Search engine optimisation is one of the most talked about things in the world of digital marketing. Everyone talks about the need to improve SEO, but do you actually understand what this means? If you don’t, then you’ll find this quick guide extremely useful!
Below, we’ll run through all the main points and help you gain a basic understanding of what SEO is and how it works.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation is a process that takes your website and improves the way it performs in organic search engine results. You create a site that’s search engine friendly, allowing it to rank better and be seen by more users.
How does SEO work?
This is where things get a little bit complicated. There are three main search engines out there; Google, Bing, and Yahoo (though Yahoo is powered by Bing as well). Google is the most popular, but all three will rank a website based on a series of signals – or ranking factors. There are hundreds to go through, so we can’t discuss them all!
However, there is a central theme; search engines primarily look at sites that are relevant to the given search query and can be deemed authoritative sources. They figure this out by sending bots that ‘crawl’ through web pages and store the information in the search engine index – which is basically a colossal database.
So, when someone searches for something, the search engine looks in their index for the most relevant and trustworthy content, then puts all of it order for the user. Essentially, the top results are the ones they think will benefit the user most, and so on.
As such, SEO works by ensuring your website is easy for search engines to crawl, and provides relevant information, keywords, and content for specific search queries. You have to tick off as many ranking factors as possible to soar through the results and find your way near the top.
How do you do SEO?
There are a diversity of activities and things you can do to improve the SEO of your website. Usually, you need to take care of things on your website, and things that aren’t. As such, we split things into onsite SEO and offsite SEO.
What is onsite SEO?
As the name suggests, onsite SEO deals with aspects of your website itself. Primarily, you’re dealing with your web content and changing the way your site is built to make it more user-friendly and improve the relevancy.
You can do a plethora of things to boost onsite SEO, but some of the most important and common include:
- Keyword Research: It’s vital that you use the right keywords on your website to ensure you’re found in the most relevant searches. So, keyword research involves discovering the phrases or words that your target market are likely to use when they search for a site like yours. This way, you know the ideal keywords to place in your content and to target.
- User Experience: This refers to designing your site, so it provides an excellent user experience. You ensure it’s visually pleasing, the pages load quickly, the menus are easy to navigate, and the content provides value.
- SEO Audit: An audit puts your site under the SEO microscope. It looks at all the technical details to ensure that your website can be crawled and indexed. This helps you notice anything that might block search engine bots and prevent you from ranking highly. Plus it identifies areas that could be improved on your site as well.
What is offsite SEO?
Again, the name gives things away; offsite SEO deals with things that aren’t physically on your website. As you’ll see below, there are different ways you can approach offsite SEO. However, one thing remains the same; it’s all about generating links to your web pages.
Consequently, most people refer to offsite SEO as link building. The aim is to build lots of backlinks to your site, from top-quality sources. The benefit of links is that it makes your website look more relevant, while also giving you a sense of authority. If lots of respectable sites are linking to your pages, then surely that means you’re trustworthy and reliable? Search engines certainly seem to believe this, so work on building quality links to your website.
Here are a few popular ways of link building:
- Blogger Outreach: This is where you work with bloggers and produce content for their websites. You make it relevant to their overall brand, and you can link to your site naturally. The bloggers benefit from free content, and you benefit from backlinks.
- Digital PR: Creating PR material is another great way to drive some links to your site. Press releases are a fantastic example; send them to news sites, and they can post stories that link to you.
- Content: Weirdly, one way to encourage offsite link building is to produce content on your website. If you write incredible articles that provide information and benefit others, then people will link to this. Of course, you have to try and market the content to get it out there – social media can be a great way to do this!
Why do you need SEO?
SEO is crucial if you want to improve your organic search ranking on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. The higher up the results you are, the more likely it is that people will click on your website. Most users don’t look any further than the first ten or so results. So, if you’re not in the top rankings on the first page, then you’ll miss out on so much traffic.
So, we hope this clears things up and provide a quick overview of search engine optimisation. There are still so many things we’ve been unable to discuss, such is the depth of this topic! If you want to improve your SEO, then it’s helpful to work with a digital agency. A lot of the activities used in onsite and offsite SEO require technical skills and expertise. At Springer Digital, we’re more than happy to help with all of your search engine optimisation needs.