Google algorithm experts

The Innovative Manchester SEO Agency

We’re a UK-wide search engine optimisation agency that just happens to be from Manchester. SEO is one of the core strengths that we have built our business upon. Over 90% of search engine traffic comes from first-page results. We have the expertise to get you there.

We use our highly-innovative in-house SEO tool suite to uncover your website’s potential, identifying opportunities that most other agencies often  overlook. We understand not just your website, but your industry. What link building looks like across the competition. Who has done great content marketing. Which websites have applied good (or bad) technical SEO. Who’s just fiddled with some H1 tags. And who has built a lasting framework for successful digital marketing.

When you choose to partner with Embryo, you are choosing to work with a team of experienced search professionals who truly care about your business. Take the first step towards organic SEO growth, and request a consultation and free competitor analysis today.

Interested in Enhancing Your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? We Can Help, Get in Touch.

We demystify SEO and work to deliver your brand exceptional SEO results. Get in touch today.

BCB Group

Using a modern, multi-channel marketing strategy to transform a business into an authority in an emerging market

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    Core Web Vital score

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    Position 1-3 keywords

Why Choose Embryo as Your Organic SEO Company?

From the moment you choose our SEO services, we dive right into building a bespoke strategy that aligns with your goals and we then run our 150+ point SEO audit. It doesn’t stop there, however. We spend a great deal of time understanding your sector to see who has the best spread across the SERPs for keywords searched for by your audience.

But what really sets us apart? Our difference lies in our fresh approach to organic SEO – it’s the secret behind the success of countless clients we’ve helped grow since Embryo began.

  • Gain exclusive access to our innovative in-house tools, which help assess your organic performance against your competitors. With this valuable information, we craft data-led campaigns that actually work.
  • Experience the combined talents of our unified team, made up of SEO strategists and technical SEO experts, link-building specialists, content writers and an in-house editorial team.
  • Feel at ease with dedicated account managers, committed to your website’s success and your peace of mind.
  • Trust our experts to enhance SEO and user experience with industry-leading content marketing. We give your target audience the content they want to see and engage with.
  • Stay at the forefront of industry trends on things such as local seo and the ever-evolving needs of both users and search engines. Our dedication to innovation is unmatched.

We research, we solve problems, we get your site seen, and you reap the benefits of SEO success.

Our Team

Meet Your SEO experts

  • Jamie Beatty, SEO Manager

    Jamie Beatty

    SEO Account Manager
  • Sam Welch, SEO Executive

    Sam Welch

    SEO Executive
  • Amy Leach, Organic Lead

    Amy Leach

    Organic Lead
  • Alisa Thorley, SEO Executive

    Alisa Thorley

    SEO Executive
  • Adam Chapman, Technical SEO

    Adam Chapman

    Technical SEO
  • Klaudia Kubica

    Klaudia Kubica

    SEO Executive
  • Callum McCormick, Senior SEO Manager

    Callum McCormick

    SEO Account Manager
  • Ryan Jones, SEO Executive

    Ryan Jones

    SEO Executive

Our SEO services: Everything you’ll get access to

No matter the nature of your brand, be it a B2C or B2B company with or without e-commerce aspects, we’re equipped to propel your brand towards significant search engine growth and profitability. No online industry is too niche.

Our wide range of SEO services is complemented by the advanced technologies we use such as Needle and Intermingle, our in-house software.

Here’s just a glimpse into what our organic team can do for you:

  • Tech SEO

    Not the most glamorous service but one of the most important ones, technical SEO involves all the work carried out to ensure that the indexing and crawling phase is as efficient and optimised as it can be. Tech SEO work has nothing to do with on-page work and is all carried out behind the scenes. So, while the user may not see or appreciate the efforts made from a technical standpoint, there’s a good chance that the reason they are on your website is that your tech SEO has made your site irresistible to Google and it has thus been ranked highly.

