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What is SEO? A beginner’s guide to search engine optimization

Search engine optimization is one of the key features of any marketer’s strategy.

When done effectively, SEO can have a significant impact on a website’s ranking on search engines such as Google or Bing, subsequently increasing visitors to a site and conversions.

What exactly is SEO?

SEO comprises of a series of techniques which help search engines so that they can easily ‘crawl’ your site, identify the nature of its content and assess its usability and the quality of information displayed.

When it comes to ‘crawling’ and ‘indexing’ a site, search engines will use algorithms to not only look at the copy on your site, but it will also take into account a number of other factors including: images, videos, PDFs, site speed, user experience, responsiveness to name a few. Taking all of these factors into account, search engines will then rank a site based on how well it answers a user’s search query in their ‘organic’ results.

Getting your website to be displayed for the exact search queries that you would like is no mean feat, with countless considerations to take into account when creating your SEO strategy. This strategy should include both on-site optimization as well as off-page SEO tactics (e.g. backlinks from reputable and relevant sites with a strong authority).

Our top tips for SEO

Publish relevant, quality content

Search engines love to see your website being updated regularly with quality content that will provide real value to site visitors. Therefore, investing time into a detailed (but workable) content strategy that revolves around relevant subjects, will greatly enhance your chances of ranking higher.

Utilize search engine tools

Search engines offer a variety of tools for businesses to ensure that their website reaches the quality it expects, to ensure a great user experience for visitors. Google in particular offers a number of helpful tools, that will play an integral part in your SEO efforts, including:

  • Google Analytics – reporting on traffic to your site
  • Google Search Console – providing data on errors, how Google sees your site and much more
  • Page Speed Insights – scoring your website’s speed with recommendations for improvement
  • Google My Business – ideal for those focusing on local SEO, here you can input a range of information including your opening hours, images, posts and events, ultimately giving you more control over what is shown for your company in search results

Focus on mobile

Over the past 12 months Google has transitioned websites onto their mobile first index, meaning that sites will now be indexed and subsequently ranked based on the mobile version of a site as opposed to desktop, therefore ensuring that your site can be accessed and easily navigated on a range of devices is vital.

Avoid keyword stuffing

Search engine algorithms use complex techniques to identify the subject of your site’s content, therefore not only is it not necessary to repeat the same keyword over and over again within your site’s content, but search engines will look unfavorably at those sites that do, as this indicates that content will not be relevant or add value for a user.

Guest blogging

Backlinks to your website can have a significant impact on the authority that search engines attribute to your website. In the past, many sites would pay for backlinks on less than stellar websites in order to boost their rankings, however Google in particular quickly cracked down on this practice, and many sites found their sites drop dramatically in result. These days, having quality content on a reputable website with a link back to your site will boost your rankings further as opposed to many links across multiple sites that have very little association to your business or industry.

Search engine optimization comprises of countless aspects and, with the ever-changing nature of algorithms, marketers are changing their approach all the time. Our tips above cover the basics you should consider when it comes to SEO for your site, but this is just the first step in an ongoing SEO strategy. One of the most important pieces of advice that we can provide when it comes to SEO, is to ensure that you keep up to date with the latest developments and algorithm changes, and tweak your site and your strategy accordingly.

 

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