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What is SEO?

Learn what is SEO with our easy to follow explanation including hints & tips, and advice...

Sophie Porter 04. Oct 2019 6 minutes
studying analytics

Commonly seen as a complicated ‘dark art’ in website design and digital marketing, we often get asked the question: what is SEO? And our response is always; simple and effective!

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is a way of creating and curating content to ensure your website gets found high up on search engine search results for words and phrases relevant to your field.

What is SEO: an example

When considering what is SEO, the best example to demonstrate this wonderful way of gaining traffic to your website is thus: imagine you run a successful online women’s clothing shop, for argument’s sake (which, if you’re reading this, you may indeed!) – and you want to gain more organic traffic to your web pages…

Start by conducting keyword research - researching common search terms for online women’s clothing shops, for the sake of this example - like ‘buy women’s clothing online’ could be one or ‘ladies clothes online’ could be another. Create a list of these terms, and carefully weave them into your website content - through the way you name your images and videos, to the language you use in your copy. This is the start of SEO!

SEO and content marketing

Of course, this is just the start of SEO; effective and sustainable Search Engine Optimisation goes much deeper than the implementation of keywords and phrases throughout the core pages on your website. 

SEO and SEO marketing is also about making your content work for you both on and off your site; ensuring the content on your website is regularly updated, new, original and fresh, and high authority external websites (such as industry media online publications) are linking back to top performing pages on your site; showing search engines such as Google that your content is relevant and useful to their users. 

In short, it's about creating quality content.

This is SEO and content marketing

And, where today users are bombarded with over 5000 adverts per day, content marketing is your most powerful asset. 

By investing your time in content marketing - writing articles with SEO optimisation in mind about the benefits to the user of your product or service, and putting their interests at the centre of your content - you can easily show both search engines and their users that your website is informative, useful, engaging, and valuable.

Our best advice to you, if you're just starting out, would be to start creating blog posts as part of your website and online activity.

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But wait! SEO is more than blogging

Yes, creating and maintaining a blog is a great place to start your SEO efforts, but search engine optimisation is more than simply blogging and creating a blog is just the start.

SEO is a complex process and search engines take into consideration much more than just the content on your website or the content you successfully place on other websites. Search engines also use lots of important technical elements when deciding how and where to rank your pages, such as: 

  • the speed at which your pages load

  • your meta descriptions and titles

  • the weight and name/alt text of your images

  • bounce rates

  • the architechure of your site and how easy it is for users to use

And much more.

SEO friendly URLs

Another important factor in getting to grips with SEO meaning and how to implement it on your website is ensuring SEO friendly URLs are in place; using your primary keywords and/or keyphrases in your page URL so search engines such as Google can see that everything on those pages - from your URL, to your titles and body text, and even your calls to action, are all relevant and nicely optimised. 

SEO articles

If you know even a little bit about SEO you've probably heard of the term SEO articles which refers to the writing of articles (such as news pieces or blogs) that are optimised specifically for search engines; using keywords and phrases to rank highly. 

But wait! There's more... SEO articles also refer to optimised articles published on external websites that link back to specific pages of your website, transfering something called 'link juice' from a high domain authority site (such as an online media publication) to your website and showing search engines that you're an authoritative voice in your industry and therefore your content is valuable. 

Local SEO

As we become more reliant on our phones and tablets to provide us with immediate information; helping us locate our nearest coffee shops, restaurants or retail shops for example, local SEO has become more and more important - giving rise to tools such as Google My Business and laying even more importance on things like voice search: "Hey siri! Where's my nearest coffee shop?" being just one of many examples of voice powered search. 

Get local SEO right and you'll easily attract passers by, visiting business people, and enthusiastic adventurers into your business. 

Online reviews and SEO

Linked to local SEO, gaining online reviews is also really good for your search engine optimisation efforts; getting realtime customers talking about your business and brand, and reinforcing one of the internet's most powerful tools - social proof. 

The more users are positively talking about you online, the more likely you are to show up on SERPs (search engine page results); the more users will visit your site, and the less likely they are to bounce off and go to your competitors. 

What's more, gain enough online reviews and you can use them on your website, in your PPC campaigns, and on your Google My Business. 

How long does SEO take?

With all of these elements to consider, it should be no surprise that SEO is not a quick fix and, realistically, you should be prepared to wait between 3 and 9 months for your search engine optimisation efforts to really take effect. You should start seeing results after the first 4 to 6 months.

How long does SEO take? Well, it can take a long time, but the end results are certainly worth it. 

Building internal and external links

That’s not all, of course.

When learning about SEO, the next stage is to build in internal and external links to and across your website. “How do you do that?” we hear you ask, as you start getting excited about the prospects and opportunities Search Engine Optimisation can unlock!

Hyperlinks are a great way to do this internally – recognising keywords and keyphrases on pages of your website that could logically link to others on the site.

For example, if you have a sentence in your About page that ends with: ‘women’s size 14 t-shirts in navy blue’, you’d want to link this phrase to an item for sale on a product page of your website that features a women’s navy blue t-shirt, available in size 14.

External linking in SEO and SEO marketing can be a bit trickier, but that’s where experts (just like the Webkick team!) can help.

External linking hinges on your content being so valuable and interesting, so relevant and helpful in your field, that other websites; businesses and media outlets in the industry, want to use it on their sites; making your content sharable and valuable.

You can do this in a variety of different ways; social buttons, tips & advice articles, Q&As… the possibilities for sharable SEO content are endless.

 

Why ignoring SEO will cost you sales

Yes, SEO is a complex and long term solution with lots of different elements to consider, but if you don't invest in SEO and give your website the best chance you can at ranking highly for relevant words and phrases, you run the risk of being invisible to your ideal customer and missing out on those all important sales. 

What's worse is you also run the risk of attracting traffic from irrevelant users and sources; users that have little interest in your product or service, or are not yet ready to buy. 

Invest in SEO, and you're not simply investing in your online presence, you're investing in the growth of your business. 

 

If you still feel confused about SEO and the terminology involved, why not download our free SEO A-Z ebook

So, there you have it! We hope, with this interesting and useful article, we’ve managed to answer your questions on what is SEO.

To start using SEO effectively, give us a call or email us today. And don’t forget to share this article…

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