In an ever-changing world, keeping up with technological changes can seem like an impossible task. More and more acronyms that need adding to your personal dictionary seem to be appearing every day. But we’re here to make sure you’re all clued up with all the info you need to know about SEO. Let’s start with the basics for your lesson in how SEO works and how to use SEO.

What is SEO?

For starters, what does SEO stand for? SEO stands for search engine optimisation. The general basis of this is making sure your content comes up as high as possible on the SERP or search engine results page. This is important as the higher up on the SERP, the more likely a user is to select your web page and become a customer. 

How does SEO work?

Search engines use bot crawlers to ‘crawl’ the site and they look at what is on the page, collecting information that tells the engine what the page is about. This is why it’s super important to make sure you’re using the right header tags (such as H1 and H2’s) as the bots use this information to detect what is the most important information on the site. They will also look at the image and the image alt tags to see what the images are showing. This is another reason why it’s so important to make sure your alt tags are as detailed as possible so the search engine is given as much information about the page as possible. For more information about image optimisations, check out our The Importance of Image Optimisations on SERP blog.

Once a site is crawled, it’s then indexed. This means that it’s tucked away ready for the search engine to get out and show on the SERP’s when you search. You can think of this like a librarian picking out the correct book for you after you’ve told them what you’re looking for. This is why it’s important to make sure the librarian (the search engine) has all the right information so your book can be displayed first. 

This is the basic answer to the question of what is SEO but let’s look a little bit deeper in it. 

Maslow’s Hierarchy of SEO needs 

You might have heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that displays human needs in a pyramid with the knowledge that you can’t reach the needs at the top unless you have the needs from the bottom. The same goes for SEO! You can’t have a successful web page unless you have worked from the bottom to the top. 

You firstly need your page to have been crawled successfully so that it’s in the right place in the search engines library. You then need to have written compelling content that users want to read. Moving up the list, we get into the more technical aspects of SEO until you reach schema markups which is top of our hierarchy of needs. These needs are good to keep in mind if and when you’re thinking of SEO so you have an idea of where everything fits.

Optimising content 

Another big part of SEO is optimising content that is already on site. There are many factors to consider when optimising content so let’s break it down. 

  • Header tags: making sure you have the right header tags so that the bots know what is the most important information. 
  • Keyword density: making sure you have the correct keywords that users are searching for so that you have a better chance of being high up in the SERP’s. You can use tools such as Keyword Planner to see what keywords and phrases have the highest search volume multiple times in your content.
  • Internal links: linking to other content you have onsite means that users are more likely to stay onsite longer which means they’re more likely to convert from a user to a customer.
  • Backlinks: this is where you can link to websites outside of your own and this improves your organic ranking, helps your site get indexed faster and can create referral traffic.
  • Image optimisation: using keywords in your image alt tags and being as descriptive in your alt tags makes it easier for the engine to crawl.
  • Meta titles and descriptions: again, using keywords in your meta titles and descriptions helps your chances in the SERP’s. Also using a CTA or call to action in your meta description such as ‘click here to find out more’ will make a user more likely to select your web page.

That’s a wrap on your SEO beginners guide! Now you know all about how SEO works and how you can optimise your content to make sure you’re the top hit on the SERP’s. For more media knowledge, make sure you check out the rest of the Total Media blogs.

Sammie Haywood - Content Account Executive

Author:Sammie Haywood - Content Account Executive

Sammie works on the SEO team as our Content Account Executive. After work you can find her making her way through restaurants in South East London with a whiskey sour in hand!