Within this guide you will discover and learn about the fundamentals of search engine optimisation, and find the reasons why SEO is vital for your business.
December 28, 2022
Read in 15 mins
If you’re looking for quick answers, use our jump links to find the answers to your questions quickly! If not, sit back and enjoy our full post.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising your website for search engines and users. Essentially it’s the discipline of increasing both the frequency and quality of users to your website, through organic search results (non-paid). In terms of what this means for businesses? This can be simply explained as a long term business strategy, which is a fantastic avenue for increasing sales and brand awareness.
SEO is so important because 93% of online experiences start with a search engine, and with over 4.57 billion users accessing the internet, what better place to showcase your business to relevant users searching for your products and services?
SEO is also one of the only digital marketing channels that can continue to perform in years to come – when optimised correctly! For example, if you provide users with compelling and engaging content, that is well researched and optimised for search engines, your traffic can substantially increase over time, whereas other marketing channels including social and paid require continuous funding to establish qualified traffic to your website.
But first, you are wondering, ok… I now understand what SEO is and why it’s so important, but how do I do SEO?
Founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin has created his very own SEO based theory called “Mozlow’s hierarchy of SEO needs”. This perfectly explains a set of basic needs for any successful search engine strategy, as similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you can’t achieve the needs at the top without ensuring fundamental needs at the bottom are met first.
as the saying goes
“Love doesn’t matter if you don’t have food”.
The diagram shows that the foundation of any successful SEO strategy is crawl accessibility; as ultimately compelling content and on-page optimisations do not matter if we cannot get the fundamentals right.
Then as we move up the pyramid, this highlights how we can improve keyword rankings and website competitiveness.
Crawl accessibility relates to the way in which a search engine can discover and index your web page in search engine results pages.
But how do search engines do this? Via web crawlers and bots whose aim is to ‘crawl’ (follow) links on the web with a goal in mind to index – but only if the pages provide good value!
When completing SEO audits at Onelink, a frequent problem we can encounter is crawlability issues. This is where various sections of the website cannot be accessed via search engines, and worst case scenario entire websites! This causes implications for websites, as Google and other search engines are unable to discover and index all your businesses hard work. Regular issues that we encounter when it comes to crawl accessibility are;
Onelink recommends utilising a tool such as Sitebulb or Screaming frog in order to identify any crawl issues.
Now that search engines can access your website and crawl content efficiently, the next step is to ensure your website has compelling and expert content.
SEO based content, is content created with the objective of attracting search engine traffic. There are various forms of content that your website should communicate (product / services pages, articles, FAQs & more), as ultimately the aim of any website should be the ‘one stop shop’ for products, services and information within your industry. Not only does this ensure a great customer experience, but it readily allows search engine crawlers to identify context, relevancy, expertise.
If you’re reading this, you have probably produced digital content before, hoping and praying that it somehow magically ranks. But now it’s time to commit and become methodical with your content creation to ensure content you are writing is firstly demanded, and secondly caters to your target market.
It’s very important to consider these key four steps for any content strategy to ensure your content is compelling;
Ensure that your content is inline with search-based guidelines, we recommend familiarising yourself with two of google’s guidelines including E-A-T and YMYL.
Keyword optimisation is the process of ensuring keywords are included within your content to enhance the pages ability to rank. It’s important that comprehensive keyword research is completed at the start of your SEO strategy, as this will be fundamental in ensuring that your content, and content calendars are relevant for your target audience. In order to ensure that content your writing is relevant and demanded by your potential customers, Onelink suggests to complete research for both informational and commercial queries.
Many people mistakenly think that if you include a keyword within your page’s content X times, you will automatically rank for it. Although Google does look for keywords and relevance within your content, the page itself has to add true value. If a page is of true value, this will often be written in a very natural, educational and professional way, it won’t sound like it was written by a robot!
An over-optimised web page can be defined as “keyword stuffed”. This means that the page is no longer natural, and in turn does not add value to the user; due to so many mentions of keywords that the page is attempting to rank for. There are various ways pages can be keyword optimised and when optimising a page you should pay close attention to;
User experience is the art form of ensuring that your website is simple and easy for users. By providing users with a seamless, quick experience on your website they will take action much quicker.
One way this can be achieved is having a clear and obvious website navigation menu, ensuring that all the relevant and important content you want your users to see can be accessed from any page on the website. However, it’s important to include other forms of navigation. This can be in-text links, which encourage a user to take action while they read, or even having links to other pages on your website.
Here is an example from ASOS. They understand their audience and have created different menu sections per each gender, clearly breaking up the content. However within their actual page copy, they include internal links to other areas of the site, as well as providing image links in a column to the right of the page. All of this creates a seamless experience for the user, giving the user clear paths and opportunities to access different areas of the website.
