The Basics: An SEO Guide

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is paramount in boosting your business ranking in search results, and thus, increasing traffic to your website. This SEO guide provides an introduction to Search Engine Optimisation to help you understand organic search and apply it to your business.

What is SEO?

The practice of SEO revolves around optimising website content so that it can be recognised in its best format by search engines. The likes of Google and Bing are the big players in universal search engines, and it is these which can decide where your website will rank in searches.

There are lots of components to SEO, of which some of the key features are explained in this SEO guide. From the way a site is built to coding, keywords and links to social proof, many factors can combine together in this complex recipe for success.

Why is SEO Valuable?

If you want your business or brand to be competitive, you will need to incorporate SEO into your marketing strategy. The higher up the search results page your website can get, the more trusted you become and the more likely you are to get increased traffic.

The big search engines also have the option for you to pay, or bid for advertising positions in search results, but for some businesses, this just isn’t financially viable. As a result, a focus on SEO can be increased.

Optimising websites and web pages can pay off for longer periods of time than a paid-for ad in the search results, too. So, even if you don’t see results instantly, you can think of it as an investment of time in the long-run.

How to Get Started with SEO

If you are new to all this, SEO still may mean nothing to you. In order to break it down into a couple of components, this SEO guide highlights ways in which you can use SEO at the front-end of your website.

Keyword Research

Keywords will be the backbone of your SEO content writing strategy.

It’s one thing to come up with the topics to blog about, or the variety of pages to add to your website. Having content which is just written with no planning on how people can find it, however, won’t help you climb those results page rankings.

What is Keyword Research, then? It is just as it sounds: research into the key search terms that people are using to find the information they want.

If you can find the terms around your product, service or blog topic which are most common, you can then incorporate these into your written content. Google, or any other search engine, can pick up the commonly used words and is intelligent enough to register that a page is focused on a particular subject.

There are some free web plugins and tools which you can use to get started with keyword research immediately. Have a look through the first search engine results page for keyword research tools and you might just come across some examples of SEO best practice.

Don’t Keyword Stuff

When writing for SEO, you may feel the need to include your keywords an unnatural number of times. Do not do this. If you over-do it with the keywords, your web page will be penalised. Web crawlers know what you’re trying to do, so if it doesn’t read well, it isn’t worth including.

If you are unsure about including a keyword at a certain point, read the sentence, or paragraph aloud. If it sounds over-the-top or repetitive, take out that keyword.

Keyword stuffing will be obvious to search engines and readers alike, so avoid it! If there is one thing you take away from this SEO guide, let it be this point.


When it comes to SEO, every little helps.

If you name your images properly, the search engines can pick up on this, too. Incorporating the keywords into image names and alt text can also help give your on-page SEO a boost.

Alt text can give a description of what is in the picture, making it super easy for search engine crawlers to identify what’s on the page. Don’t keyword stuff, but instead make information-rich alt texts for any images you upload to the site. This should be relatively simple if you use systems like WordPress, as the boxes are there to be filled with information.

Link Building

The more links you have both between pages on the website and from other websites to yours, the more legitimate and authoritative your site appears to the search engines.

Internal Links

Creating internal links on your website helps users to navigate between pages. This may sound completely obvious, but search engine bots can also use these links to find out the architecture of the website, and which bits are the most important.

All pages must be linked together in some way so that site crawlers can find them.

If there is a page which exists alone and is not linked to anything, how is a site crawler expected to find it?

While the site architecture may not be accessible for all people in charge of creating website content, there is scope to use in-text links to help build a structure if there isn’t one.

The more links a page has to it within a website, the higher the importance associated with it.

For example, a home page will probably have the most backlinks and so will be identified as the main page of a website.

The more content you create, the more you can link between pages, but make sure the links are natural and relevant.

Social signals from your social media channels can also help with linking to content on your website, and site crawlers can pick them up.

External links

SEO ranking surveys have found that getting external links is one of the most important objectives for attaining high rankings. Find more in-depth detail on external links from MOZ, the SEO specialists.

The value of a link from a trusted website to yours can be huge, and the more legitimate links you can get, the higher your website will be regarded by search engine crawlers.

Perhaps the main reason that external links are so highly valued is because they have to be endorsed by a third party. PR efforts, collaboration and outreach can all help with building external links.

If you want to build external links through writing alone, you will need to create incredible content that can be shared and is useful or informative. For help in brainstorming new content ideas, take a look at our Blogging for Business guide to get you started.

Social Proof

Another thing to consider as part of your SEO strategy is Social Proof. Judging by the name of it, you may have guessed that it’s not something that can be done by marketing efforts alone.

The goal with social proof is to build credibility and trust in your business. Things like customer reviews or testimonials, expert opinions, endorsements and the number of followers or subscribers, can all be components. Mentions of your brand on social media can also play a part.

To work towards creating positive social proof for your brand, continue to share testimonials on your website as they are collected, and encourage customers to leave reviews on Google or elsewhere online.

A Summary of SEO

To summarise our SEO guide, Search Engine Optimisation is focused around making tweaks to your website and content in order for it to be identified by site crawlers. The clearer the information on your site, the easier it is to crawl.

Remember that there are many factors and contributing components to succeeding SEO. This SEO guide focuses primarily on the content side of SEO, and how best to work with what you’ve got to climb the rankings.

There are many tools online which can help with each aspect of SEO, from keyword research tools to identifying backlinks and more, should you wish to explore them further.

If you have any long-form content for your website which you would like a second opinion on, you can get in touch to enquire about our proofreading services. You can also obtain an instant quote for our proofreading services via the instant quote page. Our professional proofreaders can check spelling, grammar, syntax, sentence structure and more to make sure your content is the best it can be.