pic of the SEO puzzle solved

The basics of SEO

The basics of SEO

– that Hibu websites rarely have

Everything you are about to read has been published a million times on the world wide web already.  This is more of a summary of what’s out there to keep you from wasting your time Googling “SEO secrets, SEO basics, SEO tips and tricks or any other SEO related keyword search.

Why do I say to keep you from “wasting your time”?  Think about it for a minute.  Do you really think that a good SEO is going to publish their “SEO secrets” on the internet for all you do it yourselfers to figure out?  HELL NO!  They also are not going to publish it for their competitors to steal the ideas.

You want to know the cold hard truth about SEO work?  THEIR ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO GOOD SEO.  That’s it.  There’s no secret, there’s no shortcut, there’s no software you can buy, there’s no cutting corners, and most importantly, their is definitely not an easy way to show up on Google.  It takes a lot of work and, truth be told, a lot of SEO’s end up being surprised by the results of their work (both good and bad surprised).

All of that being said, you can shoot yourself in the foot right out of the gate by not doing the basics of SEO and Hibu Websites NEVER do the BASICS if SEO.

Hibu websites NEVER have the basics of SEO done right on them so their sites will never compete for space on Google

The Basics of SEO (in order of importance):

  1. Content, Content, Content.
    • The most important thing to know here is that you are probably not a good writer.  Actually, most of you reading this probably suck at writing content, especially content that serves the dual purpose of being readable to your website visitors and being properly written for Google.  It’s a delicate balancing act to the say the least, but if you insist on writing your own content, here’s a couple tips for you:
      1. Write your content as if you had a customer standing in front of you asking questions.  Simply write your answers (and don’t make them short!).
      2. Write unique content.  Do NOT copy it from other websites.  For example, let’s say you own a tennis store and a customer asks you what tennis racket you recommend for a beginning tennis player.  The short answer might be a specific racket, but the correct answer would explain WHY you recommend that particular racket.
      3. Do NOT word vomit.  You have to write your content in a way that engages the reader, is organized and easy to follow, and ultimately guides the reader (your website visitor) down the path you want them to take (most likely to a contact form or a picture of that racket with a “purchase now” button (your call to action).
      4. Do NOT keyword stuff!  Write your content for the reader… Google is pretty smart and I promise you that if you follow the basics of SEO, they will figure out what your page is about.  Not only that – when you keyword stuff your content, you just annoy the people trying to read it and last time I checked, annoying potential customers was not a good way to make a sale.
    • If you follow these steps (for EVERY PAGE on your website) – when someone Google’s “Best tennis racket for beginners” – your website will have a great shot of showing up because Google will know that you have an entire article / page dedicated to “Best tennis rackets for beginners”.  Remember – Google wants to show the most relevant pages to the person searching on their search engine because that is what will keep that person coming back to Google instead of going to Yahoo or Bing.  Also, make sure you write at least 350 words.  It’s really not that difficult.  If all of this sounds overwhelming to you – contact me and hire a content writer through me (I have good writers I contract out to).  You are looking at anywhere from $75 – $100 per page of content…. not a bad investment to show up on Google and increase your traffic rankings!
    • If you do see a Hibu website with good content, odd’s are it’s a rebuild of a website that already existed and already had good content on it!

  2. Title Tags.
    • Think of a title tag as the title of a book.  Would you publish a book about the best tennis rackets for beginners and give it a title of “Home | Tennis Rackets Florida, Tennis Balls, Tennis Strings”?  Then why the hell would you title your web page that way?  This is one of the most overlooked, and abused (keyword stuffed), tags on the internet.  Your title tag should contain your main keyword since what follows is most likely what your page is about.
    • If you see a Hibu website with decent titles, it’s probably because the software did it for them.

  3. Heading Tags.
    • Heading tags are used like the title of chapters in a book.  A book has a title, but each chapter has it’s own title.  With website content, we are just publishing multiple “related” chapters on one page.  Your first heading tag (the “H1”) should be the primary keyword.  The rest of the heading tags on the page (H2 – H6) should be the “heading” of the paragraphs that follow it.  Since those paragraphs will be supporting text for the introduction of the content, it makes sense that all heading tags after the 1st will be related keywords to your primary keyword. Heading tags also make it easier for readers to navigate your content.  Heading tags are VERY IMPORTANT for SEO.
    • I have yet to see a Hibu website with good use of heading tags – regardless of the platform they used to build it (Hibu switches platforms / contractors for their website construction more often than I change my socks… ok, maybe not that much, but you get the idea).

