SEO – you know it’s important. But, do you actually know how to rank higher in search engines? In our beginner’s guide to SEO, we cover everything you need to know.
We are recognised as experts in all things SEO. Sure, we’re not alone in our industry. There are others who claim to rank websites at the top of Google in a matter of days! “Wait, what?” Take it from a marketer (who fully understands the process of optimisation), this is not good practice. We take an organic approach to SEO for rankings that last without having to break the rules.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about search engine optimisation. Our hope for this guide is to steer you towards a natural digital marketing strategy that gets results.
Part 1) What is SEO?
This guide to SEO is an excellent resource for anyone starting off in SEO. Please leave your feedback in the comments and ask any questions!
Search engine optimisation is the process of getting higher in search engine results like Google. For example, let’s say you run a business that sells shoes in London. You’ll want your website to appear for searches like “Womens shoes in London.” If you rank for this phrase you are going to enjoy more website traffic. Typically, people don’t scroll past the first page of Google so having the power of page #1 rankings is going to dramatically boost your sales.
The second option is Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. Here you basically pay for your advert to show up on the first page. Every time someone clicks on your advert, you pay Google. This does not fall under the practice of SEO. However, it’s essential to understand the how this conflicts with organic search. We always recommend SEO as a lasting strategy for increased sales and brand awareness. If you’re looking to promote a product launch or event, and have the budget, PPC is a great alternative.
Part 2) Why do I need SEO?
Having an online presence is going to result in more clients, enquiries and genuine leads. Who doesn’t want that for their business? Traditional marketing involves disruption from your everyday routine – a break for a TV or radio advert. Search engine optimisation focuses only on content that people want to see. Imagine how successful your business could be with a steady stream of online enquiries? Here are some important statistics to show the bigger picture:
- Google currently processes over 66,000 searches every second. Visualise that for a moment. There’s potential to reach so many new customers online. (source)
- 61% of marketers say that improving their online presence is at the top of their marketing strategy. (source)
- Google “near me” searches increased over two times in the 2017. If you’ve got a local business, take note. (source)
Our clients have climbed the search results with the right strategy in place and continue to generate sales because of those results.
Part 3) How Do Search Engines Find Me?
Good question; it’s one many people can’t get a handle on. If you are looking to continually rank higher in search engines, you need to keep Google happy. Google’s search results are based on an algorithm that shows relevant search results. The process goes like this: crawl, index and rank!
Google bots crawl trillions of websites every day – that’s one heck of a job. They follow links to establish which pages are relevant for specific search queries. It’s a pretty extensive process, so you need to stand out in a crowded market. There are over 200 ranking signals Google considers before placing your website in the rankings. While you don’t need to be an expert in algorithms (I’ll let you in on a secret, no one is), you do need to follow best practice to ensure you don’t get hit by a penalty.
Part 4) What factors rank a website?
We’ve reached the exciting part of the article, ranking your business. How does Google rank a website? No one, except for Google’s insider experts, have the answer to this billion dollar question. But, as a top-ranking agency, we come pretty close. Here are some trusted tactics:
1) Link building is perhaps the most debated SEO tactic of all time. Links count as a popularity vote when it comes to SEO. A site talking about you and then “linking” back to your site will improve your rankings. There are countless factors to consider when link building. Generally speaking, the more relevant, authority links you have pointing to your site, the higher in the search engines you will rank.
2) Site speed optimisation is a simple concept. We’ve all been there. A website doesn’t load fast enough; we get bored, then look elsewhere. The slower the site, the higher the bounce rate. What’s more, Google has confirmed it’s a ranking factor!
3) Quality content is more important than ever. Google’s recent core algorithm update focuses on the publication of valuable content. If you are not publishing informative content, then your SEO strategy will fall flat in the long run. Be sure all keywords flow naturally in your content – don’t force them. This way, your content is more likely to be shared by others online.
4) The average first page result contains 1,800 words. We recommend you aim for 1000 words on a page but don’t get too hung up on word count. Avoid padding content out with waffle. If you write a fantastic 1000 words masterpiece with lots of helpful content, where you have included eye-catching images, search engines will prefer this to shorter content. It’s all about finding that balance.
5) Does your website offer the same great experience on mobile, tablet and desktop? If not, make this a priority. Google has stated many times that failure to optimise for mobile search will result in a drop in rankings, especially following mobile-first indexing.
Part 5) How has SEO changed?
So, by now if you’re new to SEO, then your head will be spinning with knowledge. It’s a complicated process – and, we won’t lie, it’s only getting harder. This guide to SEO is just the beginning because Google’s algorithm changes all the time. Working alongside so many clients, we have the unique opportunity to access what works and what most certainly does not.
We have worked in SEO since the inception of the internet. Back then it was so easy to rank a website. Simply identify your keywords, stuff as many of them into your content as possible and point links at them (quality optional.) Those were the days – Google was our best friend.
Today, ranking takes months of hard work, dedication and a constant consideration for regular algorithm updates. No longer can you launch a website and jump to the top of Google in a matter of days. Google’s algorithm is intelligent and will not stand for shortcuts. There have been many Google algorithm updates over the years, but here are some of the most influential: Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird.
Despite all this change going on, the following practices remain:
Technical: Build a fully-optimised website that follows all of Google’s best practices. Use WordPress for a simple content management system that is favoured by search engines.
Content: People want your website to appeal to your customers wants and needs. This guide to SEO is a prime example of quality content marketing – even if we do say so ourselves. It’s informative, clear and concise. It’s optimised for LSI keywords and synonyms like ‘Guide to SEO,’ ‘Google SEO Guide’ and ‘Search Engine Optimisation Tips’ without being spammy.
Links: You need to find a way to get other sites to link to yours. Start by doing a manual search for local directories where you can get a mention for free. Find industry professionals and ask them if you can provide some content for their website. Here you can include a cheeky link. Remember when it comes to content, use anchor text that you want to rank for – not just the usual ‘click here.’ If we wanted to rank this article in the search results, for example, our external links would include a variation of ‘Guide to SEO’ keywords.
Our affordable SEO services get results!
Seeing a return on investment with SEO is easy. Well, it’s easy for a trained professional. However, for a business owner, it’s tedious. We get so many people asking us “how do we make money with SEO?” They are frustrated, which is understandable. Take on SEO alone, and you’re going to struggle. With the backing of a trained SEO agency who dominate the search engines themselves, you are on to a winner. You may even learn something in the process.
You have nothing to lose by enquiring. We are reasonably priced and maintain a strong focus on getting results. Our industry knowledge is some of the best in the business so if you do have questions, ask away. Speak to our experts on 01226 720 755 or send a message via firstname.lastname@example.org.