If you’re looking for instructions on how to SEO your website site, SEO and website, SEO website best practices, don’t worry -- you’ve come to the right place. And if you’re casting an even wider net and prowling the web for how to SEO, SEO basics or even some advanced SEO techniques, tips and strategies, you’re in for a genuine treat.
SEO, or search engine optimization for the uninitiated, is part art and part science. Kind of like alchemy, but it’s real, damn it! The trick is, nobody wants to read content that sounds like it’s been written with the express, manufactured purpose of harvesting clicks, but everyone wants a piece of that sweet organic web traffic pie! What’s a brand to do?!
Don’t freak out. We’ve got you. We don’t just have all of that information laid out for you -- we can teach you how to SEO your website and how to implement this newfound knowledge without sounding like a fucking robot. Nobody wants to take “How to SEO” lessons from Siri, right? From C-3PO? From WALL-E? From the sexy phone in Her?
Didn’t think so. Let’s get started.
A Note About Google…
The thing about optimizing your content for a search engine is that there are two parties at play. First, you’ve got the search engine itself. More likely than not, your prospective reader is going to be using Google, because c’mon, it’s 2019. To know how to SEO effectively is to know how to play by Google’s rules. Google is our overlord, and we are mere insects on its metaphorical windshield. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you know how to hang on tight and dodge those wipers!
Why don’t we get into the thick of it, then.
Think Like a Consumer
Search engine optimization. SEO. Search. Engine. Optimization. We’ve covered the search engine in question, our dear friend Google. But now we have to pause and think about the searchers who drive that engine: all those potential eyes! Let’s sit with that for a second, shall we? Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth, and really drink in the meaning.
Now that we’ve done a little mindfulness, take a second to place yourself in your audience’s shoes. What are you curious about? What do you want to know? And, more importantly, what would you type into Google to find it out? Basically, we recommend deciding on a topic, and then taking a minute or two to free-associate and write down everything you’d possibly consider searching to try to find out what you want. Think about how people type in Google -- nobody is using a complete sentence or wringing their hands about grammar, so why would you?
Then, take some time to actually search those hypotheticals and size up your competition. Are other blogs coming up before you are? Are those blogs shittier than yours? Because if so, it’s time to step your fucking game up!
Also, still peering through your audience’s eyes: you wouldn’t trust a post with no sources, would you? Even Wikipedia has sources. That’s why it’s pretty essential that you link to other posts in the shit you yourself are writing. Not only is it the ethical thing to do (what, do you think we popped out of the womb as SEO geniuses? No, we read shit and learned!), Google appreciates you playing ball and sharing the traffic love with your contemporaries -- and raises your search ranking accordingly.
Keywords, Keywords, Keywords
Remember how we told you to decide on a topic of coverage? Sorry. What we meant to say, in SEO-speak, that is how to SEO your website, is that you need to pick a topic then generate keywords based off of that topic. Totally our bad.
SEO keywords, in the words of another faceless blogger over at Wordstream, “are the keywords and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines.” We can’t really say it better than that, or we would have.
Keywords are a foundational element of how to SEO your website site to the best of its ability, but they don’t stop being important once you get into the big leagues either. You can weave them in organically (fun and unsurprising fact: the keyword this post is built around is “how to SEO your website”) or you can call in the big guns. We strongly suggest going with option two.
Open Up Your Toolbox
Luckily, Google is pretty explicit about what it wants -- a benevolent deity -- which means there’s an entire fucking cottage industry based around appeasing it and climbing its ranks. We recommend investing in an Ahrefs subscription if you’re trying to play with the big boys. It’s a service that will tell you which keywords could garner you the most search traffic -- and how you stack up against your competition. It’s also got a blog with a slew of tips on how to get the most out of the so-called “marketing toolset.”
For a more cost-effective option, try connecting your site to Google Analytics so you can monitor your traffic in real time. It’s a little messier to try and do it all yourself, but at the very least you can get a more informed grasp on what pulls in visitors and what barely registers as a blip on the World Wide Web’s radar.
You know how you’re still reading this post? How your eyes have continued to travel along the page and consume this content, even though you’ve only got one wild and precious life and if you think about it, like, really think about it, you could be doing anything right now?
That’s because this blog post isn’t boring. It’s well-written, it’s grabby, it has a narrative thru-line and an anonymous copywriter with an ego the size of Texas. Basically, your content has to be engaging like this (or, if you actually fucking hate this, engaging in a different way) in order to truly smash in the SEO game. That’s because Google monitors how much time readers spend on a given page -- and adjusts accordingly. If you’re serving up the same bland, generic shit all of your competitors dole out, you’ll never stand out from the pack.
Can you teach someone how to blog well in the span of a single post? Probably not. All we can say is that if you engage with writing that you like and find to be skillful and practice, practice, practice, you will get better. Or you could just hire a broke journalism ex-pat to do it for you.
Honestly, it’s not wise to pin your entire traffic strategy on one thing. That’s not how to SEO most effectively -- you’ve gotta attack this thing from all angles! That means utilizing free SEO tools and ponying up for the premium shit, using your intuition to anticipate your target audience’s needs, building your posts around keywords and creating dynamic (or at least readable) content.