Gray Matter


Basic SEO for Dummies - Search Engine Optimization for People Like Me

RT Cunningham | October 4, 2020 (UTC) | Web Development

basic seoUnless you’re an experienced web owner, you may not be aware of basic SEO practices. Even if you’re not an SEO specialist, there are some things you can do to make your website more attractive to search engines (as well as people).

While you should optimize for the Google search engine, your practices will help you with the other search engines as well.

Site and Page Optimization

There are some things you can control when it comes to SEO and some things you cannot. You can optimize your site in certain ways and you can optimize your pages in certain ways. How far you want to go with it is entirely up to you.

There are basically two types of websites: Single Niche and Multiple Niche. Even if you think you have a site without any niche at all, you probably have a multi-niche site. Unless it’s really a diary, of course (which, in itself, is a niche as well).

With a multi-niche site, you want to interlink within those niches as much as possible. With a single niche site, you can link to anything. It isn’t hard to do when you internally link to related and relevant pages with related and relevant keywords (and phrases).

Each page can be optimized as well. Well, at least most of them. Standard pages like contact pages really can’t be optimized because there isn’t usually enough content to do so.

Page Titles, Headings, Descriptions, Image Tags and Content

You need your keywords or keyword phrases in all of these places. Just don’t overdo it. You can use synonyms and alternate phrases to make it seem like you’re not repeating yourself when you really are.

Your keyword should be as close to the beginning of your page title as possible, without looking stupid. Your page title should be short and succinct, but not too short. You can use up to 70 characters most of the time and if you keep it under that, you’ll be doing fine.

Your keyword should be in most of your headings, but not all of them. Don’t force them. Your meta description (yes, most content management systems ignore it) should include your keyword. If you keep your meta description under 150 characters, you’ll be doing well.

The first image on your page should include your keyword in the “alt” tag, but you can include the keyword in all of your images and it won’t hurt anything.

You have to include your keyword in the content itself (you know, one paragraph or another) without doing it too often. Too much density is as bad as none. Write naturally and substitute synonyms when possible.

Incoming Links May Be Good for SEO - Linking Out May Not Matter

I use the word “may” because links are not created equally. Links coming from a spammy site will not help at all. They help the most when the links come from an authority site like Wikipedia. Don’t ask me to define an authority site. You’ll know one when you see it.

There’s no proof, anywhere, that linking to other websites is good for SEO. It probably is, but only because it may entice other sites to link to you. Outgoing links should be used for related and relevant resources.

Disclaimer - I’m Not an SEO Guru

I experimented a lot with my previous websites. A little too much. Anyway, I learned what worked and what didn’t. I wish I could apply everything I learned with this website, but I just don’t care enough to do so. Besides, this isn’t that kind of site. I honestly don’t care to put the effort in to rank better than I already do.

This page probably won’t rank well at all. The keywords I’m using are very competitive. I started writing this article with the intention of reaching a thousand words or more. I don’t know about the other search engines, but the Google search engine loves long articles. No, I’m not going to make it.

Experts will tell you that you should write for people, not search engines. If you write for search engines properly, you are writing for people. Focus on readability as well as information and your pages will speak for themselves.

Photo Attribution: Free-Photos from Pixabay
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in September 2020.

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