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    What is SEO? A Beginner’s Guide


    With the multiple buzzwords and acronyms that permeate marketing departments, some of you might be justified for raising a puzzled eyebrow whenever you hear the phrase ‘SEO’ – but it’s a lot simpler than people give it credit for. <!--more--> If you have ever found yourself searching for something online, then you’re already more familiar with the concept than you think.

    What is SEO?

    When searching for what you want online, you will type a word or phrase into a search engine that will best define what you’re looking for. You will then choose the search result that seems most relevant to your query; generally, we will click whatever link resides at the top of the search list. This process is crucial to business sales as it can bring a hoard of web traffic to your website if you are ranking highly for particular search topics.
    SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is the concept of enhancing your website in order to get it to rank higher on search engines for certain keywords or phrases. But how can this be achieved? SEO is just one of the many tactics you can employ within your digital marketing strategy, alongside social media, email, PPC (pay-per-click) and many more!
    There are two different aspects to SEO that you can focus on in order to increase your search engine rankings: Onpage SEO and Offpage SEO.

    Onpage SEO:

    Onpage SEO is related to everything can you do within your own website in order to boost your search engine rankings.
    1. Audit your website
    While it may be tempting to rush into other methods of onpage SEO, you need to make sure the nuts and bolts of your site are in order. To do this, perform an SEO audit of your website. This can be done either by a professional specialist, or by yourself if you are short of funding using tools such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool.  
    2. Optimising your website
    Even the very basics of SEO require a technically sound site. Google retrieves information from a website by a process called crawling. To ensure your site is easy to crawl, be sure to include a sitemap, be conscious of loading times and pay close attention to the sites design so that is provides a stress-free user experience; or UX for short.
    Another great method of optimising your website is internal linking, whereby you are constantly linking to other pages on your website, thus making your site easier to navigate both by its users and for search engines to crawl.
    3. Research & optimise keywords
    You must decide on keywords that summarise the service you provide or the products you offer, but be wary, some keywords will be too competitive to even come close to ranking highly for so think outside the box.
    You will want to include words that have a high volume of search traffic, in order to take advantage of the more people searching for the keyword, but do not have too much competition surrounding them, if you are in a saturated market you are far less likely to rank. You can also combine a lot of low traffic keywords to create a long tail keyword, which can actually help bring in more visitors to your site than high traffic singular keywords. Overall, a mix of both would be beneficial to your SEO strategy.
    Once you have your keywords, be sure to include them within your website in exactly the right places (such as meta tags, headings, alt tags and your page titles) as all of these can be vital in helping increase your search engine rankings.
    4. Creating category content
    A lot of Ecommerce sites don’t realise that if they aren’t including content in their category pages, they are missing out on a huge opportunity to help their pages to rank higher. Rather than simply having your products listed on these pages, you could answer common questions customers may have, describe the different types of products/brands you sell or even call out the more popular brands within that page. Here is a helpful guide on what you do to in order to write great onpage copy.

    Offpage SEO:

    Offpage SEO is related to everything can you do outside your own website in order to boost your search engine rankings.
    1. Link Building
    Before Google started using much more sophisticated algorithms to rank your search results, the primary element for websites ranking highly was links. When a good quality, trusted website (otherwise known as a high domain authority) has a link to your website, it indicates to Google that your site is also to be trusted if you build enough of these trustworthy links. A popular link building tactic is contacting the trusted site directly and asking to write a guest post for them, with a link pointing back to your site.
    2. Content Marketing
    Closely related to link building, this is the concept of crafting brilliant content that your customers will want to interact with. If this content goes viral, for instance, it will be shared regularly and therefore have a plethora of links pointing towards your site. Content can come in many forms whether it be: blogs, videos, images, eBooks or a whole host of other things. Not only will this help you in an SEO sense, but if your content is constantly enriching your customer base, you are more likely to get their repeated business as you will have gained their trust - as well as the trust of the search engines!
    3. Customer Reviews
    It’s no secret that customers are becoming more and more wary about what they are purchasing over the internet, so they are therefore doing more research than ever before they commit to buying anything. If your customer base can find a trusted review of your product/service that recommends it then you will have gained their trust. Reviewing websites such as Trustpilot, Amazon or Tripadvisor are a good place to start, though you can also ask bloggers to also review what you offer.
    4. Link Bait
    Similar to link building, if you are producing one-of-a-kind content within your website then it is likely other sites will want to link to it. Conversely, if you have copied somebody else’s content from their website be sure to include a link to their website for reference. This sharing of content will help to increase the popularity of your links.

    At Yoma, the SEO Liverpool experts, we are fully equipped to answer any of your questions regarding digital marketing, so should you have any more questions regarding SEO or any aspect of digital marketing feel free to contact us to discuss it further.