The Truth About SEO

Okay people, we’re about to get to the bottom of this SEO thing, once and for all. If you have no previous website experience and have never heard the term, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of coding your website so search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo and easily read your website content and know what your website is all about. Seems pretty simple right? Well, it can be if you know what you’re doing. We’re going to cover 3 myths about SEO, then I’m going to go over 5 elements that ever page on your site should have to be completely search engine optimized.

3 Myths About SEO

Myth #1 – You need a ton of backlinks to have good SEO. To be fair, backlinks do help in SEO. However, they are not the end-all be-all of SEO, which is what some folks will try to convince you. There is a term called black-hat SEO. This is the process of using pre-made link sites and hacking to place links to your site all over the internet. We’re talking about thousands of links that appear overnight on various sites run by (usually overseas) black hat SEO companies. The search engines have been written to recognize this practice and will penalize your site’s search rankings if they catch you doing this. This is the opposite of what is good.

Instead, it is better to use web standard white hat SEO practices. In fact, google publishes a guide on how to best optimize your site for its bots to crawl your site and know how to index it. It’s right here.

Myth #2 – ‘Keyword stuffing’ will increase your search listing rank. This is just silly. Google is far more advanced than it once was and easily recognizes overuse of keywords in titles, content and meta data. Using the correct keywords is important, but don’t just shove a bunch of them into a page title or meta description, it does no good and looks sloppy and untrustworthy to users who are trying to find actual relevant data.

Myth #3 – You can’t do SEO on your own. The truth is, you can do a good bit of on-page SEO on your website if you have just a few tips on SEO best practices. There is a great WordPress SEO plugin called ‘SEO by Yoast’ that will help you optimize your WordPress pages and posts for search engines.

How that you know the myths, here are the tips. SEO is comprised of a ton of different elements, but there are just a few absolutely mandatory items that you must have on every page on your site to really get everything you can from your on-page SEO.

5 SEO Must-haves

Page Element 1 – Title tag. This one is simple. Every page should have a HTML title tag. You should pick a few words that describe the page’s content and use that as the main part of your title tag. For example, if you had a page that talked about power tools, you’d probably want to have your title tag read something like “Everything You Need To Know About Power Tools” The idea with SEO is to get search terms that describe your content into every possible spot on your page that you can.

Page Element 2 – Meta Description. This is another HTML element that describes the content of your page. If you don’t create your own, google and other search engines will scrape your page and write one for you. If that happens, you don’t control what is in that description. Not good.

Page Element 3 – Micro Data. Micro data is a special type of HTML markup that is only for search engines. You can learn more here.

Page Element 4 – Content. To have good SEO, you will need good content. Pick a specific search term for each page and make sure that term gets used in the page content, title tag, headline, photo alt text and anywhere else you can use it. The more a search term is mentioned, the higher your page will be ranked for that search term.

Page Element 5 – h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, photo alt text, p elements. These are all HTML markup elements that are perfect places to use your search term. Make sure your page has all of them.