get back to the basics in SEOThere is a lot of talk about SEO being dead. Is it really? Well, certainly the sands of SEO have shifted significantly recently with Google’s Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird.

The interesting thing to me, however, is that even though we all talk about it ALL the time, so few people actually have gotten it right. I look at a lot of websites, and a huge chunk of them have it all wrong. Do you?

SEO 101 Basics

So let’s go back to the bare bones basics here, and check it out. This is SEO 101 or beginner SEO. If you take a little bit of time to step through this, I’ll bet that you have problems. Fix them, and you should start seeing a difference in the search traffic coming to your site. No, we don’t know what keywords people are searching for, because Google hides that now. But you should be able to track before and after.

Here are Tom’s rules for good SEO basics:

  1. Go to Google and search (substitute your own domain of course). Take note of all the following:
    • How many pages does Google see (check the number of results)? Is it different than you think your website has? If you know you have 100 pages, and Google sees 3, you have a big problem that you need to resolve with your web designer.
    • Look at each Title tag (the underlined headline on each page). Write them ALL down or select and copy/paste from the page into a document or spreadsheet
    • Look at the Description (the two black lines below each page entry). Write them ALL down or highlight and copy/paste them.
  2. Your company name should only appear in three Title tags: Home page, About Us and Contact Us. All other pages should omit your company name and just have good headline. Why? Because if your customers have never heard of you, they aren’t going to search for your name. If they have and search for you by name, take them to your Home or Contact page. Otherwise, it’s a waste of space.
  3. All Titles should be at least 65 characters long, and have a good description of what that specific page is all about. Be sure to include your keywords in it.
  4. The Descriptions should all be “you” focused, and market to people who might be interested in your stuff. Read them back to yourself. Are they structured as “We sell this…” or “We offer that…”? If so, make them YOU focused and include a benefit statement of what people will get when they click to your website.
  5. Does every page on your website have a 100% unique Title and Description tag? If not, they are getting flagged (it’s in the Google guidelines).
  6. Does the focus of every Title and Description match the actual content of that specific web page or are you just trying to keyword stuff hoping to snag some traffic?
  7. Have you included a single Header 1 (<h1>) tag on every page of your website, that includes what that page is about? You should have only one Header 1 right at the top. You can have as many H2s or H3s etc as you want. I use them as a handy way to make sub-headlines and break up the content for the reader.

You’ll notice that the Keywords meta tag is nowhere to be found in my rules. Have you spent a bunch of time trying to think of all the keywords that would go there? If you have, Google isn’t listening. They 100% ignore the Keywords tag. So just dump it.

As basic and remedial as it sounds, it’s always a good idea to go back and review what you have. I’ll bet at a minimum, you’ll find some things that have changed, and need rewording. At worst, you’ll find that your web person completely missed the boat and put “Home Page” or “Welcome” on your Title tags.

Please comment below and tell me what you found when  you looked at your site in Google’s eyes.