The Idiot-proof Basics of Writing SEO Pages

This is part of The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) series, written for humans, not robots. Today, we’re talking about writing SEO pages.

SEO Pages Robot

I'm an idiot. There, I said it.

Any other idiots out there? It's okay to admit it — this is a safe place.

I'm talking to the non-geeks who don't know what PPC or SEO or HTML stand for, people who don't know the difference between ASP and PHP (hint: they're not drugs).

Why is technical knowledge like search engine optimization relegated to the geeks and know-it-alls of the world?

Aren't you tired of not knowing what the heck people are talking about? (I am.)

We need a revolution of knowledge, a renaissance of creativity, an awakening of how to use the best tools that technology web has to offer. And it needs to be written for know-nothings like me… and maybe you.

Still with me?

Good. Sorry for calling you an idiot earlier. Now, let's get on with it.

For the sake of this post, I'm assuming you care about getting more people to read what you've published on the internet, that you're interested in generating more traffic to your website.

If that's you, great. If not, consider skipping this post or reading my Beginner's Guide to SEO, which explains why you should care about all this stuff.

Am I the only one frustrated?

In my pursuit of spreading ideas on the Internet, I've been perpetually frustrated by people telling me the “basics of SEO” in robot language.

So I started learning this stuff for myself by asking smart friends dumb questions and finding useful articles on the web on the subject. Then I started trying it out to see what did — and didn't — work for me.

After that, I began teaching others what I had learned. When I received quizzical looks after explaining something like “anchor text” or “metadata”, I knew I had become my own worst enemy.

So I decided to simplify the heck out of what I knew (so I could better understand it myself) and here's what I came up with: a series of steps I call, “The Idiot-proof Basics of Writing SEO pages” (or blog posts or articles or whatever).

There are six easy steps you can take to increase your on-page SEO — whether for blog posts, landing pages, on your business site. Here they are:

1. Choose a keyword

This is a word or phrase that you want to show up on the first page of search engines results. Choosing SEO keywords is important, so take your time with this.

It needs to be simple, yet descriptive, and something that you actually have a chance of ranking highly in. (e.g. Don't both going for “Africa” if you're not launching a website that is going to have thousands of articles about the continent.) For the sake of this post, let's use: “writing SEO pages.”

2. Write a good title

It should include the keyword or phrase at the beginning. Aim for 8-12 words (maximum of 60 characters).

The example for this post is: The Idiot-Proof Basics of Writing SEO Pages.”

3. Include the keyword(s) in the URL

You’ll see that the URL for this blog post ends with keyword phrase “seo-pages” in the actual address. (Oops, sorry for the robot-speak, a URL is just the address of a web page.)

Most content management systems (e.g. WordPress) allow you edit the URL of your posts. Others simply use the text in the title.

Note: Your permalink structure should be optimized for search engine traffic, which you can find more about in my SEO tips for your whole website.

4. Mention the keyword early in the page

Try including it within the first sentence or two. The earlier you mention it, the better.

If you scroll up to the top of the page, you can see I mention it in the first 100 words or so.

5. Link to other pages on your website, using anchor text

Anchor text is the term for embedding a link into a word or phrase on a page, instead of just using the URL.

Example: Check out this great article on the The Idiot Proof Basics of Writing SEO Pages!

In the above example, I embedded the link into the text “The Idiot Proof Basics of Writing SEO Pages.” This is better than simply linking the phrase “click here” or the actual URL itself (e.g.

6. Have other websites link to your page

This helps build backlinks, which, in turn, strengthen the “worth” of the page to search engines. (This is different from someone just linking to your homepage.)

The best way for you to do this is to just write good content and make the occasional request for a link. (If you like this post, by the way, an excellent way of saying “thank you” would be to link to it from your site. I would be much obliged.)

Ready to get started?

There's more that I could say on this subject of SEO, but in terms of the basics of writing specific pages, that's it!

For more of these tips, check out my SEO Guide.

In another post, I'll share some advanced SEO writing tips, but you won't see me getting too technical. Because frankly, you don't need to be a whiz at this stuff to apply what's practical and see the benefit.

Did I miss any idiot-proof basics for writing SEO pages? Any questions? Share in the comments.

*Photo credit: Chad Kainz