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A Beginner’s Guide to SEO


If you’re asking yourself, “Is SEO worth it?”, “What are the benefits of SEO?”, or, “Do you need an SEO specialist or agency?”, then you’ve landed in the right place. This beginner’s guide to SEO explains the basics and how to improve your online presence.

If you think you need help once you’ve read this article, our team is always on hand.

Whether you’re a small, medium or enterprise-sized business, SEO is important for website success. However, SEO isn’t a quick fix; think of it instead like the tortoise and the hare – slow and steady wins the race. If you require fast results – for example, a product launch – you may want to combine SEO marketing with other channels like paid ads and social media.

What is SEO? 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the use of different tactics to optimise a website, helping it to perform better in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

The primary focus is to increase organic traffic to a website. Increased traffic often leads to increased leads and return on investment (ROI).

Why is SEO Important?

As a marketing channel, SEO is important because of many different factors.

  • Cost effective and suitable long term
    • SEO is a cost-effective marketing channel as the effects can be long-lasting. Once you optimise pages and leave them alone, your efforts won’t just stop like when you pay for ads.
  • Target your audience
    • Through keyword research and content optimisation, SEO puts your content in front of people who are interested in what you’re offering. This can generate more qualified leads for your website.
  • Building brand credibility and trust
    • When your website ranks high in search results, it naturally indicates to users that your website is a valuable and trustworthy source of information, boosting your brand’s reputation.

SEO Basics 

When getting started with understanding the benefits of this fantastic marketing channel, start with the 3 pillars of SEO:

There are different “pillars” mentioned all over the internet but, based upon my 7 years of SEO experience, if you can nail each of these items, you’ll be well on your way to successful growth. If you don’t have time to do this yourself because you’re busy running your business or your marketing team has other priorities, outsource to us, we’re here to help.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the foundation upon which success is built. This type of optimisation is usually done behind the scenes for search engine crawlers to help them better access, understand and index your content.

If done right, technical SEO improvements on a website can result in higher rankings, improved user experience and increased organic traffic. BUT, as with cars, technical SEO is not a one-and-done kind of situation. Your website will require regular maintenance because things change, and you should monitor your site health on at least a monthly basis.

If you think your site might need a site health check, get in touch for a complimentary site health overview report.


If a search engine like Google or Bing can’t crawl your website, it won’t be able to index it in search engine results pages (SERPs).

  1. Site Structure. A logical and clear website structure with well-defined hierarchies makes it easier for crawlers to navigate your site and understand the relationships between pages.
  2. Robots.txt and Sitemaps. These files provide instructions to search engines on which pages to crawl and index, and which ones to skip. They’re like road signs and maps for the bots, ensuring that they don’t get lost in irrelevant corners of your website.


This is how search engines rank and organise information from websites that they know about. Getting your pages indexed in the archive can include considerations such as:

  1. Page Speed. Slow websites are annoying, and Search Engines don’t like them as much as faster ones. Optimising your pages for speed ensures that crawlers can efficiently index your content.
  2. Mobile Friendliness. Across the world, the majority of B2C web traffic now comes from mobile devices. Having a website that is mobile responsive is crucial for both user experience and indexing. It also means that you’re making your website accessible to everyone.


In technical SEO refers to things like your structured data and duplicate content issues:

  1. Structured Data are code snippets added to your web pages that can help search engines understand the specific context and meaning of your content. This can lead to richer results in SERPs for your website.
  2. Duplicate Content is an issue and can hurt your rankings as search engines won’t know which of the pages you want to rank. Regular checks for duplicate content can keep your website free of clutter.


On-page SEO

On-page SEO refers to any non-technical actions taken within your website to refine and optimise your pages. On-page SEO has some key elements, including:

Keyword Research


Content Quality

Content Structure

Internal Linking


On-page Technical SEO

Technical SEO has its place within on-page SEO as well. These items are usually a little less technical, especially if you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, like we do. On-page technical aspects cover actions like:

Title Tags

Meta Descriptions

URL Structure

Image Optimisation

Mobile Friendliness

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO involves any SEO efforts that are made outside your website. Unlike on-page SEO which focuses on optimising the content and technical aspects of your site, off-page SEO builds your website’s authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines.

Some key elements of off-page SEO include:


Backlinks are links from other websites to your own. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your website’s authority and relevance in the eyes of search engines.

Focus on building links from relevant, authoritative websites with high domain authority (DA).

Avoid spammy link-building tactics, as these can penalise your website.

Content Marketing

Create valuable and informative content that people want to share, such as blog posts, infographics, and videos. This can help you attract backlinks and organic traffic.

Promote your content on social media and other channels to reach a wider audience.

Brand Mentions and Social Media

Encourage people to mention your brand and share your content on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This can increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.

Actively engage with your audience on social media to build relationships and trust.

