The World's Shortest SEO Guide: What is SEO and How Can You Do it?

William Beachy |

Do you have a website that is not performing up to your expectations? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, just having a website online is not a ticket to fame and fortune. These days it takes a little “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) to produce results.

But who can afford the outrageous prices SEO firms charge? It’s insane! Fortunately, SEO work is much simpler than you think. With this in mind, I decided to take my many years of knowledge about SEO and distill it down into a hyper simple SEO Quick Start Guide for Go Media’s web design clients. That way, our clients could understand and even do some of their own SEO work. 

Our clients loved the SEO Quick Start Guide so much that I felt compelled to share it with our fellow COSE members. As a primer, I thought: “What if I distill the already distilled SEO guide down into a blog post? That would be like the World’s Shortest SEO Guide!”  So, without further ado:

What Is SEO?

SEO is anything you do to help search engines (like Google) find your website.

Simple right? Someone goes to a search engine, they type some words into the Search field and Google provides results. You do SEO to try to get your website to show up in those results. The better your SEO is, the higher up in the results your website will appear.

Still with me? Great! Now what?

The vast majority of SEO work falls into these three simple activities:

1.     Pick your keywords.   

2.     Add the keywords to your website.

3.     Build links to your web pages using those keywords.

Pick Your Keywords

OK, remember those words I mentioned earlier that people type into a search engines like Google? Those are called Keywords. Keywords can be a single word like: “Design” or it can be multiple words like: “Cleveland Web Design.” So, the first step in doing SEO is to decide what keywords your potential customers are using in a search to find a business like yours. In Go Media’s case, I can reasonably assume that someone searching “Cleveland Web Design” is a potential customer of ours—because that’s what we do and that’s where we live.  

You will want to pick one keyword per page to optimize your website. A list might look like this (page name is on the left, then next to it is the keyword we optimized for):

Home - “Cleveland Design Firm”

Services - “Cleveland Graphic Design Services”

Web Design - “Cleveland Web Design”

Contact - “Contact Go Media”

Portfolio - “Cleveland Design Portfolio”

Now, there are a lot of things to consider when selecting keywords which I will not go into here (this is the ultra short version remember), but you can read all about it in the Quick Start Guide.

Add the Keywords to Your Website

One of the ways search engines like Google know what results to serve up is based on the words on the website (on each page specifically.) If, for instance, someone does a web search for “Cleveland Logo Design” and Go Media’s website has a web page with the title “Cleveland Logo Design” and we also have those words in the page text, and we also have those words in the web page URL, don’t you think this would be an obvious page for Google to provide as a result? You betcha!

This isn’t rocket science. So, if you want your web pages to be better optimized for a specific keyword, what’s the obvious course of action? Easy—add your keywords to the page! Where exactly do you put your keywords? Answer: Everywhere. Here is a list of a few places you can add your keywords:

Page URL

Title

Body Copy

Links

Image Names

Image Descriptions and Captions

Meta Data

 

Basically, anywhere you can add your keywords to a page, do it.

Now, I do have one small word of caution. Only add the words as much as would feel normal to your site visitor. In other words, don’t write your keywords on a page 100 times in a row. More is better, but only to a point. Search engines are smart enough to know what a normal frequency of a keyword should be on a page. If you add it too many times search engines will assume you’re trying to trick them and they may actually penalize your page rank because of it.  

You should also vary the keywords slightly so they feel more natural. For instance, for your keyword “Cleveland Web Design” you may want to say: “Cleveland Web Development” or “Website Development” or “Ohio Responsive Websites”, etc. Point being—act natural.

Build Links to Your Web Pages Using Those Keywords

Another way search engines determine if your web pages are good search results is whether other web pages point to your website with links that use your keywords. For instance, this blog post is on COSE’s website. In this post is a link to Go Media’s website for Cleveland Web Design. Google sees this link and says to itself: “Well, if COSE’s website is pointing to Go Media’s website and the keywords in the link include “Cleveland Web Design”, then that page they’re pointing at probably has something to do with that topic.

Links from other websites pointing toward your are known as “back links.” So, how do you get links on other websites pointing back toward your website? Well, there are many ways (covered in detail in the SEO Quick Start Guide). I cannot go into them in this super-short SEO summary, but here’s an idea: Write a blog post for someone else’s website (like I’m doing right now for COSE.)

A good place to start is your own website. Your website should include internal links, lots of them, using your keywords. For instance, perhaps on your About page in the main copy, you include a text link pointing to your services page that uses your keywords.

So, that’s it—super short, super simple and yet incredibly powerful. You can do this! It’s easier than you think. Just follow these three simple steps and watch your website rank increase: 1. Select keywords for each of your web pages, 2. Add those keywords to those pages and 3. Build links pointing to those pages using the same keywords.

William Beachy is President of Go Media.