What is SEO & Why do you need it?

Do you have a website? Well, then you need SEO! 

That’s the short (and unequivocal) answer. But here’s why.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. So the real question is why should you optimise your website for search engines?

The answer is because Google, the most popular search engine, is what can show your website to the rest of the world when the rest of the world is looking for what your business offers.

For example, if you sell hats, you’d want to be somewhere on the first page of the Google search results when someone searches for hats in your city.

Now think about how often you use Google to find things that you want to buy, services that you need, or restaurants in your area. If that experience has gotten you the results you needed, it’s because the businesses and websites that came up first in the search results paid attention to their SEO.

But what exactly does that entail?

What do you need to actually, physically do in order to optimise your website for search engines?

The answer is forever changing as Google constantly updates their requirements and policies. But the fundamental principle behind these changes is always the same: User Experience (also known as UX).

Your website needs to benefit its users, in one way or another. This can be as simple as doing what it says (e.g. a ‘Contact Us’ page that shows all of your business’ contact details, or a product page which describes the product you are selling in detail along with the price) to making sure that the backend website structure is correct (the kind of thing that usually sounds like jargon when explained by an expert).

All in all, these small facets build on the SEO score for your web pages.

As we stand in April 2021, the current criteria for SEO has been summarised by Lily Ray (SEO Director, Path Interactive) as:

“Above all, a great SEO strategy should start by putting yourself in the user’s shoes and asking yourself if the content is truly valuable, the brand is trustworthy, and the website is easy to use (especially on mobile).”

And if there isn’t enough introspection there, Google also suggests asking yourself the following questions when getting started:

  • Is my website showing up on Google?
  • Do I serve high-quality content to users?
  • Is my local business showing up on Google?
  • Is my content fast and easy to access on all devices?
  • Is my website secure?

In order to make sure you answer the above questions correctly, here is a checklist of SEO tasks which we follow (amongst other complex must-haves) to make your website and pages discoverable to Google and its users.

  1. Help Google find your content (and be explicit about what should not be found)
  2. Help Google and users understand your content
  3. Create good titles and snippets for search results (by accurately describing each page’s content and using meta descriptions)
  4. Use heading tags on the page for emphasis of important text and to create a hierarchy and structure
  5. Add structured data markup (that’s code for ‘code’) to speak the same language as the search engines
  6. Intelligently organise your sitemap and site hierarchy for optimum navigation
  7. Create a navigational page for users which is simple and user-friendly
  8. Use simple URLs which display content information (using words instead of numbers)
  9. Make your site interesting and useful (by knowing what your readers want and giving it to them)
  10. Act in a way that cultivates user trust and makes your expertise clear
  11. Provide an appropriate amount of content for your subject
  12. Use hyperlinks wisely
  13. Use HTML images and an image sitemap
  14. Make your website mobile friendly
  15. Promote your website using your blog and social media, and by reaching out to related businesses in your community

The above checklist is only the tip of the iceberg, and each item comes with its own set of dos and don’ts. But when done correctly and with a high level of creativity and finesse, this can take your online presence to new heights!

Your website is your business card, and while you can’t physically hand it out to everyone, we help you give it to the people that need it the most.

So forget about why you need SEO, and start thinking about why you haven’t started using it to your advantage yet.

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