However, it’s not just about navigation. A key ranking factor in SEO is site speed. Did you know, if a page loads within two seconds, the average bounce rate is 9%, while pages that load longer than 10 seconds can have a bounce rate of 60%+.
That means that if your website loads slowly, over half of your users landing from organic search are leaving your website instantly. Think about it, would you wait 10 seconds for a web page to load? Probably not, and neither will your users. With the launch of Google’s core web vitals site speed will only become more important, so it’s about time you fix your site if it loads slowly.
On the topic of site speed, it’s important that your website is responsive. This means that your pages function and load on desktop, mobile and tablet. This is especially important because googlebot crawl mobile index first, so your website must be responsive to mobile. Given that the majority of users use 3G, 4G and in some cases 5G connections via mobile, having a fast loading site is imperative.
One way you can easily increase your websites authority naturally is by providing users with expert, unique content which meets the guidelines from Google’s E-A-T (expertise, authority, trust) algorithm update. Whatever you do, don’t copy content from anywhere, the algorithm of search engines will de-rank your website for plagiarism.
This is also the case for your own site, try not to duplicate content across multiple pages, not only does this suggest lazy website maintenance, but it’s also very confusing for search engines to identify which content to rank against particular queries when users are searching online.
Carrying out a keyword research task for your content is imperative. Identify exactly what your content needs to target in order to rank for keywords. Not only does this mean your content will be seen easier on search engines, but the likelihood of attaining natural backlinks is a lot higher than just writing for the sake of writing.
We’d also suggest looking at the competing content out there, what’s the word count, how is the content structured, what keywords are beginning targetted in the HTML heading structures (H1/H2/etc), are there lots of images? A video? All of this is essential information. If the top three ranking pages for the term you want to write content for has a word count of 2,000+ and you create a 500 word piece of content, it’s not going to be considered as a viable landing page.
Quality content which can rank for the right terms will naturally earn you backlinks from other sources on the web. If readers engage with your content and find it useful they will cite it on their website. The better the quality of the website, the better the link. Links are a crucial ranking factor for any SEO strategy. From a brand perspective the more expert content you produce the more authoritative your brand will be in the market.
On page optimisations is probably the thing you’re most used to hearing about when it comes to SEO. Below is a list of all the main aspects of “On-page SEO”.
Essentially, all of these factors provide information to the search engine on what the page is trying to rank for. By ensuring that you are targeting the correct terms in your page titles, the meta descriptions, the heading structure and in the actual page copy gives your website pages a much greater chance of ranking.
Google is quite literally a library of content, which is why we call it google’s index. How can google possibly find your content in their index, if the content doesn’t match the intent of your users search term.
Be careful though, don’t ‘keyword stuff’ your website pages, this was a tactic which worked back in 2005, but your site will be penalised.
Online users don’t read every single word, in fact a recent study suggests that 75% of users will mainly read websites headings, so don’t just think about the search engine, think about your users and what they want to see.
This is the final aspect of a traditional SEO strategy is snippet and schema markup. This is the technical side of SEO which gives search engines even more information about your pages.
Here is an example of a featured snippet.
Essentially the search engine will pull the content out from your website and present it to users without them having to click through to your page. This gives users a quick insight and answer to their question / search query.
Schema is another factor which you can integrate into your website coding. You can use an array of different schemas, all of which increase the CTR (click-through rate) from search engines. Below are some examples of schema in action.
Here is an example of what FAQ schema may look like. This now means that when a search engine re-visits this page, it clearly understands that this is a question which you want to rank in search results.
Schema is being used by multiple brands in this market to show users the reviews for their car insurance. This can be the difference between getting clicks and not getting clicks, especially in e-commerce industries.
This screenshot shows another type of schema – recipe schema.
These websites use schema coding on their pages to inform search engines that this content is a recipe; consider it for recipe snippets.
Onelink highly recommends testing your schema in the google testing tool before placing it on your website.
So that’s it – the fundamentals you need to hit in order to rank for your keywords. Of course depending on the nature of industry dictates how competitive your market is, but getting these seven fundamentals correct will certainly start pointing you in the right direction.
However, if you’re too busy to identify all the issues with your website, feel free to complete our free seo audit and Onelink can tell you all the critical issues with your website.
5 MIN READ
In this guide, we’ll be exploring what local SEO is, how it can benefit your business, and some tips for optimising your website – to ultimately drive and increase revenue.
5 MIN READ
PPC is a type of digital advertising that allows businesses to reach their target audience through sponsored search engine results. It’s an effective way to drive traffic to your website and generate leads.
5 MIN READ
A content audit is a crucial SEO task which needs to be conducted regularly to ensure your brand is showcasing high quality, informative information to users.