What is SEO?
What is SEO and how can it help your business?
Do you want to understand what is SEO and how it works? Looking to learn about SEO and how to apply it for your own business? Trying to get your website to number 1 on Google?
For a business looking to start building their website or increase their visitors, SEO or Search Engine Optimisation can feel rather overbearing and too technical.
That is the reason we have prepared this comprehensive guide for you on “What is SEO”? Reading through, you will gain quality insights into some aspects that goes into SEO and how you – especially if you are a small business, can make the most of SEO to your advantage.
Do NOT Fret!
Businesses, especially ones that are just starting off, are often apprehensive about the way they would handle the entire SEO process. They are especially concerned about costs associated with SEO for their business website. These concerns are accentuated when they consider the prospect of having to hire an SEO specialist.
In this article, we explain both scenarios, whether you choose to hire an external professional entity (like us) or prefer to have an in-house SEO specialist, perhaps even doing things all by yourself.
When looking at SEO, costs alone shouldn’t be your only concern but instead you should focus more on your ROI (return on investment). Once you look at things this way, you will see that SEO is more of a long term investment rather than an expense.
After all, if the effort and costs put into SEO at your business lead to dramatically higher rankings on Google, with quality traffic coming in by the droves – and a large increase in sales, your desired end objective has clearly been achieved!
OK, So What is SEO?!
Let’s start with the definition of SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. The primary objective of SEO is to rank well (page 1) on popular search engines like Google for keywords that are relevant to your business.
So, let’s say you are a freshly minted tattoo parlour owner in Birmingham, eager to ink away on newfound customers. Or perhaps you’ve just set up shop as a cupcake business in Wolverhampton and can’t wait to treat customers to your delicious delights!
In each instance, it is apparent that customers won’t be aware of your business as there will already be established websites that will rank in Google a lot higher than your new website. You need to put in appropriate effort towards spreading the word about you and the business you are running.
Sure, you can do so in various ways (such as Social Media Marketing or PPC) but the difference that quality SEO makes is simply immeasurable.
Let’s say you put in adequate effort towards ensuring that obvious search terms like “tattoo parlour Birmingham” or “best tattoo parlour in Birmingham” are included in your website content, in the first instance. Or in the second instance, you want to rank for popular cupcake variants like “red velvet cupcakes” or “ice cream sundae cupcakes” and so on; for that you ensure that requisite search terms are present in your website content.
The key to understand here is that SEO focuses on driving traffic via high rankings on search engines. This is organic, unpaid, traffic where potential customers find your website by searching in Google or Bing. Whereas, PPC advertising involves you paying per click for your website to appear at the top of Google.
Is it only about website content?
Largely yes, but entirely no. When it comes to SEO, there are multiple elements where you can ensure the inclusion of appropriate search terms.
For example, every image that you put up on your website can have a description via image tags with desired keywords (but again this must be relevant to the image to avoid ‘keyword stuffing’). Likewise, there is the “Meta Description” of each page, which serves as a summary of your page content. Historically used by search engines for ranking but now have an impact on your click through rate as these are what is displayed in the Search results.
Backlinks, which are links from other high-ranking DA or Domain Authority sites play a vital role when it comes to overall ranking on search engines. A link from another website, tells search engines that they trust your website and are willing to send their visitors to you. Gaining backlinks from high authourity websites can help boost rankings.
The overall design and layout of your website also has a crucial impact on the way search engines perceive it to be relevant to search terms being used. The quicker your website loads and the more user friendly it is (both on desktops and mobiles) can affect how you rank in Google.
Does all this sound too technical or complex to you?
Don’t worry; at Purple Penguin we will be more than happy to bring you up to speed on all of this and more.
What exactly do Search Engines do?
Search engines crawl all and every website they can find. Analysing it and trying to figure out what the website is about and who would it be relevant to. Each website is stored and the search engine tries to determine its relevance to various search terms and phrases. As a matter of fact,
This pattern of behaviour also allows search engines to group similar websites and their businesses together. For instance, a search of “best roofing company in Birmingham” is likely to throw up a number of reputable roofer companies in the city. This kind of grouping is a major value-add for search engine users who can make the best choice for themselves out of the options that appear on-screen.
