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4 Basic Rules of SEO for Non-SEO People

Last updated December 2022

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to reach more potential customers and create more leads and sales for your business. SEO is constantly evolving. Google makes hundreds or even thousands of changes to its site ranking algorithm per year meaning that websites that want to stay toward the top of search results need to use the best new strategies. For most business owners, it’s helpful to outsource this  to a web development or SEO expert, but if you’re needing to improve your ranking on your own, just follow these basic rules of SEO for non-SEO people.

SEO Background Info

  1. Search engines include any of the sites with search boxes that suggest websites. This includes sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and more.
  2. SEO basics are true between all platforms. This article is designed specifically for traditional search engines, but the basics generally apply to e-commerce site optimization to app store optimization (ASO) as well.
  3. “Keywords” “content” and “text” are all the same thing. They’re the words on your page.
  4. Search engines scan (“crawl”) your website periodically to learn what content you have. This is how they know what to suggest when you make a search. Essentially, they make an outline of everything on your site. SEO is just improving the quality and information on the outline for these sites to find.

4 Basic Rules of SEO for Non-SEO People

Use Clear Language

Before you try to tackle the more advanced SEO tactics, it’s important to review your website at the most basic level — your content. Search engines favor authoritative, original content that is written in clear and concise language. In addition to making sure your site doesn’t have typos and grammatical issues, it’s also a good idea to check your word choice and make sure it aligns with the language your potential customers use. You don’t want to be advertising “football” jerseys when you mean “soccer” or “pop” when your customer says “soda”. This will help to connect you with people who are specifically looking for what you have.

Using keywords doesn’t mean going crazy with them, though. It used to be that the site stuffed with the most keywords would rank the highest, but that old school technique will actually hurt you now. Instead, search engines now reward well-written text that contains, but doesn’t overuse, relevant search words and phrases.

Use Meta Titles & Descriptions

Every page on your website should contain relevant meta titles and descriptions. Meta titles are the name of your page that is written into your website. WordPress makes it really easy to add and edit meta titles, but try to pick something that explains what is on the page. You’ll also want to avoid changing page titles too often as this can confuse search engines and break any links to your site.

Meta descriptions are short descriptions of what is on a page. Meta title and meta descriptions combine to provide the information needed to form a search engine result. Need inspiration for your pages? Check out what similar sites use with free meta information checkers and check the length of your own to make sure your search results give the right impression.

Provide Photo Details

If you’ve got a business with a lot of photos, it’s a good idea to include alt tag and meta information on your photos as well. WordPress uses basic photo information like alt text, title, and description, but some sites or tools allow for even more information like location, time, or photographer’s name to be added to photos. This can help photos to appear in shopping and image search results.

It’s a good idea to also add this type of information to your videos as well. Vimeo and Youtube make it easy to add in titles, descriptions, and specific keywords. This will help your videos to be suggested on the video platforms, on search engines, and can be used in part to help search engines determine site content when crawling.

Use an SEO Tool

Yoast is an extremely popular SEO plug-in and helps provide real-time feedback on changes you can make to improve your website SEO. Yoast takes care of the complicated HTML markup that search engines love while informing website editors of improvements that could be made. A rising competitor to Yoast is RankMath which provides many of the same benefits of Yoast with some additional monitoring features. Both plug-ins have very comprehensive free versions that suit most businesses and bloggers and online courses are available to learn more about these tools.

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