    As with on and off-page SEO, Tech SEO is a term that is packed with different practices. These practices include the more simple and rudimentary such as optimising your URL structure, adding breadcrumbs to your navigation, editing image filenames, and ensuring your website looks great on mobile. Technical optimisation work can also be extremely complex and include stuff such as structured data markups, XML site map optimisations, and canonical URLs.

    Technical search engine optimisation is a big investment of time and resources but the value of it is immeasurable.

  • Ecommerce

    Virtually everyone you know will at some point have bought and maybe even sold something online. Added to that is the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about 10 years’ worth of change to online retail in just 2 and it’s clear that the need for rigorous Ecommerce SEO tactics for shopping sites is very real.

    In the world of ECommerce or ECom, very little attention is paid to SEO. The visual nature of selling products, coupled with the need to drive sales, means that paid ads, PPC, and even traditional advertising is put ahead of ranking on page one for relevant phrases. The fact is that billions of searches are being made every day, and a large chunk of those will involve some ECom aspect. By ranking on page one for the phrases that relate to what you’re selling, you’re basically (and this is very rudimentary) earning sales from a ‘free’, organic marketing platform.

    Invest in ECommerce SEO, and enjoy earning revenue on autopilot.

  • International

    Reach new markets, audiences and sectors by investing in international SEO for your business. Made up of various tactics, international SEO is all about expanding your internet presence beyond your business’s country of origin.

    The bulk of the workaround global search engine optimisation is about adding a variety of signals to your site to tell Google that your content is suitable for audiences outside of X country. For instance, a unified URL structure that includes the codes of different countries – ‘de’ for Germany and ‘es’ for Spain, for example – is one of the key ways of expanding your reach. As well as URLs, geo-targeting, and hreflang tags are other techniques that will help you be seen by people across the world.

    The benefits of international SEO are fairly obvious. Done right and you open yourself up to a limitless market of billions that flock to your website, bringing you more sales and revenue.

  • Local SEO Services

    For businesses that want to become the market leader in their local area, optimising for and investing in a localised SEO strategy that targets specific places, towns and cities, is incredibly potent.

    As with international SEO, its ‘Local’ sibling is all about structuring a site and its various profiles in such a way that it sends signals to Google’s crawlers to say it wants to be indexed in a certain way. For Local SEO, these involve optimising your Google My Business (GMB) page and building important name, address and phone number citations in websites that are being used by people looking for your services.

    Crucially, working on optimising for local audiences is all about ranking for relevant area-specific keywords. It’s by writing and optimising key areas of your site for these phrases and terms which will bring you that online dominance in your local area.

    Local SEO can also be quite a cost-effective solution as your budgets are focused on just one specific area, not the entire nation.

  • Technical SEO Audit/Core Web Vitals (CWV)

    Carrying out an audit is the best way to understand the current state of your website and online presence. Audits done on sites such as SE Ranking or SEMRush will scan through your sites, rate your score out of 100 and highlight major red flags that need addressing. Audits, in many ways, are priceless because they provide you with the information you need to succeed – they are telling you what to do to improve your rankings.

    Audits tie in nicely with Google’s Core Web Vitals which is the programme by which they judge websites on how fast they load, their user-friendliness, and technical merits. Search engines obsess over the user experience and are constantly looking for a way to provide the best answer (i.e. website) to the question/search term someone has just typed in. If you can combine the best content with Core Web Vitals scores that are in the 90+ percentile your website is in a fantastic position to be rewarded.

  • Web Migration Services

    Undergoing vast, fundamental changes to your website to future proof it and improve the long-term performance of it all is an extremely delicate and serious job. Undergoing website migrations can be overwhelming and cause a great deal of damage to your site from an SEO point of view if done wrong. That’s why 99% of the time it’s best to invest in web migration services that will handle the entire process from start to finish.

    Web migration can include moving from one domain to another, restructuring URLs, rebuilding the architecture of your website or a combination of all. Anything you do on your website that fundamentally changes it can be classed as a migration-like practice. They can be extremely beneficial, no doubt, people don’t do these sorts of things for fun. The long-term benefits will arrive as long as the short-term migration is handled with the utmost delicacy.

