What is SEO and How Does it Work?

Updated: Sep 5, 2019

With over 63,000 searches per second on Google, not optimising your content is a serious mistake.

Unsurprisingly, companies are starting to jump on the SEO bandwagon and adopt SEO strategies to make sure their website and digital content appears on page 1 of the SERP results.

Whether you’re a small business or large corporation, optimising your website allows you to get your message in front of the right audience and boost site traffic. With more visitors and better UX experience, you’ll naturally drive conversion rates and see a high ROI.

Our guide takes a deep dive into SEO to explain what exactly SEO is and how you can optimise your website for optimal performance.

So, What is SEO?

SEO stands for:

Most simply put, SEO is an approach copywriters and marketers use to make sure your website or online content appears on page 1. Creating a strong SEO strategy should take several factors into account, including technical, off-page and on-page SEO.

How Does SEO Work: A Crash Course in Google’s Algorithm

The primary goal of SEO is to ensure your website outperforms competitors when Google’s algorithm crawls it.

Google uses an algorithm to quickly crawl through available pages and find the sites most relevant to a users’ query. It judges your website on many different factors from keywords, load speeds, canonical tags, and even content quality.

To make matters even more complicated, no one really knows how this algorithm works as Google only reveals some (but not all) of the details. So, SEO experts must look at the available data and make educated guesses.

What is On-page SEO?

On-page SEO is how SEO copywriters and marketers make sure your website text and features serve the right user intent and captures the best keywords.

It includes factors like keywords, H1s, H2s, and H3s, meta descriptions and page titles. Focusing on on-page SEO is one of the easiest ways for a non-technical person to ensure their website ranks well.

Why is SEO Important?

What does it matter if your website is optimised for SEO? Is it really worth investing in SEO services?

SEO helps you get your message in front of the right audience, increases site traffic and boosts conversion rates. It also keeps giving and is proven to have a better ROI than paid campaigns. Here are four of our favourite reasons SEO is amazing.

  1. Enhanced Conversion Rates. Research shows that a properly optimised website has an average conversion rate of 14.6%, 12.9% more than traditional marketing methods like print ads or direct mail.

  2. Improved Site Traffic. 51% of site traffic should come through organic search, significantly higher than social or paid search.

  3. More Leads. 57% of B2B marketers said SEO generates more leads than any other marketing method.

  4. Higher Conversions. 61% of customers conducted an Internet search before making a purchase.

Getting Started with an SEO Strategy

A good SEO strategy starts by conducting a content audit, considering current performance, competitors and setting strategic KPIs.

Step 1) Start by looking at how your site is currently performing using Google Search Console, Screaming Frog and Google Analytics. You want to ask questions like:

‘What keywords are you currently targeting?’

‘How are users currently finding your page?’

‘Are there any technical errors?’

‘Do you have optimised h1s and h2s?’

‘Do you have optimised metadata’

Step 2) Next, look at your competitors. On SEMRush, you can view competitors with similar keywords. If your current data doesn’t show relevant competitors, this might indicate an issue with your user intent. Examine competitors’ pages and ask questions like:

‘What keywords are they targeting?’

‘How do they engage with customers? Blog posts? Landing pages for each service?’

‘What aspects of their website and blog page work well?’

‘How could you build on their approach to better serve customers’

Step 3) After you’ve examined your competitors, consider the user intent. You can use tools like Answer the Public or Google Trends. Consider common questions users are asking or hot topics or trends for engaging long-form content.

Step 4) Next, conduct some keyword research to find more effective search terms (also known as keywords). You want to look for relevant search terms that would connect potential customers with your service. In a perfect world, these terms would have a high search volume and low competition rate. But, you typically have to settle for something in-between.

Must-Have Tools for SEO

Screaming Frog.

Screaming Frog replicates Google’s algorithm by crawling your site and revealing key SEO considerations like missing or duplicate page titles, broken links and much more.

Google Search Console.

When you first create a website, you should connect it to Google Search Console. GSC will then collect data on your site like the search terms customers use to find it and click-through-rates. You can then look at this data to determine if your page is serving the right user intent and whether you’re capturing the right keywords.

Google Analytics.

Similarly, you should also connect your website to Google Analytics. Google Analytics will tell you about customers onsite behaviours: how long they spent on site, your most popular pages and user engagement. It’s useful for seeing how your website is currently performing and finding opportunities for improvement.

Keyword Planner or Keywords Everywhere.

As part of your content audit, you’ll need to conduct some keyword research to find terms with high search volumes. You also want to look at competition rates as these indicate how hard it would be to rank on page 1.

SEMRush or Moz.

There are several excellent tools like Moz or SEMRush, which provide all the SEO tools you need in one handy kit. With these tools, you can uncover technical SEO problems like broken links and slow load speeds, conduct keyword research and even view competitors’ keywords.

On-page SEO Checklist

Discover SEO Services from Copy House

Does the above sound all too complicated? Whether you’re simply looking for an SEO content audit or need ongoing support, we’re happy to help. We’ll use our industry SEO skills to make sure your site achieves the best results. Find out more about our services.


Site designed by Ewan Morris


Phone: (+44) (0)131 357 4283‌

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