SEO Tips Even Your Grandmother Can Understand

seo tipsWell hello there!  I didn’t hear you come in.  I must say, you are looking very nice today.  Please, please have a seat anywhere you like.  We are just about to start going over some SEO tips that actually make sense.  Before we begin, you must understand that I love analogies and that is pretty obvious with some other articles I’ve written; SEO Magic, and Why SEO is like a Chocolate Milkshake.  (I know what you’re thinking and No, I’m not famous yet.)

The idea behind this article came to me when my wife asked me, “What is it that you actually do all day?”  (I then learned that “playing on the internet” is not an acceptable answer.)  So I proceeded to explain. But I lost her attention while explaining page-crawl errors, follow vs. No Follow links, ALT text and Header tags, so I decided to take a step back and simply explain how search engines look at a website.  I walked my wife upstairs to our home office filing cabinet and asked her to find out how much our electric bill was from January 2013.  She opened the drawer that was labeled “Home” on the filing cabinet, found a tab called “House Utilities” and then a manila folder labeled “Electric Bills”.  Once she found the right folder she was able to go through and find the total for our January electric bill.

So, the short and sweet is that search engines look at your site the same way we look for things in a filing cabinet.  If your website isn’t properly labeled and organized with the useful content people are searching for, you will miss out on visitors, leads, and sales.  (Believe me; I was happy to finally come up with an analogy that actually made sense.)

How to organize your website like a filing cabinet

Page Title

Consider your page title as the outside category on a filing cabinet drawer.  The title of each webpage is the probably the most important.  It needs to have a fine balance between being user friendly as well as search engine friendly.  (User friendly = easy to read, natural wording and not too long.  Search engine friendly = target keyword, relevant on page content, and not spammy.)

Here are two real page title examples I found while searching the keyword “Nashville airport parking”

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1.       Park Airport Hotels Fly into Nashville(BNA) TN coupons long-term/short-term….

2.       Nashville Airport Parking | Parking Rates and Tips

Which one of these would you click on?  The 1st example is probably confusing for both users and search engines on what the page is really about.  (Probably the reason example #1 is on page 10) The 2nd is short and to the point with the keyword leading the page title.  It is clear to the user what the page will be about.

Meta Description

As you go deeper into your filing cabinet, consider your meta description to be your wider category section.  But instead of just 70 characters like your page title, you have up to 150 characters.  (A sentence or two.)  Writing a good meta description needs to be unique for each page, make sense to the reader and contain your target keyword.   When search engines get a keyword match for your page title but your meta description is conflicting, it can easily lower your rankings.

Here are the two meta descriptions for the pages we searched earlier

1.       Park Airport Hotels Fly into Nashville(BNA) TN coupons long-term/short-term….

AIRPORT-PARKING-FACILITIES.  – Park – Express – Fly of Nashville, TN 37214. Find more Airport Parking Facilities in Nashville, TN. Promote your business online with AIRPORT-PARKING-FACILITIES. Personalize your listing with maps, directions, contact information, hours of operation, forms of payment and customer ratings.

2.       Nashville Airport Parking | Parking Rates and Tips

Nashville airport parking tips and guide with maps of the different parking options you’ll have when parking onsite at Nashville International Airport.

So if search engines look at your site the way we look into a filing cabinet, the 2nd example is dominant with a clear page title and meta description.  The 1st example has over 300 characters and will get cut off in search engine results.

Header tags (H1, H2, and H3)

As search engines dive deeper into your site, consider your Header tags just as you would a manila folder in your filing cabinet.  You will have the most success when you have only one H1 tag per page.  Your H1 tag determines what your page content is all about.  If your H1 tag doesn’t relate to your content at all, then search engines could see your page as spammy.  Depending on how much content is on your page you will want to have subcategory Headings (H2 tags) I’ve seen the most success with pages that have a maximum of 5-6 H2 tags.

In our two example pages you can see the difference in relevant H1 tags relating to the search term “Nashville airport parking.”

1.        Park Airport Hotels Fly into Nashville(BNA) TN coupons long-term/short-term….

H1: Park – Express – Fly

2.       Nashville Airport Parking | Parking Rates and Tips

H1: Parking at the Nashville Airport

With example 1, the Page Title, Meta Description, and H1 tags don’t seem to align or have progressive flow that makes to either the user or search engines.  Example 2 has refined the H1 tag making it clear to the user and search engines while also providing a variation of the keyword.  (This will help no. 2 get indexed for a wider variety of similar keyword phrases.)

As you go further into your SEO filing cabinet, things like ALT text, Anchor Text, Page Links, text ratio and keyword density will play a helpful factor as well.  If you have been studying Search Engine Optimization for any length of time now, these SEO tips will certainly be elementary.  But sometimes as SEO’s we get caught up in the complex dynamics of algorithms and forget how much success some of the simple tasks can bring.  (By the way, my wife still thinks I simply play on the internet all day.)

image credit: stuart miles/

Discuss This Article

Comments: 4

  • Valerie says:

    Great article. It was basic, however, the comparisons you choose to use were extremely helpful! Helped me to see the errors you can commit without knowing it. I am curious as to how a person using gets a better rating? I don’t seem to see allot of information about that around.

  • Jim says:

    It’s funny but my wife asked me the same question about a month ago. After spending about 30 minutes describing what exactly I do she said that it sounds so simple that our dog can do it :).

    Now I am forwarding her your article.


  • Love the article and your writing style. You do an excellent job explaining basic SEO principles such as header tags. I have one problem though…

    Your title is, and I mean this respectfully, false. I live with my grandmother. Explaining SEO or even how to really use Google to someone over the age of 80 is, in 99.999% of cases, a futile effort. For starters, the Alzheimer’s renders every word and ounce of energy completely irrelevant (imagine that). Secondly, you’ve got to face reality. Our grandmothers don’t care about Google, they don’t care about anchor text, header tags, or keywords. They care about their TV programs, the food their doctors told them 100 times to stop eating, and the dozens of different pills they take daily.

    Now I know you were just providing an analogy so I only mean this in the best of ways. Grandmothers understand Oprah, those jewelry-catalog programs, and their past – not SEO. This is the truth.

  • Marie Danilyn Lagrosas says:

    ha, ha my husband thinks so too, he knows I write articles but still thinks I am just faking my busy scheds… helps a lot by simplifying what needs to be done by such 1,2,3 definitions…..I balk at projects that requires articles to be SEO optimized with Meta and H1, H2 tags…now I know which part of the articles these SEO optimization requirements are….. thanks for this very enlightening post…..looking forward to reading more posts from you……

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