An Introduction to SEO

Digital Web

What is SEO? – SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and it does exactly what you’d expect based on the name. The aim of SEO work is to boost a website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) – such as Google – so they can reach a wider audience. It also benefits the searcher as well, allowing them to find what they’re looking for quicker and more easily.

Ever since people started using search engines, businesses have needed SEO. And with Google receiving over 1.2 trillion searches a year, this isn’t likely to change anytime soon!

Why is SEO so important? – Think about when you search for things on Google. How often do you go to the second page of SERPs when looking for something? How often do you even scroll down past the first couple of results? For most people, the answer is never.

Organic (traffic from search engines) accounts for 53% of a site’s traffic, meaning it’s essential that businesses don’t overlook it. Organic traffic also generally has a higher engagement and conversion rate compared to other channels.

Google generally does a good job of ranking the most relevant pages at the top of search results. This is particularly true for brand terms. If you search for a business or website by name, you can almost always guarantee it’ll show up at the top of the results page. For example, you can rely on eBay showing up at the top of the SERP when you search for ‘ebay’. Only websites with really poor SEO struggle in this area.

Things get a little more murky with non-brand terms. Most businesses want to rank for broader terms than just their business names. This can be tricky, as these terms are generally a lot more competitive. For example, a shoe retailer might want to rank for: ‘buy shoes online’, ‘vintage designer trainers’, and ‘how do I take care of my trainers?’ Meanwhile a dog food brand would be more interested in terms like: ‘healthy dog food’, ‘buy raw dog food online’, and ‘what should i feed my dog?’

The broader the term is, the more businesses want to rank for it. Anyone selling shoes online will want to rank for ‘buy shoes online’, while ‘vintage designer trainers’ will only appeal to a smaller portion, for example.


What does SEO involve? – Generally, SEO is broken down into three key areas. Each of them is important when carrying out a comprehensive strategy, and overlooking one can make the others much less effective.


Content – If you want your website to rank highly for certain keywords, then it makes sense to have content on your website that is targeted towards them. For example, if you search a question in Google, you always expect the top results to answer it directly. So, it’s essential to build out content around your key term and ensure that you use those terms frequently in the headers and the copy.


Technical – While content is focused on the front-end appearance of a site, technical is more the back-end. It’s about addressing the smaller functional errors on the site, such as broken pages (you don’t want visitors to your site to hit a 404 page!) The world of technical SEO is a deep rabbit hole, involving everything from building sitemaps to managing duplicate pages and uploading images in the correct format.


Off-site- These are factors that don’t relate directly to the site itself. The most important factor in this area is backlinks; these are when another website links to your website. The authority of that site can have a significant impact on how Google ranks yours. If it perceives their site as spammy and poorly maintained then it will reflect badly on you, while a well-respected site (think BBC News) will bump up your own through association.


Conclusion – As shown, there’s a lot more to SEO than initially meets the eye – this blog just scratches the surface on the topic. There are also plenty of resources available online where you can learn more about SEO, such as Google’s training courses, or you can get in touch with us directly.


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