Local SEO

If you have a local business, make sure your website is optimised for local search. This includes claiming your Google My Business listing, getting listed in online directories, and building citations from local websites.

Online Reviews and Testimonials

Encourage your customers to leave positive reviews and testimonials on your website and online review platforms. This can build trust and credibility with potential customers.

Public Relations and Outreach

Building relationships with journalists and bloggers can lead to positive media coverage of your brand, which can drive traffic and backlinks to your website.

Measuring SEO Success 

Measuring SEO success isn’t just about looking at one metric. It’s more like assessing the health and performance of your website through a balanced set of key performance indicators. Here are some essential elements to consider when measuring SEO success:

Traffic and visibility

  • Organic Traffic: This is the primary measure of SEO efforts, tracking visitors coming to your site directly from search engines. Monitor trends and growth in organic traffic over time.
  • Keyword Rankings: Track your ranking for important target keywords in search results. Use tools like Google Search Console or Semrush to monitor keyword positions and identify areas for improvement.
  • Search Impressions: This shows how often your website appears in search results, even if not clicked. It indicates your website’s visibility and potential reach.

User Engagement and Conversion

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Monitor the percentage of users who click on your website link in search results. A higher CTR indicates your website is relevant and attractive to searchers.
  • Engagement Rate: Measure how people engage with your site. If you have a low engagement rate, it could indicate a poor user experience, lack of content relevance or technical issues.
  • Average Engagement Time: Track how long users spend on your website before leaving. Longer sessions indicate engaged users finding value in your content.
  • Conversions: Ultimately, SEO should contribute to your business goals. Track conversions like leads generated, purchases made, or other desired actions for a complete picture of success.

Technical Health and Backlinks

  • Website Speed: Monitor your website’s loading speed on various devices. Google prioritises fast-loading websites in search results.
  • Mobile Friendliness: Ensure your website is optimised for mobile devices, as most searches nowadays occur on phones.
  • Backlinks: Analyse the quantity and quality of backlinks pointing to your website. Higher-quality backlinks from relevant websites boost your authority and ranking.

Measuring SEO success is not a one-time event. Regularly monitor these metrics, analyse their trends, and adjust your SEO strategy as required. Use tools and dashboards to visualise your data and gain actionable insights. And finally, celebrate your victories along the way – but keep optimising and learning to maintain long-term SEO success.

Why SEO Fails

SEO failure isn’t a single event, but rather a culmination of various factors hindering your website’s performance in search engine results pages (SERPs). Here are some key reasons why SEO efforts might fall short:

On-Page Issues

  • Thin Content: Lack of informative, high-quality content relevant to your target audience. Search engines prioritise websites with valuable content that keeps users engaged.
  • Keyword Stuffing: Unnaturally overusing targeted keywords, leading to penalties from search engines looking for natural user language.
  • Technical Problems: Slow loading times, broken links, mobile-friendliness issues, and indexing problems can all hinder your website’s visibility.
  • Poor Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: Unclear or irrelevant titles and descriptions can deter users from clicking on your website, even if it ranks well.

Off-Page Issues

  • Lack of Backlinks: A weak backlink profile, where few other websites link to yours, signals a lack of authority and relevance to search engines.
  • Low-Quality Backlinks: Links from spammy or irrelevant websites can negatively impact your website’s reputation and ranking.
  • Inconsistent or Non-Existent Social Media Presence: Lack of online engagement and brand awareness can hinder SEO success.
  • Local SEO Neglect: If you’re a local business, neglecting local optimisation tactics like Google My Business listings and local citations can limit your visibility in local search results.

Strategic Mistakes

  • Unrealistic Expectations: SEO takes time and consistent effort. Expecting overnight success can lead to disappointment and frustration.
  • Targeting the Wrong Keywords: Focusing on irrelevant or overly competitive keywords can lead to wasted resources and poor results.
  • Neglecting Algorithm Updates: Search engine algorithms constantly evolve. Failing to adapt your strategy to these changes can leave you behind the curve.
  • Focusing Only On Rankings: While rankings are important, they’re not the sole metric of SEO success. Ultimately, you want to attract real, engaged users and drive conversions.

Additional Factors

  • Competitive Landscape: Strong competition for your target keywords can make it harder to rank well.
  • Penalties from Search Engines: Engaging in black hat SEO tactics can lead to website penalties and tank your ranking.
  • External Factors Beyond Your Control: Algorithm updates, industry shifts, and unexpected events can temporarily affect your SEO performance.

SEO Support 

If you want to get your products or services in front of the right customers, SEO should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. Get your SEO campaign off to the right start by implementing the best practices throughout, and, most of all, make sure you take the time to plan properly throughout.

If you require an SEO company for SEO management, we are the SEO agency for you. We can help improve your website performance with our SEO services.

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