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SEO for business owners who don't care about SEO

By Chris Haycock | 19 November 2021

Yes, I know you've been running away from SEO all this time, because you think it's a 'dark art' and you're afraid of uncovering Pandora's Box. But don't be nervous. It's not as daunting as you think.

You're fed up with all the jargon, buzzwords and confusion surrounding SEO. You know you 'should' be thinking about it because everyone keeps harping out about how important it is, but it's just another distraction that stops you from running your business.

Sounds about right?

Well, this tutorial is for you, my fellow Rainmaker. Let's take a look at what you really need to know, in a jargon-free way, so you can get on with running your business again.

First, what *is* SEO?

It stands for search engine optimisation, and it's all about the things you do for your website that helps it to show up on Google, Bing, Yahoo and all the other search engines - and get good rankings.

Believe it or not there are thousands of search engines, but I'll refer to Google throughout this article to make it easier.

Let’s start at the beginning. Pretty much everyone knows how to use Google to find information about something. Perhaps they want to find a dentist close by, so they might go to Google and search for "dentists near Oxford", for example.

Now, when you click on the search button you're given a list of websites related to that search phrase. At the top of the list you'll often see listings with a little green Ad label next to it. As you would suspect, these are ads that are shown from Google Adwords - their advertising platform.

Let's put these ads to one side until another time, because we're focusing solely on the free traffic from search engines.

But in other words, SEO is NOT the adverts that are displayed on search results pages. SEO is getting your website into what's called 'Organic' search results, which is a fancy way of saying the natural, free listings that appear for a particular search phrase.

They're algorithm-led, but I'll come back to that in a bit. They're the results that don't have the 'Ad' label. Oh, and they're free, which makes them highly desirable.

The majority of web traffic is driven from search engines, so it makes sense to understand and implement some SEO best practices. To demonstrate its potential, my websites enjoy up to 80,000 daily visitors, all from organic search. That's 80,000 daily visitors for free - I don't have to spend a single penny to get them.

I say that not to show off, but to show you that by following a few simple principles, the sky's the limit when it comes to free traffic to your website. I'm guessing that you can now see how powerful SEO can be, right?

Your next question is probably "but how does it work?"

When users search for something, Google wants the results to be as relevant to the original search phrase as possible. Google became the number one search engine because most people thought that their search results were the most relevant.

But why did they want to become the most relevant search engine? Well, it's good business. But in reality it's because more users equals more money for Google. If you're renowned for accurate, relevant search results then you're going to get people using your search engine. Simple as that.

Now, in order to show relevant results for a particular search phrase, Google needs to be very clever. There are more than one billion websites in existence. ONE BILLION! And there are around 3 new websites launched EVERY SECOND. Wow!

How does Google know which of those websites are the most relevant for someone that has searched for dentists near Oxford, for example?

Does Google quickly check 1 billion websites in less than 1 second? That would be impossible, wouldn't it?

I'll explain. Google's computers send out vast numbers of automated robots (also known as 'crawlers') that visit websites, analyses the structure of each page, reads the content, and discovers new links.

Popular websites that have constantly changing subject matter (such as news websites) may be visited many times each day. Others may be visited every week - or more.

Once the robot has analysed a webpage, it feeds this information back into Google's vast indexes on their servers, which are distributed across the world. Incidentally, Google has around 900,000 servers!

Search engines are on a constant battle to eradicate spam, irrelevant pages and scammers, so they are continuously fine-tuning their systems so that their users are constantly being given relevant results.

After all, relevant results mean happy users. Happy users mean more money. They fine tune their search results using a constantly changing 'algorithm', which is a computerised set of rules that determine relevance.

Minor tweaks to the algorithm happen all the time - daily. However, occasionally they will release a huge update to the algorithm. No doubt you'll hear about them: they're given names, so you'll probably have heard of Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird etc.

These names all refer to major changes to the algorithm, and can change the results of a search page significantly. It's not uncommon for a website owner to complain that their #1 ranked website suddenly drops to #20, for example.

Ranking factors

Outside of Google, no one knows for sure, but it's estimated that there are more than 200 different factors that the algorithm looks at for each page on a website to determine if it is relevant to a search phrase. These factors may include:

  • age of the domain
  • keyword(s) in content, titles, descriptions and headings
  • content length
  • page loading speed
  • inbound/outbound links
  • domain trust
  • server location

and many more. If you want a full list of ranking factors, in the transcript I'll link to a website that lists them all.

This leads us nicely onto the next part of this article:

"I don't want to be an SEO expert, but how can I do some basic SEO to help my website rank higher?"

It's not as difficult as it first sounds. Don't let people tell you that SEO is a 'black art', because it isn't (any more). Anyone can understand the basics, and just a little knowledge of SEO can make a huge difference.

Let's go through these basics.

The first thing to remember is that back in 1996, Google's system ranked web pages based on the number and nature of links that a particular website/webpage had from others. It was a sensible way of ranking websites. Basically, the more links a website had from other sites, the more likely it was that the website was relevant, because it couldn't be influenced by previously-used tactics such as keyword spamming, which was a huge problem ten years ago.

Each link was seen as an editorial 'vote' or 'thumbs-up' for that website. Makes perfect sense, right?

Today, the number of links a website 'earns' from other websites remains a huge factor in determining where a website ranks for a given phrase. So, it makes sense that you should start thinking about ways you can build your 'backlink profile', i.e. the number of websites that are linking to yours.

The more 'authority' and 'trustworthiness' that website linking to you is, the better. If your dentistry website has a link from a low-quality website about funny cats, then that link will have little value.

But if your website has a link from the British Dental Association, then that link will have a LOT of value. The more authority a website has, the bigger the boost your website will have in the search rankings.

