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What is SEO? Search Engine Optimisation

January 29, 2024
Written by Chris Wood
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It still surprises me sometimes when I speak to business owners who have been operating for years and don't know what SEO is! Ok, so I do this all day every day, but seriously, I can't stress enough that SEO should always be the first thing you look at when building almost any business. Apart from word of mouth, SEO is probably THE most cost-efficient method of marketing your business.

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About Pennine SEO

We're a small team of digital marketers based in Penistone, South Yorkshire, UK, headed by Christopher Wood who has specialised in SEO and digital marketing for over 15 years. We have helped build the online presence of local businesses and have evolved into specialising in improving the SEO for real estate agents - not just in the UK but in Spain and America, too!

Quick Guide to SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is a technical term for basically doing everything you can to make sure your online presence is more visible to your potential clients than your competitors so that you win more of the market share in your industry.

It's primarily achieved through improving the rankings on Google for "keywords" that potential customers will use to search for the service you provide.

"The higher up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) you are, the more visitors you get, the more leads you get, the more sales you make, the more you can grow your business. SIMPLE!"

It involves optimising the whole journey for the visitor/potential customer. Getting your message right in the "meta descriptions" helps you maximise the "click-through rates" (how many people actually click on your link in the results page. It doesn't stop there, the user's experience needs to be effortless once they are on your site - it needs to load fast and be easily navigable with "call to actions" (contact us, send us a message or buy now buttons for example) in the right places to encourage the user to contact you or make a purchase.

For us, it’s an all-encompassing term to ensure you’re not just visible online but also optimising all design aspects to encourage viewers to get in touch with you.

Spider Diagram showing what is involved in SEO
What contributes to achieving a well-optimised website.

Quality Content: Creating high-quality, relevant, and engaging content that provides value to users is key. Content should be well-written, informative, and unique.

Keyword Optimisation: Conduct keyword research and strategically incorporate relevant keywords into your content, including titles, headings, meta descriptions, and throughout the body text.

Responsive Design: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and responsive across various devices, as mobile usability is a significant factor in search engine rankings.

Page Load Speed: Optimise your website's loading speed by minimising file sizes, enabling browser caching, and utilising content delivery networks (CDNs) to improve user experience and decrease bounce rates.

Optimised Metadata: Write compelling meta titles and descriptions for each page, incorporating relevant keywords to improve click-through rates from search engine results pages (SERPs).

Internal Linking: Implement a logical internal linking structure to help search engines understand the hierarchy and relevance of your content. This also helps distribute page authority throughout your site.

Backlink Building: Acquire quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites in your industry. Backlinks are a crucial ranking factor and can significantly impact your website's visibility in search results.

Social Signals: Engage with your audience on social media platforms to increase brand visibility and generate social signals, which can indirectly influence search engine rankings.

User Experience (UX) Optimisation: Enhance user experience by improving site navigation, ensuring intuitive design, and providing clear calls-to-action (CTAs) to encourage engagement and reduce bounce rates.

Regular Updates: Continuously update and refresh your website with new content, features, and improvements to signal to search engines that your site is active and relevant.

Schema Markup: Implement structured data markup to provide search engines with additional context about your content, which can enhance rich snippets and improve visibility in SERPs.

Secure Website (HTTPS): Secure your website with HTTPS encryption to protect user data and improve trustworthiness. Google often prioritises HTTPS sites in search rankings.

Local SEO Optimisation: If applicable, optimise your website for local search by claiming and optimising your Google My Business listing, ensuring consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) information across directories, and acquiring local citations.

Monitoring and Analysis: Regularly monitor your website's performance using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to identify areas for improvement and track the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.

Adherence to Web Standards: Ensure your website complies with best practices and web standards for accessibility, usability, and technical SEO elements such as robots.txt, sitemaps, and canonical tags.

What does SEO mean for your business?

Let's see what the difference makes between appearing 1st, 2nd, 3rd or lower in Google Search Results.

Example: Let's say there are a total of 1,000 searches in one month for "Estate Agent in Leeds".

Below shows the percentage of traffic each position receives for any given search phrase.
1st place gold medal
~ 30% of clicks
300 visitors
150 Leads
22 Conversions
2nd place medal
~15% of clicks
150 visitors
75 Leads
11 Conversions
3rd place medal
~10% of clicks
100 visitors
50 Leads
7 Conversions

Source: The proportion of traffic each position receives is accurate according to a recent study (September 2023) by the industry-leading publication: The Search Engine Journal.

Numbers of leads and conversions are estimates and for illustrative purposes only.

Top SEO statistics

Here are some interesting SEO statistics to help you understand just how important having your website appear high up on Google is IF you want your business to grow.

  1. 68% of online sessions begin with performing a search on a search engine. (BrightEdge)

  2. 65% of Google searchers click on the first 3 results and don't visit others further down in the search results unless specifically looking for your brand. (Search Engine Journal)

  3. 53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search. (BrightEdge)

  4. 92.96% of global traffic comes from Google Search, Google Images, and Google Maps. (SparkToro)

  5. SEO drives 1,000%+ more traffic than organic social media. (BrightEdge)

  6. 60% of marketers say that inbound traffic from SEO, blog content, etc. is their highest quality source of valuable leads. (HubSpot)

  7. SEO leads have a 14.6% rate of closing. Why? Because these are motivated buyers LOOKING for YOUR service rather than you having to go out there and find THEM through expensive ads! (HubSpot)

We'd love to hear from you!

If your website isn't appearing high on Google, you ARE losing out on a LOT of business! Contact us for a free audit and proposal for how we can help improve your search engine rankings. With over 15 years of experience in SEO and helping improve business owners' website across the world, we're sure to be able to help you, too.
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