SEO - The Basics

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the simple activity of ensuring a website can be found in search engines for words and phrases relevant to what the site is offering. In many respects it's simply quality control for websites. It includes configuration settings you have to apply on the website (that’s on page SEO) and techniques you can use outside the boundaries of the website (that’s off page SEO).


Why is it important?

An important aspect of SEO is making your website easy for both users and search engine robots to understand. Although search engines have become increasingly sophisticated, they still can't see and understand a web page the same way a human can. SEO helps the engines figure out what each page is about, and how it may be useful for users.

What techniques can be used to improve SEO?

5 on-page techniques that can be used to improve SEO are:

  1. Content comes first - A website with brilliant content can do great with or without SEO, a website with bad content will not survive with or without SEO, a website with good content can become even better with SEO.
  2. Page titles, description and formatting - When search engines are reading your pages among the things they check includes the page title, the description of the page, the major headings and images. They do so because they need to understand what the page is all about and then based on other factors as well, they will place your page in a position in their index.
  3. URL Structure - The URL structure is an important part of on-page SEO. Permanent links are the URL’s of each page. Good URLs should be less than 255 characters and use hyphens to ‘-‘separate the different parts. For example a good URL is:
  4. Internal linking - Linking to pages within your website is very important for SEO because: It’s like building your own web, It’s a way to let search engines know about your other pages, It’s a way to tell search engines which are your most important pages, It’s a way to increase time on site.
  5. Speed and authorship - Last but not least, 2 SEO techniques that are becoming more and more important especially after the release of penguin 2.0 (or 4.0 as some people like to say it): Speed and authorship. Speed is making the web faster so they can find the webpage quicker and Google is preparing for the next generation of Search and their effort is to rank higher webpages written by people who have authority on the particular subject.

What tools are used for SEO?

Google Analytics completes web stats and search insights. In addition to tracking pretty much every bit of traffic you could imagine on your website, Analytics also surfaces many keyword insights as to which terms people use to land on your pages.

XML Sitemaps is building a sitemap. Simply enter your site’s URL and some optional parameters, and XML Sitemaps will create a sitemap that you can upload to Google Webmaster Tools.

Open Site Explorer is comprehensive link analysis. The free version of Open Site Explorer gives you a quick look a full range of link analysis, including a look at the most impactful links coming your way and your most linked-to pages.

Google Keyword Planner is knowing what people search for. Enter a keyword or group of keywords into the tool, and Google will return all sorts of helpful stats to guide your keyword strategy: monthly search volume, competition, and even suggested terms you might not have considered.


What is the latest Google update in relation SEO?

Unnamed Update — January 8, 2016

Multiple tracking tools (including MozCast) reported historically-large rankings movement, which Google later confirmed as a "core algo update". Google officially said that this was not a Penguin update, but details remain sketchy.

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