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The Quickest Way to Learn SEO WITHOUT Paying a Cent

Updated on February 22, 2014

If you want to learn all about SEO, then stop paying people to teach you and come read this first! I'm going to make this as simple as possible so that EVERYONE can understand the mysteries of SEO. By the end of this article you should be able to easily jump up in the search engine results, through proper search engine optimization (SEO).

How Google Thinks

First let me give you a little insight on how Google thinks, since they are the biggest search engine out there. I'm going to tell you a little story that at first may not seem like I'm talking about SEO but, as you read further into this article, you will see that I just broke down SEO into the simplest form possible.

Alright so there are two stores: one is right on Main Street and one is in a side alley somewhere, and is kind of hard to find. They are both hardware stores that sell similar products, but I'm sure you can already tell who would be getting more sales, through location alone. The store on Main Street is called "Discount Hardware Supplies", but the store in the back alley is called "Bob's Supplies".

And if you were to ask someone where you could get some hardware supplies, a lot of people will point you right toward Discount Hardware Supplies. They've been there themselves, got what they needed and have no problem referring others to the store. If you ask them where to get a cheap hammer, they'll point you to Discount Hardware Supplies. If you ask someone for an inexpensive table saw, they will point you to Discount Hardware Supplies.

But don't get me wrong, some people are loyal to Bob's Supplies and will point you to that back alley. But as you walk around town you keep seeing this same guy pop up out of nowhere and when you ask him for a good place to get a box of nails he points to that back alley and says, "Hardware supplies!" You shrug it off and keep walking and run into the SAME GUY, so you ask him if he knows where to get a good hammer and he points to that back alley again and says, "Hardware supplies!" At this point you're a bit weirded out and you say, "Didn't I just talk to you back there?" and he shrugs you off and acts like he's a different person.

So you decide to check out both stores... And they each have big signs with the store's name on them and then smaller signs on the front of the store talking about current sales that are going on and new items that are in stock, but there's a problem. When you look at the Bob's Supplies main sign, you're not even really sure if that's the store that weird guy was talking about. So you glance at the sign and just keep on moving. But when you walk down Main Street and see the Discount Hardware Supplies sign, you know that's the store other people were talking about and you walk right in.

When you get inside there are signs all around and you find the nails, hammer and table saw you needed right away. You didn't even have to ask anyone where to look and everything was cheaper than what you expected. In fact, the employees even helped you pick out the perfect table saw.

But after getting what you needed at Discount Hardware Supplies, you decide to go check out Bob's Supplies, out of curiosity. You look down at the front of the store and notice that he does have a couple sale signs and one just reads, "Hardware Supplies - Come in now!" You thought that was weird, but went inside anyway and as soon as you step in you see 20 different signs that all say "Hardware Supplies".

Even though you already bought what you wanted, you are curious about the prices here and ask someone where their hammers are. But they aren't sure, so they tell you to ask Bob Jr. and he'll tell you. And Bob Jr. does know where they are but you have to wait a little bit as he finishes up on the phone. And when you think he's ready to show you where the hammers are, he starts babbling about sports and what he did over the weekend. So you politely tell him that you have to go and as you leave the store you decide to never go back to Bob's Supplies again. Discount Hardware Supplies has just won a new, lifelong customer.

What's the moral of the story?

Google wants your products labeled properly, your store to have what your sign says and they listen to what people say about your store. If you have all of that, then you'll be right on Main Street and business will be good! But let me explain the ins and outs of how this relates to SEO so that you can bring in more relevant traffic to your websites.

How this Relates to SEO

Alright, so out of the two stores, which store would you rather be? Discount Hardware Supplies, right? Well, let's flip that story and now that store is a website which is on page 1 of Google (Main Street), for many search terms. And it's on page one because it has a lot of links pointing to it (people pointing to it) from other sites. People are promoting it left and right because they like the site and they are telling people to go there for a variety of different things. And that's why it ranks high in the search results for more than on keyword.

