In the ever-evolving digital landscape, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) stands as a beacon of significance for anyone looking to make their online presence known. Whether you're a business owner, a web developer, or curious about the art of getting noticed on the web, mastering the basics of SEO is your first step towards unlocking the full potential of your online endeavours. After all, if you’re building a website (for yourself or for a customer), you want an audience to see it.
What Is SEO?
Adding to a previous post, understanding how search engines work is at the core of SEO. It is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility so that search engines, particularly Google, who, according to Fit Small Business accounts for 92% of global searches, can understand its relevance and rank it duly in search results. A high-ranking website or web page enjoys greater visibility, more organic traffic, and, because of this, a higher chance of achieving its intended goals, be it informing, entertaining, or selling a product or service.
The Basics of SEO: The Three Pillars
SEO divides itself into three primary pillars, each vital to achieving online success:
On-Page SEO: This pillar revolves around optimising individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page SEO encompasses various aspects, including keyword optimisation, content quality, and technical factors such as meta tags, headings, and image alt tags. It should be the foundation of your SEO strategy.
Off-Page SEO: While on-page SEO focuses on ranking factors within your website, off-page SEO concerns itself with what's happening outside of it. This involves building links to form a strong backlink profile, engaging in social media marketing, and fostering relationships with other websites. Through link building, off-page SEO enhances your website's authority and reputation.
Technical SEO: Technical SEO concerns itself with the "behind-the-scenes" work. This ensures that your website is technically sound when search engine bots come to crawl and index your pages. It includes tasks such as internal linking, optimising page speed, fixing broken links, and making your website mobile-friendly. Technical SEO ensures that your website's infrastructure is in top shape.
The Power of On-Page SEO
In the first of a mini series on SEO basics, let's dive into the world of on-page SEO.
Keywords: The Bedrock of SEO
Keywords are the essence of on-page SEO. These are the specific words or phrases that users type into search engines to find relevant information. For instance, someone looking for a surf school in Perranporth might enter the keyword "surf school Perranporth." Understanding and strategically using these target keywords is key to enhancing your website's visibility.
As a quick anecdote, let's look at the success story of Stoked Surf School, a local business in Perranporth, Cornwall. In their first year a 3rd party company built a brand new website but customers had trouble finding them online. This meant they lost potential visitors and customers. That's when we at SiteJacket took the reins of their website and began an SEO campaign.
One of our primary focuses was optimising their website for keywords like “surf school Cornwall”, “surf lessons Perranporth” & "surf school Perranporth." We used keywords in their meta description, headings and throughout their content to improve their visibility in organic search results. They achieved page one of the search engine results within a couple of months. This was a quick and impressive result.
Helping them rank pages highly on Google meant customers could now easily find them online. This meant a successful and profitable first year for Stoked Surf School.
Content Quality and Relevance
Keywords are not sufficient. When you create content, it should be both valuable and relevant. Google searches pages that are informative and well-organised content that meets user needs. In fact, Google's bots rank websites higher when the content is relevant to the topic and provides value to the reader.
User Experience (UX) Matters
A key aspect of on-page SEO is ensuring that your website provides a seamless and enjoyable experience for your visitors. This includes factors like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and clear navigation. Google rewards websites that make the user's experience a priority.
Mobile friendliness is especially important. According to Exploding Topics, over 55% of internet traffic is from mobile devices. With this in mind, Google changed their indexing of pages back in September 2020 to be “mobile-first”.
Optimising for Conversions
SEO involves more than just increasing website traffic. It also includes achieving specific goals for your website, such as gaining subscribers, selling products, or improving online visibility. Effective calls to action (CTAs) and clear conversion paths are integral components of on-page SEO.
SEO Basics: Conclusion
In our journey through the basics of On-page SEO, we've touched upon the importance of keywords, content quality, user experience, and optimising for conversions. Each of these elements plays a crucial role in enhancing your website's visibility in search engines and, ultimately, your online success.
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