SEO for dummies

What does SEO mean? And why would a company that offers SEO as a service give free advice?

Well, for the latter, that’s easy, we’re a people over profits kinda company, we’re not here just for the money.

If someone wants to hire us for our SEO services that’s cool, if they’d prefer to just learn a little and do it themselves, then that’s cool too!

Righto, let’s get back onto the subject. SEO 101.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

Search engine what?

So that’s what Wikipedia says, but what does that actually mean? What is SEO?

When search engines look at your website to figure out what it’s all about, you can, in effect, tell them what the page / website is about.

You get the most out of search engine optimisation by making sure your content is relevant for your company, product or service & your target audience.

Following are a few search engine optimisation techniques.

Let’s say you’re looking to target users who search for “search engine optimisation shrewsbury”. Here are a few tips for where to place this search term:

The page’s URL. This is very important.

You might have something like this: or, if you’re using URL rewrites,

As a side note, make sure you separate words with hyphens rather than underscores.

Hyphens are used as word separators while underscores do not specify any function.

Search engine bots have a different way of interpreting your punctuation when crawling and indexing sites.

Search engines have not been programmed to interpret underscores the way that we do.

For example, if the URL was search_engine_optimisation_shrewsbury (with underscores) search engines would read it as searchengineoptimisationshrewsbury.

Obviously, a user making this search would include spaces.

When you use hyphens to link a search term in your URL, search-engine-optimisation-shrewsbury, search engines can return the words in various combinations, like this:

  • Search Engine Optimisation Shrewsbury
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Search
  • Engine
  • Optimisation
  • Shrewsbury

As you can see, using hyphens has greater rewards, they’re also much more user friendly.

Anyway, we digressed slightly explaining URL structures.

Let’s continue on our SEO mission.

The page’s <title></title> tag is important. You should make sure you include your search term here.

The description tag is also important, though not always for positioning.

Google says it doesn’t use the tag to help rank your page. However, the tag will often appear in the search results page, so make sure that it contains a great, relevant description & it’s written for humans, this text can increase your CTR.

The <meta name="keywords"> tag holds little or no value anymore. Search engines either ignore it or give it very little weight, if you’re nervous about removing it altogether, thinking you’ll fall of the internet, then by all means keep it in, but don’t spend much time on it.

Headings on your pages are valuable. They should contain your target search term and should be displayed in heading tags, <h1> through </h6> Be sure to use the tags appropriately.

By all means, repeat your search term in your content, but, don’t go overboard, or you may be penalised for SPAM. Also, don’t just throw it in randomly, make sure it’s actually relevant to the subject.

Draw attention to search terms in your body text. Make them bold, or italic.


Good SEO isn’t about the latest tricks or techniques. It’s a long-term strategy that takes into account all relevant factors.

A word of warning. If you’re currently researching hiring an SEO company and they are talking about “keyword density”, “link building”, “back links” and such, walk away, they are not an SEO, they may do more harm than good.

Content is King.

So, there you have it, SEO for dummies, give it a try, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Further reading Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.

P.S: We’re not actually calling anyone a dummy, don’t worry, it’s just a title.


About Me

Designer. Developer. Hacker. Senior Reviewer / Content Specialist @envato