If you’re stepping into the vast world of SEO, you’ve landed at the right place.

Whether you’re totally new to SEO or find yourself knowing all the tricks but still not hitting the mark (96.55% of content never get traffic from Google), I’m here to guide you through.

My own journey in SEO began 7 years ago.

Like many, I faced an overwhelming amount of information and, honestly, quite a bit of confusion.

It took me 2 whole years to grasp the core concepts that truly mattered – those that drove real, tangible results on my blog.

Yes, 2 years!

You might wonder why it took so long.

There are multiple reasons, but to simplify it for you: complexity.

In this age of information overload, where millions of articles and countless ‘SEO gurus’ are at your fingertips, the real challenge is not finding information – it’s finding the right information.

You don’t need to master every buzzword or chase every new strategy. Instead, you need to sift through the noise and focus on what genuinely drives results.

In this article, I’ll unravel the mysteries surrounding SEO and how you can win at it in 2024.

Decomplicating SEO

SEO image
SEO is not hard

Before you get started with learning SEO (or anything else for that matter), it’s important to get into the right mindset. Because mindset determines your way of thinking, approach, and perspective.

And how you approach things that matter. I learned this the hard way.

Here’s a fact that completely shifted my perspective:

In any field, whether it’s SEO, physics, chemistry, or anything else, there’s a tiny fraction of knowledge – about 4% – that actually drives 96% of the results.

That’s right, just 4%!

This means you need to focus on the top 20% of that 20%, honing in on the most crucial concepts that will make a real difference in your career.

I’m here to help you identify and master that vital 4% in SEO – the concepts that lead to 96% of web traffic.

By guiding you through these key areas, I aim to streamline your learning process and accelerate your growth in the SEO field.

Getting started

Before diving into the specifics, it’s crucial to understand the structure of SEO knowledge.

Start with the basics:

  • What is SEO
  • What are keywords
  • Link building
  • Other fundamental concepts

I find this structure to be the most fruitful for people new to SEO.

The first item on the list is what is SEO.

A simple Google search on ‘What is SEO’ can lead you to a wealth of resources to kickstart your understanding.

Google search on SEO
Search online for SEO resources

Next, draft your own learning curriculum based on your survey of the industry.

Explore SEO courses, books, and content to get a grasp of how information is structured in this field.

This will help you create ‘mental buckets’ to organize and retain your learnings more effectively.

These following sections will help on you on this.

Surveying the SEO landscape

When starting on your SEO journey, the first step is to build a solid foundation.

Without a solid foundation, advanced concepts will be of no help to you.

So start by learning the basics – think of it as setting the base for your SEO knowledge.

You might be wondering, “What exactly are the basics?”.

Well, it includes understanding how Google works, what keywords are, the role of backlinks, and other essential terminologies.

These are the building blocks of SEO.

SEO Concepts

The basics is about looking at the big picture of SEO and understanding how all the pieces fit together.

It’s not just about knowing the terms; it’s about seeing the connections between them. Because, as you’ll soon realize, all of them are interlinked.

Studying the concepts in silos is a recipe for failure!

To gain a comprehensive understanding, you must connect the dots and synthesize disparate parts or concepts into a cohesive whole.

Once you’ve got a grasp on the basics, the next step is to structure your learning.

When people think of structure, they think of a fixed roadmap.

But this isn’t about blindly following a pre-made course.

It’s about creating your own curriculum tailored to your needs.

How do you do this?

Scan through the table of contents in SEO books, browse through the outlines of online courses on platforms like Udemy, and get a feel for the scope of knowledge in this field.

SEO Course Outline on Udemy
Udemy’s course content on SEO
  • As you map out your curriculum, pay special attention to the concepts that seem most challenging.
  • Underline these, as they will require more focus. Identifying these areas early on allows you to allocate more time and resources to overcome them.
  • Once you’ve identified the challenging areas, it’s time to dive deeper.
  • Start by consuming one or two pieces of content – be it blog posts, videos, or podcasts – on these topics. The goal here is to get a clearer understanding and start breaking down the complexities.

By the end, you’ll have a framework you can follow to master SEO.

For writing down your own learning curriculum, you can make use of various mind mapping applications like Mindnode or XMind or outlining applications like Dynalist.

