Why you can ignore everything you’ve ever heard about SEO

RIP SEOAs you may know, I prefer to write for human beings than for machines, but some people still talk to me about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

That’s why I created this graphic – it explains the eight things you can do on each web page to give it a better chance of being found on search (without paying for ads).

Ignore this graphic!

On page SEO

Ignore this text! (Except point 9)

First, you need to do keyword research to identify what phrases people actually search, and how competitive each phrase is.

Meta-tags are bits of code that Google* reads but that human beings don’t see (meta means above.) You may need to add a plugin to your WordPress.org site that allows you to edit the meta-tags, such as Yoast or All-in-one SEO.

It’s Google’s job to serve up the page that meets someone’s search criteria. So there are eight areas ‘on the page’ where you can include your key phrase and tell Google what the page is about:

  1. Buy the domain name (and forward it to your site if necessary)
    Because I own ‘JackieBarrie.com’, Google will show my homepage when someone searches ‘Jackie Barrie’. (I just tested it, and my site was number 1. Phew!)
  2. Add a description tag
    This shows in the search results. If you don’t, Google will use the first bit of body copy instead.
    Top tip: Include your phone number and email address in your description tag and people won’t even need to click through to your website to contact you.
  3. Add a title tag
    The title tag appears in the tab at the top of the browser window, not in the main body of the web page
  4. Write your main heading (H1 tag)
    Wordpress will automatically create the H1 tag when you type the page or post headline. However, you can edit the permalink if you need to.
  5. Write your body copy
    Include your key phrase in the first 250 words.
  6. Add alt tags
    Under the Equality Act, every image should have Alternative Text for screen readers.
  7. Make it bold
    Because Google knows that words in bold are more important (it’s also more eye-catching for human beings).
  8. Make it clickable
    Google knows that hyperlinks give more information about your key phrase.
  9. Ignore all this
    Yes, I said “ignore all this”.
    Hoorah! SEO is SE Over!
    The single most important thing you can do to get your web page found on search is to have good quality content that other relevant highly ranked websites will link to. (Of course, I can help with that.)

If you don’t believe me, watch this video made Chris Haycock last year.

P.S. This article breaks all the usual copywriting rules about putting the most important information upfront. But rules are meant to be broken, so I’ve buried the punchline at the end this time, to reward faithful and obedient readers.

*Other search engines are available

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