A Beginners Guide To SEO

Jennifer Betts
22nd February 2023
7 minute read

In this digital age – it’s no longer enough to have a digital presence. In the sea of businesses out there, it’s important to stand out from the crowd!

Don’t let the name fool you – Search Engine Optimisation sounds complex at first and although there isn’t a human on this Earth who fully understands Google’s algorithm, we know roughly what makes it tick.

So keep on reading to find out more about what it is and what you can do about it!

What Is SEO?

If you own a website and you own a business, you’ve probably already got an idea of what SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is. If not – I can bet you’ve heard the term flying around the digital sphere!

But what exactly is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation is the process of climbing up the rankings of a search engine results page (Google for example) organically (not the top sponsored ad spots). In doing so, you automatically grow your website traffic. In fact, did you know that the top organic result on a search engine is 10x more likely to get clicked than the 10th ranking result? And we all know what more clicks means – more conversions!

Why Is SEO Important?

Whether we like it or not, SEO is a key part of online marketing. Without it, you wouldn’t be showing up on Google for any terms other than your business name! Not only do you need to prove that you and your business deserve to rank – but search engines need to know that you’re more relevant than the competition.

The likelihood is that there are many other businesses doing what you are doing, which means there are many other businesses that want to show up for the exact same searches that you do. This is why SEO is important.

The 5 Key Steps for SEO

Now you know how important SEO is for any website, let’s take a look at the very basics of how to start looking at the process! It consists of five main steps:

  • Step 1. Do Your Keyword Research
    • Keyword research is ‘key’ (see what I did there?!) when you begin to look at your SEO. After all – how do you know what search terms to target if you don’t know what search terms are highly sought after?

      For example, if you’re a web design company based in the North East, terms such as ‘web design newcastle’ are a good place to start!

      Tools such as Keyword Planner are there to help you to get an idea of search volume – so you can see what’s popular and what can work for you.

  • Step 2. Create Your Content
    • Now you’ve got your list of keywords, the next step is for you to create you content.

      When creating content, it’s important to keep in mind that not all content ranks or is even designed to rank in search engines. Your content has to be curated (to a certain extent) for a search engine to be able to pick this up and say ‘Yes! This is what their business is all about!’.

      How do you do this you ask?

      Good question! You do this by giving the viewers exactly what they want. Not only that – but you need to do this in a way that is easily digestible and easy on the eye.

      If you’re a design company, you may create this content by curating beautifully put together, in-depth blogs on what trends are to come the following year. Or if you’re a digital marketing company, quick tutorials on how the world of marketing works is another idea to start getting those pages ranking and that relevance flying high.

      Just remember, the key here is that your content needs to be relevant and read like it was written by a human being, not a robot. Nobody wants to ready spammy text.

  • Step 3. Tweak Your Home Page
    • It goes without saying that your home page is the face of your website. Not only does it need to grab the attention of your viewers, but it also needs to grab the attention of search engines.

      Now, you don’t necessarily want a boat load of text on your homepage, as that’s not great for user experience (UX), so how can search engines tell what your website is about? By using heading tags, meta titles, meta descriptions and alt tags just to name a few!

      Heading Tags

      Naturally, we don’t typically want to or enjoy reading a massive paragraph of text without a break, no matter if the text is in a book or on a website. So break the text up!

      Using heading tags (such as H1 or H2) not only helps to break up the text of your website to make this more digestible, but it also gives search engines a helping hand into finding out what your website is about.

      Your H1 tag is particularly important, as this is the first stop that a search engine makes. Instead of just going ahead with the obvious business name for your H1 tag, think a little outside the box and see if you can come up with something that is more useful to your audience.

      Top tip: when choosing your H1 tag, make sure it involves your main keywords whilst still making sense (make sure to not keyword stuff!).

