Looking to learn the SEO basics? Our team of industry specialists have put together the ultimate guide to help you get started.
Table of Contents
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of increasing a website’s traffic through organic means. It utilises keyword research and the creation of content as well as link building and technical audits. By using all of these strategies together, a business can increase the click-throughs and visibility of its website.
How SEO works
Let’s get started with the SEO basics. SEO works by using a mixture of technical and creative digital marketing techniques. On the technical front, good SEO relies on a well-built website with a strong internal linking structure. On top of that, the website also needs to run fast – really fast. That means that all of the code and images on a website need to be optimised to run efficiently. No one likes a slow website, it really puts people off spending time with your brand online!
The creative side is far more rooted in content and copy. Creating relevant and authoritative content for your audience is what keeps people coming back to your website. However, this content can’t just be fluffy, it needs to have substance too. That’s where the creative and technical sides of SEO come together. In order for content to rank well in SERPs (search engine results pages), it needs to be optimised with keywords. Keywords are basically terms that people use to search for things. So, for example, ‘what are the best hiking boots, or, ‘ how often should you wash your towels?’. By including these keywords throughout your content, you are increasing the chances of it appearing in search engines. This all leads to highly relevant traffic to your site and, hopefully, conversions too (people buying your products and or service).
How to do SEO
The first thing to do when beginning with optimising SEO content is to start with:
Keyword research is vital to do before creating SEO content. This method tells you what customers are searching for, how much traffic is generated from each key term, and how high your content will rank if those keywords are used.
The best way to conduct keyword research is to think about what a customer would type into a search engine. For example, a customer searching for a pair of trainers may search for the keywords: WHITE TRAINERS, NIKE TRAINERS, ADIDAS TRAINERS. These keywords include product descriptions as well as brand names, which customers will tend to look for in a product.
Once you have a list of keywords you can do something called ‘seeding’. This involves inputting your keywords into a keyword finder, such as SEMrush, in order to find more ideas and more related terms. This then gives you more keywords to work with when optimising your content.
When seeding, it is always best to look for their traffic potential and search volumes. When working in SEMrush, you’ll notice a number to the side of the keyword. This tells you how many searches this keyword has in a month. The higher the search volume, the more difficult it is to rank for. That’s why it’s best to try and optimise your content for highly specific keywords with slightly lower volume.
On-page SEO is the practice of optimising the content on your site so that it appears higher in SERPs for relevant terms. This can include landing page content, blog content title tags and even the internal linking structure between all your content. Here are some of our top tips to consider when improving the on-page SEO of your site.
- Writing content with search intent. Without optimising for what your audience searches for, the chances of ranking highly are near impossible. This requires knowing what keywords people use when searching for a specific product or service. So, that’s where keyword research comes into play.
- Having a URL structure that makes sense. Make sure the URL is specific to your brand, product and or service.
- Writing specific but interesting title tags. Title tags are the title and or H1 tags of your content that will appear in SERPs. So, keeping it interesting and relevant to the respective search intent is imperative.
- Optimising your images. As well as keywords, images also rank within SERPs through Google Images. Make sure that your images are fully optimised and relevant to your content.
The importance of SEO
SEO marketing is what drives traffic to your website. Recent figures show that 83% of traffic comes from search engines alone with the other 17% coming from paid ads within PPC marketing. So, it’s safe to say that SEO is pretty important for your business, especially if you want to be relevant and rank highly in today’s competitive online world.
SEO needs a long-term strategy as it can often take a while to show results. After all, these things don’t happen overnight. Structuring and aligning your SEO marketing will lead to high returns on investment and conversions. This all feeds into your brand becoming an authoritative leader within your industry.
Benefits of SEO
If you’re looking to learn more about the SEO basics, here are some of the core benefits that make it more than worth your while.
- Creates a better experience for users which converts to more leads, more clicks, and a higher conversion rate.
- SEO brings in the most leads. Due to its utilisation of the search engine, more users are likely to find your page and click on it.
- SEO has high conversion results. If your site ranks highly then users are more likely to trust you and convert into customers.
- Makes your brand more credible and authoritative. Ranking highly on a SERP means that customers will see you as a brand to trust and a top player within the industry.
- SEO is cost-effective. SEO is lead by content, social media, and blogging and is the most cost-effective form of marketing with the highest returns.
- Establishes brand awareness which ensures your brand and product or service is found with ease and spread widely.
- Synergises all your digital marketing. All of your digital marketing content and strategy contribute to your SEO success.
- SEO puts you on the same path and takes you ahead of your competition. Most brands and companies have digital marketing strategies in place. This is why it’s important to use SEO to rank higher than your competitors.
SEO Tips & Best Practices
We spoke to our Associate Director of SEO, Jamie White, in order to get his input on the best SEO tips and practices.
“Firstly I think the Moz Beginners Guide to SEO is an excellent resource on pretty much everything in terms of the SEO basics.”
In terms of starting an SEO strategy, Jamie says, “Think about what the purpose of your website is and what content your users will expect to see there. How do you want people to find your website through organic search, and therefore what content do you need to be publishing in order to achieve this? Then, go beyond just capturing traffic and consider how you can promote yourself as an authority on your topic.
Let’s say you sell something really specific, or offer a very specific service, does your website indicate that you are an expert in that area? Are you producing guides, tips, hints, and information for your users to digest on how to educate themselves around your specialist area? Good SEO = Good Marketing, so, market yourself as a topical expert and you will move quickly towards success.”
Are you looking for support with your SEO marketing? Our SEO specialists can work alongside you to grow your inhouse team. Whether you’re starting with the SEO basics or you’re already working with strategy, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for an informal chat.