SEO For Dummies

An effective guide to the science and art of SEO

Huckabuy’s Approach to the Science and Art of SEO

Make sure you are aligned with Google.

A robust SEO strategy leads with science and supplements with art. Our SEO Specialists handle software optimization with a keyword-driven approach towards site architecture, page design, and conversion optimization. This strategy helps both humans and Search Bots easily navigate the site, reach pages as fast as possible, and fully understand the content. Whether or not you partner with us on SEO, we recommend following this process for sustainable, long-term results in the organic search channel.

What I say to overcome the fear of SEO is to just be directionally correct and aligned with Google and the general direction they are heading in. You will get results as they update the algorithm. If you are back using tactics from the 1990s, that’s a problem.

Geoff Atkinson, Founder-CEO of Huckabuy Tweet

Search Engine Optimization 101

Search engines are answer machines trying to return results that are useful to a user’s query. One of the biggest goals of your website should be to create useful, informational, keyword-rich content that ensures a quality experience for your target customers. In the vast majority of cases, what is good for SEO is also good for the customer experience. 

SEO Matters More Than Ever

Billions of people are making billions of queries each day on search engines, 85% of clicks go towards organic results, and Google is driving hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue for over 1.5 million US businesses. SEO is only gaining more importance for marketers in virtually every industry from companies of all shapes and sizes. If you are in business, chances are, your customers are searching for related products and services and starting and finishing their associated buying journeys here. All of the research bears this out. What are you waiting for? 

Think of the brands built through the organic search channel:

Amazon Banner Image
Yelp Banner Image
Overstock Banner Image

The Proof Is In The Numbers

85%

of total clicks go to organic results

70-80%

of internet users ignore paid results in favor of organic results

75%

of internet users never scroll past the first page of organic results

61%

of internet users do research on a product or service online before making a purchase

Step by Step Site and Page Design for SEO

New to SEO? That’s okay. In this guide, we will walk through the process for determining keywords, URLs, title tags, meta descriptions, adding structured data, creating good content, mapping out internal links, acquiring external links, and generating calls to action.

Step 1 – Determine Site Architecture

  • Site architecture refers to the website style chosen to help users and Search Bots navigate across pages and find the information they are looking for as effortlessly and quickly as possible. For your site architecture, deploy a “demand-centered” navigation strategy in which you embed priority keywords in the header navigation and in titles across supporting pages. This shows Google your identity and matches the language and pattern of a target customer’s buying journey.

Include the terms that your target market is searching for in your header navigation.

Step 2 – Choose Target Keyword

  • keyword is a search term that customers use in Google. For the theme of your page, choose a keyword that has high search volume and low difficulty to achieve a higher ranking and reach more qualified audiences faster. Make sure the keyword is clustered with related, longer-tail keywords in content aligned with a specific stage in the customer journey. Long-tail keywords often convert better because they catch people later in the buying cycle. 
  • When choosing your target keywords, remember that the goal is to drive the right visitors to your site. Ask yourself if the target keyword relevant to your page’s content, whether searchers will find what they are looking for when they click through, and if the traffic results in financial rewards or other organizational goals. 
  • It is equally important to understand the work required to achieve a high ranking in addition to the search volume for the term. This is referred to as keyword difficulty. If big brands take the top 10 results, for example, the uphill battle can take years of effort. Generally speaking, as you target more specific keywords, you narrow the competition for search results and improve the chances of a higher ranking.

One of the first steps in any good SEO strategy is creating a list of the keywords you want to go after.

Step 3 – Include Target Keyword in URL

When Google’s Search Bots hit a given page, you want to ensure that they can easily understand what it’s all about.

  • The URL is the address of your website. Include your target keyword in the URL for the page. URLs play a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm because they help users and Search Bots determine the theme of a page faster.
  • The best URLs are readable for humans without a lot of numbers, special characters, or symbols. They use hyphens, not underscores, to separate words. And they aren’t too long either. Shorter URLs, for example, are easier to copy and paste into emails, blogs, and texts which makes them more useful and visible. 

Step 4 – Include Target Keyword in Title Tag

  • The title tag is the clickable headline above the URL on a search results page. Like URLs, title tags play a ranking factor because they help users and Search Bots determine page themes faster.
  • Create a 65-75 character title tag that includes and briefly describes your target keyword. The closer to the start of your title tag the keyword, the more likely users are to click-through to the website. Include brand terms as well.

Step 5 – Summarize Target Keyword in Meta Description

  •  The meta description appears between the title tag and the URL on search result pages and summarizes the content on your web page. Create a 150-160 character meta description that provides an in-depth description of your keyword for that page. A good meta description stands out on search result pages and improves click-through rates.