      Meta Title

      Your meta title isn’t what’s necessarily on the webpage itself, but it’s the title that shows up in search engines, for example for us, our meta title is ‘Sleeky Web Design Newcastle’:

      Your meta title needs to show the world exactly what you’re about – and you can’t get more obvious than your name > what you do > where you’re based!

      Meta Description

      Similarly to the meta title, the meta description is the body text that shows on a search engine result.

      In your meta description, it’s not only important to ensure that you’re using your top key search terms, but it needs to be enticing to web users and make them believe that you’re the website they’ve been looking for.

      After all – it’s no use ranking for your search terms if you’re not enticing users to click!

      Alt Tags

      Alt tags are absolutely key in terms of accessbility and SEO. An alt tag is an HTML element that allows you to input information about an image if the user can’t view the image itself. This could be because of anything from the user is using a screen reader, to your image is simply just broken.

      Whilst alt tags are absolutely necessary, it’s important not to keyword stuff. The alt tag should be a useful description of what the image is, and keyword stuffing isn’t going to help that. Useful being the key word here!

      A good way of knowing whether your alt tags are useful is to read your alt tag to someone else. Can they picture the image without looking at the image itself? If they can’t – your alt tag isn’t good enough!

  • Step 4. Build Your Links
    • If you already know a little about digital marketing, you may have heard the term Domain Authority (DA). Now, domain authority isn’t specifically a ranking factor in search engines, however it was developed by Moz in order to predict how likely a website is to appear on search engines. Because of this – it’s definitely worth taking into account!

      A good way of improving your DA is by getting your website out there and building relevant, quality backlinks (a backlink is essentially a link to your website from another website).

      If you’re creating quality content, you should find this happens naturally, as the content is shared around your core audience. However there’s nothing stopping you from analysing your top competitors and seeing if you can get the same backlinks as them.

  • Step 5. Delve Into The Technicalities
    • Now that your content is up to scratch and everything else is in place, you can really get into the juicy technicalities and the nitty gritty.

      There are many different components of this, so lets take a look at a few below:

      Page Speed

      There’s nothing more annoying and off putting than a slow loading website, and it’s not just your website users that think this – it’s also search engines!

      Search engines really place an emphasis on fast loading websites, so using tools such as PageSpeed Insights can really help you climb those rankings.

      Mobile Friendliness

      In an era of constantly checking our phones, it’s no surprise that whether your website is mobile friendly or not has an impact on your rankings.

      It’s also important from a user perspective – as in some cases, mobile traffic already outweighs desktop traffic! Your website should be in tip-top shape on mobiles, otherwise you could be losing good business and potential leads.


      This is more relevant to websites getting a redesign of some sort, but it’s still useful information to know and keep in mind.

      Believe it or not, moving around your website content can actually be detrimental to overall SEO (at least for a short period). Because of this, it’s important to not move anything around that doesn’t need to be moved. For example, if your current website has a contact page that is domain.co.uk/contact-us/, you would need to ensure that the new website also has a contact page that is domain.co.uk/contact-us/ and not domain.co.uk/contact/.

      If you do choose to move content, you need to set up either a 301 redirect (if the move is permanent) or a 302 redirect (if the move is only temporary). This will tell search engines the traffic from the old page should be redirected to the new page.


      If you have a website, you’ve more than likely heard of an SSL (or Secure Sockets Layer if you want the full term), and you’ll also know how absolutely vital it is for your website.

      An SSL certificate is what shows your website as secure:

      and it’s what tells your website users that your website is a safe and secure place to browse.

      Unsurprisingly, search engines take a very hard stance on this, so as standard, you should ensure that this is in place correctly.

Leave It To The Experts!

When you’re working on your SEO, you’re very much playing the long game, so don’t expect instant results. This also means it can get a little disheartening to do yourself, especially when you have more important aspects of your business to attend to.

At the end of the day, you work hard for your business – and we know you do, so let us work hard for yours!

We can alleviate the stress of your SEO work, and you can do what you do best, knowing that your business is in capable hands.

Contact us today to see what we can do!

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