4 Stupid Simple SEO Basics for Bloggers – Mike Pearson

seo basics mike pearson do you even blog

Mike Pearson is a veteran SEO expert and blogger over at Stupid Simple SEO and Credit Takeoff.

Before teaches the rest of us about SEO, he’s the guy who took an affiliate site to 1,000,000 views and over $95k in revenue…just with SEO. Do listen to the podcast interview, but I’ve also included the big takeaways below in blog post format 🙂

Listen to my episode with Mike Pearson here:

or listen on \\ iTunes \\ Stitcher \\ Google Play \\ Overcast \\ Spotify


Key takeaways from today’s chat with Mike Pearson from Stupid Simple SEO:

Let’s break this down like a listicle today 😉

1 – Yoast is NOT the “be-all-end-all” for SEO!

Yoast is a fantastic tool.

I use the premium version myself…but just because Yoast is giving you green lights does NOT mean your post is going to rank well.

I wish that were the case.

yoast orange lights
Spend less time caring about this. More time on the content quality.

No, Yoast is just the starting point for an SEO strategy.

This means:

  1. Don’t fret when you still have 1-2 orange or red lights…
  2. Don’t think those green lights are going to rank you all by themselves 🙂

2 – What does Google think your site is about?

If I learned anything from Mike, it was that site structure is incredibly important for SEO.

(And in my opinion, user experience. I see you out there non-SEO bloggers!).

Google WANTS to know what your entire site is about, not just any given blog post.

If your site structure is telling Google that your site is about dog grooming, but you’re hoping to rank for a student loan keyword…what is Google to do?

That doesn’t seem relevant to your site.

Check out these newbie-friendly SEO audit tips for a quickstart, else that link a few sentences above is a FANTASTIC Yoast blog post about structure.

3 – Cool little SEO keyword hack: Include a FAQ

FAQ stands for “Frequently Asked Questions.”

And what are people often typing into Google? QUESTIONS.

answer the public results
Answer the Public showing me “diy dress” results

You can use tools like Answer the Public to come up with some SEO-friendly keywords that are in question format, and creating a “FAQ Section” at the end of your blog posts is a simple and non-spammy looking way to include these question-keywords.

Very cool.

4 – The 10 commandments of beginner SEO:

1 – Thou shalt have only one H1 tag per page.

WordPress, Squarespace, etc…these should automatically make your clickworthy headlines into an H1 tag.

2 – Thou shalt have a few carefully selected H2 tags per page.

These help tell Google the sub-topics you’re covering in your post. Read this post for a basic strategy to figure out what your H2 tags should be (at least 1 H2 should probably have your keywords in it).

3 – Thou shalt NOT worry about perfecting and over-optimizing exact keywords.

Google is smart these days. If you’re trying to include the LITERAL keywords “how to travel-hack your way to Europe” in every paragraph…that will make for lame content. Just produce a piece of content that actually satisfies that search query.

4 – Thou shalt include your keywords in your meta description

WordPress? Use Yoast for this. Not only should you include your keywords in your meta description, but you should also try to make this description as enticing as humanly possible.

Meta descriptions are where you try to convince Google users to click on YOUR content, as opposed to the results just above and below you 🙂

5 – Thou shalt include LSI keywords

Mike Pearson suggested a tool called LSI Graph. It’s awesome.

You enter your keywords, it spits back related keywords that you can mention in your posts (Again, don’t obsess over including every single one at 110%. They’re suggestions for other common search phrases that your piece of content could rank for.)

6 – Thou shalt try to produce the BEST piece of content on the internet for your KWs

This is the advice you hate to hear, but it’s really the only long-term SEO strategy that is 1,000% guaranteed to work.

Produce better content.

(Before you scream at me through your computer with “WHAT DOES THAT MEAN???” Read this post)

7 – Thou shalt include relevant images with appropriate alt tags

Alt tags = tells Google what the image is about.

What how meta I’m about to get…

alt tag examples
The alt tag here is “alt tag examples”

I included the alt tag information in WordPress when I uploaded the image:

wordpress alt tag
So meta it hurts.

4 – The SEO Tools Mike uses

There’s no doubt about it, Ahrefs is so dang powerful!

(I use it as well btw, and that’s not an affiliate link above)

Yes, it’s expensive! But they do have a 7-day trial for $7 where you can fun a few reports for yourself 🙂

Alternatively, the following are great options:


Can you tell I’m feeling less and less creative with my sign-offs recently? 🙂

If you’re itching for more solid SEO tips and strategies for bloggers, don’t miss these:

Happy ranking!

20 Responses

  1. Awesome post Pete, thanks for interviewing Mike.

    I’ve been guilty in the past of obsessing over every little suggestion in Yoast, especially if I haven’t earned the coveted green light. Nowadays, I think more about how the post serves the reader. If it does that well, I publish it.

  2. Wow, an eye opener on SEO will implement them for sure to up my SEO game. Right now I am just focused on Pinterest traffic but I think SEO is important as well in the long run. Thanks for having such a good podcast, Pete.

    1. I’m extremely grateful you enjoy it Pulkit!

      I tend to agree as well btw, I think I’d point almost everybody to at least SOME form of long-term SEO strategy.

  3. We signed up for Mangools with your link Pete! Olivia and I are on the premium plan as we’re working on revamping our old content. Hopefully we see some improvements because a lot of what I wrote before didn’t have as great keywords as I thought I used. Great stuff!

  4. I have a question about categories. If I am a recipe blogger is it better to just have one categories or break it out into subcategories like Breakfast recipes, lunch recipes and dinner recipes?
    This episode was an eye opener. Thanks.

  5. I was actually happy to hear the whole yoast green button information. I thought maybe I was hurting myself because I would ignore yoast. I’d say “Yeah, it’s not green, but that is the way I want to talk, or that’s how I want this post”.
    I don’t really focus on SEO, but love to learn as much as I can. I don’t think SEO is going to be the best for me because I don’t niche down very tightly – I’m more a lifestyle…
    I get something out of each podcast, even if it isn’t directly affecting me – I always get some little nugget of info! Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome Mandy, and you’re SPOT ON with the whole “that’s how I want this post to be” thing.

      Do that above ALL else, including Google or me or anybody who tries to shape your content 🙂

      Thanks for being here!

  6. Hi Pete,
    I just found your podcast today and this was the first episode I listened to. Until yesterday I had been predominantly reliant on Facebook and Instagram for my traffic (my blog is only 3 months old). Yesterday FB (and therefore Insta) blocked my url as spam even though I only posted a few links to relevant Facebook getups in my niche, thus reducing my traffic by 95%. I needed this episode like a guy stuck in a desert needs water! Thanks.
    P.s. any feedback on my blog you could give me would be ace!

    1. Sup Paul!

      First, thank you. I appreciate that.

      Second, don’t go spamming links my dude! 🙂

      Third, is your traffic high enough to warrant display ads right now? If not, I’d remove them. They’re distracting and taking up some nice real estate on your blog (which could be used for more opt-in copy imo)

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