What is SEO? A Simple Beginner’s Guide

04 November 2020
by Lee Tadd
4 mins
What is SEO? A Simple Beginner’s Guide

SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimisation: a form of digital marketing that aims to push your website to the top of Google’s search results primarily by increasing its organic traffic.

Of course, the purpose of a website is to convert visitors into prospects, and so traffic alone is not enough. Moz stresses the importance of attracting quality of traffic, which is to say that you want visitors who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

However, if your website does not convey the level of quality that consumers expect, converting traffic into prospects will be difficult, and you could lose out to the competition. A good SEO strategy will, therefore, optimise your website to achieve its purpose by taking a holistic approach to increasing the quantity and quality of organic traffic and improving its condition.

Several factors are taken into consideration by search engines when arranging the results of a search query. To help, you can break down your strategy by thinking about SEO in three complementing areas: technical, on-page and off-page.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to the optimisations that help search engines crawl and index your website more effectively.

On average, a user will decide whether to stay or leave your website in 15 seconds so, understandably, there needs to be a concerted effort to build a website the provides a positive experience for the user. There are a lot of technical factors that contribute towards this experience, such as a secure connection, how long it takes for a page to load, or whether your website is mobile-friendly.

According to Google: “as page load time goes from one second to 10 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 123%”. Consider this with the 15-second rule, and you get an idea of the importance of technical SEO.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is the practice of optimising your website’s content to boost your traffic and improve your search engine rankings. Never undervalue the importance of the content you publish as it helps search engines understand your website and identify if it is relevant to a search query.

The emphasis needs to be on high-quality, unique and relevant content that is informative, engaging and SEO-friendly. It is content of this standard that will help to improve your website’s visibility and show your audience that you are a trusted authority within your niche.

Never neglect the user experience, so think about what people want to read, share and link to, as this will bring organic traffic from social media platforms. Consider how your content fits within your site structure, organise and group it, position relevant internal links to encourage click-throughs; all of this will provide a better user experience and also help Google to index your URLs better.

It is the keywords contained in your content that will determine where a page on your website appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The keywords you choose must describe your business and the topics you write about, and identify what people are searching for to find your content. If you use keywords effectively, then you should see an increase in organic traffic; this is especially true when you factor them into your off-site SEO.

The benefits of on-page SEO extend beyond more organic traffic and improved website visibility. If your site is technically sound and structured well, then it’s the content that will keep a user’s attention for longer than 15 seconds and convince them to make that conversion.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to all activities outside of your website that improves its position in the SERPs by elevating its expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T).

According to Moz, off-page SEO factors could contribute to more than 50% of the ranking factor weight. Strategies can make use of guest blogging, social media marketing and influencer marketing, but acquiring backlinks is the core of off-page SEO.

Backlinks are hyperlinks from other websites that direct the reader to your site, and the most valuable are those that pass the most equity – also known as “link juice”. The value and authority these links transfer act as a signal that search engines use to determine where you page ranks in the SERPs.

The keywords you choose for your on-site SEO strategy are essential for backlinks to work effectively, as these are what you will use to embed your links on other websites. You should think of backlinks, therefore, in the same capacity as a relevant search query that your audience is using to find you online. If you put in a healthy amount of keyword research to identify the words and phrases that are relevant to your business, then you will have a winning formula.


In this article, we have provided a brief overview of the chief components of technical, on-site and off-site practices, which work together to create an SEO strategy that is complete in its aim to drive more organic traffic to your website.

Creating and implementing a comprehensive campaign requires time and resources that many businesses simply do not have, so they choose to outsource the work to an agency such as ours. If you would like to know how Atlas SEO can help you, contact us today.


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