A complete beginners 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 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 fairly fuzzy. There’ll be somewhere between 3 and 5 packages with fantastical names like “supercharger” or “turbo boost” but try and find out what that actually means in real terms and you might be hard-pushed to find the answer.

So to celebrate the launch of our very own SEO services, we’d like to give you the knowledge to make an informed choice about (i) whether SEO should be a priority for you (ii) what’s included in your SEO services and (iii) how you measure if your SEO services are working.

Let’s begin…

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 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 the first step?

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 will look at the overall structure as well as the optimisation of pages, content and images.

what’s next?

Well, now we’re on to 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?  

Website traffic report from your SEO agency

The ultimate aim of the game with SEO is to increase the number of visitors that naturally find you 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’ve got a baseline to compare it to.

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:

  1. Your website will be optimised. This means the content, the page titles, the headers, the images, the background data and many more things besides… they’ll all be optimised to help your website become more visible on search engines.
  2. 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 complex 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 itself from a mediocre or a plain useless one.

IMPORTANT –  A word of advice here. 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 (as a minimum every 2 weeks). The content will need to be optimised for your chosen search terms and distributed wherever possible.

what about social media?

Social media plays an important roSocial media plays an important role in SEOle 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.

If you’re going to use an SEO agency for your social media as well, ask for examples of their work. 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 us!) .

and finally…

Who could forget the all-important reporting and analytics. How will you measure the success of your SEO? Well, traditionally your SEO agency will 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.

Here at businesshands, we provide you with your own log-in to our SEO monitoring platform so you can take a peak and monitor progress whenever you choose, without having to take someone else’s word for it.

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.

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