SEO for Dummies
(Or, you know, like regular people who don’t spend their entire lives on the internet)
SEO isn’t rocket science, but it can sure feel like it when you look it up online. There are endless blog posts and articles online surrounding the topic of how to improve your website’s SEO. Here’s the problem, these people are assuming that you know what the heck it is in the first place.
For this reason, we are taking it upon ourselves to explain the basics of SEO and give a brief overview of how it works, through normal people terms and not computer geek terms. Because, as some of you probably know, computer geek language can be about as helpful as having it explained to you in Latin.
Ego sum recte? (That’s Latin for ‘Am I right?’)
What does SEO mean?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization
Okay… What does THAT mean?
Search engines are things like Google and Bing, you’ve heard of Google, right? Thus, Search Engine Optimization refers to the strategy used to improve a website’s ranking on Google.
The goal is simple: get your website or blog found by more people in your target audience.
How do search engines, such as Google, work?
Google has “search-bots” that comb the internet to look for new websites and pages. They go from page to page by using links on each page. Google then sorts the pages by different factors such as content and then organizes them into a big database.
Google ranks websites/pages using a variety of different factors such as when the page was published, if the page as any spelling mistakes, how long it takes to load, and a WHOLE bunch more (around 200).
So, what should be my biggest focus if I want to increase SEO?
It’s simple, content. The better content you have, the more people are going to visit your site. This is why having a blog on your site is beneficial to SEO, as blogging gives the “search-bots” more content to comb through.
Some SEO tips
Keywords: Implement your keyword/keyword phrase into the blog title, first 2 sentences of the first paragraph, page title tag, page meta description, and image alt-text.
Search engines pick up on keywords.
When searching the internet, we’re usually concise. Say I have a hankering for a sweet cool treat, I would type in: “places to get ice cream in Victoria BC”
Google then goes to its index and pulls out the key words “ice cream, Victoria, etc”
Therefore, it is important to implement your keyword/keyword phrase into the title, first 2 sentences of the first paragraph, page title, and page meta description.
However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. The goal is for the page to remain user friendly. It is important to remember we are speaking to potential customers with our websites not robots (unless your business’ target customers are robots, I suppose), so don’t overdo it with the keyword in hopes of Google giving you a better ranking.
What is a meta-description?
The Meta description tag is a snippet of HTML code that is usually placed after the title tag and before the keywords tag.
What do these “Meta-description tags” do?
Meta descriptions are an important part of SEO as they:
- Can be used as a description of your page when it shows up in search results
- They are often used as the default description in social media links such as Facebook
Make sure that your content is always up to date and doesn’t have any grammar or spelling errors.
Separate the content on your posts into small, more, readable paragraphs, 3-5 sentences max.
Use Header tags and bold when you can and where appropriate. Lists and bullets also provide a more visually-digestible way to organize your content.
Not only do these tips give Google’s little internet robots a better understanding of what your site is about, but they also allow readers to skim and understand your content more easily.
Make your URL readable
There are so many factors in play that it’s, quite literally, a full-time job keeping up with SEO. But, at the end of the day, Google’s SEO algorithm is always aiming for one thing: user experience. The better of an experience your site’s visitors have, the better you’re going to rank on a search engine. So, before you stress about SEO, just put yourself in the visitor’s shoes:
- What makes you click on a result in Google. Is it a to-the-point title tag? Is it a catchy meta description?
- What makes you stay on a webpage? Is it that their content is easy to read and digestible? Is it that they get straight to the point without much fluff?
- What makes you leave a webpage? Is it huge paragraphs? Slow page load times? Too many ads? A popup?
- What would you search for if you were looking for the subject of your website? If you’re an ice cream shop, most customers will probably find your website by searching for “ice cream in victoria” or “best ice cream shops”. Those are some solid keyword phrases, and all there is to finding them out is some critical thinking.
There are, of course, more advanced solutions to the SEO problem, and those solutions can have a huge impact on your business’s success, and Seriously Creative is here to help.