4 SEO Basics that most people don’t know

Yeah, yeah, yeah, SEO this, SEO that.

Whether working with large corporations or new sites, I’m always surprised (and surprised to find myself surprised) that more people do not understand SEO basics.

Dear Madames and Sirs,

Before you call me and tell me you want to be #1 for that keyword with a billion monthly searches, please make sure that you’ve read the following:

1) Create an XML sitemap and submit it the Search Engines.

  • Search Engines need to crawl and index the pages on your site – you can’t show up in the search results if search engines don’t know that you exist. Sure, they’ll eventually find you but…

2) Don’t Ignore Yahoo/Bing. Sure Google gets about 70% of all search traffic. But Yahoo and Bing get most of the rest.  30% is a meaningful number.

3) Make sure you have unique page titles 

  • You ever go to a restaurant that has “pizza puffs” listed as a menu item 40 times in a row?  Page titles help search engines understand the content of the page. Give each page a unique title (60-70 characters max). Use keywords that  match the keywords in page content

4)  Don’t start by trying to rank on the first page for the biggest word in the category (especially if you’re new site). There are a lot of good strategies for SEO success, this is not one of them. Start by trying to get ranked on a few relevant words.  A  little research can yield near immediate results with minimal effort.

  • Oh yeah, and accept the fact that you may never rank on the first page for the word that generates 1.5 million monthly searches. Sometimes there are just too many variables for a word of this magnitude – you can make up for the traffic by ranking on multiple words between 10K-100K monthly searches

Kenny Mazursky is Doejo’s resident SEO Specialist and founder of Down to Earth Marketing specializing in Chicago Marketing Consulting

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