Your takeaway from this
Your takeaway from this is to ensure that you find prominence among similar groupings. Thus, any search around “cupcakes in Birmingham” should throw up your business, along with others – and not only when users are searching for “cupcake varieties”. Detailed keyword research allows you to pull together a list of “phrases” that potential customers would search when looking for your business. You can then start to build content around these phrases.
At the same time, you should not lose sight of more targeted searches like “cupcake varieties”.
Thus, when it comes to SEO, the more relevant keywords you are able to target – and rank for effectively, the more relevant traffic you will drive to your website.
This will really be the biggest value-add or benefit that comes out of all the effort that you put in towards SEO on your website.
How do I SEO?
Now that you have a good understanding of the basics of SEO, it is time to progress towards its implementation. After all, now you are raring to put things in motion!
SEO in action has multiple elements. We will look at them one-by-one below:
Content will always be the Numero Uno force behind ALL your SEO efforts. Everything aside, it is the content on your website which will truly determine the extent to which it ranks well for relevant searches.
Content helps search engines guage your website and how relevant it is to someone carrying out a search. Quality, helpful and relevant content can help you move up the ranks in Google.
Website content can take on a variety of different forms, such as:
- EBooks and Whitepapers
- Immersive video content
- Blog posts
- In-depth articles such as this one
- Social media content
- Audio recordings such as podcasts which are increasingly gaining traction
- Visual content such as infographics
On the content front, aspects that we would like to touch upon include:
Blending in Well-Researched Keywords
First and foremost, a well-done SEO campaign involves researching the requisite keywords thoroughly. While Google’s own Keyword Research Tool Planner is very handy, it is definitely not the only one in the market. Besides, you want to ensure that you rank well across all search engines and not just Google, even if the latter dominates the landscape by far. Effective keyword research involves more than just using tools, you need to dig down to understand which keywords can convert and understand the intent of the person searching.
Once the right keywords have been identified, it is about blending them naturally into your content, without just stuffing them in. Keyword stuffing can work against a website so ensure that the content is relevant, readable and natural.
Your content has to be unique. There can be no compromise whatsoever on this front.
Take this page as an example; you will NOT find the content here anywhere else on the Internet. Duplicate content, or just copying and pasting content from another website onto your website will not help your website and can infact negatively affect your rankings.
Search engines not only rank duplicate content poorly, they can end up penalising it by not ranking such content at all; not to mention extreme cases where you can end up with legal consequences of plagiarised content.
Thus to drive home and reemphasise this point, ensure that your content is unique and 100% original.
Beyond originality, a key differentiator for content to be prized by search engines is the value that it offers. Let’s take a simple example of a pet store that you run in Wolverhampton. By offering genuinely valuable content around upkeep of pets dear to folks in the area, you can ensure that search engines rank your pet store highly for various relevant searches.
Quality of Writing
Search engines do value the quality of writing on websites. Poorly written content which is riddled with grammatical or spelling errors, or has factual inconsistencies galore is likely to rank poorly on search engines. Therefore, do put in reasonable effort into the quality of writing on the content front.
While a lot of content – upkeep of pets in the instance we cited above for example, does tend to be evergreen in nature; quite a bit of it is not. Content which is topical in nature – perhaps related to an occurrence such as a sporting event quickly loses its sheen once the occasion is over.
A simple yet powerful example would be the Olympics – notwithstanding the grandiosity of the quadrennial event, searches for it wither away dramatically as soon as the Olympics are over.
To give you a different example, content of technical nature tends to get stale really fast, given the speed with which technology evolves.
Therefore, do keep this in mind, while planning the content on your website, with SEO in mind.
Overall, refreshing and sprucing up your content, even if it is evergreen in nature, definitely has a positive impact on SEO.
