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SEO for Dummies and You! Search Engine Optimization 101

Working in the SEO industry, with a focus on On-Site SEO, Brandon is a top-rated Upwork SEO specialist. Learn SEO with him.

Just personal opinions and info gained through my sites and those of my clients. Each person has their own view. This article is just a starting point, SEO is something you can learn yourself.

Just personal opinions and info gained through my sites and those of my clients. Each person has their own view. This article is just a starting point, SEO is something you can learn yourself.

Why Name It SEO for Dummies?

You may be wondering why I've titled it "SEO for Dummies". There's no special reason, I just thought of covering most of the so-called "SEO tips and tricks" through this insightful article.

There are plenty of other useful guides out there, but just a handful actually help you and make sure that you understand what needs to be said. So, starting from the very basics, let's move on to the more complex stuff and see where we get by the end.

NOTE: Even though I'm not a Matt Cutts (Head of Google Search Spam) Fan, some of his videos are incorporated here as they're kind of helpful for newbies.

Do You Have What It Takes?

Are you sure you want to trek on the treacherous path, the path theming with black and white animals (the various Google Updates) and fancy algorithm changes?

Not everyone has what it takes to tackle these monsters and in the end they give up and curse themselves and the places where they post their content.

You should inculcate values of determination, perseverance, skill, research and most of all the courage to make changes to a successful website so as to prevent it from going down the drain in the near future.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is leaving their successes to fend for themselves as they feel that changes made would result in adverse effects (of course, this is likely—it's a risky field after all).

Buying a Domain Name

The first step towards having your own website is that of buying a domain name. You could buy one with the extension of your choice namely: .com, .org, .net, .info,,,, etc. But don't just pick one that you fancy. Put some thought into it! Think of the future, what are the goals of your site or blog?

How Do You Choose Your domain name?

Picking a domain name today is really difficult because of the various factors that you need to tackle. Once you've picked your domain name you could say the battle is just beginning. But before that, let's look into what you may encounter:

Extension Issues

Whom are you going to serve? Is it a specific country that you're targetting or the entire globe? Depending on your answer to this question you could either choose a .com or a local extension.

I'd pick a .org extension only if I were an actual organisation, else it would be totally useless.

My Domain Name Is Already Taken!

Is that what's troubling you? Then, welcome to the bandwagon! That's the issue we all have to face when we're off shopping for domain names. Since there are millions of sites up and everyone is looking for their keywords in the URL it becomes hard to find what we actually need.

Morevoer, there are thousands who buy domain names and just park them to prevent others from using them. In most cases they're validated as brand names with different extensions which could be used for wrong doings. In the other cases, it's just out of greed.

Let's See What You Know About Domain Names

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

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Read More From Toughnickel

  1. Regarding the Domain Name
    • The name should be detailed and provide information
    • It should be short and Sweet
    • It doesn't matter
  2. Why would you pick a .com domain?
    • Because everyone uses them
    • Because It's relevant to my target audience
    • It's easier to manage and ranks better
  3. Keywords in the domain name
    • Get them if possible
    • It's irrelevant in the long run
    • With Keywords or nothing at all

Answer Key

  1. It should be short and Sweet
  2. Because It's relevant to my target audience
  3. It's irrelevant in the long run

If you were to buy today

Should I Add Keywords into My Domain Name?

This is one of the main reasons I've titled the post "SEO for Dummies". It's because most people would do anything to get a domain name with their main keyword in it. They even buy domain names with like 20-30 characters in them—sheesh! There's a limit people...

If you're building a website that's aimed at success you're definitely going to be providing something that's useful. In that case wouldn't you want to build up a brand name instead?

Among the top sites can you name a few that have "Keywords" in their domain name? There may be a few, but none come to mind.

On the other hand popular sites such as: Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Bing, Amazon, Mashable, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Pinterest and various others aren't even actual words in most cases. Now that's what we call branding.

Do you have the notion that keywords in your domain name are going to help you rank better? Well, the sad part is that it's actually true. But, it's not going to be the case for long.

There are just a few cases such as this, took me a while to find one. I remember when it used to be flooded with direct match domains.

There are just a few cases such as this, took me a while to find one. I remember when it used to be flooded with direct match domains.

What Would I do?

If I were to buy a domain name (and I have), I wouldn't bother about getting the keyword into the domain unless I'm only interested in search engine traffic and wouldn't want people to return to the site on their own. You should know that people don't usually trust long domain names as they seem fishy.

I doubt you'd find short tail keyword domain names available as they're probably already taken and if they're up for auction, be ready to shell out thousands of dollars.

Therefore, I'd pick something that's catchy and try to build up a brand name instead.

Just Summing It Up:

  1. Keep it Short and Sweet
  2. Try and make it sound catchy—that's better for branding
  3. Avoid use of numbers such as 4 for "four" and other short forms, people may not remember and probably land up on a competitors site.
  4. Don't use hyphens in the domain name
  5. If you're buying a domain name, make sure it doesn't have any spam action by the search engines. if you're not sure, it's best to buy a new domain name.

Keyword Research: Key Phrase Research, Rather

Every website or article that you publish is going to be directed to a certain group of people looking for something specific. There's no way search engines are going to know what your article is unless you tell them.

The only way you can do this is through the body of the article, tags, descriptions, excerpts, breadcrumbs, the URL, and a lot of other ways. So how do you come up with the right phrases that you must incorporate within your article?

NOTE: Don't write articles around keywords, instead think of what you want to write about and then conduct a little research before you actually write in order to know what your audience is typing into search engines when they plan on reading about something you intend to write.

Do Other Sites on Your Hosting Affect Your Ranking?

What Is the Best Hosting Service?

Yes, I do have to include a paragraph about hosting, even though the article is about "SEO for Dummies". If you don't know why I'm doing so, then you've certainly got a lot to learn about regarding SEO. Don't worry, it's not that hard and I'm sure you'd be a lot better off after you've read through this entire article.

You need to pick a reliable host as you're going to want your website to be up most of the time. People just hate it when they visit a site only to realize that the servers are under maintenance. This would result in increased bounce rates.