What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it’s how you can make your website and content work harder for your business and capture the attention of Google and other search engines. 

Get it right and you’ll rank higher on the list of results when someone searches for a solution to their problem and help you turn a chance visitor into a loyal customer. 

Let’s explain more about how SEO works, what influences the ranking and how you can start using this knowledge to better grow your business.

How does SEO work?

Let’s imagine that someone is searching for help with a health issue- let’s say that it’s menopausal women suffering from hot flushes.

So, they jump onto Google, type in ‘solutions for hot flushes’ and then hit that search button. 

What comes back to them isn’t just a random list of websites which just so happen to be about solutions for hot flushes. 

It’s actually a finely tuned and intelligently selected list of the websites which Google (or any other search engine) believe to be most relevant to the search. They should also be the most trustworthy, most important and most useful to the person doing the search and provide a solution to the problem, in this case, those hot flushes.  

This doesn’t happen by accident. It takes cleverly designed algorithms to do the hard work and decide what is useful, and what isn’t.

What is SEO? Image with a magniying glass searching a world map

What influences your SEO ranking?

How highly you rank in the search results depends on these algorithms that we’ve just mentioned. If your content contains many of the features which the algorithms deem important, the higher up the list of search results you will appear and the more likely you are to be seen. But be patient, it takes time for the search engines to index and list new pages!

There are two main types of SEO: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO.

What is On-page SEO?

On-page SEO refers to the factors on your website which affect your ranking. This includes (but not limited to):

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • How fast your pages load (this is a big subject, look out for a future post on this)
  • Up-to-date, unique content. Blog posts are a great SEO tool, enabling fresh, well organised and unique content. Have a look at our blog writing services.
  • The quality of your copy
  • The quality of your website code
  • Use of keywords 
  • The structure of your website
  • How reader-friendly the content is
  • Authority and trustworthiness
  • Relevance to search terms
  • Links (both internal links to other pages on your own site and external links to other websites)
  • URL structure
  • Page metadata

These are also factors which affect the overall quality of your website and the User Experience too, so they’re worth optimising for their own sake, as well as for the sake of SEO. Ultimately, a good User Experience will result in visitors better engaging with your website, and this, in turn, results in better SEO.

What is Off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO is how things external to your website might influence your SEO. One of the biggest Off-page SEO tactics is called backlinks. Backlinks are links within to your website from articles written on other websites. For example, the Moz website will see this link as a backlink!

Off-page SEO is harder to understand and less obvious than on-page SEO, but it’s another way that Google can understand the quality of your content so it can send more visitors that way. 

It’s about how trustworthy you are, whether you’re considered an expert in your field as well as how relevant you are to the search terms. 

It does this by looking at the network of links you have with other websites. If these sites have great authority or are considered trustworthy, you are more likely to be rated higher by Google. 

This also includes social media marketing, guest blogs, mentions, Influencer mentions, online directory listings, anchor text, blog comment signature and forums.

In conclusion

SEO can help you rank higher on Google so you can attract more customers and boost your sales. 

By using a combination of On-site and Off-site SEO you can provide those search engines what they need to point more traffic in your direction and build a loyal fanbase of happy customers. 

If you’d like to know more about how we can make your website shine, please contact us today.