So, getting links from other trustworthy websites is a key factor in how your site will rank in Google.

These "inbound links" are one of several signals that Google relies on. Strategies such as these are called 'off-page' SEO, because it's not directly related to something you've done on YOUR website.

It can be really tough getting links from other authoritative websites, but they're crucial if you want your own website to rank higher up in the search results.

I won't go into fine details of the tactics used to get valuable links in this tutorial, but think about ways that you can get other websites to link to your own site, ensuring that those websites are relevant to your particular industry.

Then there's 'on-page' SEO, which means everything you do to your website itself that will help Google see your site as relevant - and in the process win higher positions in the search results pages. Let's take a look at the most important on-page SEO activities:

First, you'll need to ensure that each page on your website is related to the overall subject matter. It'll be difficult (if not impossible) for a page about cats to rank highly on your website that's all about dentistry.

Each page on your site needs to be related to your overall topic, containing - amongst other things - keyword phrases in your text, titles and descriptions. If you've got a page on your website about how to repair fillings, you'll need to make sure that the title of your page is just that - how to repair fillings.

It should also appear in your body text on the page. Remember other related words and phrases too. Using related words will help Google determine how relevant that page is.

For example, you could also add phrases such as "loose crowns", "lost fillings", "tooth pain", etc. Don't just stuff them in for the sake of the search engines, though.

Create useful content that real people will find helpful. Always be thinking of creating value for your readers - and don't fall into the trap of creating content for search engines only.

If you're using WordPress (or another CMS) for your website, always remember to add your keywords and phrases to your meta title and meta description to your post. Again, don't jus t stuff your keywords.

The meta title and description are often used as the 'snippet' in the search results, so craft your keywords in a readable, persuasive way to entice people to click on your website.

By now you should have a good foundation to work from. You understand that inbound links from other authority websites are important. You know that your pages should all revolve around one subject matter. And that keyword phrases should appear on your pages.

So far so good, right. Pretty simple when you break it down.


Now let's take a look at other things you can do to help with your SEO:

Speed. Speed is important because users won't wait around for your website to load. We're an impatient bunch, and we'll abandon a website if it takes more than a few seconds.

Google takes loading speed into consideration as part of its algorithm because it wants to serve good quality websites, and wants to avoid frustrating their users.

Go ahead and test your loading speed using Google's Pagespeed Insights tool (link) which will give you a really useful insight into how quick your website is loading, and how you can speed it up.

If you're running a WordPress website, there are some excellent suggestions on the Smashing Magazine website - link is below https://www.smashingmagazine.c...


Quality. Google likes quality. Actually, Google POSITIVELY LOVES quality content. If you're giving your users well-written and well-researched content, then you will be rewarded for it.

Take a look at the keywords that people are using when they visit your website. Are you fulfilling their expectations, or are you providing nothing of value?

Your content is the foundation of your SEO, so spend time writing quality blog posts, offer downloadable content, videos, and infographics (which should also include your keywords) wherever you can.

A little tip on the subject of quality content: long content in excess of 1,000 words perform better than short content.


Authority. We've talked about authoritative websites linking to YOUR website, but how do you turn your own website into a high ranking authority?

Pages that have a lot of authority tend to rank well in Google, so you need to organise your site well, ensuring that key pages are linked to from others.

We are touching on more advanced SEO tactics here, so I'm not going to elaborate for fear of alienating you. However, Quicksprout has a good 'cheat sheet' for building high ranking authority. Link below


Site metrics. No doubt most of you will be using Google Analytics (GA) to measure your site traffic. Examine the GA reports to find out more about how users are interacting on your website. Not only is this an essential activity anyway, but it'll give you an insight into usability factors.

Site usability is a major ranking factor, so use Google Analytics to find out where your users are leaving your website, where the time-on-page is low, or where bounce rates are high.

Increase visitor engagement and not only will it help your sales conversion rates, it'll also help with your Google rankings.


To summarise:

1. Don't be scared of SEO. It need not take up much time. Make it part of your everyday website activity and it'll soon become second nature.

2. Just a little knowledge of SEO can go a long way. Understand the basics.

3. Look to see what words and phrases people are using to reach your (and your competitor's) websites, and craft your content around them.

4. Ensure that all pages on your site revolves around a single subject matter.

5. Address any site speed issues you may have:

6. Create and deliver quality content for your users, not the search engines. Create in-depth, authoritative content that exceeds your visitor's expectations.

7. Engage users with additional useful tools, such as calculators, guides, videos, downloads, forms etc. Remember to engage your users.

8. Use Google Analytics to discover how your users are browsing your website. Address any areas with high bounce rates and exits.

9. Start building links to your website. Start with Google+, YouTube and your social media pages. If you're a local business, then join your local Chambers of Commerce if they have a web directory of members, and submit your website to them.

Also consider adding your website to ***quality*** directories related to your industry - Google Add URL dentists (replace dentists with your industry) to find a list of directories you can submit your website to.

Other quality directories to consider are: Google Business, Thomson Local, Yelp,, Scoot, Freeindex, Applegate. If you want a list of other reputable business directories, just ask me. Build a diverse backlink profile, and avoid automated tools at ALL COSTS.

10. Be patient. Ranking improvements don't usually happen overnight.

So, there you go. A guide to SEO for those that don't really care about SEO - but want to make instant ranking improvements.

I hope that I haven't used any jargon, and that I've demonstrated that basic SEO isn't as difficult as many people claim.

Of course, there are advanced SEO techniques and tactics, but it won't really help the small business owner that just wants to crack on with running their business.

If you want to take SEO to the next step, I'll be going deeper in some other Rainmaker tutorials.

But for now, following my guide, and putting the fundamentals in place, you'll begin to notice that you start creeping up in rankings.


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