Related to this is adding fresh content on an on-going basis. Remember that search engines value active sites. Even if it is just your business website where basic facts and figures such as who the owners are, what the business does, and so on, remain the same, it is important to keep adding novel content periodically. An intuitive way to do so is by adding pertinent blog posts from time to time.
Broken links, anywhere on your website, have a negative impact on the ranking of your website. This is an aspect you must double-check from time to time.
Broken links can stop search engine crawlers in their tracks and not index all of your pages. Broken links can also put off visitors on your website if they keep browsing to pages that don’t exist. They’ll most likely click off your website and end up on your competitors website.
Besides the invaluable element of content, the design of your website plays a vital role in the way it ranks on search engines. As a corollary, poorly designed websites tend to rank…well, poorly!
While there are a number of aspects related to design which may extend well beyond the overall scope of this write-up, things you can look into:
A professional layout with easy navigation between pages.
- A reasonable colour scheme which is not too tacky. Yes, this is subjective, but you can always consult experts (like us!) on this.
- Stuffing your website with ads – even if they are your primary source of revenue is always a BAD idea.
- In today’s day and age, not optimising your website design for mobile devices would tantamount to being a criminal offense! (OK, not so, but you get the drift). The majority of web users are now on mobiles or tablets so by if your website doesn’t display correctly on these devices, you could potentially lose a lot of business.
- Excessive use of Flashy content, other Graphics, popups, etc. is really a no-no these days.
- Reams and reams of text that isn’t broken up into paragraphs with headings are not advisable.
Some Technical Aspects around SEO
In this section, we touch upon some important technical aspects around SEO. Don’t worry; there’s nothing here that even a lay person cannot do. But, if you do find the following too technical, you can always hire an SEO Agency such as Purple Penguin
Adding a Title Tag is very helpful. In just about 70 characters or so, it tells search engines exactly what your site is all about.
You might recall that we touched upon this previously. In a nutshell, this is crisp information which quickly tells search engines basic information about your website. Since this can be added for each page, you can have Meta Descriptions for every web page.
Yes, these are similar to Title Tags but the difference lies in greater detail which can be added in Meta Descriptions, especially the possibility of including appropriate keywords which you are hoping to rank your website and/or individual web page(s) for.
Headings and Sub-Headings
Throughout this piece, you surely would have noticed the presence of multiple H2 and H3 Headings and Sub-Headings. These are very helpful in breaking down content into easily digestible chunks. This also allows the creation of Indexes/ Table of Contents which readers and search engines can easily gloss over to get a sense of all the content which lies ahead of them.
Such Headings and Sub-Headings also allow you to incorporate keywords into them, which is really great for SEO.
Internal linking is a vital element of SEO. As you continue to grow the entire repertoire of content on your website, make sure that you link to articles, blogs, or any other section which is relevant to the content you are creating. You can use the links to create a structure to indicate to Google which pages are more important based on different services. Done correctly, this help boost your website in SERPs.
We did touch upon this previously; to reiterate, image descriptions along with their ALT Tags that include pertinent keywords are especially useful in SEO endeavours.
Also, ensure the images are optimised for website speed.
Clearly, there is SO MUCH that goes into SEO.
With this page, we have tried to present a number of invaluable titbits of information that together render SEO a whole lot easier to grasp as well as to undertake on your website.
Whether you choose to do that on your own or prefer to hire an SEO Agency is a call that only YOU can take.
In the majority of instances, we have found that business owners prefer seeking help from professionals like us; SEO is a complex and time consuming process. Outsourcing it allows you to focus on what’s important, which is running your business rather than getting bogged down with the nitty gritty aspects of your website.
If you’re not happy with your Search Engine rankings then feel free to contact us so we can bring more relevant organic traffic to your website.
Ready To Start
Your Next Project?
Contact us now to see how we can Increase your Sales
Purple Penguin provide digital marketing services across the West Midlands. Being an SEO agency in Wolverhampton and Birmingahm, we help increase leads and sales on websites. Our services include - SEO, PPC, Social media, content marketing and website design.