01 December 2016

SEO: Back to Basics…

0 min read
SEO: Back to Basics…
Mark LillicrappWritten ByMark Lillicrapp

As Propeller's Technical Director, Mark is responsible for developing digital policy and strategy, implementing infrastructure and leveraging technology to help Propeller and its amazing clients achieve their goals.



In a world where Google is all reigning and we’ve become accustomed to instant access to information – whether it be on our phone, laptop or tablet – SEO continues to play a fundamental element in any healthy marketing strategy. With so much noise around SEO, we know it’s something we need to get right, but how do we start breaking it down into bite-sized pieces to create our own, tailored strategy?

Understanding customer intent

Instead of focusing on demographics, which rarely tells the whole story, we need to hone in on our customers’ habits and get to grips with their buying/ booking patterns. It’s these Google-coined ‘micro-moments’,  when “we turn to a device… to take action on whatever we need or want right now” when we need to make sure that we ae in the right place at the right time when customers are searching.

Google's Algorithms

Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals and with Google updating it’s algorithm more than 500 times a year. In order to remain relevant and appear high in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs),we need to make sure that our website continues to adapt to these new releases.  Here’s a look a some of the major updates that have taken place between 2013 – 2016:

 Made up of smaller updates that you may not even notice, through to more significant changes, the search landscape shifts at an incredible pace. Google continues to adapt it’s formula to improve user-experience and provide the most relevant content to the user.

Here are a couple of the larger changes that took place this year:

  • Penguin 4.0: The much-anticipated Penguin update is designed to improve Google’s spam filter and introduce real-time crawling and page indexing.
  • Mobile-friendly Part 2: Mobile-friendly update that aims to benefit mobile optimised websites and champion responsive design.

SEO factors

With so many factors feeding into your SEO ranking, it can often feel like an overwhelming task. Taking a holistic approach and bringing together aspects like content, site structure and mobile optimisation, is the most effective way to remain competitive. Today, we’re focusing on these three key areas but stay tuned for our follow up blog where will delve deeper into some of the other factors (including social media, online reviews and PPC).


Creating compelling, engaging content is something we talk about all the time, but how do you put this into practice for your business?

There are many ways to approach your content strategy, but to get you started, here are two core principles which should be kept in mind when putting together great content for SEO.

Know your niche

Understand what makes your brand different and embrace your individuality to remain competitive in your space. Increase your customer reach by using longer tail keywords like ‘Red Velvet Dress’ or  ‘Pub with Game masterclasses’ in your blog content (terms that wouldn’t be appropriate for your Meta Title and Description). Being specific about what you have on offer will help you target savvy customers who know what they want.

 Be helpful

Keep up to date with the latest trends like Hygge, clean eating & virtual reality, and provide the information and insight that your customers are looking for. Not only will you add value and offer solutions, but you will also establish your brand as an authority in your sector, turning visitors into loyal brand advocates who keep coming back.

Remember! Voice search is coming so adopt a conversational tone to ensure your website is geared up ready for the switch over.


Once a potential customer lands on your website, you need to ensure that you keep them engaged through your use of images, content and layout.

Creating a “flat architecture” design that requires as few clicks as possible to go from your homepage to key pages on your website will improve the user-experience by making it easy to navigate across the website. Structuring URLs to include keywords like ‘Italian restaurant’ or ‘Pub in Hammersmith’ will also help Google crawl your pages to create a clear path for visitors.

Google Search Console (previously known as Web Master tools) is a great tool that you can use to monitor the performance of your website and identify the most popular search terms associated with your business. You can learn from this information to evaluate how Google views your website and how best to optimise going forward.

Below is an example of what your Google Search Console will look like:

Read more about Google Search Console here.


61% of consumers said they were more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile optimised website

As we touched on earlier, Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving and it’s becoming more and more important to have a mobile optimised website . In order to offer the best customer experience, we need to think about how mobile experience differs from desktop experience. Designing mobile-first or with mobile in mind and including strong call to actions and large clickable buttons, will ensure a positive customer experience across devices, and help drive up your website conversion rate.

Accessing information like the address, phone number or opening hours of a business, are some of the most frequent mobile searches that we make, and often we make these just before entering a store or venue. By claiming your Google My Business profile, you can manage the information displayed about your business on Google, ensuring that information like opening hours and contact details are always accurate.

Here’s an example of Propeller’s Google My Business profile:

Learn more about claiming your business here.

SEO isn’t a one time deal

Putting in place a clear strategy for SEO will help your business evolve as the SEO landscape does. Partnering with a digital agency will also ensure that you have the latest information and digital insight to optimise your website and content to get the best results. With 2017 just around the corner, it’s a great time to start asking your team questions like:

What is your most important business goal?

What is the one KPI that best measures its success?

Once you’ve identified your objectives, you can start to build a strategy that really supports your goals and drives the direction of your business forward.

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Mark LillicrappMark Lillicrapp