For most people, Google is the first place they turn when looking for a product or service. The websites occupying the top Google positions can reap large rewards.
Increasing relevant website visitors will improve your chance of sales.
However, your website also needs to persuade people to buy from you. We all know the websites that give us the confidence to buy:
There are some industries that are not so suited to SEO, simply because their potential customers are not searching in Google for their products or services.
Though SEO still has a use for people searching for their brand name, or for related products/services.
Ranking factors are the elements search engines take into account when deciding where your website should ‘rank’ compared to others in your market.
Google has over 200 factors, the following are the top 3:
SEO will only benefit you if there are searches for your products, services, or brand; and the competition is not too high to make it commercially unviable.
You need to do some research to find this out:
1. Find Monthly Searches
The search engines can tell you the rough number of searches per month for every search query made. At the same time, they can tell you the approximate pay per click (PPC) values that others bid for that term in Google Ads, so
This does not fully tell you is how competitive keywords are.
2. Simple Competitor Research
A simple way to find out how competitive your market is, is to look at the top results for your target keywords.
It typically takes 6 months to a year for SEO work to have a major impact!
SEO is then something that can happen in the background, to then replace some of those other marketing channels in the future.
Many people talk about SEO providing free search engine traffic.
It does, but the work required to get your website to rank well is not free:
It is impossible to say how much SEO will cost your business without analysing your website, and your competitors first.
Before embarking on an 'SEO journey' for your business, consider the following:
Yes, SEO is a skill that can be learned 👍
There are many sides to SEO, some more technical than others, some more creative than others.
SEO training can provide both hands-on implementation skills for your team, as well as an understanding of over-riding SEO principles, to help you manage the campaign, your team, or an SEO agency better.
Selecting the right search engine marketing company can be a daunting process.
The industry is plagued with jargon and there are plenty of agencies that ‘talk a good game’.
Google has created a very helpful video listing their top recommendations to ensure you hire a good quality agency. In summary, they recommend to:
This does 100% depend on your website, market, and competitors, however, SEO work can be split into these main categories:
To find out what work you should concentrate on, an SEO audit is recommended.
On-site SEO is everything that relates to your website, whether it's content, set up or behind-the-scenes technical aspects.
The search engines look in great detail at your website and the information on its pages , such as:
For more information see Moz’s article: On-Page Ranking Factors.
Technical performance is a key part of your website's optimisation.
Why should Google rank your site well if it is slow and looks terrible on mobile devices?
Mobile-friendly - most websites customers will be expecting to read the site on PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Google believes so much in mobile usage, it has introduced a mobile-first  indexing of the web and will reduce your rankings if your site is not responsive and does not look good on all devices.
The technical aspects of creating a fast website are beyond the scope of this section, however, the following can have a major impact:
Further reading: 9 Ways to Make Your Website Super-Fast
The only reason any of us visit any website is to read, watch or listen to its content.
Why should Google rank your site well if its content is thin, generic, and does not engage your visitors?
Google has many ways of assessing if people like your website.
For example, if all visitors to a page leave within 5 seconds it's Google rankings will suffer. If, however, all the visitors stay on the page for say 5 minutes and then visit other site pages this is a good sign.
To achieve this you will need relevant, original quality content, presented on a well laid out page.
Your content must be relevant to the subject of the page and its visitors.
If your page is titled 'red furry slippers' but the copy is about 'pyjamas', your visitor and Google will not like this.
2. Write for the visitor, not the search engine
Many copywriters write to please the search engines focussing on the keywords to include.
This does not create well-written pages that your visitors will love, and your rankings will suffer.
Your content must be original and not copied from another webpage. If you have pages that are duplicates of others on the web, or your own website, then you risk poor performance, or a penalty.
Off-site SEO is the process of promoting your website throughout the internet so it gets back-links and mentions.
This also applies to your authors, people who write for your organisation, who may be an authority in their field.
A link is what you click on to get from one web page to another.
This link only has real value if:
Getting links, or ‘link building’, is an area of SEO fraught with difficulties, as good quality links can sometimes be hard to get.
How to build good quality links is currently beyond the scope of this post, see: How to Get High-Quality Backlinks in 2021.
Google operates guidelines  that website owners must meet to be listed in their index.
If a website does not meet its requirements, Google may:
This may be due to:
Do you think your website has suffered a Google Penalty?
Your Google penalty may have been due to
Either way, it is possible in most circumstances to recover the website and get it re-included within the search engines index.
Further Reading: The Complete List of Google Penalties & How to Recover.
This will depend on your business goals, competition, and budget, though typically the next steps would be:
 “Nearly 60 percent of searches now from mobile devices”. Searchengineland.com. 2016-08-03
 “Announcing mobile-first indexing for the whole web”. Developers.google.com. 2020-04-05
 “How Important Are Backlinks for SEO?”. Search Engine Journal. 2020-11-17.
 “Google Panda ”. Wikipedia.org. 2017-06- 25
 “Google Penguin ”. Wikipedia.org. 2017-08- 28
 “Webmaster Guidelines”. Support.google.com
 “Negative SEO: Should You Be Worried? If Attacked, What Should You Do? ”. Moz.com. 2014-08-24
 “The size of the World Wide Web (The Internet) ”. Worldwidewebsize.com
 “How Page Speed Affects SEO & Google Rankings”. Cognitiveseo.com.
 “Google Click-Through Rates (CTR) By Ranking Position”. Ignite Visibility 2020-05-15
 “On-Page Ranking Factors”. Moz.com