SEO for beginners

If you have ever searched for something on the internet, chances are you’ve landed on a page that has benefited from some degree of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

It might sound daunting to the uninitiated, but broadly speaking it’s a fairly simple concept to understand, and there are plenty of practical actions you can complete to boost your website’s value.

What is it?
SEO is exactly what it says on the tin – optimising your website to have the best chance of appearing high up in the search rankings.

The boffins at Google, Bing and all of the other search engines strive to make their service as useful to consumers as possible. As such, they’re always looking to make sure their recommended websites match exactly what a user is searching for.

Look at it from a user’s point of view. If you used a search engine to find an “SEO agency in Chester”, and were given hundreds of pages about accountants, you wouldn’t go back to that search engine in a hurry.

With that in mind, search engine creators want to provide users with the information they are looking for. Your job is to make sure search engines know that your website is the go-to page for a particular search term.

What should I do?

There are two simple objectives when it comes to SEO – make your website as easy to read and informative as possible for a user, and make sure a search engine recognises that.

Common sense should dictate the approach to the first point. Make sure content is eligibly written, has no spelling or grammatical mistakes, and is relevant to the reader.

Always keep things on topic. If you run a website about bathroom fittings, a page dedicated to the treble-winning Manchester United side of 1998-99 is completely inappropriate.

That’s not to say your love of football doesn’t have a place on the website, but it must be within context. Fitted an all-singing, all-dancing wetroom for an England player? Great – blog about it! Disappointed Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t be at the World Cup? Probably best to keep that on your personal social media pages.

The second goal is a little more complicated. Pages need to be constructed in a web-friendly way, be accurately labelled and coded correctly, to name but a few of the criteria search engines use when judging a page.

If you’re not confident or competent when it comes to web design and build, it’s best to leave that side of things to an expert. However, having a clear idea of who you want to visit your website and what you want to tell them will go a long way towards ensuring a designer has the right information at their fingertips when crafting your site.