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Understanding the basics of SEO

A 5 minute read

SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimization, doesn’t have to be daunting and challenging.

Yes, there’s a lot to understand and get done, and SEO takes time and effort to show results, but once you get started you’ll see some initial wins and the quicker you get going the sooner you will start seeing long-lasting results.

The basics of SEO will help you understand how to get started and focus on the initial things you need to do to help rank your website for your target keywords.   But to have a sustained impat you need to understand and pay attention to all of the different SEO and ranking factors that will impact your search engine result pages ranking. The purpose of this blog is therefore to help you understand the basics of SEO.

On-site (on page) SEO

To help you understand what on-site SEO is, let’s share a simple example. While building a house, you know for a fact that the foundation of the house has to be in good condition. Otherwise, you will soon start seeing a lot of issues, no matter how beautiful the interior decoration is. The same rule can be applied to SEO as well.

Your initial focus should be the foundation of your website. The foundation of your website will comprise of elements such as site structure, speed and performance, content, accessibility, internal link architecture, sitemaps and URL structure. Now, don’t feel intimidated by these technical terms. There are many sites that can run an SEO audit for you free which will give you a decent understanding of any technical issues or problems with your site that need to be improved.

One of the key things is that the site should be fast loading and mobile friendly as a standard.

Focus on unique website content

Once your website’s foundation is on track, the next thing to focus on is building unique, good quality website content that is relevant to your target audience. Maybe consider creating a blog too to keep the site fresh and regularly updated.

Your website should be free from unnecessary and duplicate content. These factors will affect the ranking of your website on search engine results. One common mistake that businesses often make it having the same content for multiple level pages.

Let’s say you are a window cleaning business. You offer your services in a different city. This might make you feel that having the same content for all the cities will do no harm, but Google, unfortunately, can detect this as a duplicate content.

Title tags

A title tag will be required for each website page that you have. The title tag should include a keyword and is also an essential component of your website for SEO purposes, as this is what Google bots will be searching for when crawling your site. 

While choosing a title tag, you need to decide carefully what should be included in it, keeping in mind the actual business focus. For example if you’re a local business then include the city name in the title tag. This technique will definitely help you to score better on search engine result pages. 

Backlinks

If you didn’t know already, Google’s algorithm pays a lot of attention to backlinks. Once you are done with your website, and you are sure that your website’s structure is solid, think about acquiring quality backlinks. A backlink is nothing but a hyperlink; once someone clicks on it, it will take them to your website.  Quality of backlinks is always better than quantity – don’t take shortcuts in this regard.

Digital PR

If you want to acquire authoritative backlinks, then you need other websites to talk about your site as well that, too, on a consistent basis. This is how you generate good backlinks. If you succeed in acquiring at least three to four backlinks high quality, high domain authority every month, you will soon see SEO ranking improvements.

Remove spammy (toxic) backlinks

We have already shared how important backlinks are, but you should also pay attention to not having any spammy or toxic backlinks. There are online tools that will tell you if you have any toxic backlinks that need to be disavowed.  But you can also see this on your Google Search Console (GSC) by visiting the ‘Search Traffic’ section.

Local SEO

If you are a local company, you must improve your local SEO. Your Google My Business (GMB) page should be your go-to place for local SEO. If you are not yet listed on Google My Business, our recommendation is to start building your profile asap. Ensure your page has all the information about your business, such as contact information, address, and name. Photos should be up to date. Always be proactive about the reviews you receive and respond.

Local business listing

Google will give preference to local businesses who they trust.  Your local business listing will have an online profile of your company with essential information like your phone number, address, business name, working hours, and so on. There are numerous quality directories and websites that allow local business owners to create a profile for free so it’s worth researching this too.

 

There are a multitude of factors that Google and other search engines look for when deciding how to rank your website.  Your website needs to be technically sound, perform well and content needs to be of good quality and relevant to users. Get it right and over time you’ll see the fruits of your labour in increased search engine rankings and organic traffic.

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