Step 6 – Add Structured Data to Page

  • Structured data is the language that tells Search Bots what your page is all about. Research all the applicable markup types for your keyword and add them to the web page accordingly. Structured data qualifies your content for over 30 different types of rich results, also known as rich snippets, in SERPs that improve visibility and engagement with your links.

Step 7 – Style Content According to Search Intent

  • Study the search intent and content style for your target keyword on the first search results page. Craft your own content in a similar fashion and add additional, new value. Make sure it addresses the problems that need to be solved and is written in the same language and tone as the customers you are hoping to convert. Think, for example, whether the user is expecting to satisfy an informational, transactional, or navigational query. Optimized content is one of the biggest ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm.
  • There are various signals for high-quality content, many of which are reliant on engagement metrics. For example, when a search engine delivers a results page, it can measure the success of rankings by observing how users engage with those results. Specifically, they are looking for evidence of what is called the “long click” where users click into a result without immediately returning to a search page to try again. 

Don’t outsource your content creation. Have someone in-house who is a subject matter expert that deeply understands the business. It’s not just important for Search Bots. It’s also important for your target customers who can easily sniff out shallow work.

Step 8 – Include Internal Links

  • Internal links point from one page to another on your website. They help Search Bots crawl faster and visitors access the content in as few steps as possible. Including breadcrumbs, header navigation, and links to supporting pages in your content is a recommended best practice. 

Step 9 – Acquire External Links

  • External links are endorsements of your content from other websites. Links from guest posts and podcast interviews are good examples. Focus on creating superior content compared to competitors and acquiring external links from websites that are relevant to your keyword and the overall theme of your website. Like content, external links are a critical ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm.
  • In terms of link acquisition, the two most recognizable methods are natural editorial links and manual outreach links. The former approach is simply reliant on creating high-quality, link-able content, while the latter approach is more arduous and based on submitting a value proposition to another web host. 
  • Since the late 1990s, search engines have treated links as votes for popularity and importance. Consistently growing the link profile of a website remains critical to gaining traction, attention, and traffic from search engines. It is one of the top tasks for SEOs. 
  • We encourage maintaining a consistent link-building strategy to achieve “fresh rank”, sourcing from other sites relevant to your topic or industry to achieve “local popularity”, and leveraging highly-trusted domains like universities, government websites, and nonprofit organizations. 

The days of trying to cheap the system are over. The best way to acquire links is to have content or tools that people actually want to link to.

Step 10 – Write A Call to Action

I don’t like content for content’s sake. I’m not a fan of blogs either. I prefer integrating content onto core pages that convert.

  • A call to action motivates website visitors to take steps towards becoming customers. Ask yourself what you want the typical visitor to do after engaging with your content and include that request accordingly. Pages should be built with a funnel stage and type of conversion in mind.
  • People aren’t just using the internet to learn. They are using the internet to buy. So, you need to integrate your content on core pages that actually sell your products and services because if your target market is searching for these things, they likely have the intention of purchasing. Alternatively, it’s much harder to move a customer from a supporting blog page onto a product or service page thereafter.

So there you have it – the basics of a sound page by page SEO strategy. This a proven method to build pages that capture more qualified leads surfing the web and drive more revenue for your business. 

Example Of An SEO-Optimized Page

Google’s mission is to access and organize the world’s information as best as possible. Companies and websites that make that mission easier are strongly preferred by Google. Wikipedia pages are a great example of pages optimized for Google. They are built in flat HTML, they load quickly, navigation is easy and intuitive, and the content is excellent.

Sample Wikipedia Page

SEO Tools And Resources Trusted By Huckabuy

At Huckabuy, we are often asked about the tools and resources we rely on for SEO. We utilize Google’s suite of free analytics software and testing tools to get the job done. In the same way we take all our product and service cues from the search engine, we find these offerings really help us monitor and troubleshoot the performance of our customers’ websites as well as our own. In short, you don’t have to shell out a ton of money to keep track of your SEO.

Search Console

Search Console is a free tool that allows you to measure your site’s search traffic, understand how Google engages with your site, and submit and optimize content for its search bots.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool that provides key data points of how users are engaging with your pages and content allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience.

Page Speed Insights

Google’s free Page Speed Insights is a tool that shows you how fast individual pages on your website load on desktop and mobile devices, and diagnoses any problems that can be addressed to increase that speed on both devices. 


Google Webmaster Central Blog

The Google Webmaster Central Blog is the official blog of Google’s search team. In 3-4 weekly posts, this blog covers the latest news on how Google crawls and indexes websites.