They use anchor text, which is the text that is hyperlinked (blue and underlined) when you create a link, that describes things that are on that page. And the anchor text matters more than almost anything else because it tells Google, what the site is. Don't believe me? Search "click here" in Google and tell me why Adobe is ranked so high for that keyword phrase, when it doesn't have that phrase on the page. It's because so many people link to that page, using "click here" as the anchor text, and tell people to go there to download Adobe Reader so they can view PDF files. Like if 20 people point to your hardware store and say there are discount hammers in there, then Google will want to rank that site high for the keyword phrase "discount hammers".

And it's very natural for your site to get a bunch of links with all kinds of different links (do follow AND no follow) with different anchor text pointing toward your site. Because think about it, if you want to rank for a keyword then you'll want to get a bunch of links using that keyword in your anchor text, right? But that's taking advantage of the system and Google doesn't like that and will spot it right away. But if there are a bunch of different keywords that are targeted then that doesn't raise any red flags. Why? Because if other people were to promote you, they'd use so many different kinds of keywords in their anchor text; they don't know or care what keyword you're trying to rank for. So keep that in mind, if you're getting links to your own site... natural is better!

But people will still promote sites that aren't that amazing, like Bob's Supplies, and they will use shady tactics. They will use the same anchor text, description and keywords and there will be tons of identical links all over the place, kind of like that weird guy that kept saying, "Hardware supplies." This isn't natural at all, in fact it's kind of weird, and Google isn't going to believe for one second that it's a bunch of different people creating those links. Instead, Google will recognize right away that it's a marketer trying to rank for a certain keyword. You're not going to get on Main Street with tactics like that and you may even get dropped from the search engine results if you do it too much.

But when someone sees your site on Google you have to reel them in with your title (your store's sign) and your description (sale signs on your store). That's why it's a good idea to have the keyword you're trying to rank for in your title; you have exactly what they are looking for it bright neon lights, right in front of them. Then they will look down at your description to reassure themselves that they want to click your link (enter your store). So be descriptive and include the keyword again so that they know you definitely have what they want. People need to know what to expect before they click through to your site.

And when they are on your site (in your store), you want people to be able to find exactly what they want, right away. So make your site easy to navigate and have everything labeled properly. If they're already on your site and start searching for things (looking around the aisles), you want certain keywords (that you've tagged each page with) to bring them to certain pages (aisles in the store). If you have the keyword "discount hammers" targeting a page then there better be information all about hammers on that page and you should direct them to where they can buy one. Sure, the keyword "discount hammers" might be on that page but you don't want to over do it; have it on there once every 100 words and you're good to go. You need to provide value to people and give them exactly what they came for, but don't blind them with your keyword. In fact, give them more than what they expect and explain all about the hammers, have reviews, pictures, and some of the lowest prices around. The more value you give, the more happy traffic you'll get.

On the contrast, if you run things like Bob's Supplies, you'll have a very weak title and your description doesn't really say much at all other than to click the link to get hardware supplies. That's way too general and it's kind of spammy. And if you do click the link and all you see is the keyword "hardware supplies" over and over again then it's obvious that someone is doing a poor job and is trying too hard to rank for that keyword. You know it and so does Google... that means that site's not going to rank well and you'll probably close the window.

But let's say you didn't close the window and you took a look around. You soon notice that all there is on the page are a bunch of ads and nothing that really relates to hardware supplies. The keyword is all over the page, but the content has nothing to do with that keyword. Now what are you thinking about this site and what do you think Google thinks about it? The person who set up that site only wanted to lure people in with that keyword and wants them to click some ads... there's nothing of value on that website! They're trying their best to get you to go somewhere else! Now you close the window and Google notices... in fact, Google notices that everyone does that when they come to this site and it buries the site in the back alley of the search engine results.

The Moral of the SEO Story

In order to get on page one of Google you need to target quite a few keywords, if you're going to do a bunch of the linking yourself. It's more natural and you will be rewarded for it, but eventually others will point to your site and you will no longer have to do the linking yourself. Why will they link to your site for you? Because you provided them with something of value!

A lot of links pointing to your site is good, but it only really matters if it's links with different anchor text. You don't want to be that creepy guy that pops up everywhere! But let me add in another pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for those who have read this far.

If you going to do a lot of your linking yourself, then get your backlinks SLOWLY. If you were to walk down a street and ask where you could get some coffee and 100 people pop up out of nowhere and scream COFFEE and point at a coffee shop, then you'll probably head right into that shop. But if you ask the same question the next day and no one pops up and no one tells you where to go for coffee then you might think that maybe there's something wrong with that coffee shop. Why did a ton of people recommend it one day, but no one recommends it today?

