SEO

What is SEO and why is it so important?

SEO 101

SEO is the scientific art of answering all of the searchers’ questions so well that they don’t need to return to Google for another answer.  

SEO in a nutshell

  • SEO is making optimisations to increase the quantity and quality of traffic a website receives from organic search engine results. 
  • SEO is not just about search engines, it’s about people too. Understanding what your audience is searching for and the type of content they want to consume.
  • SEO is about knowing your audience’s intent and delivering it in a way that search engine crawlers can find and understand through ongoing optimisations.

SEO strategy in 5 steps

1. Performance review

Review your goals and core metrics to ensure you have a full picture of how SEO optimisations have impacted traffic to your website over the course of the last 3-12 months.

2. Keyword research

Search trends aren’t stagnant! It’s imperative that keyword rankings are reviewed alongside your keyword research at least once every 90 days, this will allow you to identify new keyword opportunities for your website.

3. Competitor landscape

Take the time to evaluate and understand your competitor’s SEO positioning. What are they doing well? What are they doing wrong? How can you learn from them?

4. Content review

You might not always need new content… Review and optimise existing content for quicker results and a better ROI on your SEO efforts. Keyword research will reveal any areas you need new content for.

5. Technical SEO

Backend issues can affect your sites performance and speed – two things Google’s algorithm looks at to rank content

Understanding SERP - A quick exercise

1. Head to Google Search

2. Choose any website and enter the following into the search bar: Site:[your website URL] 

3. How many results did the search return?

4. How quickly did Google process your search query?

5. Quickly browse 1-3 results, what type/formats of content are ranking? 

Google results

“SEO: You won’t earn it, unless you OWN IT.”

SEO may be considered an owned channel in the marketing mix, but you need to earn trust from search engines by showing them that your website content is valuable, credible and useful.

The basics - understanding search engines

A search engine is simply an answer machine. The process of ‘crawling’ and ‘indexing’ is the search engine discovering and categorising content. Search engines ‘rank’ content by how well it matches a query.  There are over 200 Google ranking factors and results are then displayed in SERP.

The basics - onsite & offsite SEO

Onsite SEO

Optimise certain elements of your web pages so that search engines are able to crawl and understand the content and structure of your website. The more information and data they can get from your site (and how efficiently), the greater are your chances of ranking higher in their index. On-page factors are considered the most important in SEO because the on-page elements are what users engage with the most.

 

Off-page SEO

“Off-page SEO” refers to all of the activities that you and others do away from your website to raise the ranking of a page with search engines. Links to your website act as a vote of trust, other tactics like, influencer outreach, and content marketing can also improve how authoritative Google sees a website. Off-page SEO helps build a website’s recognition and domain authority. Off-page SEO is about signalling to search engines that your content is valuable, credible and useful.

The basics - ranking factors

Consider this a whistle-stop tour of Google ranking factors… (this would be a pretty long article if we listed out 200+ factors!)

Off-page ranking factors:

Off-page SEO factors are being measured elsewhere from your site and determine site trustworthiness:

  • Backlinks
  • NAP citations (local SEO)
  • Brand mentions
  • Google my Business
  • Reviews
  • Social signals
  • Anchor text

 

On-page ranking factors:

These on-page SEO factors are related to the keywords and informational quality of your pages:

  • Quality content tailored to intent
  • Title tag (+ Meta description)
  • Header tags (H1, 2 etc.)
  • Internal links
  • Schema markup
  • Accessibility 
  • Site architecture

Technical ranking factors:

Technical SEO ranking factors are related to site and page performance and user experience:

  • Site speed (+ Core Web Vitals)
  • XML sitemap
  • Robots.txt
  • Site security
  • Image optimisation
  • Mobile optimisation
  • Code & crawl errors

Off-page ranking factors - backlinks

Backlinks are links from one website to a page on another website. Search engines consider backlinks “votes” for a specific page. Pages with a high number of backlinks tend to have high organic search engine rankings.

On-page ranking factors - heading tags

Header tags are HTML tags that tell a browser what styling it should use to display a piece of text on a webpage. HTML header tags follow a hierarchy, from <h1> to <h6>.

  • H1 tags are used to denote the most important text, such as the main theme or title of a content
  • H2 and H3 tags are commonly used as subheadings
  • Finally, H4, H5, and H6 tags may be used to provide further structure within those subsections

Technical ranking factors - image optimisation

Image optimisation creates many advantages such as better user experience, faster page load times, and better keyword rankings. Images are returned by Google for 34% of search results (source Econsultancy), so optimising them on your website is not only benefiting users, it’s benefiting your website’s search potential.

  • Optimise images for speed by compressing them
  • Include descriptive titles, captions, filenames, and text for images
  • Use descriptive alt text for accessibility
  • Ensure images are responsive for mobile-friendliness

Hello keywords!

Building a keyword strategy means research is a must, consider how the keywords you choose to optimise your website for can build authority around a specific topic.

The metrics:

Search volume – The higher the number of monthly searches for a keyword, or around a topic, determines how much traffic you could drive to your website by ranking for them. 

Keyword difficulty – How competitive the keywords you are trying to rank for is important, it will indicate the tactics you will need to use in your SEO strategy and help you to set long term goals.

Search intent – What is the purpose of the user’s search? And what can that tell us about the type of content we need to publish and therefore rank for the relevant keywords…

Keyword strategy - by user intent

Navigational

The user wants to find a specific page or site. They are dominated by branded keywords.

Informational

The user wants to answer a specific question. 

Transactional 

The user wants to complete an action (conversion). 

Commercial 

The user wants to discover a new brand or product.

Structuring content for SEO - wireframing

What is wireframing?

Wireframes allow designers to plan user flows and overall aesthetics, while they allow developers to concentrate on the functionality of a website. For SEOs, wireframing can help you plan optimised on-page elements as well as opportunities for generating leads, conversions, and interlinking.

Page structure for SEO - annotating your wireframe

An ideal web page should do all of the following:

  • Be clearly relevant to a specific topic 
    • Include keyword in title tag
    • Include keyword in URL
    • Include keyword in image alt text
    • Specify subject several times throughout content using related keywords
  • Provide unique content about a given subject
  • Be linked to and from the relevant pages on your website
  • Link back to its homepage

Core metrics - what do these mean?

Not all KPIs and SEO success metrics are created equal. Though Google has approximately 200 ranking factors in their algorithm, some are more important than others. To ensure that you move the needle with your organic search performance, it’s important to focus on metrics that deliver the greatest impact.

We hope you have found this blog useful - now it's your turn to OWN IT

Here are some helpful resources:

UberSuggest – for free keyword research and domain analysis

Semrush buyer personas – build unlimited buyer and user personas for free

Google Trends – explore trending searches and topics

Exploding Topics – build unlimited buyer and user personas for free

Headshot of article authour

Autumn Blakeman

Senior eCommerce Account Executive

Autumn Blakeman

Author

Autumn Blakeman

Senior eCommerce Account Executive