Rich Results
Testing Tool

Google’s free Rich Results Testing Tool determines whether the structured data on individual pages of your website qualifies your content for rich results like FAQs, ratings, reviews, and how-tos embedded in the organic listing with your standard blue link.

Structured Data
Testing Tool

Google’s free Structured Data Testing Tool provides a method to build, test, and modify structured data markup on your web pages. It is particularly helpful indicating the presence of structured data, as well as identifying any errors in the markup that need to be addressed.

The Importance of Technical SEO

SEO began as a technical initiative, and while content creation and subject matter expertise became more important as search engines grew more sophisticated, the purpose of SEO has come full circle. Voice search and the Internet of Things have gained prominence as websites have more interactions not just with Search Bots, but other digital assistants as well.

The organic search channel used to be the wild, wild west. It was easy to game Google’s algorithm, and as a result, a lot of marketers were turned off by the channel. Those days are over. As Google has improved its algorithm, they have caught up to a lot of the garbage. Now, they are telling SEOs exactly what they want from a technical perspective. They have specifically endorsed structured data markup and dynamic rendering in order to improve the crawling and indexing experience for their Search Bots.

Technical SEO Goes Full Circle Infographic

New Website SEO

One of the most common questions we hear from customers during the sales and onboarding process is whether or not they should delay the implementation of our software until after they have completed a redesign of their website. Our advice is simple: the easiest way to harness valuable SEO wins is to implement our software immediately. Don’t delay your investment in organic channel growth. Here are the reasons why:

#1 Establish the optimal technical conversation with Google

You would never build a house before constructing the foundation. It’s the same way with search engine optimization. Establishing the underlying technical conversation with Google at the outset of any SEO campaign should be considered independent of any full-scale design changes. If you dial-in this component first, any new user experience initiatives optimized for SEO are going to perform better. Essentially, you are establishing best practices that are transferable to the next generation of your website.

#2 Avoid the long and deep dip of traffic and revenue

Site-wide redesigns can hurt your online presence when they aren’t properly planned out. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for marketing teams to disregard SEO during this phase. A redesign doesn’t have to be the dark ages for your organic search channel! You can still maintain and actually increase traffic to your current website during this process. Huckabuy software services deliver immediate enhancements and generate continuous SEO wins so that organic search remains a growing channel while the new version of your website is being prepared. 

#3 The implementation process is easy

We have designed our software services to be incredibly easy to deploy. Even if you are in the midst of a redesign process, the implementation effort is minimal so you can continue focusing on the project at hand. Furthermore, when your redesign is finished, the implementation process remains the same and the SEO investments are fully transferable. Our Automated Structured Data service can be implemented site wide via Google Tag Manager in minutes and our SEO Cloud service – powered by Cloudflare – can take as little effort as changing a DNS entry.

#4 Involve technical SEO experts in your redesign process

Our first goal is to lay the technical foundation between your website and Google so you can harness the organic traffic you deserve. As part of our ongoing SaaS service, Huckabuy SEO Specialists also provide a deep-dive opportunity analysis of your current site to determine key optimization recommendations necessary to harness current (and easy) SEO wins, as well as offer advice on the structure and content of the future website. Don’t leave the SEO fate of your next website to a design firm that primarily focuses on the customer experience. Huckabuy can identify often-overlooked SEO elements such as demand-based navigation and strategic content placement to promote conversions that should be incorporated into the new site design and account for your number one visitor – the Google Search Bot.

Frequently Asked Questions

SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic search results, as opposed to other channels like direct, referral, and paid advertising. 

There are a number of factors that go into making SEO work. The process is typically divided into three buckets: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. On-page SEO includes good content, keyword-laden title tags, URLs, and alt-text for images, among other best practices. Off-page SEO mostly revolves around external backlinks to your site. Technical SEO includes sitemaps, structured data, page speed, and mobile-friendliness among other factors. 

Organic search is the most scalable, sustainable, and lucrative online marketing channel. Research shows that people prefer organic results over paid results, and with billions of people making billions of searches every day, businesses of all sizes in every industry stand to benefit from SEO. Once you have a strategy in place for keywords, content, site architecture, and technical SEO, you’ll be better able to reach your target market, entice them to click through to your website, and convert them into loyal customers. That’s what makes SEO such a valuable endeavor. 

To start, work on creating a website structure, keyword strategy, and content plan that matches your target audience’s queries in search results. Once you have achieved this, the next step is to ensure that your results are enticing target customers to click through to your website and to scale that incoming traffic on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis.

Schedule a free Opportunity Analysis of your website today!

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