  4. Meta Descriptions.
    • This is an opportunity for you to control what Google displays in the search results under your domain name.  This is also your first chance for a call to action.  Your meta description should include your primary keyword for the page.  Write a good meta description and you stand a good chance of getting a click over a website that has a poorly written meta description.  Use these wisely – do NOT keyword stuff here as you’ll just annoy potential visitors and, as we discussed earlier, annoying potential customers is not the best sales strategy.
    • This is an area where Hibu most often fails with regards to the basics of SEO

  5. URL’s (aka page names)
    • The primary keyword should be in the url.  Even though Google has said for years that exact match domains are not a ranking factor (so logic would state that having the keyword in the page name wouldn’t matter either), there are a couple of reasons for using a smart naming strategy for your URL’s.  If there is a match for the phrase searched on Google, Google will bold that matched keyword!  If your title is bold, your URL is bold, and your keyword in the meta description is bold then YOUR WEBSITE WILL STAND OUT among the list of websites that Google displays.  This will in turn increase your chances of a click through and, hopefully, your click through rate which is a known ranking factor for Google.  If your content is getting clicked on more than your competitors then Google will KNOW that it is most likely the most relevant for that particular search and they should move you up in the rankings!  A good example of this would be your about page.  The about page URL for most websites I see is “www.yourdomain.com/about”.  Do you see the missed opportunity here? It should be “www.yourdomain.com/about-yourbusinessname”.  This way when someone Googles your business name – if Google displays your about page, instead of your home page, the person searching your for your business will see the “-yourbusinessname” in BOLD letters.  (helpful hint: your title tag should also be “about “yourbusinessname”, your heading tag should also be “yourbusinessname” and your meta description should include “yourbusinessname” in it.)
    • The page URL’s, for every Hibu website I’ve seen, usually end with a random set of numbers.  NOT GOOD for SEO

  6. Image Alt & Title tags.
    • These tags have 3 purposes.  The primary is to define the picture for people that have sight issues and use readers to navigate the web.  The 2nd reason is to provide a title for the image so that when a user hovers over the image, a title is displayed.  The 3rd (and often a missed opportunity) is to tell Google what the picture is a picture of.  Your pictures should be related to the content you are writing.  This means that your title and alt tags will tell Google even more about what your content is about.  Do NOT keyword stuff here.  Provide accurate descriptions of your images and you will help Google understand that you have the best content about your subject.  If your images are related to your content, then writing accurate alt and title tags is all you need to do.
    • I’ve never seen a Hibu website that makes proper use of these tags.

  7. Image file names.
    • This is also an area that I see a lot of people not take advantage of.  It’s a very simple way to tell Google what the image is and by using descriptive names for your files, you will also be adding related keywords to your content!
    • These are almost always a random set of numbers and letters on the Hibu websites I’ve seen.

These are the basics of SEO that should be done on all the pages of your website (and ideally on all blog posts if you will be blogging).  Only after you have done the basics of SEO should you be worrying about more advanced techniques like your internal linking structure, gaining external links (one of the hardest and most boring parts of SEO), citation building, and other advanced “secrets” that I’m not going to tell you because, as I’ve already told you, why would I publish my “secrets” for my competitors to see or you to just do on your own?

Hibu websites don’t have the basic done right!

The entire reason for this post was to point out the basics of SEO that Hibu DOES NOT DO on their websites.  Hopefully you have seen through this post the reasons why you should not hire Hibu to build you a website.  If you already have, hire a real web design company to help you out, and then cancel with Hibu immediately!

Occasionally I see a decent Hibu website that has bit’s and pieces of the above basics of SEO done, but I have never seen a Hibu website that has the basics done properly.  If the basics are not done properly, most likely you are never going to rank no matter what you do after you have wasted a lot of time and money on a Hibu website.  In addition, Hibu websites are incredibly overpriced.

Disclaimer:  Yes I used to work for Hibu.  Yes I build websites for a living.  Yes I do SEO work.  Yes I offer SEM management.  No, I’m not bashing Hibu to get business.  Whether you hire me or not, my advice is free and always the same, JUST DON’T HIRE HIBU!

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