A 1-hour Crash Course on SEO

Yesterday I had an opportunity to speak with Eric Kinniburgh, who is the owner of Flats Organic Pizzeria, located in Boston, MA. Eric wants to learn more about SEO, so I faced a challenge to present the best techniques that actually work to a person who knows very little about SEO. We talked for about an hour and after the conversation I thought that it might be a good idea to sum up all those things been said into one post. So, here we go!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be on-site and off-site. SEO is done to make your website rise in search results and appear on the first page, increasing your revenue.

On-site SEO is everything, you do on your website and off-site SEO is everything that happens outside your website but what influences your website rankings in search engines.

On-site SEO consists of:

  1. keyword research
  2. assigning keywords to the pages of your website (1 unique keyword per page, the main page of your website gets the most important keyword you would like to rank for)
  3. placing keywords into most important places into the HTML code of the pages of your website (<title>your key phrase<title>,  <meta name=”description” content=”your key phrase – bla, bla, bla. Bla, bla, your key phrase.” />, <meta name=”keywords” content=”your key phrase” />, <h1>your key phrase</h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, 3- 4 times inside the text on the page, <b>your key phrase</b>, <em>your key phrase</em>)
  4. interlinking the pages of your website. (Let’s imagine, that your internal page A is optimized for the keyword “organic products” and your internal page B is for “places to buy organic products”. You need to interlink your pages as follows: Page A has a link with anchor text “places to buy organic products” leading to Page B and vice versa, your Page B’s link to your Page A should contain the anchor text “organic products”)
  5. creating high-quality content, so people who visit your website would like to link back to you. Content, content, content! Regularly place fresh content on your website and create new, interesting pages, worth linking back to.

Off-site SEO consists of… (links! links! and links once again!) Links are like votes, or like money. The more sites on the Internet link back to your webstite, the richer your website is. A backlink is a link on another website, that leads to your website. My approach is to get as many incoming links from as many different sites (Class C IP addresses), as possible. The authority of the page that is linking back to you is more important than relevancy. Tweets/Facebook shares of the pages of your website are more important than links.

Links can be acquired in a number of ways:

  1. Social bookmarking websites. Check my post A Comprehensive List of Social Bookmarking Websites. Use this software to save your time.
  2. Social media websites. Facebook/Twitter/Reddit/StumbleUpon/Wykop.pl/Delicious (Twitter has become so much spammed these days!)
  3. Facebook and Adwords PPC campaigns.
  4. Relevant directories. I suggest using this service.
  5. Blog comments. Use Scrapebox.
  6. Article directories. Write (or have someone to do that for you) articles about your product, place a link back to your website and submit (or have someone submit the articles to these article directories).
  7. Analyze the backlinks of your top competitors and try to get backlinks from the same websites use OpenSiteExplorer + Scrapebox for that.
  8.  Try to get links from .edu and .gov sites.
  9. Get links from forums.
  10. Register accounts (or, again, have someone to do that) on Web 2.o websites. Google “free blog”. You will see lots of websites like Hubpages, Squidoo, Zimbio, etc. Place your articles there with links back to your website.
  11. Add your website to local listings (Google Local, for example. Search for more local websites.).
  12. Get links from profiles on social networks.

Please pay attention to the following:

  • I don’t use “link wheels”.
  • I don’t use services that automatically fill your website with relevant content (at least your should know what you are doing).
  • I don’t index my backlinks any more (or I do that very rarely).
  • I never do Black Hat SEO.
  • I never deal with porn/viagra/casinos/drugs websites.

Software tools I recommend to use (please, keep in mind that any tool is like a knife: you can use it for bad goals of for good goals; always follow common sense):

Don’t waste your time trying to get cracked versions from torrents or from anywhere else, I strictly recommend buying these tools if you are serious enough about SEO. These tools themselves are great time-savers.

Here is also 2 posts I highly recommend you to read before you start doing any SEO. These posts are mostly about marketing, but I regard any website promotion as a system:

So these are the things I told Eric in our 1-hour conversation. I think most of these things are already familiar to people who already practice SEO, nevertheless, I hope that to those who are a new to this term this article has become a good “crash course”. I would appreciate your comments. =)

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