If Google sees that you get a ton of links at once then it assumes that that is the pace your site naturally gets links. And guess what? The second you stop getting a ton of links in a day, Google will think that your site isn't as relevant anymore. The wave of links stopped, so maybe your site is dead. You set your pace too high and it can't naturally keep up. But if you get links little by little, then that's really natural and you'll stay highly ranked for a lot longer. Why? Well, if you went out and got 5 to 10 links a day and did that for a couple months... then you've set a pace that's not too hard keep up. If your site is popular, then having 5 people out of the billions in the world link to your site a day isn't too far fetched, right?

Now that you know how to ensure there's always something special at the end of your rainbow links, let's get back to the moral of the story. So you're ranked high and now people are looking at your title and description. You already know that you need your keyword in both the title and the description, right? But you want your title to draw in their eyes like a big neon sign on your store. In a very short title, you want to describe exactly what is on that page and spark a little curiosity. That curiosity will either get them to click or to read your description. You have a lot more room in your description, so reel them in with the awesome benefits and features of your site.

And when they get on your site, have good navigation through links in the body text or tabs in the header or side bar. Give them what they want quickly and also provide them with added value. Don't stuff your page with a keyword; just sprinkle it in there naturally and let your content keep them on the page.

When you follow these tactics, Google will notice how well put together your site is, how long people stay on your site, what they do and will see that there must be a ton of different people promoting your site. This ensures that you will eventually hit page one of Google for at least one keyword and I hope that now you understand SEO a little better.

Do YOU Understand SEO Now?

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    • chaturrajneesh profile image

      Rajneesh Chaturvedi 

      7 years ago from India

      Thats a great hub- really informative unlike other seo teaching articles.

    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Thanks, topaffordableseo... glad you like it!

    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Thanks, Millionaire Tips... glad you liked it and thanks for the vote!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      7 years ago from USA

      Such a well written article, great analogy. Voted up.

    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      My pleasure, Hello, hello,... thanks for reading!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you again, Bendo, for your excellent advice?

    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Glad I could make it seem no so scary to you, Escobana! I hope you start seeing good results soon!

      Thanks, stephaniedas... I try my best ;) Thanks for the vote!

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 

      7 years ago from Miami, US

      GREAT HUB! Whenever I think I have SEO figured out, someone like you comes along and explains it in an even better way. Voted way up.

    • Escobana profile image


      7 years ago from Valencia

      Your title draw me to your Hub! Reading about SEO is something I never did until now. To me it was a topic to avoid, being all too technical and vague. I am absolutely very happy with the way you describe all this.

      All of a sudden I understand what SEO really is and I'm definitely going through my Hubs and see what can be improved.

      Thanks for this great Hub! Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting:-)

    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Exactly, festersporling1! You might get high rankings with shady tactics for a day or two but you'll be buried in no time!

    • festersporling1 profile image

      Daniel Christian 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      You're absolutely right. Now more so than ever, you really have to diversify your linking.

      In the last months, with the panda updates, the sites that don't diversify anchor texts have been getting big hits on their rankings.

      If your site is all purplelaptops(dot)net and all you use as an anchor text is purple laptops, you are going to get slapped.

    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      No problem, jenubouka!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Going there now, thank you Bendo..

    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      I'm glad this helped you understand SEO better, jenubouka! Check out my article titled "Earn Extra Money from Home with Google AdSense" and see if that doesn't help you understand it a little more.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Man, this really put it in perspective for me. I like how you told the story, me being a visual learner, helped me understand how and why google works. Now if you could do that with adsense....I have been stumped...

      Awesome, awesome Bendo!!

    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Thanks, Kristin Halsted... I hope this helped you understand it a little better! Thanks for the vote!

      My pleasure, SusieQ42... thanks for reading!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great example! This should help many people wondering how to improve their traffic. Thanks for the info.

    • Kristin Halsted profile image

      Kristin Halsted 

      7 years ago

      Great hub! Good explanation of something I didn't really understand. Love your analogy!

