Getting over the Headache of SEO

Small Business SEOIf you’re at least a somewhat established blogger (and have an e-mail address posted on your website)–you’re probably like me and get at least five e-mails a week offering help with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Most (if not all) of them are scams. SEO isn’t all that scary.

A couple months ago I won a class online from Codagogy (online coding classes for women) and chose SEO because I thought it would be extremely helpful at the time. I had already read through a lot of resources on SEO prior to a few job interviews and so that I could put more of it to use on my blog and on my current blog, but I figured sitting through an actual class would be extremely helpful and would probably teach me even more.

To my surprise, I knew almost 75% of the material we had covered, and 90% of the stuff that applied to WordPress I already knew. However, if you know nothing about SEO or benefit from a class like structure, I’d definitely recommend their classes. If you know a lot of already, you’ll probably be better off skipping it and taking advantage of free resources.

I’ve compiled some of the free resources I’ve really gotten a lot out of below:

SEO for Dummies

It may sound stupid, but if you don’t have a clue about a topic, search to see if there’s a “For Dummies” page on it. It’s the simplest way to find out easy-to-understand information about any topic. I especially like “SEO for Dummies” information about links:

  • Links make it more likely that the search engines will find the pages — and more often. The more links, the quicker the site is likely to be indexed, and the more often the search engines will revisit.
  • Links provide an indication of value. More links means your site is more valuable. A link is, in effect, a vote for your site. Better still, links from other valuable sites provide more value. In effect, links from popular sites provide more “votes” than those from less popular ones.

Although this post generally focuses on no-follow links, I wish it gave more of an explanation. has some really great info though on how to use them and why you should (so Google doesn’t block your site because of spam). Advertising and affiliate links should pretty much always be no-follow links, and you shouldn’t accept a program deal that requests follow links.

The Beginner’s Guide to SEO

If you need a guide to tell you almost everything a beginner would need to know, read through this entire MOZ guide, and print out their chart for reference. I especially like their section on “Myths and Misconceptions” which explains why spammy SEO just isn’t worth it: “The important thing to remember is this: Not only do manipulative techniques not help you in most cases, but often times they cause search engines to impose penalties on your site.”

It stresses what I feel is the most important point of SEO: that content is king, and the content should be quality writing and material and should not just be stuffed with keywords for the hits.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

I’ve mentioned the SEO Yoast plugin for WordPress before, but sometimes it can be a bit confusing. Luckily, this guide breaks down everything you need to know to use the plugin to the best of its ability and beyond: it even informs readers on SEO basics for WordPress like titles, links, permalinks and more. If you’re a WordPress user, make sure to check out this guide because it’s comprehensive and includes everything you can use to boost your SEO for WordPress.

What guides have you found most useful for SEO?

About Kristen Gillette

Kristen Gillette is a freelancer who has written for a wide variety of publications including, Magazine, and Cred Magazine,, the Philadelphia Dance Journal, and more. She runs


  1. Great article, I have been preaching this strategy for years, concentrate on the quality of your website, stop trying to trick Google, put your energy in creating a website that is genuinely useful to visit for the user.
    I too have been using and recommending SEO by Yoast.
    Recently I did a free Google Analytics course, and it taught me a lot about increasing revenue by analysing all the touchpoints a user will experience along the customer journey, micro conversions, macro conversions, etc. I think that is the next step in improving SEO after you have done the basics.
    My clients often get emails claiming to put them on page 1 of Google for only $1,000!
    I usually try doing a search for the company making the offer using the keywords SEO, page rank, experts, or similar and point out the companies offering the services have poor Google rankings themselves.

    I am looking at testing this SEO tool next, though like I say, SEO by Yoast is a very good all-in-one solution and it’s free.

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