Top 4% SEO Concepts

Now let me introduce you to some top 4% concepts in on-page SEO that make a 96% difference for you.

Keyword research

At the heart of SEO lies keywords. These are the terms and phrases that people type into search engines when looking for information.

A keyword in Google search bar
Keywords are search terms

When you search for “SEO”, it is counted as a keyword. When you search for “how to learn SEO”, it is also counted as a keyword (long tail keyword).

Understanding what keywords are and how they work is fundamental to any successful SEO strategy.

However, not all keywords are created equal.

The goal is to identify keywords with high search volume but low competition – the areas where content demand is not fully met.

Because, after all, in any sector, if you fulfill the unfulfilled demand, you earn money, right?

In the below example, I conducted an analysis on the keyword “best binoculars”. The keyword “best binoculars for hunting” turned out to be a low competition keyword with low Keyword Difficulty or KD (KD measures how hard it would be to rank in Google’s top 10 results)

High volume, low competition keywords are easier to rank

By targeting these keywords, you’re more likely to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) as you’re fulfilling an unmet need.

To find effective keywords that are easy to rank, you can use tools like Semrush or Ahrefs, as I showed you earlier. They offer insights into keyword volume, competition, and trends.

These tools allow you to discover not just popular keywords but also those niche areas where demand is high, yet content supply is low – the sweet spot for SEO success.

But you don’t have to buy a tool just yet.

Even without premium tools, effective keyword research is possible.

You can use Google Autosuggest, the “People Also Search For” feature, and even Google Trends for keyword/topical research.

People also ask section in Google
People also ask section in Google

They provide a glimpse into what people are searching for and the current trends in user queries.

Search on Google for keywords related to the topic. See what kind of sites are ranking well.

If the sites ranking well are low authority or if Google is ranking forums and similar platforms, then the keyword or topic may have low competition. This means you can easily rank!

Another powerful strategy is competitor analysis. By using tools like Semrush and Ahrefs, you can examine which keywords your competitors rank for.

Competitor research in Semrush
Competitor Analysis in Semrush

If they’re successful in certain areas, and their site authority is similar to yours, these keywords might offer fruitful opportunities for your own SEO efforts.

By focusing on areas with high demand but low supply, you position your content for higher visibility in search engines.

To improve your topical authority, consider identifying all the sub-niches within your specific niche instead of targeting random keywords.

Shortlist 10 to 20 keywords within a particular sub-niche and create a cluster/silo of blog posts around those keywords. Publish the blog posts in bulk and internally link them together. This approach will enhance your topical authority.

Keyword optimization

The next basic concept in SEO is keyword optimization.

How well a website or web page is optimized for a particular keyword determines how high it will rank in SERP.

In the old days of SEO, keyword optimization was all about stuffing web pages with keywords. And it worked like magic. But it’s 2024, and the rules have changed.

In the realm of SEO, keyword optimization isn’t just about sprinkling your content with specific keywords anymore.

It’s a strategic approach that begins with selecting the right topic and understanding the intent behind each search query.

Your primary goal is to align your content with what people are actively searching for.

Woman with laptop
Understand the ‘intent’ behind the search

When crafting an article, the main keyword should be your guiding star. It needs to be included in your title, permalink, and the first paragraph of your content.

But that’s not it.

It is not just about focusing on a single keyword. It’s about optimizing for the entire topic and the searcher’s intent. It’s essential to use variations of your main keyword and related phrases to create a comprehensive piece that thoroughly addresses the topic in a holistic way matter.

This approach ensures your content is not only keyword-rich but also topic-relevant.

Other than keywords, you also need to focus on content because content is king.

Bill Gates Content is King
Credits: SocialPlanner

Your content should flow naturally, with keywords and their variations fitting seamlessly into the narrative. This creates an enjoyable reading experience while keeping SEO best practices in check.

keyword placement checklist on page seo full
Credits: Wordstream

Here are the action steps:

  1. Identify your main keyword: Start by pinpointing the primary keyword that best represents the topic and intent of your article.
  2. Research keyword variations: Use tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Ubersuggest to find relevant keyword variations.
  3. Analyze searcher intent: Understand the underlying intent of search queries related to your topic.
  4. Strategic placement: Integrate your main keyword and its variations in the title, permalink, first paragraph, and throughout the content.
  5. Natural usage: Ensure that the use of keywords feels natural and enhances the readability of your content.

