SEO For Dummies
8 min read
Vlad Kovalskiy
July 26, 2016
Last updated: April 5, 2023
SEO For Dummies

Do you run a website or do you plan to have one? Whether it is e-commerce, blog, or informational website, your primary goal is to attract as many targeted visitors as possible. Organic search is one of the main sources of traffic and it is comparatively free.

Unfortunately, if the search engines (including Google, Yahoo, and Bing) don’t consider your website authoritative or relevant enough, you won’t get a chance to be seen on the search engine results page and consequently don’t get any search engine traffic. This “SEO for dummies” article covers the most useful and easy-to-implement things you should know about search engine optimization.

What Is SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a methodology of obtaining a better placement on the search engine results page (SERP). The first 4 results after the search query are ads.

The next placements after the ads are the best; according to a study conducted by Moz, the top 5 results account for 67.60% of all the clicks for the given search query. So, speaking the human language, SEO is a set of rules that helps your website appear on the first page of search results.

Let’s say you have a pizza delivery business in Brooklyn. If you google “pizza delivery Brooklyn” you will get more than 11 mln. results.


No matter how delicious your pizza is and how fast your delivery is - if your website doesn’t appear on the first page of search results, you won’t get almost any organic search traffic to your website. Competition is fierce, but you know what piece of the pie you are fighting for.

SEO Definitions

Keyword/keyphrase - a word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine. For example, “pizza delivery Brooklyn”. A keyword is one of the fundamental elements of search engine marketing.

Long-tail keywords - long and very specific search queries. For example, “the best movie to watch on your first date”.

META tags - a 160-character snippet that summarizes a web page’s content. It is very important to have a good META title and description tags because they are the first thing the users see on SERP when they decide whether they want to visit your website.


Page rank (PR) - a value between 0 and 10 that shows the page’s authority and importance on the given keywords. This calculation is a part of the algorithm Google uses to determine how high your website appears on the search page.

Anchor text - the visible text of a link. Anchor texts show search engines the relevance of the link to the content of the page referring to it.

On-Page and Off-Page

These are the two integral but completely distinct parts of any successful SEO strategy. On-page SEO is all about tweaking your website pages (hence the name) and includes various manipulations with title tags, headings, URL structure, alt text for images, internal links, meta descriptions, and various aspects of responsive design and site speed optimization.

Off-page SEO is all about increasing the authority of your website on the Internet. The logic is quite simple: the more resources refer to your website (quote it via links), the more trustworthy it is. 

Search Engine Optimization Tools

There three main search engine optimization tools and they all - wouldn’t you know it - come from Google:

SEO Checklist 2021

SEO is a complicated process that is based on understanding Google’s ranking algorithms. However, it is hardly possible to follow all the rules set by Google. Our “search engine optimization for beginners” checklist offers the most important and easy to implement tips.

Keyword Analysis

  • Research your keywords.

Your goal is to understand which keywords are already working for you, which ones are strong enough to put your website on the first page of SERP, and which keywords will potentially increase your SERP ranking. The above-mentioned Google tools will help you with that.

When you have a list of keywords, you need to optimize your pages for these keywords. Here are a few things to do:

  • Use the keyword in the title of the page

  • Use friendly URLs that show the structure of your website and include primary keywords, for example,

  • Use not only the keyword but also its variations throughout the text

  • Use the keyword in the meta tags, especially the meta description

  • Use the keyword as the anchor text

  • The chosen keywords should become the centerpieces of your content

SEO-Friendly Layout

  • Title tags should be 65 characters or less. Longer titles will be cut off on the search results page

  • Titles should be consistent with the content

  • Meta Description tags should be 160 characters or less

  • Use H1 headings

Website Usability

  • Your website should be mobile-friendly

  • It should work on multiple browsers

  • Use social plugins, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+


  • Your content should be unique, written by humans for humans

  • The length of the content should be over 500 words, ideally around 1,000 words

SEO is too complicated to hack so don’t even try to outsmart Google. But if you create customer-centric content, your website is mobile friendly and secure, you are on the right track. Good luck!
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