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SEO for beginners

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is something of a buzzword today. More and more of our clients are focusing on where their site ranks in Google. This is great, but often a mild panic sets in when their site is not immediately listed at the very top of the first results page.

Their natural inclination is to reach for Google AdWords in an attempt to boost their SEO. For sure this has its place. But before going for the nuclear option, we always try to steer them toward optimising the content on their site first. By putting in place some simple strategies, they can really make a difference to their site’s ranking and for a lot less cost than an AdWords campaign.

Getting to know SEO

With this in mind, we’ve put together this super handy, series of articles to talk about all things SEO. Over the coming weeks we’ll be de-mystifying this dark art, giving you lots of tips to help you optimise your site without having to pay a fortune.

Because we’re thoroughly lovely people and because we don’t want to send you screaming for the hills, we’ll begin our series with a gentle introduction to the concept.

Find, index, rank, repeat

Put most simply, SEO is about enabling a search engine like Google to find, index and rank your website. Google is trying to be the best product it can, and so it’s looking to serve up a set of results that best match a user’s needs.

What you are looking to do is give everyone’s favourite search engine a helping hand. By optimising your site you are increasing the chance for Google to find it, and rank it. So the better the optimisation, the higher the ranking? Well, sort of.

Defence against the dark arts

At this point it’s worth pointing out that SEO is a pretty complex business. The playing field is always changing, particularly as Google constantly evolves how it indexes and ranks sites. Similarly, a quick, ahem, Google search, will show you that there’s plenty of impenetrable advice out there. It’s no coincidence that search engine optimisation is known as a ‘dark art’.

To get you on the right track, we recommend you use a plug-in on your website to manage your SEO. This will provide you with lots of useful tools to ensure that your pages are optimised as much as possible. If, like lots of websites, you use WordPress to power your site, then Yoast is a really good option for this.

Being strategic

Before embarking, it’s worth considering SEO as part of an inter-connected strategy. So before sitting down to write an article or news update for your website, think about some keywords that summarise what you are writing about. These will be terms that you think your audience will search for.

You can then use these terms throughout your article, and this will ensure that you’re optimising every aspect of your page and its content.

People first

There’s always a risk that users’ needs get obscured when focusing on SEO. Our mantra is always “users first”, and SEO is no different. Make sure that everything that you do works for your users, that it enhances their experience and it helps them get what they need. Do this and you are firmly on the way to good search engine optimisation.

Just the beginning

So, that’s the background sorted. In this series of articles we get down to SEO brass tacks. So, if you want to know more about on-page and off-page SEO, how images play their part, and how you can monitor SEO, then look out for our next SEO instalment next week.

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SEO for beginners guide