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

51 thoughts on “The Idiot-proof Basics of Writing SEO Pages

  1. Agreed. Be visual. Be personal. Be unique.

    And where possible be useful, literary , or entertaining. A great example is your recent Geeks + Marketers post.

    (I personally don’t do a great job of it….but alas I guess working on it….)

  2. This is definitely the kind of info I need. : ) I always wondered what “anchor” meant. I suppose I was technically anchoring text in my blog but I did it by highlighting the text and clicking the “link” button. Is that the same?

  3. I’ll be honest and say that this is something that I lack in. I feel way in over my head when I even try to consider SEO.

      1. It absolutely does. I printed off this page and put in a file I’ve made on blog advice. So I can reference.

  4. Hey, this is AWESOME!  One more idiot edified and educated!  Thanks, Jeff.  It’s so nice not to be spoken to like a robot.  🙂

    1. Wait.  You just reposted this article from months.  I swear you do this whenever you see me asking stupid questions…. Well, still thanks!

  5. I have learned more in your series than the several attempts of wading through other bloggers’ advice.  Thanks a bunch!

  6. Nicely written and easy to understand. A very good article and good for beginners. Jeff you are using the golden rule of writing: Less is more. You explain here the essential part of SEO. That makes this article so great. Knowing too much is useless because beginners can`t remember everything. Good work!

  7. I am actually a newbie with blogging and I am so fortunate to find your tips. You can say I am trying to find ways to make my blog content visible to search. Thanks a lot!

  8. Your blog is really easy to read and understand, engaging and a great start for newbies, who are trying to carve their place online. Great going!

  9. Loved the site. In fact, the way you explain it was easy, concise and precise. People like you make it a good place. Thank you.

  10. Hey Jeff, great piece and great site. I work with small business owners daily and most do not have a clue of SEO. Being able to refer them to a site where they can learn additional information about SEO in “simple terms” is a great resource to have.

  11. Really Great, writing style very approachable as the ‘idiot’ or reader and very informative, thanks. I am still very new to blogging and would love to get more traffic to my site.

  12. Great article. You just have to practise a lot to write good texts for seo purposes. For beginners can help with the basic steps you describe in your article.

  13. You made me laugh ! The beginning was great :)) You were speaking exactly about me ! That’s what i’m goinng through :)))

  14. Yeah!! amazing blog thanks for sharing. Writing about SEO pages similar way to write about the blogs. Writing about the blog is the major trend in trend in the market.

  15. The content is real, but publishing SEO article all the time is a very tasking job. it was because of this reason i have to stop writing and hire a writer to do all this stuff for, i found the writer with a cheap service online, i was even surprise the writer was better than i do, that was why i kept a long term business with the writer, if you also find it difficult to get content online you can connect with her, her content has the all the characteristics above, you can connect with her through the link below

  16. Useful tips! Writing for SEO without sounding like an SEO is easier these days. Ridiculous keyword stuffing is redundant and luckily Google is better penalizing for it. I’m generating ideas on my next piece of content with keyword tools. I like search suggestion tools like or but being organic in your writing isn’t something you can acquire with a tool)

  17. seo is an essential need for every website. I was really upset and discouraged when I was getting good content for my website but lack of readers. I found an agent who provides me with real breathing targeted seo content for my website Now my website comes top in seo and am filled with joy because I know I have audience who will be reading. I have been using her services for sometimes now and she is the best so far.

  18. Hey Jeff, thanks for the great article. A note – the link to the Anchor-text-explained page doesn’t work anymore.

  19. I hear a lot of companies talking about writing content every week for SEO but where to put this content ? If you keep putting on the same blog site it doesn’t add any value.

  20. Thank you so much.
    I have just built a website for my business of Wedding and Event Planner. The website is:
    I want to make it visible on the top of the search result by its name. But now its not showing on the first page. I tried using phrases but failed.
    Any suggestion?

  21. Awesome article. This is really attractive and creative way of writing therefore helps for better understanding. Obviously, In the changing landscape of marketing and promotion, SEO has become a core element of any serious business whether big, small or medium. This information is very useful. Thank you for sharing it. One more blog for worth sharing related to hiring SEO agency is

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