5 minute


5 Basic SEO Concepts for Absolute Beginners in 2020

Matthew O'Sullivan

Search engine optimisation is certainly one of the most cost-effective ways to attract new customers.

However, in the sea of information, it can be difficult to understand what you should do.

In this article, we’re going to explain the main 5 SEO concepts, and show you how they help with lead generation.

Let’s take a look!


1. Crawling, Indexing and Ranking

You’ll come across these three terms quite often when starting your search engine marketing journey.

But what do they mean?

Crawling is the process in which Google bots analyse your site.

They check content, links, and the structure of your website.

Once they’re done, they proceed to indexing - gathering information about your website, and adding it to their database.

Finally, your indexed pages are then ranked - displayed in the search engine results pages.

Why Is Ranking the Most Important Part of SEO?

Since ranking is the part that brings us the most results (the higher you appear in the results, the more customers can you attract), we all focus on it.

However, ranking is simply a result of SEO efforts before and during the indexing and crawling process.

That’s why our team likes popping the hood to make sure what’s under it is as efficient as what’s above it.

There are many SEO ranking factors, but 10 of the most important are:

  • Links
  • Content
  • A fast website
  • Social signals
  • Technical SEO
  • User experience
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • An SSL-secured website
  • Local business information
  • EAT score (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness)

It’s important to set them up properly in order to rank.

Once your pages appear in the results, your work is not done. This is why SEO requires constant optimisation.

In order to stay at the top, you should have:

  • Good dwell time
  • A low bounce rate
  • Good user experience
  • A high click-through rate

2. Why Are Keywords so Important for SEO?

Even if this is the first article you’re reading about SEO, you’ve likely come across keywords.

There’s hardly a SEO discussion without them.

Keywords have a special role in search engine optimisation because keywords are how people search for information online.

Google Search auto suggest for Dublin pubs

Keywords we’d use on Friday night  

As a business owner, your content (e.g. pages and blog posts) should include keywords that your target audience is searching for.

If you use keywords your potential customers search for, your results will appear in the search engine results pages. However, that depends on other factors, as well.

Now, every keyword comes with embedded intent: what’s the purpose of a particular search?

  • Informational intent - the searcher wants information about something (e.g. How to make Irish Stew, or What is search engine optimisation?, or Best marketing agencies Ireland)
  • Navigational - the searcher wants to reach a particular website (e.g. Facebook, or HatchHouse Digital Dublin)
  • Transactional - the searcher wants to take action, normally purchasing something (e.g. Buy gardening gloves Dublin, or Subscribe to Netflix)

There are specific keywords for different types of intent. Prospects use different keywords at different stages in their purchasing journey.

You should also be mindful of every keyword’s search volume.

The more people search for that keyword, the bigger your competition will be. It’ll take a while to rank for terms that have high search volume.

So what do you aim for?

Long-tail keywords.

Even if You Know Nothing about SEO, Understanding and Implementing Long-Tail Keywords Will Improve Your Results

70% of search engine traffic comes from long-tail keywords: search queries that contain more than 3 words and describe the searcher’s intent in greater detail.

Google Search longtail keyword suggestions

Going back to our Friday night pub example, these are all long-tail keywords.

Additionally, long-tail keywords have a 36% conversion rate.


  • Searchers (and Google) use keywords to find and understand your content.
  • There are three types of keyword intents: transactional, informational, and navigational.
  • The most profitable keywords are transactional long-tail keywords.

3. Why Do You Need Links for Search Engine Optimisation?

Another important aspect of SEO are links.

Back links illustration

[Source: https://www.seobility.net/en/wiki/images/e/ef/Backlinks.png]

Two Types of Links in SEO: Backlinks

Intuitively, you know that having links from different sites (backlinks) will increase your traffic.

However, there’s a deeper meaning to links when it comes to search engine optimisation:

Google’s bots understand the internet through links. Those same bots are in charge of ranking your website in search engine results.

Today, we think of backlinks as “votes of confidence.

If another website adds a link to your website, Googlebots perceive it as those websites vouching for your content.

After all, they wouldn’t link to you if you didn’t have useful content.

However, not any old link will do. You need a link from a reputable website that caters to your audience.

For example, if your local newspaper linked to your service, that’d be valuable because you share the same target area.

Similarly, if you offer home maintenance and you’re linked to from a website that discusses home maintenance, that would be a high-quality link.

Conversely, if you received a link from a website that links out to thousands of sites, Google wouldn’t just stay neutral. It could penalise your website for getting such a spammy link.

That’s why link-building strategies are a major part of a good SEO service.

You need a “healthy” link profile to appear in the top spots and increase your sales.

Siloing illustration

[Source: https://www.seobility.net/en/wiki/images/9/96/Siloing.png]

Two Types of Links in SEO: Internal Links

While backlinks will get you external traffic and more recognition from Google, internal links will make sure that your “link juice” (results received from backlinks) is spread evenly across all your pages.

For example, if you receive a backlink to one page on your site (e.g. “Services”), it will rank well in search engine results pages.

However, if you don’t have any links to your other pages from your Service page, other pages won’t rank as well.

If you add links to other pages on your website, you’ll be “sharing the link juice” and ensuring that your website as a whole ranks well.


  • Google uses links from other websites to your site to evaluate the quality of your website and your content.
  • When you receive links from other websites, you can “spread” their influence across your website if you link from page A on your website to page B on your website.
  • Links are the most important SEO concept for ranking highly as soon as possible.

4. SEO and Content Go Hand in Hand

Content rules SEO.

Google Search for Irish stew

The content displayed in the SERPs (search engine results pages) directly affects your click-through rate (CTR).

Your meta descriptions (in the example above, listing the ingredients) have to show the searcher that your post is exactly what they came to Google to find. 

At HatchHouse, we don’t just write interesting copy to increase your CTR.

We also implement Schema markup to add images, links, and ratings to your results whenever possible.

On-Page Content

Your on-page content (pages, blog posts, etc.) should provide the searcher with the information they need.

This will affect your bounce rate and dwell time.

If your on-page content is good, leads will keep consuming your content. They won’t leave your website.

In that respect, good content that searchers love sends the right search signals to Google.

In turn, this means your results stay on the top of SERPs.

When it comes to sales, good content convinces your leads to become your customers.


  • Your content has to satisfy the searcher intent - from your meta descriptions, to your pages.
  • The way searchers and readers consume your content shows Google whether it should keep displaying your results, or demote you in rankings.


5. Technical SEO

This is the part that our team really loves.

The truth is, if your website isn’t set up properly, your content and backlink profile could be brilliant, but you’d still have a hard time ranking for your target keywords.


  • People rarely wait longer than 3 seconds for a website to load.
  • An inefficient website hurts user experience - we all leave websites with clunky navigation.
  • If you don’t have an SSL certificate, your website won’t be secure.

There are plenty of things that factor into technical SEO. The most important ones include:

  • Site speed
  • Mobile friendliness
  • User experience
Technical SEO breakdown

[Source: https://lazyearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/technical-seo.png] 

We’ll be covering all of these concepts (and more) in blog posts to come, so make sure you stay tuned. Or get in touch with our professionals who will help you set up your website for SEO success.

Let’s hatch your idea together!

Why not see how our SEO and inbound marketing services can help your business?

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