SEO is not rocket surgery—the basics you need to know

I get a lot of inquiries about search engine optimization (SEO). People worry that it’s complicated or that there are special tricks to it. Thankfully, with the level of readership I have (hi, honey!), I don’t have to worry too much about giving away trade secrets. 

The first thing you need to do is read and/or download Google’s guide to Search Engine Optimization. That’s right—you want to know how to make your site Google-friendly, and Google is happy to tell you how. You may stop reading this now if you wish. 

The second thing is to understand what SEO means. SEO-ing your site does not mean you will get traffic. It means the odds of your site getting found in web searches go up. And when the displayed results look relevant to the searcher’s query, you get clicks. And when that happens, it tells Google, “Hey, people searching for this term seem to go to Site X a lot, therefore, Site X must be useful, therefore, we should move Site X up in the search rankings.” Searches + clicks = higher rankings. But even if you have the most search-friendly yak cheese recipe site in the world, a site with lots of pictures of naked women but poorly-done SEO is still going to get more traffic than you do, simply because more people go to websites to look at naked women than to get yak cheese recipes. Or so I’m told. 

So, the most critical component of high search rankings is a site that provides valuable, relevant well-organized information to people searching for that information. It’s kind of a chicken and egg scenario; if no one searches, no one clicks; if no one clicks, your search rankings can’t improve. 

This is where search advertising can help. It can help generate traffic that gets people clicking through to your site, and presumably give your organic (unpaid) search results get a boost. It’s like priming the pump. 

In a nutshell, here are the basics to good SEO:

1. Create unique page titles
2. Use unique, relevant meta descriptions
3. Use meta keywords judiciously (not too many, and only terms that actually appear on the page)
4. Use descriptive text anchor links (e.g., Services we offer is good; For a list of services, click here is bad)
5. Have unique, specific content on each page
6. Have a web spider-friendly site map
7. Include photos of naked women on every page (optional) 

Instructions for all of these (except for the last one) are in the Google guide. Of course, I’ll be happy to help you as well. 

Download: Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide