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Getting your business online is a great step, but having a website is going to be useless if people can’t find it. This is where SEO (search engine optimisation) comes into play. The ultimate aim of SEO efforts is to be the first website to show up on Google when a user searches for a term relating to your business. 

In this guide, we’ll take a deeper dive into SEO; how it can improve brand visibility, which search terms you want to rank for and how Google rates websites.


First Five

67 percent of clicks go to the first 5 organic results

Use Search Engine

68 percent of online experiences begin on a search engine

Reach 2nd Page

Only 0.78 percent of Google searchers click on the 2nd page of results


What is SEO?

Let’s start at the start: what is SEO?

To put it simply, SEO is taking steps to improve your website and online presence to make your site show up on searches that are relevant to your business. The higher you rank on a search, the more likely you are to get attention, clicks, leads and conversions.

With over 130 trillion pages (and counting) indexed on Google, they need a system in place to rank them all. Their algorithm orders pages for a search term based on hundreds of ranking signals, with different levels of importance.

Because of its ability to offer your website to someone who is searching for something your business can offer, SEO has become a fundamental part of digital marketing. Once you start ranking for relevant search terms, your organic traffic will thrive. 

You essentially want your website to say to Google, ‘Hey, look at me, I’m a credible website which satisfies your users needs’. Once you’ve proved yourself to Google, they will reward you with a high ranking – but not before you make it clear to them which keywords you want to rank for.


What makes SEO successful?

Every successful brand shares these 5 pillars:

01 | Technical SEO

Technical SEO sounds really daunting, but it is simply ensuring a search engine can easily read and explore your website. This is the foundation of SEO because if a search engine can’t explore, it won’t know what you’re offering and can’t get it in front of your ideal customer.

When taking care of technical SEO, you need to consider:

  • Can a search engine explore my site?
  • Is it clear which pages should be indexed?
  • Does my site adapt for mobile users?
  • How quickly do pages load?
  • How is your content structured?


02 | Onsite SEO

Before onsite SEO can start, you need to understand the language your customers speak. Not if they are English, French or Vietnamese, but the way they use search engines and how they phrase their queries. In depth keyword research is important to see which keywords you should be ranking for.
With your toolbelt of keywords on you, you can start deploying them and their synonyms into your page titles, web copy, meta descriptions and headings. This is best done by slipping them in where they naturally fit rather than keyword stuffing, which won’t be rewarded by Google.

Imagine you’re having a conversation with someone at a networking event. If you said ‘Hi. I run a data company which deals with data and presents the data in a way that makes the data understandable, allowing you to use the data to make data-led decisions’, you sound like a robot and are likely going to get a grimace, followed by an excuse to exit the conversation.

If you said something like, ‘Hi. I’ve just worked with a business in your sector. They’ve just started using our simple graphs and charts to guide their business decisions and have already seen a major improvement. I think you’d also benefit from our data visualisation tools.’ You’ve succeeded in letting them know what you do, without robotic repetition and have managed to pique their interest.

This is exactly how you want to use your keywords.

03 | Content

Any content on your website should aim to tell visitors more about your business activity and offer value. Content can include blogs, whitepapers, videos, infographics, social posts and newsletters.
Content marketing is the most scalable way to promote your business.

All content should be related to your brand, activity and services. These will support your SEO efforts and help you to rank higher for more keywords.


04 | Off-site authority

Once you’ve sorted on-site SEO, it’s important to branch out. A major part of SEO takes place off your website. In order for your site to gain more authority, you need to work on link building. This is one of the hardest parts of SEO to get right and involves earning a link to your site on other, authoritative websites.

These links need to be placed where it makes sense. For example, if your business sells paint, it makes more sense to have a link on a DIY home improvements blog post than on a blog detailing the best local parks. Link building involves finding a relevant site and then earning a link by offering valuable content to them.


The Benefits of a Good
SEO Strategy

Having a strong SEO strategy and keeping on top of it will allow you to outrank your competitors and stay there. But how? Let’s take a look at what you’ll reap.

If you take Apple, for example, they have managed to outrank a fruit for the search term ‘apple’ by building up authority via their SEO strategy. It’s an interesting one because while a fruit wasn’t going to steal their customers by offering a similar service or product, it could have stolen their opportunity for visibility.

