SEO Basics

seo-basics-blog-topicPost updated: October 15, 2014 — Since this post was written, in 2012, many things have changed concerning the algorithms Google uses for deciding page ranking within the Google Search Results (SERPs). But the basics are still the basics, and this blog post still contains important things to consider regarding your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Maintenance (SEM).

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is the process of tuning a website to ensure that keywords and key phrases, important to your business, are placed throughout your website. The goal is that when your website is crawled by search engine spiders that your website appear high within search engine results. Tuning your website for SEO is extremely important.

Think of SEO as an art, not a science. Google and other search engines don’t give us the exact rules, but they share enough, that with experience, we are able to figure out some fairly straightforward organic (meaning free) ways to tune your website for SEO.

First and Foremost — Figure Out Your Keywords

Picture your ideal client in your mind. What would you expect that client to type into Google in order to find your website? Keywords like your business name, what you sell (or offer) and where you are located are important places to start.

Sprinkle Your Keywords Throughout Your Website

Now you need to ensure your specific keywords are sprinkled throughout your web site. Make sure your keywords are found within the content you write that your web site visitors view. You will also want to ensure that these keywords are tuned within “meta” fields within the code within your website.

Title (Meta) Field

  1. One of the most important factors in SEO (search engine optimization) is the title of the web page.
  2. Having a great title for your web page is one of the best SEO methods, and will attract web visitors to your web pages.
  3. The title of the web page is the first SEO element examined by the search engine crawler as it visits your website. Take extra care in deciding the web page title.
  4. The title should include your best keyword or key phrase that is related to the content of the page.

Headings (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 html tags)

  1. Headings are important for SEO.
  2. Google expects that if something is a heading that more weight should be given to the words found in headings.

Description (Meta) Field

  1. While not important to search engine rankings, the meta description field is extremely important in gaining user click-through from search engine result pages (SERPs).
  2. These short paragraphs are your opportunity to advertise content to searchers and let them know exactly what the given page has with regard to what they’re looking for.
  3. The description should employ your key words and phrases intelligently, but also create a compelling description that a searcher will want to click.
  4. Direct relevance to the page and uniqueness between each page’s meta description is key.
  5. The description should optimally be between 150-160 characters.

Keywords (Meta) Field

  1. Keyword stuffing was the old school way to rank your website.
  2. It used to be that by simply stuffing high traffic keywords in the meta description and meta keywords fields you could potentially rank highly.
  3. Google has come out and said that meta keywords carry no weight.
  4. However, my opinion is that I think it couldn’t hurt to put a few keywords into this field. After all Google may be the top place to search for information but there are other spiders that will crawl your site for other search engines.

SEO WordPress Plugin

If your site is written in WordPress I would heavily suggest that you install the WordPress seo-all-in-one-seo-pack. Some key features of this plugin are:

  • Generates META tags automatically (Meta tags are found within the code of the website)
  • Avoids the typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs
  • For beginners, you don’t even have to look at the options, it works out-of-the-box. Just install.
  • For advanced users, you can fine-tune everything

Other SEO Advice to Keep In Mind

Make make sure your company name is listed in multiple places in your website.

Have a blog as part of your website and write blog entries (posts) as much as possible. These blog entries can generate website traffic of their own. Google also favors websites where content is continually being updated.

Create a facebook business page. You can see an example at:

Now figure out a way to get other websites to link to yours. Partner with other companies. Link to their web site (if it makes sense) and ask them to link to your website.

Even if your website contains a blog, create free blogs in other places that point to your website url address.

Create and upload videos to Youtube and reference your website url address within the Youtube video description.

Upload images to Flicker that link to your website url address.