The Basics of SEO for Content Teams
  • 8-minute read
  • 3rd August 2023

The Basics of SEO for Content Teams

If you’ve been on the internet for a while, you’ve undoubtedly heard of search engine optimization (SEO). Maybe you understand what it is but have no idea how to implement it on your website. This article intends to lay out the basics of SEO to point you in the right direction for further research.

What Is SEO? Why Is It Important?

SEO is the process by which you make your website more discoverable in search engines. With millions of web pages online, an amount that’s continuing to grow exponentially, your web page will likely get lost in the noise unless you employ SEO. You might think that if you create unique and relevant content, people will find your website, but this assumption is only partially accurate. It doesn’t matter how good your content is if no one can find it. In 2019, Brightedge Research found that 68% of online experiences started with a search engine. That’s a lot of traffic that may not be coming to you. So how do you integrate SEO into your plan?

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to everything you can do on your website itself, including:

  • the implementation of keywords, meta descriptions, and title tags in your content
  • URL structure
  • image optimization
  • internal linking

The Importance of Keywords

You’ve probably heard the term keywords floating around the internet, but we also need to discuss search terms. Search terms are phrases users type into a search engine to find the information they’re looking for. We’d want to include these words (the keywords) in our content so it’s discoverable on search engine pages. If we don’t, the search engines can’t include our page in the results.

Title Tags

A title tag is the title of a particular web page. The tag is visible on search engine results pages and in the web browser tab. Your title tag should include your keyword, but a bit of an art applies here. Constant Contact suggests building your title tag around your keywords but expanding upon them to provide more information.

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are the short pieces of text that appear under the title on a search results page. According to Mageplaza, although the meta description no longer affects the site’s ranking (because Google realized that people were taking advantage of its previous algorithm), meta descriptions are still important because they tell the user what to expect from the content, thereby affecting website traffic and click-through rates. It’s a good idea to include your keywords in the meta description to make it more discoverable.

URL Structure

How many times have you looked at a website that has a domain like this: https:/// Probably quite a lot, right? You might be wondering why this is an issue. Isn’t it just how Google indexes a page? Well, you’d be kind of right. The problem is that search engine robots will struggle to figure out what your page is about from this URL, so they cannot recommend the page when a user is looking for information. But if a user is looking for information about creating a domain, search engines would know to recommend a page with the domain So creating URLs that include your keyword is essential to being discovered in search engine results.

Image Optimization

If you include images on your site, make sure they’re optimized properly. JPEGs are usually more SEO-friendly than PNGs because they offer better compression. It’s also important to create accurate alt text and descriptions. Search engines can’t understand images, but they can understand the text behind the image (the alt text) and can promote it accordingly.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is a vital part of SEO. Google follows internal links on websites to discover the type of content on that website, the way pieces of content relate to one another, and the pages that are the most important (decided by how many links point to that page). If your website doesn’t have a strong internal linking system or has lots of orphan pages (pages that have no internal links pointing to them), Google can’t rank your pages and, therefore, won’t be able to promote them.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to the items you can add off your site to improve SEO, including backlinks, content marketing, social media, events, and reviews.


Google promotes websites that it deems reliable, and one of the main ways it does this is by analyzing the backlinks. Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. Backlinks signal to Google that other websites find your content valuable and relevant to the subject it addresses. Ideally, you want to get as many backlinks as possible; typically, it’s better to get one backlink from 100 websites than it is to get 100 from one website. But the quality of the website giving the backlink is also important. Backlinko has a great resource on how to create quality backlinks.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the creation of useful content, including blogs, newsletters, social media, emails, and videos, for the end customer. Having a solid content marketing strategy can help you get your content – and therefore your brand – in front of customers who might not otherwise have heard of you. But you don’t want to put out just anything; you need to make targeted and relevant content. And of course, before you publish anything online, make sure you edit and proofread the content to remove mistakes. For more tips, read our blog on proofreading and editing tips for improving your content marketing.

Executing your content marketing strategy can be time intensive. Many teams have turned to AI-generated content to support them. But can AI-generated content be bad for your SEO? 

Local SEO

Local SEO attempts to make a company more discoverable in its local area. This undertaking is essential for brick-and-mortar businesses because they need people to know where their stores are so they can be found. For example, imagine you run a Thai food restaurant. Of course, you want your restaurant to appear in searches for Thai food in your area. If it doesn’t, you may be losing out on a lot of customers. You can make your business more visible online in a number of ways, as Bluehost Blog details. 

Technical SEO

Technical SEO aims to improve a website’s technical aspects to bump the website up in the search engine. Methods include site speed improvement, canonicalization, XML sitemaps, security, and accessibility.

Site Speed

Users dislike slow websites. The Website Builder Expert found that one in four visitors would abandon a website that takes more than four seconds to load, 46% of users don’t revisit poorly performing websites, and 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with their site visit will shop elsewhere next time. So if your site speed is too slow, you risk losing customers.


Canonicalization is the process of changing multiple data points into a standard format. This means assigning a single URL to a web page and suppressing competing URL variations (which can cause issues). According to Indeed, reducing the number of URLs associated with a page can help a company rank high in the search engine because the reduction helps users discover the page more easily.

XML Sitemaps

Search engines use bots to crawl and index your website, but they find it much easier to do this if you create an XML sitemap. They want to understand the structure of your website so they can accurately promote relevant content to their users. But sometimes, your pages don’t have internal links pointing to them (see above for why this is an issue), meaning the search engines struggle to index the pages. Having a sitemap can help with this.


According to Wix, having a secure site better aligns with Google’s ranking systems, part of which takes into account user experience. Users prefer to visit sites that are secure. You should get an SSL certificate and enable HTTP3 protocols to signal that your site is secure.


Accessibility has become an important factor in SEO in the past couple of years. Accessibility focuses on how people, particularly those with disabilities, can access and use the information on the website. In most areas, website accessibility is required by law, and you could face penalties (or lawsuits) for not prioritizing accessibility. When considering how to make your website more user-friendly, Search Engine Journal has some great advice.


SEO can be complicated, but it’s vital if you want your website to rank higher in the search engine and be more discoverable to your potential customers. You should consider your website’s on-page, off-page, local, and technical SEO. It’s important that you monitor your SEO analytics and tweak aspects of it to optimize performance.

Need Help With Your Content?

Our team of expert editors and proofreaders can help you create compelling, click-worthy content. To see what we can do for you, schedule a call with us.

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