People like me are always saying SEO this and SEO that. You may find yourself asking, “What is SEO, anyway?”

There are simple answers and there are complex answers to that question. Let’s start with the basics and outline some easy strategies that you can use right now.

In short, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In other words, SEO is what determines what a person sees when they use a search engine like Google. A search for “WordPress website builds” returns about about 142,000,000 results. You don’t want your business to be 142,999,999 on that list. You want your business to be as close to number 1 as possible.

Search engines determine this ranking by figuring out what your site is all about by “reading” the content and measuring how many times a word or phrase or topic appears. Then a search engine makes a guess about how relevant your site is to those topics by measuring how many times a person has searched for a keyword or term, gone to your website, and stayed awhile. See, if your site is all about “WordPress website builds” and business owners search that term then go to your site and hang around for a while, a search engine will say, “This must be a great site about building WordPress websites!” And thus you will inch up the rankings.

This is, of course, an oversimplification SEO, but it’s a great place for a small business to start. To begin improving your SEO right now, you should do these 3 things.

1. Write content that uses words and phrases used by people who search for your product

This doesn’t mean writing about apples if you sell oranges just because apples are in season. Don’t try to “game the system.” Write about your business and your products, being very careful to use specific keywords and phrases. If you sell oranges publish some great orange juicing tips.

2. Build links to your pages to show they are important

Back links are big part of SEO, but don’t go nuts. This is not about having thousands of links. This is about having relevant links from websites focused on the same things as yours. If you sell oranges and have 500 back links from the Apple Growers Association of the World, well, that doesn’t do you or them any good. But one back link from the Orange Growers Association is worth gold. And 100 back links from 100 orange growing related businesses are worth platinum.

3. Do this every day

One of the most common misconceptions about SEO is that it’s a thing you go out and get, like a couch. This is just not true. SEO is not a thing. It’s a set of best practices that you need to identify and then, well, practice. SEO is something you do every day.