Search Engine Optimisation for Dummies

SEO for Dummies does exist, you can buy it. It is far from the best book on the subject though.  If fact, books are generally outdated nearly as soon as they go to print!

SEO for Dummies does exist, you can buy it. It is far from the best book on the subject though. If fact, books are generally outdated nearly as soon as they go to print!

SEO for Dummies. It is an attractive prospect.  It brings to mind a quick, easily digestible way to get your website to the top of Google. There are lots and lots of sites and people proclaiming to be able to show you how to do this.  These are the snake oil salesmen and women of our modern world.

Is there an easy way to learn SEO?

Frankly there is no easy way.  This site “SEO training” will be going for years and will never cover everything completely.  There are a few reasons for this:

  1. SEO is a huge topic
  2. The SEO goalposts keep moving

I really want to learn SEO though.  How can I get started?

The starting place for every budding SEO practitioner should be Googles’ Webmaster Guidelines. Go and follow all of the advice they set forth and you will be half way there.  I do mean all of it by the way.  There is no point picking and choosing which bits suit you.  This is the “white hat” SEO way.  It means that you are doing what Google want you to do.  Your reward shall be no penalties.  This does not guarantee you better ranking though….. Google Webmaster Guidelines are just a starting point!

Following Google guidelines looks like tons of work!

Indeed.  Making sure that your site is structured as Google would like it to be can be a lot of work depending on how  well your site was put together in the first place.  In some instances it is easier to start from scratch!

Google Guidelines seem very technical, is there an easier to understand version?

No. There is no easier version.  The Google guidelines are the easy version.

You said this article was about SEO for Dummies!

This article is about SEO for Dummies.  The point is that if you go and look at Google Webmaster Guidelines and find it too technical or do not have the time to put into learning everything there then you are better off hiring a professional SEO consultant. They do not have to do all the work for you, but they should be able to at least give you the tools you need and the understanding to be able to tackle the job yourself.  More importantly, they can bring you to the next level and bring you from conforming to performing.  To do otherwise would be dumb.  Here is the reason:

SEO starts with diagnosis

In the last post I wrote I mentioned the importance of SEO analysis.  You need to know what is wrong with your site before you can fix it.  When my car breaks down I sometimes have a fair idea of what is wrong, but I will bring it to a mechanic to find out for sure.  He is a professional.  He knows more about it than I do.  If I fiddle about with my car I am likely to spend money on parts I don’t need, waste time “fixing” the wrong thing and end up with a car that may be fixed, but in my case is more likely to be more damaged than it was originally.

The thing I am missing is an accurate diagnosis.  This holds for SEO too.  If I start tinkering with a site without knowing what I am doing then I am in danger of actually causing damage as well as not fixing my problems.  I need to know what to fix and why.

As a professional SEO consultant, the first thing I do is analyse the website I am going to work on.  That tells me where the sites strengths and weaknesses are and helps to ensure I target the areas that need it most.

SEO knowledge can be learned.  That is what this site is for.

I do not want to be negative about learning SEO.  It is not rocket science.  It does take time to learn though.  This post is really aimed at business owners or management who think it is a good idea to do their SEO in-house with no help from a professional source.  It is not a good idea.  I say that from experience.  I had to learn too.  I got as far as I could by reading everything I could and following guidelines.  Then it was time to get somebody to teach me.  I realised at that point that I could have saved a lot of time (and time is money) by using a consultant in the first place.

Since then I have learned a lot more from a lot of different sources, but the point is that using a GOOD SEO consultant is expensive, but prudent – it saves money in the long run.

About Ian Wortley


Ian is one of Irelands leading SEO consultants with over 8 years experience in the Irish market. Ian discovered his love of all things internet related in 2005 and has been living nearly exclusively online since then, causing much worry to friends and family, but getting great results for clients. Contact Ian: Phone: 01 6854806 Mobile: 086 3817149

5 thoughts on “Search Engine Optimisation for Dummies

  1. As a self-proclaimed Search Engine Optomization veteran, I could easily agree on your post. Still, a significant thing for anyone to always consider is that the big G (and others) will rank your blog, forum, or whatever high if you obtain high-quality DoFollow backlinks to your site with decent anchored text. Follow this, and nothing else really carries weight.

  2. True, nothing carries as much weight… at the moment. BUT, if you put two similar sites up with similar numbers and quality of backlinks, then it comes down to other factors. You can get away without keeping to standards/guidelines but following them can help boost your site further (particularly in difficult verticals).

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