A strong SEO strategy will:

  • Target good quality traffic, by directing your audience to you when they actually need you. It’s almost as if customers have given you their permission to advertise your business.
  • Decrease your advertising costs. When you rank highly, the search engine has decided you’re valuable enough to be advertised for free. You’ll then find you’re investing your money in sustainable growth, rather than paying for a surge in traffic.
  • Give your more clicks than a PPC. Although PPC appear above organic results, 71.33% of searchers click on a first page organic result. It just goes to show people trust Google’s algorithm.
  • Provide a better user experience (UX). All the work put into the technical SEO makes your website much easier and quicker to navigate, which benefits users as well as search engines.
  • Improve brand awareness. Once you make it onto the first page of Google, your brand will become associated with that search term and will be more likely to be remembered and recommended.
  • Target each stage of your sales funnel. Creating targeted content for people at different stages of commitment puts you in a better position to successfully guide your prospects the rest of the way.
  • Help you outrank your competitors. When your brand is seen before a competitor, you’re more likely to be able to win their business.


Most Important SEO Metrics to Track

Organic Traffic:

The main goal of your SEO efforts is to appear high up on search engine rankings. Overall site traffic shows traffic from all sources, which is useful to indicate general site performance, but not SEO.

Tracking your organic traffic represents the number of visitors you managed to attract via an organic search. This will confirm whether or not your visibility is improving,


Your click-through rate is the percentage of searchers who have decided to click on your site after it appears on their results page. Your SEO strategy not only needs to help you gain visibility, but also grab the attention of potential customers.

Having a low CTR suggests that you need to work on crafting a title tag and meta description which entices the searcher to click on your website.

Bounce Rate:

Similarly to CTR, bounce rate measures how people are interacting with your SEO. Bouncing is someone clicks on your page and then leaves quickly, without navigating anywhere else.

A high bounce rate would suggest that your page isn’t delivering the content they thought they were being offered. This may mean that you either need to tweak the content to ensure it does exactly what it says on the tin or tweak your title tag and meta description to better describe what’s on offer.

Keyword Rankings:

Your SEO goal is to climb up the rankings for keywords relating to your business, so it would make sense to track your position. The ideal direction is always up, but if you spot a downward trend you can act quickly by finding the issue.

If someone has outranked you, how can you take your spot back? What are they offering that you aren’t?

Domain Authority:

As a large part of SEO if your off-site activity, i.e. link building, you need to keep an eye on your domain authority. The more backlinks you gain on relevant sites with great authority, the better your authority will get.

If your authority hasn’t been budging or has been dropping down, you need to refer back to your backlink profile and work on earning more quality links.

How to Keep Up with Algorithm Updates

Google’s algorithm is constantly being tweaked to deliver the best possible results. In fact, they make minor changes at least 500 times per year! Don’t worry though, these small changes are unlikely to have much impact on your position and strategy.

Having said this, when Google releases a significant update, it’s likely to affect your position, strategy, or both. This may not always be a negative impact, but it’s wise to stay clued up about updates to make sure your strategy remains relevant and optimised.

There are a few ways to make sure you’re one of the first to know about an algorithm update:

Set up Google Alerts:

Google alerts are a fantastic tool to make sure you’re notified about news as it happens. If you use these alerts to monitor the topic, ‘Google algorithm update’, you’ll get an email every time a news article is posted about this subject.

Doing it this way means that the news comes directly to you, without you having to do anything.

Follow industry leaders:

There are many people and brands who post regularly about this topic, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on their online activity. These industry leaders are highly likely to report about an update as soon as they find out about it. All you need to do is subscribe to their email updates or follow their twitter accounts.

This option means that you won’t need to read through full articles, containing lots of SEO jargon to find out what implications the update will have. These people do that for you and report the outcome in simple terms.

Some good people to follow include:

  • John Mueller (@JohnMu)
  • Moz (@Moz)
  • Rand Fishkin (@randfish)
  • Matt Cutts (@mattcutts)

Watch Analytics:

A really simple way to keep an eye on updates that are affecting you directly is to watch your Google Analytics. If you track it regularly, you’ll get used to your normal fluctuations. Any unusual changes in traffic should stick out and may indicate an algorithm change.

You can then do a quick Google search to see if your suspicions are right and adjust your strategy, accordingly.

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