This is the message I've taken from my years of playing the game. I began as Silver 1 back then, having no idea what I was doing, yet hating the toxic ranked matches far too much to invest in them beyond provisionals.
Due to how the System™ works, this way of playing means each season that's played potentially drops a person's rank even though they're gaining more and more understanding and skill in the game.
Now, dear kiddos, I have fallen to Silver IV after a hard-fought 7 victories in 10 matches, which, in every other season I played would have kept me at the same rank or even taken me 1 higher.
This is not to say "boohoo, life is unfair", but to say to any newcomers that if you wish to be gold and above for season rewards, go all in or not at all. You will be punished for not playing ranked matches far down the road, and you will find yourself unable or unwilling to climb your way out. Personally, if I wish to avoid the hundreds of matches it takes just to be back in my original standing, I have to create a smurf and start from square one. Don't make my mistakes. Play ranked matches every time you're playing Rift or don't even place yourself.