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A Simple Guide to SEO basics

Imagine your website is a book in a vast library, and Google is the diligent librarian trying to catalog every book so people can find exactly what they need. For this to work smoothly, your book (website) needs to have clear and concise information. In this article we hope to make the principles of SEO easier to understand why many websites do not rank in Google, Bing, or other search engines.

Understanding SEO: The Basics

SEO is all about making your website more visible to search engines like Google. When someone searches for something related to your site, you want to be one of the top results they see. Here’s how to make that happen:

1. Title Tags: The Name of Your Book

Just like a book has a title, your website should have title tags. This is what shows up on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for a given result. It’s crucial that your title tag accurately describes the content of your page in a concise and engaging way. Think of it as the name of your book—what do you want people to see that will make them want to pick it up?

Practical tip: The number of titles and the structure of your titles in relation to each other determines the hierarchy of your content — what is most important to least important. Many sites we encounter have multiple H1 tags, which is like having one book with multiple titles! To make things worse, the titles are many times inconsequential to the subject matter of the page or the website. See more in the next point 2. below.

Real world example from SEO Quake:

This example website used 5 H1 tags which lack any keyword advantage for the client, while competing with each other for the primary subject matter. This is the type of hidden information that Google uses to best know where to rank a page or website.

2. Headers: The Chapter Titles

Headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.) break up your content into manageable sections, much like chapter titles in a book. Maintaining a clear hierarchy not only makes for more logical content, but can negatively effect your SEO performance by helping search engines understand the structure and main topics and sub topics of your page.

Practical tip: Choose relevant keywords in your headers as a signal to Google relative to your desired ranking. For example, if you wish to sell Game Consoles in Tampa, you will want to make sure your headings reflect your key market. Eg. “Game Consoles for sale in Tampa” should be your H1 tag, and there should be no other H1 tags on that page. All subsections can be H2 tags and H3 etc. Example: Nintendo, Playstation would make sense to be H2 Tags, and the systems under those would be H3 tags. eg. Switch, PS1, PS2, etc.

3. Meta Descriptions: The Blurb on the Back Cover

Your meta description is like the blurb on the back of a book. It gives a brief summary of what the page is about. This description appears under your title tag on the SERPs. A compelling meta description can greatly increase the likelihood that someone will click on your link. Make sure it’s informative and enticing!

Practical tip: Every page should have a well crafted description, but consider the main website homepage especially.

4. Content: The Story Inside

High-quality content is the heart of your website. Just as a book needs a captivating story, your website needs valuable and relevant content. This is what will engage your visitors and keep them coming back. Your content should be informative, well-written, and keyword-rich without being spammy. Remember, you’re writing for humans first, search engines second.

5. Alt Text: The Illustrations’ Captions

Alt text is used to describe images on your website. It’s like the captions you might find under illustrations in a book. This text helps search engines understand what the images are about, which can boost your site’s visibility in image search results by using keywords related to your website. Additionally, alt text improves accessibility for users who rely on screen readers — which is a valuable audience worthy of due consideration.

6. URL Structure: The Book’s ISBN

Your website’s URL structure should be clean and organized, much like a book’s ISBN. A well-structured URL provides both users and search engines with an easy-to-understand path to the content. Avoid using long, complex URLs and instead opt for short, descriptive ones.

7. Internal Links: The Table of Contents

Internal links are like the table of contents in your book. For example your main menu — which guides readers to the different sections and related topics within your website. Page links within your content should highlight words and point to related pages that expand on relative topics. This not only helps keep visitors on your site longer but also aids in the indexing of your pages by search engines.

8. Backlinks: The Book Reviews

Backlinks are incoming links from other websites to yours. Think of them as book reviews—positive endorsements from other authors or critics. High-quality backlinks from reputable sites can significantly boost your website’s credibility and search engine ranking. The better the backlink the more “juice” it gives to your site. If the President of the United States recommends your services then you will get more business for sure! No so much if you crazy uncle tells his friends that you are his favorite nephew/niece.

9. Mobile-Friendliness: The eBook Format

With more people browsing on their phones, having a mobile-friendly website is essential. It’s like having an eBook version of your print book—easily accessible and readable on any device. Ensure your website is responsive and provides a good user experience on both desktop and mobile. Some websites are developed to function almost like an app right in the users browser.

10. Page Speed: The Readability

Page speed is crucial; it’s like the readability of your book. If your website loads quickly, visitors are more likely to stay and read. Slow-loading pages can frustrate users and lead to higher bounce rates. Optimize images, leverage browser caching, and minimize code to improve your page speed.


Think of SEO as the process of ensuring your book is properly cataloged in the vast library of the internet. By paying attention to these basic elements—title tags, meta descriptions, headers, content, alt text, URL structure, internal links, backlinks, mobile-friendliness, and page speed—you can help Google accurately index your site, making it easier for your audience to find you.

At [Your Company Name], we specialize in helping businesses optimize their websites. Let us handle the complexities of SEO so you can focus on what you do best. Contact us today to learn how we can help your website shine in the search results!


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