Remember, keyword research is about understanding and responding to your audience’s needs. It’s a blend of strategic placement, topic relevance, and creating content that genuinely adds value to the reader’s experience.

Internal linking

Internal linking
Credits: Semrush

Internal linking is an often underestimated yet powerful component of SEO. It involves creating links that connect one page of your website to another relevant page within the same domain.

Benefits of internal linking:

  • Distributes page authority throughout your site
  • Aids in website navigation
  • Enhances the overall user experience

By linking related content, such as a blog post about the latest iPhone models to a previous post about the history of Apple, you provide additional context and value to readers. This not only keeps visitors engaged longer but also helps search engines understand the relationship and relevance between different content pieces on your site.

In addition to aiding navigation and content relevance, internal linking plays a vital role in establishing a clear, hierarchical site structure. This structure helps search engines crawl and index your website more effectively, leading to better visibility in search results.

Regularly updating internal links is also crucial, as adding new content to your site should prompt revisits to older posts to include links to the newer content where relevant.

💡 Read: Internal Linking for SEO

User Experience Optimization

Over the years, Google has focused significantly on providing a good user experience. Its algorithm updates, starting with Panda in 2011 and ending with the Spam Update in 2021, have always explicitly prioritized user experience.

Thus, you need to optimize your content for user experience.

SEO and UX
SEO and UX

User experience optimization or UXO is all about creating a website that’s not just informative but also enjoyable and easy to use.

In the context of SEO, UXO plays a crucial role. It’s about ensuring that visitors not only find your site but also stay, engage, and return.

A positive user experience like this can signal search engines like Google that your site is valuable, thus improving your SEO rankings.

Here are some actionable strategies to improve UXO:

  1. Website design and layout: A clean, intuitive design makes navigation effortless for users. Ensure that your content is easily accessible, with a layout that’s both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
  2. Content readability: Including large walls of text can be daunting for the users especially on mobile screens! Break your content into smaller paragraphs, use bullet points, and include headings and subheadings for better readability.
  3. Visual appeal: Incorporate images, videos, and infographics to make your content more engaging and easier to understand. Visuals can break the monotony of text and help explain complex concepts more effectively.
  4. Loading speed: A slow website can frustrate users and increase bounce rates. Optimize your site’s loading speed by compressing/optimizing images, leveraging browser caching, and reducing server response time.
  5. Mobile responsiveness: With the increasing use of smartphones for browsing, ensure your site is mobile-friendly. A responsive design adapts to different screen sizes, providing a seamless experience across devices.
  6. Interactive elements: Interactive features like quizzes, polls, or calculators can enhance user engagement and provide additional value to your audience.

To measure and improve user experience, there are several strategies you can implement.

One of the key approaches is to use analytics tools like Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Dashboard
Google Analytics dashboard

These tools provide valuable insights into user behavior on your site, allowing you to track metrics such as bounce rate, time on site, and pages per session.

If you have a high bounce rate, it’s an indication that your user experience is poor.

By analyzing these data, you can gain a better understanding of how users engage with your website.

In addition to analytics, gathering direct feedback from users is crucial for improving UXO. This can be done through surveys or feedback forms, where users can share their thoughts, preferences, and suggestions about your site.

Feedback surveys
Feedback surveys

By actively seeking feedback, you can identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions to enhance the user experience.

Another effective strategy for UXO is continuous testing and optimization.

Regularly testing different aspects of your website, such as layout, content, and call-to-actions, allows you to identify what works best for your audience. A/B testing, for example, can help you compare different versions of your website and determine which one yields better results.

By constantly iterating and optimizing your site based on user feedback and testing, you can create a seamless and enjoyable user experience.


It’s not a misspelling. You read that right. It’s double E, A, T – the new concept SEO pros must master.

E E A T Quality Rater Perspective2 2023 11 20 175836 glqj
Credits: Moz

EEAT stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. This framework is used by Google to evaluate the quality of content on the web.

It’s a part of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, not a direct ranking factor, but crucial for content assessment.

