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A Learners Guide To SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimisation and in short, it’s a way of helping your website come up higher on the rankings . This means when a person searches for products or services that you offer on sites like Google, Bing or Yahoo (which are known as search engines).

You probably already knew that, but what you and many other people don’t know is what you’re getting when you buy SEO services from an agency and how you can measure its success. Look on a typical website for an SEO agency and the offerings are not exactly easy to understand for a learner.
There will be  somewhere between 3 and 5 packages with fantastical names like “superboost”  but try and find out what that actually means in real terms and you might be hard-pushed to find the answer.
So  as a company that’s offers SEO, we’d like to give you the knowledge to make an informed choice about (i) whether SEO should be a priority for your business  (ii) what’s included in your SEO services and (iii) how you measure if your SEO services are working.

Let’s start…
is it onsite or offsite?
Typically, SEO services are categorised into onsite and offsite services. Onsite services are any services that are done directly on your website. This could be improvements to your website content or to the page titles and background data (known as metadata) which Google and other search engines see when they’re looking for the right page.
Offsite refers to any SEO work that does not take place on your website. This is typically focused around getting links to your website placed on other websites.

what’s first?
The first step with any SEO service is to complete an SEO audit. This allows an SEO agency (and the client) to understand the current state of the website and where there is room for improvements. The audit should look at the structure as well as the optimisation of pages, content and images.

what’s next?
Next is the Keyword and Competitor Analysis phase. Here, an agency will be taking the search terms that you would like to be found under, and analyse the online world to understand how many other organisations are competing for the same terms. From this, your agency will be able to produce recommendations for search terms that can be successful within your budget.

do you know how much traffic is currently visiting your website?  
The ultimate aim with SEO is to increase the number of visitors that naturally find your website through a search on Google (or Yahoo or Bing). It goes without saying then – that a good way of measuring the success of your SEO is to understand the volume of traffic that is coming to your website now, so that when you start the SEO service you are able to compare the results at a later stage.
Install Google Analytics as a priority.  Your SEO agency should also provide you with a report before they being any activities which details your current Google ranking.

SEO– the core offering
So we’ve talked about what happens before your SEO service begins. But if you choose to move forward with an SEO service – what is actually getting done? Here’s a very brief overview:
Your website will be optimised. This means the content, the page titles, the headers, the images, the background data and more will be optimised to help your website become more visible on search engines.
Your agency will start building links to your website on other websites (known as backlinks). This sounds a bit odd I know, but (very generally) the more links that point to your website – the higher your website will rank (it’s a lot more complicated than that in reality). All websites across the world are graded and a link from a higher “grade” website has more weighting than a “lower grade” website. The types of links and the speed at which the links appear also have an impact on your ranking and this is where a good SEO agency can differentiate this information.

IMPORTANT ADVICE– Don’t be tempted to spend your days posting links to your website on hundreds of other random websites in the hope of improving your SEO. Likewise, don’t employ the services of any individual or company who promises to provide “backlinks” cheaply for you. Links added in the wrong way or on the wrong sites can actually damage your SEO and you could even be blacklisted from Google itself. That’s an expensive mistake to make!

Back to the core offering – the final part of a standard SEO package is regular, high quality content. For your website to remain relevant and improve it’s ranking, you or your agency will need to write and publish a new blog post or article on a regular basis. The content will need to be optimised for your chosen search terms and distributed.

what about social media?
Social media plays an important role in your SEO although it’s not generally seen as part of the core offering.
Social media is a great way to distribute your regular content to a wider audience. Not only will that drive more people to your website, but your target audience may like your content so much, they decide to host a link to it on their own website, helping to further improve your website ranking.
Not all SEO agencies are good at social media so you may need to pass that responsibility to another agency or (and a much better option) find an agency that is good at both (like Businesshands!) .

and the conclusion…
Who could forget the all-important reporting and analytics. How will you measure the success of your SEO?  Your SEO agency should provide you with a regular report detailing their activities and the effects this has had on your ranking and you’ll also have Google Analytics installed so you can compare the number of website visitors now to when you first started.
So there we go. Hopefully we’ve shed some light on how SEO works and how you should work with an SEO agency.

If you would like to learn more about businesshands SEO services, pick up the phone and call a member of our team on 0207 458 4788 today.