Not all that long ago, SEO (search engine optimisation) was a clunky, awkward process, often involving shoe-horning keywords and clickbait content into an otherwise perfectly respectable website. But in the 2020s, things have changed. Now, the SEO process has been streamlined to work for the customer as well as the seller, helping people navigate the web to the places they want to be.

So how can you get in on the SEO secret?

Well, there are three essential components to maximising your site’s SEO: on-page, off-page and technical. Here, we’ll talk you through how they work – and how you can use them to drive traffic and increase sales.

On-page SEO

First, let’s look at on-page SEO. This is the type that you’re probably familiar with, and involves optimising your site’s content to contain targeted keywords. Enough of these, of course, will ensure that web users are able to locate your business when searching for certain terms. But even though many businesses tend to stop here, there is much more to a successful SEO campaign.

To start with, you’ll need to establish what keywords you need to be focusing on. Happily, there are a number of free tools, such as Mozbar and Keyword Surfer, that will help you to figure it out. And once you’ve narrowed things down, you can focus on creating content around your selected keywords. But remember it’s not just about the main body of text: everything from metadata to title tags and URL slugs will help web users to find your page – so make sure they contain your keywords too. Essentially, you’re aiming for good quality content that doesn’t feel unnatural or forced, while still containing enough keywords to make your site visible to those who want to find it.

Off-page SEO

On the topic of off-page SEO techniques, meanwhile, it’s all about acquiring backlinks from reputable sources that are relevant to your customer and business. With these, your site will become more relevant and more trusted, driving further traffic. But where to start?

According to experts, there are two approaches to link-building: active and passive. Active link building, in a nutshell, involves approaching other sites and content creators to promote your business and hopefully acquiring those precious links. And while this is competitive and takes time, the results will be worth it. Alternatively, you can take the passive approach, focusing on building a good business and trusting that the recognition – and links – will not be far behind. To speed up the process, you can focus on social media interaction and being active in online communities – all techniques that can help build trust and relationships with your brand.

Technical SEO

Then, there’s technical SEO. And while this is a little more complicated, it essentially involves techniques applied to the backend of your site to affect things such as indexation, crawling and UX (user experience) – all of which will have an impact on your rankings overall. Typically, most businesses call in the experts to take care of this area, although there are some simple things you can do, such as improving site usability and fixing any broken links, that will improve how search engines – and ultimately your customers – interact with your site.

At the moment, experts believe that search engine results account for around a third of the traffic to any site. So if you don’t know how to maximise this process in your favour, you could be missing out on a lot of potential revenue. By getting to grips with SEO, you can boost sales and help your business to grow – all without breaking the bank.