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SEO an Overview

A quick-fire breakdown of SEO

Here’s a wee overview of some SEO basics. Not loads of detail, but enough to help you speak to developers or start building yourself.
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Stuart Ross
August 29, 2021
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When people talk about Search Engine Optimisation they normally mean Google Optimisation, i.e. making sure your website’s highly visible for relevant searches. The aim of SEO is to get high up in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), only about 25% of users even get onto page 2: get SEO wrong and folk can’t find you. Get it right, and you're in front of High Intent Users: people who were already searching for something you provide.

Good SEO will get you into the top spots for lots of searches, but for specific, high-value searches the top spots are a mixture of 'organic results' (the ones Google think match the query), and Pay Per Clicks (PPCs), which are paid advertisements. Try typing in a high-value search like “dating London” or “sale trainers” and you’ll see the first results have a symbol saying “Ad” next to them. Companies have bought those spots, and they pay Google when you click their links.

How to improve SEO:

Google are secretive on specifics, but we know they use about 200 parameters when ordering results. Some parameters hold a lot more weight than others, so here's a couple big things to get right when working on your own SEO.

Structure:

Humans and search engines use Headings to quickly scan the page. Like in a newspaper, your website should break into headings, subheadings, paragraphs etc. It sounds restrictive, but it doesn't need to be - you can break the headings into whatever styles you want, but they should be consistent throughout. Basically, good structure is great for SEO.

note - some standard web builders don't support a structured approach very well, making them harder to search for.

Keywords

Once you have a structured page you need to populate it with the keyword-rich copy. This basically means including words that you think people search for when finding websites like yours. There are tools for this to be super accurate, but you can make a pretty good start by just thinking about what real people search for.
But remember, don’t key word stuff, i.e load the headings with all the words someone might use, because Google is onto this, and people don't like to have to read it. Write copy for humans, optimise it for Search Engines.

Meta Descriptions & Title Tags

This sounds more technical than it is.
Meta descriptions sit within your meta tags, and they should be a concise, informative review of what’s on the page, written in a way that encourages folk to click. These descriptions will (usually) be displayed to people when they scroll through the SERPs, but sometimes Google just shows them a different block of text from the body of that page instead. Why does Google do that? Honestly I don't know.

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Optimise your title tags

Title tags are the clickable lines of text you see on Google when you’re scrolling (title tags on top, meta description below) and there's a tonne of information online on how to write these. Again, at a basic level, just make sure they're clear, concise and make people want to click onto your page. If you want to get fancy, get fancy and use a tool.

Build good links from other (quality) websites:

Google wants to see that other pages are linking to your site, and you're linking to them.
A bad idea is  making a fake circle of weak websites to link to each other. Google knows this trick and unless you're being clever, they won't fall for it.

Bounce Rate:

This is a biggy. The % of visitors who click onto your site from the SERPs and go back to the search engine without going to another one of your pages - AKA single page sessions. A general rule of thumb: Below 40% bounce rate is good, and your SEO will suffer if your bounce rate is high.

Dwell time:

Dwell time is the amount of time you spend on the site before returning back to the SERPs, this isn't time per page, it's the time between leaving the SERPs and returning: total time on your pages. Google's reasoning: the longer you're on the site, the more it fit the needs when you made that search. Dwell time goes up, SEO goes up for that query.

Testing it

There are loads of tools for testing your site for SEO: here at off brand we use SE Ranking. There’s a free version, and it’s not expensive once you need to scale.Anyway that ended up being loads of stuff & it's barely scratched the surface.
Have fun!