Serge Limontov - SEO basics you must know header
Stylised diagram - My idea behind this design was to represent SEO in a graphical way.


What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is basically the act of optimising your website and its content to meet search engine standards.

Why is it needed and who is it for?

If there were zero standards, everyone would continue to do whatever they wanted online. This would potentially result in large and slow websites. In turn, it would create a very slow World Wide Web full of unnecessary code and bloated content.

This is exactly why SEO is needed, to reduce chaos on the WWW. To set standards (guidelines) for website designers, web developers and web content creators. To encourage a faster and a more pleasant user experience online.


You will need to be aware of the main aspects of SEO and what you need to keep in mind.

I will use WordPress to demonstrate and explain various tips but you can relate them to other frameworks.


Your website domain, setup, settings, pages, content, meta data and various other aspects play a role in giving you a ranking. The lower your rank, the further down the list you will be placed by search engines.

Do not worry if you are at the bottom (e.g. on the 100th page of search results). This can all be reversed and you can increase your rank. Keep in mind that ranking fluctuates, it takes time to optimise and results obtained will not happen overnight.

Mobile friendly

This is one of the ways to improve your ranking.

Your website will need to be responsive and accessible on most modern devices. If you are using a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress , make sure to use a mobile friendly theme which gets updated regularly.

It is sometimes better to buy a popular theme with good customer support than using a free offering. Free themes often come with minimal to no support. The free theme developer is not obligated to assist and it might take a very long time to receive a reply.

Keep in mind that something will go wrong. This is because the web and browsers keep changing. Make sure to have a backup plan if you ever need urgent assistance. You could try getting in touch with your hosting provider, theme developer, build a relationship with a website designer or try learn how things work on your own.

Whether you use a premade theme or create your own, make sure to preview your website on different devices and on multiple browsers. Things should work and look very similarly on most of them. Do not try and please everyone since that is impossible.


It is very important to have and to keep your website secure. This also improves your ranking.

You will need to update from “http” to “https”. You might need to purchase an SSL certificate that best suits your website. Some hosts offer free SSL, but be aware that these certificates might not be suitable. Some paid SSL certificates offer insurance and other features. I would suggest to get in touch with your hosting company and ask for assistance.

Use an antivirus to scan themes, plugins and any other digital content you download off the internet before using.

Make sure to read change logs (list of changes/updates) and update everything (CMS, theme, plugins, custom code) accordingly. Do not blindly click update on everything because it could break your site!

You do not want to be left crying and sucking your thumb or pulling your hair out from stress. Make a backup before updating anything!!!


This is very important. Not only because users will leave instantly if it takes ages for a page to load, but because you may be penalised by search engines.

Here are several things to note:

  • Choose an optimised theme if using some kind of CMS like WordPress.
  • Do not install bulky plugins or scripts.
  • Deactivate or disable unused features and plugins.
  • Only include relevant plugins and scripts for each page (i.e. each page should load only what it needs).
  • Keep fancy or multiple fonts to a minimum.
  • Enable GZIP (file compression). This can be done directly via “.htaccess” or using services like cPanel .
  • Update your PHP version to 7.0 or higher. Make sure to test your website thoroughly after change.
  • Do not overload your pages with media content.
  • Optimise images for web. Each image should be under 1Mb with unnecessary metadata removed. If you are using WordPress then I would recommend using a plugin like Smush .
  • Compress videos and pause on page load. If using an embed link from YouTube or similar services, make sure the videos are also paused.
  • Upgrade your hosting plan or change provider if needed.
  • Keep domain and hosting with the same company. Also make sure to choose a local company based on your place of business.


As the saying goes “content is king”, this is still the case. If you want to rank higher then create compelling articles or provide exceptional services that make a difference.

What you need to keep in mind:

  • You will need to have enough text content and not just fill your pages with images or other media. A good rule of thumb is 300 words or more, add headings to break apart sections and write easy to read paragraphs. An exception to this rule is the contact page or something like an image gallery.
  • Create a list of keywords that are relevant to the content you are creating. Spread those keywords throughout the article and try not to cluster them in one section. I suggest that you only use each keyword no more than 12 times.
  • Create text content which is unique and relevant to your market audience. You may be penalised for plagiarism and creating content that does not make sense.
  • Try to start each paragraphs using different words. Too much repetition can be viewed as suspicious and you may end up being penalised.
  • Do not create large paragraphs and fill them with keywords. You may be penalised for keyword abuse.
  • Do not try and trick search engines by creating hidden blocks of text or making them the same colour as the background. Make your text colour clearly visible and large enough to read easily.
  • You may also be penalised if you create obtrusive or continuous popups.

Other (Bonus tips)

There are a few more things to note to improve your SEO:

  • Register your domain name for a longer period (2 or more years).
  • Submit your website URL to search engines. Use Google Search Console or similar services depending on search engine.
  • List your company on Google Business and other local services.
  • Add links to and from your social media profiles.
  • Keep each page URL relevant and small.
  • Add relevant and unique titles (in HTML page head) on each page.
  • Add relevant and unique meta descriptions (in HTML page head) on each page. The Yoast plugin for WordPress CMS is a great example.
  • Add HTML “alt” attribute to all your images.
  • Use only one HTML “<h1>” tag per page.
  • Make sure to remove or update any dead links. Add 301 (permanent) redirects where necessary otherwise visitors will see a 404 (missing page) error.
  • If you have the funds then you could run a paid advertising campaign online and also do remarketing. This could help with exposure and can be used in parallel with other SEO improvements.
  • Get in touch with a local business or promoter to get a listing with your company details (mainly your website URL and social media links).
  • Do not try getting quick bulk traffic by buying email lists or signing up to black hat services that promote your website URL. Most times you will get quantity over quality and you may be penalised for suspicious traffic.


I have tried to include most of the information which you could use to improve your relationship with search engines and users. There are other ways to rank higher quicker but, in this case, it is “slow and steady wins the race”.

If you have reached this far then thank you for reading. I hope some of the tips help you.

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