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Search Engine Optimisation Basics - A Guide

Search Engine Optimisation Basics - How To

Understanding What SEO Is And Making The Most Of It

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the holistic approach to improving your websites ranking within search engines using well positioned, targeted keyphrases and the use of HTML/HTML5. Or to put it in very simple terms SEO is the window dressing for your online business/shop front. 


It helps attract visitors and search engines like Google to come into your website. SEO can be broken down into six main activities. This brief guide will help you understand what is involved in SEO.

  • Keyphrase Research Keywords/phrases are the things that people look for (type in) when they search on the net. To research keywords/phrases you can use the Google Adwords keyword research tool (free with a Google account) or another similar tool such as the SEO Moz keyword tool which is paid for by subscription. Keywords should relate to your commercial objectives. An example of a keyword phrase for our company, Bongo IT is “IT Support Oxford”. This is a highly competitive keyphrase though as there are many IT companies competing for this space. An easier keyphrase for us to rank well for in the search engines is “PCI DSS experts Oxford”. This is a much more specialised industry and therefore the competition is lower. The above mentioned tools will give you an indication of what is competitive and how many people (traffic) are searching for a given keyphrase. Using the Google search to judge and know your competition is also a very good idea. If you are planning on advertising; using SpyFU to check what your competitors are spending on online advertising may also be an option you want to take up before spending any of your own money.undefined

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  • On-site SEO This relates to the architecture and content of your websie. In the SEO world meta tags (identifiers) are used to tell the search engines what content is important and therefore what the website is about. When people are searching for something your site is about you want to come up in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) so make sure this information (keyphrases) is researched well. Meta tags are created from HTML/HTML5 code which is a programming language. The Meta tags themselves will identify text which is important to your website and business. For instance at Bongo IT we want to show up in search results for “IT Support Oxford” so we need to have a page title tag (

    ) which also includes these words. Have you ever heard the phrase "content is king"? In SEO this relates to your written content. The better the content (and its layout) and the more informative and original it is the more the search engines like Google like it. New or updated content will also be of greater interest to the search engines that content which hasnt changed for months. This is part of the reason why blogs are so popular.

  • Off-site SEO Creating relevant backlinks to your site is important. An example of this would be posting a comment on a forum which relates to your business activities. The comment is not only informative but also has your website address for people to follow if they want more information. this will help increase traffic back to your website and can help increase your position in search engine rankings over time. There are many ways to create backlinks, directory sites for local businesses, social networks, reciprocal links, blogs, comments and squeeze pages on alternative domains to name the most common. Anchor tags can also be used to maximise your SEO potential. Put simply they are keyphrases which have the dual purpose of also being a hyperlink. An anchor tag example for our company would be "Web Design In Oxford" and would link to our web design information pages.
  • Search Engine Indexing If you do nothing at all your website will eventually get picked up by Google and their “spider” programs will crawl it, and log its content. A better way of getting found more quickly by the search engines is to manually submit your content to them. If you are not a Google or Bing Webmaster then you can still “submit website URL” to either search engine, and many more besides. Websites should all have a page or file which is a dedicated site map, usually in the form of an Xml file. If you don’t know how to generate this there are many web based programs which can help, or you can just contact us.
  • Adwords/Advertising Paid for advertising can greatly increase traffic to your website. Due to the targeted nature of the advertising you can reach clients in specific locations with your message when they search for the chosen keywords/phrases in your campaign..
  • Analytics To find out if your SEO is having any effect you will need to monitor the traffic to your site. There are a plethora of ways to do this but most commonly Google Analytics is used. We use PIWIK to monitor traffic to our website as it allows us to look at all our historical data for comparrison. Websites like Ahrefs can provide free insight into the backlinks to your site as well.

A Few Key Terms Explained:

The Meta description tag - this tag does not provide any SEO value however; it is important that this description accurately describes the content of your selected site page in a manner which makes clients want to click through to the page. 

HTML5 - As of yet there are no clear guidelines on how much the use of HTML5 will improve your search rankings.

Panda Algorithm - this looks at the "quality" of content on your website. Does not eat bamboo.

Penguin Algorithm - this checks to see who is linking to you, what content is being linked and its relevance to your website. If you have lots of links from "spammy" websites it will affect your ranking in the search results and the Page Rank (PR) of your page. Having good contextual links to your website is the best way to go.

Hummingbird Algorithm - semantically connects people, places and things through the Google knowledge base to provide "better" search results.

Top Tips

Use Long Tail Keywords (in Meta tags) - these are long phrases containing many of the keywords you want to use about a particular subject. e.g. "SEO basics for beginners, a guide to SEO and Semantic Searches" could be a good title for this article. 

Semantic Searches - this seeks to improve the accuracy of search results using the contextual meaning of words and how they link together. Use of synonyms for some keywords can help improve your SEO and give you a wider spread of potential words to be found by. 

If You Can A/B Test - If you have several domains available do experiments to see what works best. Change one thing at a time and be patient to see the results.

Thats all folkes!

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