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.

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 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. 

Step by Step Site and Page Design for SEO

New to SEO? That’s Ok. 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.

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 result 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 chances of a higher ranking.

Step #3 - Include Target Keyword in URL

  • 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 lengthy 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. 

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 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. 

Step #10- Write A Call Action

  • 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.

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 drives 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 it’s 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

Frequently Asked Questions

A: SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, is the process of increasing the quality and quantity traffic to your website through organic search results, as opposed to other channels like direct, referral, and paid advertising. The initial objective is to create a website structure, keyword strategy, and content plan that matches the queries of your target audience 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.

A: 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. 

A: Organic search is the most scalable, sustainable, and lucrative online marketing channel. With billions of people making billions of searches each day and preferring organic results to paid results, businesses of all sizes in every industry stand to benefit from this channel. That’s what makes SEO such a valuable endeavor. If you want to reach your target market in this channel you need to have a strategy in place for keywords, content, site architecture, and technical SEO to reach these prospects, entice them to click through to your website, and convert them into loyal customers.

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