SEO Basics: The Definitive Guide (2022)

Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

In this beginner’s guide to the basics of search engine optimisation (SEO), we will explore all the factors that need to be looked at to help improve a website’s performance in search results. By the end of this guide you should have a strong understanding of the SEO basics to help you start looking at the fundamentals of SEO on your website. We have also linked to our detailed guides on each of the SEO factors to help you learn more. Now lets begin learning about SEO!

What is Search Engine Optimisation and Why is it Important?

Seo Basics Guide

Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO for short) looks at making your website more friendly for search engines in order to get your content ranked in search results, to increase traffic to your site to ultimately increase your businesses enquiries, sales, leads and traffic.

With so many people using search engines to find content, making sure that your website is performing to its best ability in search is essential to help you get more sales and leads for your business.

SEO is an important for your business to consider, as you could be missing out on customers in your local area from purchasing from your business as they can’t find you in search results. SEO isn’t for anyone who wants quick results as it takes time to build trust and authority with search engines until you get results.

Therefore, if a business is looking for a quick way to generate sales and leads, SEO isn’t a great digital marketing strategy due to the amount of time needed to focus specifically on this. If you want quicker results, Google offers paid advertising through their Google Ads platform that will enable you to get results quickly – but this does come at a price!

Keyword Research Basics

Keyword Research

Keyword Research is an essential part for any SEO strategy, as this will help you to decide what content you need written for your site, to help you get the best results from your SEO campaign.

If you’re website has little authority then looking at targeting long-tail keywords for example: ‘can meditation make you smarter’ instead of targeting the keyword ‘meditation’ as the long-tail keyword will be easier for your website to rank, and will enable you to generate authority to help increase your performance in more short-tail keywords like ‘Meditation’.

When deciding what keywords you should target with your website, there are a few factors that you need to know about to help you get the most out of your keyword research, these are:

  • Search Volume – this tells you how much a specific keyword is searched each month, this can help you to understand what keywords are getting the most searches. The more people searching for a keyword per month, the more visibility your business will get!
  • Relevance – this is a really important factor to consider, as some keywords may not be completely relevant to the products or services your business provides.
  • Competition – this enables you to see how competitive a specific keyword is, when starting off you need to find keywords that have low competition, as these will be more easier for you to rank before and then you can start looking at targeting more competitive keywords – this also connects with Search Volume as when starting you want to find keywords that have low competition but high search volume, this will then help you to reach more people in search results as you’ll be able to more easily target these keywords and you will get more visibility.

There are some great FREE keyword research tools you can use to help you with your keyword research including Google’s Keyword Planner which is available in the Google Ads platform.

You can find out more about keyword research by reading our keyword research guide.

On-Page SEO Basics

Seo Basics

Once you have completed your keyword research and know what keywords you want to target with the content on your website, you will now need to have a look at optimising your pages for these keywords.

However, you do need to make sure that you are not keyword stuffing as this won’t help with your performance in search results, as search engines like Google will see this as spam content and will not show your content in search results as much as it would if your content was not keyword stuffed.

The main aspect you want to look at for on-page optimisation is:

  • Heading tags – including your main keyword for your page in your H1 tag (this is the main tag on a page, and your page should only have one H1 tag) and also including the other keywords you want to target on that page in your other heading tags (H2, H3, H4, etc.) also make sure that you have a logical structure of your heading tags.
  • First 100 words of the content – make sure that your keyword is in the first 100 words of the content
  • Image alt tags and Image file names – both your image file names and alt tags should include your keyword
  • URLs and Permalinks – include your keyword in the page URL
  • Meta Title / Title Tag – include your keyword at the start of your meta title
  • Meta Description – include your keyword in your meta description, and also make sure you include a clear call to action
  • Anchor text – this is the text you use when linking to a specific page so if your homepage links to your specific keyword targeted page make sure that the text that is linked includes your main target keyword.

Off-Page SEO Basics

Seo Blog

A factor that has been really important in SEO is looking at off-page SEO which looks at gaining backlinks from other websites that show search engines that your website is trustworthy.

The most important part of off-page SEO is that you DO NOT BUY BACKLINKS as this goes against Google’s guidelines – if Google finds out this can result in manual actions resulting in your website not performing as well in search, or even your website being removed from Google search results.

Here’s a few factors to consider when looking at off-page SEO:

  • Backlinks from authoritative websites – Examples of authoritative websites include: Universities, and Government websites
  • Social Media – posting on your social media can help with your SEO
  • Guest Blogging – getting in front of your target audience by writing for other websites and then these people may look you up online and find your business.

Technical SEO Basics

Technical Seo

Technical SEO looks at optimising your website for search engines to help them to more easily discover and crawl your website, this can help improve your website’s performance dramatically in search results. There are many factors that go into looking at Technical SEO some factors are more important than others.

Here’s a few factors to consider when looking at technical SEO:

  • Making sure your website is crawlable – If your website isn’t crawlable by search engines like Google then your website isn’t going to be listed in search results, to check if your website is being crawled by Google you can use the site: search operator, by just entering site:yourdomain.com and then searching this, this will then pull through a list of all the content on your website that is ranked in search results
  • Looking at redirecting 404 errors and fixing broken links on your site – This is good for both search engines and users as they won’t be presented with a 404 error, redirecting 404 errors to other relevant content on your site is best practice. There are many tools that you can use to find broken links on your site, and also find 404 errors – one being within the Crawl Stats section of Google Search Console
  • Improving your internal linking – adding relevant links to your content can help visitors to your site and search engines to discover other useful content on your website.

Local SEO Basics

Seo Blog

Local SEO is the process of optimising your website for local searches such as ‘Accountants in Liverpool’ to help your business get in front of customers who are looking for a business just like yours in their local area.

Here’s a few factors to consider when looking at off-page SEO:

  • NAP – Short for Name, Address and Phone Number – Making sure that these are consistent across your website, Google Business listing, and any directory listings is essential for ranking in local searches.
  • Local Landing Pages – Having landing pages on your site for specific keywords normally ‘Service in Location’ with clear call to actions to increase sales and leads.
  • Get your business listed on directory sites – This is a large factor for local search – making sure your business is listed on trusted directory sites such as Yelp, Yell, and ThomsonLocal will help with your rankings and also will help you get more visibility with people searching on these sites for businesses just like yours.
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