Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- How to use Google Search Console
- SEO keywords and trends
- Using links for SEO
- Schema Markup
- SEO checklist
What is SEO marketing?
Search engines, such as Google or Bing, are the main way people find websites. Google is the biggest search engine by far, handling more than 92% of all search queries, so it is important to become familiar with the way Google works – although most search engines work in similar ways.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the name given to the process of increasing the likelihood that your website will be seen and indexed (appear in search results) by search engines.
There are many different tools which you can use to analyse your site’s visibility to search engines, but one of the most useful is Google Search Console.
This is a powerful (and free) tool that charts all kinds of data about your website – including site traffic, keywords, popular links, broken links, visitor statistics, user locations and browser types, as well as more sophisticated information such as Core Web Vitals and Page Experience.
It also helps you validate your site map, and preview how your website will appear in search engine listings.
Search engines use complex algorithms to rank websites (Google’s ranking algorithm has over 200 different factors – read Backlinko’s ‘200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List’ to see them all).
One of the most important SEO concepts to understand is ‘keywords’. Very simply, keywords are words on your site that match common search terms.
People searching for a B&B in Norfolk might use search terms like ‘accommodation in Norfolk’, ‘Norfolk holidays’, or ‘best places to stay in Norfolk’. If you make sure your website uses some or all of these keywords, it is more likely to appear as a result when people search for them. But your aim should be to provide useful, relevant information, rather than simply creating pages for SEO.
Google Trends is another useful free tool that lists popular search terms. You can refine this data by location, or compare it against other terms.
Google Trends can be useful in identifying seasonal trends and popular topics: for example, if you find ‘dog friendly accommodation Norfolk,’ is trending, you could tweak the wording on your site, or write a specific blog post, to target that specific search trend.
Case study: Eureka! The National Children’s Museum
Sophie Ballinger, Communications & Digital Content Manager:
"We initially worked with a specialist agency, Climbing Trees, on our website SEO, and as the set-up and requirements can change with SEO, Google Ads and Google Grants and we can trust them to keep on top of developments and advise us.
Unlocking a small monthly budget to pay for their specialist support just makes sense, as the process of setting it up and maintaining it is a bit overwhelming if it isn’t something you do regularly. As a charity, we are also eligible for the Google Grants programme, which provides free Google advertising."
Including links on your site can be helpful in making it more ‘visible’ to search engines. There are different types of links: ‘internal’ (links to other pages within your own website), external (links from your website to others), and ‘referral’ links (links from other websites to yours).
Having a good mix will help your search engine listings. However, broken links (links which result in an error page) can be harmful, so it’s important to fix them promptly: Google Search Console can be used to easily identify broken links.
Good reviews can help with the credibility of your business’ online presence: referral links from popular sites such as TripAdvisor, Google and Trustpilot and others can be a useful way for tourism businesses to improve their SEO and search visibility.
An advanced approach to optimizing content is to use Schema.org markup. Essentially, this means ‘tagging’ your content with specific terms to help search engines understand what the content is about. Known as ‘structured data’, this is a more technical aspect of SEO. For more information see Google Developers introduction to structured data in SEO.
- Read as much as you can about SEO – there is lots of useful advice available online.
- Install Google Analytics to monitor who is visiting your site and who you need to target your content towards.
- Use Google Search Console to make sure your site is verified and preview how it appears in search listings.
- Find out how fast your site is. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights (slow sites can cause issues).
- Consider consulting with a specialist SEO company for support or for more complex SEO projects.
Beginner's guide to SEO
The Beginners Guide to SEO from Moz.com is a good place to start if you’re new to SEO.
Google SEO starter guide
Google has a detailed guide to the various ways it indexes your site, and how you can use SEO to improve your results
Why keywords are important
Search Engine Journal discusses why keywords should be a key factor in your SEO strategy.