What is SEO? Search Engine Optimisation Basics

Last edited 9 April, 2024
4 min read.

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

In simple terms, Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is the process of gaining more traffic to your website from search engines like Google or Bing.

There are many search engines that exist, but we’ll refer to Google throughout this blog as it is the search engine with the largest index of web pages.

Every time a user searches for a word or phrase, known as a search query, Google reviews all the web pages available on the internet that might match that search.

Let’s imagine, for example, that you’re a web developer. A search query that might be relevant for you, would be: “Do I need a new website?”

Why is SEO important?

Without implementing SEO practices into your marketing strategy, your online visibility will be reduced, meaning your sales and lead potential will be limited. How can you market your web development services online if potential clients can’t find your website?

SEO is the process of driving ‘free’ and relevant traffic to your website by helping your website appear on the search page after a user searches for a service or product you offer. This is typically preferable to other visibility methods, such as paid advertising on Google or social media.

By free, we mean that you don’t pay to rank higher.

With an increased level of relevant traffic to your website, combined with an optimal user experience, you’ll benefit from:

  • improved visibility and brand awareness
  • more leads and sales
  • a strong foundation for other forms of marketing.

How does SEO work?

If done correctly, when fresh content is published on your website, Google bots (also known as “spiders”) will crawl your website and review its web pages.

Google will then index the page(s), meaning it becomes available to view on the internet.

Each time a search query is entered into the search engine, Google will rank the page based on several factors, including, but not limited to, relevancy to the user’s search query and technical performance, such as speed and authority.

However, Google alone has an index of trillions of web pages. This means you’re battling against countless other websites trying to reach the number one position in those search results.

If the SEO strategy for your page is successful, that new page will appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for relevant searches.

Watch Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, explain how search works.

Google SERP structure

A user has searched Google for “website designers” and is directed to a SERP.

At the top, you have ‘paid’ results – these are advertisements that owners have paid for to appear at the top of the page. This is known as Pay Per Click marketing or PPC for short. These paid results can take multiple forms depending on the type of promotion.

Underneath the adverts, you then have the ‘organic’ results. This is where you’re vying against your competitors for your webpage to appear higher on the list.

Types of SEO

There are many subtypes of SEO, which can be grouped into the three main categories discussed below. These factors work in unison to judge and improve the ranking of your website.

What is on-page SEO?

On-page SEO refers to everything we can optimise directly on the website, including:

Keywords – these are the phrases that you’re trying to rank your web page for, such as “web designers in Birmingham.”

Content – your webpage(s) should include the relevant keywords and other associated phrases and topics.

Internal linking – visitors to your website should be able to easily navigate to this page from other areas of your website. This includes from the main navigation menu, from category pages, or other, related blog posts.

Page speed – people are impatient, and Google knows this. So, if your website doesn’t load quickly, you’re at a severe disadvantage when compared to your faster competitors.

What is off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO refers to techniques that don’t occur directly on your website. This can include social media, email marketing, and more, but in most cases we’re talking about Link Building.

Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to yours. For example, your client may write a blog about the new website you’ve built for them and might choose to credit you and link directly to your website from that blog.

Links indicate to Google that your website is popular, relevant, and trustworthy. The more quality backlinks pointing to your site, the more authoritative it is, and the higher the chance Google ranks you above everyone else.

Backlinks are singular, meaning that if a single client links to your website three times, you have three separate backlinks.

What is technical SEO?

Technical SEO refers to the overall quality of your website’s structure, referring to how well your website is built. There are a few subcategories that Google uses to determine this, including:

Page speed – we have discussed loading speed before, but it’s worth another mention in technical SEO. Google prioritises faster web pages as they provide an overall better user experience.

Mobile-friendliness – your website’s mobile performance is an essential ranking factor. This is what Google ranks you on, regardless of whether you gain more traffic from mobile devices or not. Mobile friendliness is especially important in E-Commerce SEO.

User experience – your clients should be able to find what they need when they visit your website. If not, they’ll likely get frustrated and leave, meaning you’ve lost out on a potential lead.

What are the Next Steps?

Now that you understand the basics of what SEO is, what should your next steps be?

Learn how your SEO is currently performing and how you’re faring against your competitors by claiming your FREE SEO and web audit. We’ll send you an easy-to-understand presentation along with our pricing should you wish to start a campaign with us.

Alternatively, discover how we fully manage an SEO campaign by understanding the processes we go through.

Let’s Start a Conversation

As a search engine optimisation company, we’ve helped businesses throughout the UK boost web traffic, grow their customer base, and increase leads and revenue.

We can handle all your marketing needs, from website design and development to social media management, and content generation.

If you’d like to find out more about what we do, get in touch by emailing info@edge-creative.com or calling the office on 0121 355 8092.


Lydia Campbell

Digital Media Strategist

Lydia is involved in managing and monitoring clients’ SEO and advertising efforts, squeezing every last bit of success out of each campaign. Lydia takes no prisoners when it comes to PPC. After joining the team as a digital marketing apprentice, Lydia developed a keen eye for analytics and a passion for achieving results. Lydia’s loves watching projects grow from start to finish, and seeing tangible results from the campaigns she watches over so diligently.