Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising your website to improve rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs), therefore increasing the quality and quantity of search traffic to your website.

Organic Search Rankings are determined by Google’s algorithm and appear directly below the top paid search results

There may also sometimes be paid shopping ads above the paid search results shown in the above screengrab, or local business listings below the paid results and above organic search results.

Image courtesy of Izzi Smith

Despite the increasingly competitive paid search environment, 70-80% of users still ignore paid search results, choosing to only click on organic search results proving just how important it is to ensure your website appears organically in search. Furthermore, the number one top spot in organic search is ten times more likely to receive a click compared to a page in tenth position – read Backlinko’s article for more mind-boggling organic search results stats that’ll get you strategizing your SEO plan before the end of the day!

Now we’ve established exactly what SEO is, how does search engine optimisation work?

Image courtesy of Izzi Smith

Search engines determine the order of search results based on a multitude of factors. Broadly speaking, all of these factors can be split into two categories; on-page and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO is arguably the most accessible side of SEO. As it would suggest, on-page SEO is all about how well optimised your web page is. This takes into account:

• Webpage content
• Title tags
• Header tags
• Meta descriptions
• URLs
• Responsivity
• Internal links
• Site speed
• Image optimisation
• Alt tags
• Other media
• Schema markups

Your on-page content will need to be optimised in line with your keyword research. Keyword research determines which search terms you want a particular page to rank for.

WARNING: if you want to rank your page for ‘digital marketing’ do not just fill your page with the phrase ‘digital marketing’. Keyword stuffing is against Google’s guidelines and will often get your website penalised, negatively impacting your SEO.

Off-page SEO is a little trickier to navigate as it refers to the factors outside of your own website that impact your rankings. Search engines use off-page SEO to gain a deeper understanding of your website’s authority, popularity, relevance and trustworthiness. This is mostly achieved through other websites linking to your website.

Backlinks, as they are known, are arguably the most important ranking factor when it comes to off-page SEO. High value backlinks are generated when a well-established website links to your website. If you have lots of high value backlinks, you will generally rank higher than a similar site with fewer backlinks.

There are a number of other factors which impact off-page SEO, including:

• Social media
• Reviews
• Influencer marketing
• Brand mentions
• PR
• Comments on blogs and forums

If you’d like a FREE SEO AUDIT of your website or just fancy a chat about your SEO, give us a ring on 0161 213 9941 or email








By Jess Buckley, Digital Team Leader. See our digital services here.

Cornerstone DM