Key aspects:

  • Experience: This is about having real, hands-on experience with what you’re talking about. If you’re reviewing a product, you should have actually used it.
  • Expertise: You need to really know your stuff. If you’re talking about a topic, you should have deep knowledge about it.
  • Authority: This is about being a go-to person in your field. People should see you as a reliable source of information.
  • Trustworthiness: Your content must be honest and accurate. If it’s not trustworthy, it doesn’t matter how experienced or expert you are.

Conventional Google guidelines have always emphasized EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) as the cornerstone for content quality assessment.

Recently, Google has expanded by additional element, “Experience,” thus evolving EAT into EEAT.

This change reflects Google’s commitment to recognizing not only formal expertise but also the value of firsthand experiences in content creation.

So far, we have covered some really effective on-page SEO optimization techniques. Now, let’s shift our focus to important off-page SEO techniques. Although there are numerous off-page SEO techniques, we will be highlighting a few of the most important ones.

Links are soul of internet

You’ve learned about internal links, which link back to your own pages. But for SEO success, you need other websites linking back to you.

In the world of SEO, backlinks play a crucial role in determining the quality and authority of a website.

But what exactly are backlinks, and how can you use link building to improve your website’s visibility?

Backlinks are links from external websites that point to your website.

Think of them as votes of confidence or recommendations from other sites. In fact, Google innovated its search algorithm called PageRank, an algorithm that counted how many links point to a certain website. The more number of links pointing to a website or page, the more valuable it was.

When a website with high authority links to your content, it signals to search engines like Google that your content is valuable and trustworthy.

Now that you understand the significance of backlinks, let’s explore some strategies for effective link building:

  1. Publishing content that attracts links: Create high-quality, informative content that naturally attracts backlinks. Share your content on social media, reach out to influencers or thought leaders, and engage with relevant communities. The more exposure your content receives, the greater the chance of others linking to it.
  2. Guest Blogging: Write high-quality guest posts for reputable websites in your industry. In return, you can include a link back to your own website within the content or author bio. This not only helps you gain exposure to a larger audience but also earns you valuable backlinks.
  3. Skyscraper Technique: Identify popular content in your niche and create even better, more comprehensive versions. Reach out to websites that have linked to the original content, informing them about your improved version. This strategy increases the likelihood of them linking to your content instead.
  4. Broken Link Building: Find broken links on other websites within your industry. Reach out to the website owners, notifying them about the broken links and suggesting your own relevant content as a replacement. This approach allows you to help them fix their website while acquiring valuable backlinks for yourself.

If you want to learn more about acquiring natural backlinks and enhancing your SEO strategy further, check out this guide.

While link building is essential, it’s crucial to prioritize content quality.

Steve Jobs Quote on Quality over Quantity
Credits: A-Z Quotes

Backlinks alone won’t sustain your website’s ranking if the content fails to engage and satisfy your audience.

Focus on creating valuable, informative content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience. When your content is of high quality, other websites are more likely to link to it organically, further boosting your SEO efforts.

Social media signals

Social media

The last concept is utilizing social media signals to enhance the visibility of your website or blog.

Google has affirmed that social media is not a ranking factor, but there is enough evidence that confirms social media impacts SEO.

To leverage social media signals, you need first to create social media profiles and actively encourage people to share your articles.

For this, you can incorporate social sharing buttons on your website to make it easier for readers to share your content.

Additionally, you can consider using social locker plugins, which allow you to lock a certain part of your content and require users to share it on social media in order to unlock the content.

This strategy can help increase social media engagement and expand the reach of your content.

By effectively utilizing social media signals, you can enhance the visibility and exposure of your website or blog, attracting more organic traffic and potentially improving your SEO performance.

You can refer to my comprehensive guide to further enhance your understanding of driving traffic to your blog.

Wrapping up

Until now, you have been passively consuming information as I explained concepts and you read.

However, it’s time to put all the learnings from this blog post into action.

Start by reading some blog posts, doing research, and implementing things proactively based on your objectives.

If you’re interested in blogging, you can start your own blog by finding a hosting provider and installing WordPress. Implement the things you have learned on your site.

If you’re looking for an SEO-related job, consider getting an internship at a reputable SEO agency. This will give you valuable experience in handling diverse websites with different perspectives.

Be an action-taker and make a significant impact. That’s all for now.