A Layman’s Explanation of Search Engine Optimization

I made this video to explain what search engine optimization is at a high level.

Let’s start with a typical story of a business that has a website built…

Yanni’s Yummi Ice Cream has a website made by a local web designer. The site looks great and this task is knocked out.

However, the web designer didn’t work with an SEO outfit and released the site without any search engine optimization.

Does that mean Yanni’s website will not be indexed by Google?


Chances are Google will find Yanni’s website and crawl it. That’s basically Google’s entire business (to crawl the web).

The important question is: Will Google understand what Yanni’s site is about?

If Yanni’s entire website is basically a bunch of pictures of ice cream with no text or metadata filled out – it probably won’t.

Would you have a storefront with no sign?

storefront with no sign

This is the analogy I like to use when you don’t do any search engine optimization (SEO) to a website.

Doing the very basic initial steps of SEO means you’re properly labeling your website so search engines can understand what your site is about.

Think of it as creating a table of contents for a book:

SEO is like table of contents

I’m not sure why I put the table of contents in the middle of the book.

The way we add “chapter titles” to a website is by filling out the title tag for every web page on our site. The title tag is a snippet of HTML code that goes in the head of every webpage. A lot of websites will duplicate the title tag or not even fill them out!

To really illustrate what I’m talking about here:

title tag table of contents analogy

What does a title tag look like in the search engines?

Here’s what Yanni’s home page title tag looks like:

example search engine result listing for a home page

As you can see any human that can read will understand what that listing is about. Google will also have a good idea that YannisYummi.com is an ice cream shop in North Pole, Alaska.

But to be sure – you might want to add the word “shop” to that title tag! It probably couldn’t hurt.

Here’s the search engine result for Yanni’s about page:

example search engine result

Now you’re probably understanding why labeling your title tags carefully for each web page on your website is a really important task that every business owner should tackle.

The words you use in your title tag can determine the number of people that find your listing!

This is an important point.

Certain words are more searched for than others. One thing my firm does is to make sure that we choose language that attracts a sweet spot of traffic for each of your web pages. We don’t want to aim for overly competitive terms and we also want to make sure the language properly matches the searchers’ intention to the content you offer. It’s definitely an art (that I’ve personally been doing since 1999).

And then there is advanced SEO

If you watch the video above I talk about the two stages of SEO that I see.

The first thing to do is to knock out all the basic SEO tasks. This entails getting a website properly set up to be indexed and understood by the search engines (in addition to a few other tricks) as well as being easily understood in the search engines by human searchers.

The advanced SEO step is all about driving as much traffic to a website as budget permits.

I’ve personally grown a blog to 1 million readers a month, so I know how it’s done.

And…it takes a ton of work. There are few different strategies depending on what the site is about, but at the end of the day, it requires a serious marketing effort. And the owners of the website have to be 100% on board. Often times, they will need to do things on their end to help market the website. But I consult website owners and businesses on the steps required to do this as well as doing a lot of the heavy lifting required to achieve traffic goals.

If you’d like my help at either stage of SEO growth, please schedule a call with me below.


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