your website if there are links from spam-like websites. To correct a past mistake, Google allows you to disavow links from spam-related websites. On a side note, Fiverr can be a great place to buy links in small amounts that are manually placed on a website, usually on a directory or profile page of a site.
Check out Google’s Helpful Guidelines for choosing an SEO agency.
While many additional factors that influence your website’s position, these will give you a good starting point and get you on the right track. Be sure to stay up to date on the latest changes in SEO through the Moz blog and others.