      Thanks and keep writing! Voted up!

    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      You're welcome, SD Dickens and chefsref... glad I could help!

    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Thanks, Judi Bee! I'm glad you got something out of it... thanks for reading!

      You're welcome, Carlon Michelle... glad I could help!

      Thanks for the votes, SuperheroSales! I'm glad it was easy to understand... I was up a little late writing this one.

      Happy to hear I could help you learn SEO, JenJen0703... thanks for sharing and voting!

      My pleasure, Don Bobbitt... thanks for reading and voting!

      Thanks, Brian Burton! I thought it might be helpful to show SEO through a real world example.

      I'm glad I could help clear the fog surrounding SEO, Hubertsvoice... thansk for the votes!

      True, ktrapp... it's like math; some people don't get it at first but once you do you realize it's so simple and it's hard to get it wrong. Thanks for the vote!

      Glad I could help you out, cdm2009... I hope the tactics help you rise up in rankings!

      Happy to hear it was entertaining as well as educational, LucidDreams... thanks for reading!

      Glad it came out clearly for you, revmjm... thanks for reading!

      You're welcome, raakachi... thanks for reading!

      Thanks, HikeGuy... I thought that was a pretty cool pic too!

      Good to have you as a new reader, rajan jolly... I'm glad you got something out of this! Thanks for the votes!

      Thanks, lobobrandon... I'm glad you liked it!

      Thanks, CapstoneTrends... I'm keep pumping out the content! Thanks for reading!

      Thanks, FloraBreenRobison... I tried to keep it entertaining and easy to understand. Thanks for reading!

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 

      7 years ago from Citra Florida

      Good explanation, very helpful

      Thanx for this article

    • SD Dickens profile image

      SD Dickens 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for the great information. The analogy really helped to bring it to life for me.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a much better example of the way SEO works with the analogy of the hardware store than boring articles that involve no story.

    • CapstoneTrends profile image


      7 years ago from Outside Boston, Massachusetts, USA

      This is awesome... Thanks for writing it!

    • lobobrandon profile image

      Brandon Lobo 

      7 years ago

      I guess I'm familiar with SEO but a great explanation. I liked the example :-)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Bendo, very well worded in very simple words making understanding SEO extremely easy. I liked the way you wove it into a story. Excellent hub, useful, awesome and voted up. I am your fan now.

      Thank you very much.

    • HikeGuy profile image


      7 years ago from Northern California Coast

      Glad you put this out there. There's so much bad advice going around about backlinking. You made good points in this. And the winged brain rocks.

    • raakachi profile image


      7 years ago from Madurai / Tamilnadu / India

      very useful tips you have given. thanks for your sharing!

    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 

      7 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Great analogy of the hardware stores. I understood exactly what you were explaining. Thanks!

    • LucidDreams profile image


      7 years ago from St Petersburg, Florida

      That was a very entertaining read for me. Broken down in such simple to understand terms.

    • cdm2009 profile image


      7 years ago from St. Augustine 32084

      What a great and simple way to help people (me included) to learn seo for free. I now have a perfect mental visual to help me promote my websites properly. Thank you. A lot of people use blackhat seo tactics which are very shady much like the shady looking used car salesman you used as a picture. Perfect analogy. Voted up and useful!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      This is a very clever analogy. I don't think seo has ever been all that complex; actually it's quite logical and you've shown that to be the case with the tale of the two hardware stores. Voting up and useful.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you Bendo. I read everything I come across about SEO and understood very little that I read until I came to HP. Voted up and very useful.

    • Brian Burton profile image

      Brian Burton 

      7 years ago

      That hardware store story is such an awesome and fun example. And that is the best description of SEO that I've ever seen. Well done.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Thanks Ben, for another great Hub. Voted Up and Useful.

    • JenJen0703 profile image

      Jennifer McLeod 

      7 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      This is useful information. I have been trying to learn more about SEO, and you put it more into plain English. Voted up and shared.

    • Carlon Michelle profile image

      Carlon Michelle 

      7 years ago from USA

      I like how you broke this subject down. It was what I needed to know and understand. Thanks again for being awesome Bendo. Smile!

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      7 years ago from UK

      Excellent - well thought out hub, interesting and innovative approach - thanks!


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