In many ways, I’m the WORST person on the planet to give you an SEO tutorial.
For one, in a previous life i used to work as a web content wage slave where I would do nothing all day but churn out worthless, keyword-laden, syntax-challenged pieces of online article crap. (You might have seen my fabulous work if you were an avid reader of DiscountPromDresses.com or RankMyTatto.com.)
And…so if you’d like an in-depth breakdown of what NOT to do – of how to achieve lasting results – in 2004! – then I’m your guy.
But there IS a reason why I’m the BEST person to tell you about Search engine optimization – or SEO – as the techies like to call it.
I do not drink the SEO Kool-Aid.
I do not think traditional SEO is here to stay.
I do not think search engine optimization is a GREAT use of your resources. (Somebody else’s, but not yours.)
But I do know a few minor, small (and I do mean small) tweaks to your blog or website can make a HUGE difference.
And it is these small minor tweaks, these low-hanging search engine marketing fruit that can make a HUGE, HUGE difference to your business.
So without further adiue (too late?)…here is a quick, down-and-dirty guide to Search Engine Opimization…
(Note: I wrote an entire book about this subject. (Don’t worry it’s cheap; and it’s short.) So, if you’d like to get a more in-depth, hand-holding guide you can check out here.)
Alright…let’s get started with the show!
Q: What IS SEO?
A: Ah…yes. What is this weird term that sounds like it was cooked up in some evil lair where the Red Skull plots his revenge on Captain America?
Search engine optimization is simply the technique of organizing, or optimizing, the content on your website for maximum search engine awesomeness. (Ya know…so Google will give it that all-important Google love.)
Q: Why is SEO so important?
A: Because search engines, and namely Google, derive their billions of dollars of revenue from displaying relevant AND contextual results to their users/customers. (Google’s algorithm, their formula for indexing and categorizing the web, is the reason why they can waste millions of dollars on stupid things like Google Glass.)
Because everybody knows the results on Google are simply better.
Q: Yeah, but what does this have to with our website?
A: Basically, it’s Google’s way of rewarding you for making their job easier. If you’ve posted a page about pesto sauce, and the title is about pesto sauce, and the images are all of pesto sauce, and the title is about pesto sauce…
…then chances are that Google will not look like a total schmuck by placing your pesto sauce page at the top of their results.
Q: Makes sense. So what’s the problem with SEO these days?
A: Too many spammers and unethical site owners gamed the system, and made Google look like a schmuck. (And you do not want to make them look like a schmuck.)
And I know this because I was one of those spammers. (You don’t get your Google account banned for no reason.)
I would write stupid articles titled “Hair Loss Restoration 101 – The Hair Loss Restoration Remedies You Need”
…and then I would fill it with insipidly-written paragraphs that were stuffed with “hair loss” keywords that sounded like they written by someone on Methadone.
So…Google said enough.
Q: Uh-oh. Does that mean search engine optimization doesn’t work anymore?
A: Not necessarily. It just means that it’s not as push-button and easy as it used to be. (Requires a bit more subtlety.)
Q: Sounds bad.
A: No. It’s great. It means most of the spammers got bored and moved on to something else. (Like designing Candy Crush.)
Q: So what SEO techniques work these days?
A: There are 3 areas that are still important: 1) The “title tag” or title of your blog post/site content 2) The words in your actual content and 3) The names of the images you use in your content.
But…you don’t want to be a spammer. Using a primary keyword phrase in your title (at least once), then using that keyword 2-3 times in your content, and in all of your images should be fine. (Remember: most people don’t do this. So you’ll have a leg up on your competition.)
Q: Primary keyword phrase? What the hell is that?
A: Keyword phrases are the high-octane fuel that drive the search engine optimization engine. They are also constantly abused and thoroughly misunderstood.
Best thing to do is to head over to use the “Google Keyword Tool” to find out how many times a month a phrase is searched for. There you can find out whether you should use “kitchen cabinet ideas” or “kitchen cabinet idea.” (Turns out the latter, by nearly 5K searches a month.)
But…you don’t want to be a slave to these results. Use your gut. (Keywords may bring in visitors to your website, but they may not bring in customers.
Q: What about these backlinks I’ve heard about?
A: We must not talk about those.
Q: But I don’t under-
A: No! Backlinks are the evil that must not be mentioned.
Seriously, the best backlinks you’ll get from peole will be natrually. (Meaning you didn’t engineer them.) Whatever backlink strategies work today, probably won’t work tomorrow.
Just work on producing kick-ass stuff and let the human drones take care of the backlinking for you.
Q: You mean like social media?
Q: So…does social media affect search engine optimization?
A: Not that Google would ever admit it…but yes… the amount of shares, likes, favorites, and comments drastically affect the popularity of a piece of content. (Oftentimes it’s more important than the keywords themselves.)
Q: So what you’re saying is, spend more time making stuff people will like on Facebook and less time brainstorming the perfect keyword title.
Q: I still want to hear more about backlinks.
A: That’s it! Now you must read one of my prom dress articles.