Your website could win every award for beautiful layout and design but if your content is not optimized for search engines, chances are no one will ever know about it. Fortunately, you can easily optimize your website for search engines to improve your placement.

Search engine optimization — or SEO as it is commonly called — is the process of configuring online content to increase its chances of appearing near the top of search engine results.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a SEO expert or live and breathe the nuances of search to increase the chances of your content being found online. Understanding some basic SEO practices will help raise awareness of your content and your business.

Here are the basics you need to know to do just that.

Know What People Are Searching For

In order to get your blog or webpage to show up in search results, you need to know what people are searching for.

For example, let’s say that you just wrote a a blog article about cleaning mud out of carpet. You want to make sure that if anyone is looking for help with cleaning mud stains out of carpeting that your content is at the top of the list. So what words do people use to find this information?

Bing and Google both have what is called “Instant Search,” meaning keyword phrases will populate a dropdown menu as people type their searches. Even though it’s generally used by the people doing the searching, it’s also a great little tool to see what words people are searching for.

To figure out what people are searching for, try typing “clean mud.” Bing’s instant search results shows the most relevant search terms with those words.

SEO Instant Search Bing

You can see that “clean mud stain on carpet” is a popular search term. So you know that the title and content of your post should include the words “clean,” “mud,” “stain,” and “carpet.”

Use Keywords to Create a Compelling Title

Every time you create online content, you should include the most relevant keywords in the title for that content. That said, getting a human reaction to your title is still the ultimate goal, even though SEO is built on keywords. By creating a compelling title for your page or article, you’ll increase the likelihood of someone clicking on it. For example, look at the three titles below. Which one would you most likely click?

  • Mud | Carpet | Stain | Clean
  • How to Clean Mud From a Carpet
  • 3 Easy Steps to Clean a Mud Stain on Carpet

The third title does a couple good things. First, it contains more keywords that search engines can use to help rank the post when people are looking for ways to clean mud from carpeting. Second, it gives the reader the information he or she needs and wants — the steps it takes to clean mud stains from a carpet. By comparing the words in your title with search engine results, it’s easy to see that this post title can rank well for those search terms.

Create an SEO-friendly URL

Custom URL for SEO

Your URL, the actual web address of your content, is as valuable to search engines as your keywords. It’s another way search engines confirm that your page contains content relevant to a given search.

Let’s say you sell cleaning supplies that will help customers get mud stains out of carpet. Which URL below do you believe is most attractive to search engines?


By adding search terms into your URL, it gives the search engines even more reason to believe that your content is relevant to the query. And the more relevant the content, the more likely it is to appear prominently in the search results.

Give the People What They Want

Your content should give people what they came for. If your article offers to give readers three easy steps to clean mud stains from a carpet, you should have three easy steps, not four steps, and certainly not difficult steps.

This affects your SEO because the people who click and stay on your site show the search engines that your content is relevant and valuable. If you don’t give them great content, users will go elsewhere — and quickly. This is known as the “bounce rate.” The longer a person stays on your page, the lower the bounce rate and the higher you’ll be ranked by the search engines.

Be Unique

It’s the core tenet of business: Offer something that your competitors don’t. This marketing tactic can provide benefits for search engines results as well. If you offer unique products or services and provide keywords that match them, there’s a good chance people will find you.

For example, consider this search for a Cheeseburger Soup recipe.

Be Unique for SEO

You can see the results were around 539,000. Yet, if you add in the keyword “Vegetarian,” the search results are much fewer.

Unique SEO Search terms

Sites that combine unique attributes with an otherwise generic topic will have less competition and may be featured more prominently in the search results.

Be Fresh

All else being equal, if you create a lot of content that is relevant to particular keywords, search engines will recognize you as important and put you in front of sites that have a lower rate of content creation for the same keywords.

Keeping with the mud stain example above, if you write one post about how to clean mud stains out of carpet, that’s okay. However, if you write several posts, each one with different information about mud stains or carpeting, then search engines will treat you as an authority on mud stains and they’ll rank your pages higher in the search results.

Depending on your business and your topics, the rate of producing fresh content is subjective. If you’re in an industry where there is little movement or activity, you might do very well if you create content periodically. Conversely, if you’re in an industry where there is a lot of movement or daily activity, you may have to create content several times a day just to be recognized by search engines.

The Benefit of SEO

Good SEO is not rocket science, but it does take a little bit of work to understand what people are looking for and how to tailor your online information to match those searches.

By ensuring that your online content is optimized for search engines, you’ll generate greater awareness when someone comes looking for you — and you’ll get those mud stains out in no time!

[Image credits:, chrisdlugosz]