  • National SEO

    If local search tactics target your nearby area and international SEO aims to expand your presence globally, it stands to reason that national optimisation techniques are about getting your name out across the country.

    Investing in National SEO is ideal for businesses at a certain growth stage who are looking to expand their brand to places beyond their current location. In a granular sense, optimising for national attention is just a scaled-up version of local SEO where instead of trying to rank for one area, you’re working to be visible across multiple.

    One of the key ways of achieving national SEO success is to create bespoke content for different locations. Having multiple different URLs and pages that target Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, and York, for example, would be an example of a national search engine optimisation campaign. Optimising GMB profiles, developing a coherent website architecture, and conducting thorough keyword research are some of the most important elements of national SEO.

  • Mobile SEO

    According to Sistrix, around 64% of all searches are made on mobile devices such as phones and tablets. With three out of five people tapping rather than typing into Google, investing in mobile SEO is an absolute must. Almost every industry should think of their internet presence as mobile-first, meaning that everything you do, and every investment you make, should be geared toward making your site run on mobile well first, before you even think about the desktop. This is especially true if you’re in an industry like the Food & Drink sector.

    Attention spans are the lowest they’ve ever been and if users land on your site and find that JavaScript or CSS is being blocked, images are slow to load, and the pages weren’t optimised for the device they are on, they’ll simply go elsewhere.

    All these little steps need to be resolved if your mobile SEO is to be the best it can be. Once it is, your site will be nothing but a joy for people to visit, meaning they’ll come back time and time again.

  • On-Page SEO

    Making all the visual elements of your website the best they can be can drastically improve rankings and visibility. Known as On-Page SEO, this type of service is about getting all the elements of a page that a user can see to be as optimised to your target keyword as possible. On-Page SEO includes multiple ranking factors like URLs, heading tags, images, heading tags, alt-text, and metadata.

    On-page SEO is the total opposite of Off-page SEO which focuses on carrying out things that happen off your websites such as guest blogs and backlink building.

    Working on the front end optimisation has become so important in the last few years as Google’s algorithm has become more nuanced and intelligent. It’s judging how presentable and optimised your site is for the user to the same degree it’s looking at your schema markup and URL structure. The proper on-page investment will aid search engines and users in their quest to understand the context of your website.

    More and more, Google is aligning its ranking factors to the factors that make a user want to click on your site.

  • Tech SEO Audit

    A technical SEO audit is a process by which you or a digital marketing agency checks the technical aspects of your website to make sure it’s optimised and healthy. The need to remain relevant and respond to Google et als ever-changing algorithms. Carrying out technical SEO audits once every few months ensures your site is optimised for the newest and most impactful ranking factors.

    The stark reality, and the reason why you need to carry out technical SEO audits, is that 93% of clicks are made on page one.

    Technical SEO audits can be long or short. However long you intend to make your tech audit, just ensure it is thorough and well planned out. Creating checklists and giving every on and off-page aspect of your site a pass or fail mark will help you determine what areas you need to work on and which areas need to be left alone.

    Our technical audits are by their nature rigorous and performed by experts who’ve done hundreds of them between them. We’ll look at the front end factors of your site such as URL structures and the sitemap, as well as back-end elements like indexing and hosting. We also, as standard, examine the areas that impact your websites such as link quality and current backlink profile.

  • Small Business SEO

    Loosely related to local SEO, small business search engine optimisation refers to how those new companies make themselves known online. Often with a small investment or available funds, small business SEO is all about maximising budgets and ensuring optimum ROI. While some small businesses shy away from investing resources in search, it should be seen as an opportunity to disrupt the bigger competitors. With so many keywords, small business SEO can be clever and target those lower value, long-tail keywords that aren’t being covered by rivals.

    Startup search engine optimisation can also leverage free tools such as Google My Business and free backlinks from directories or guest blog sites to grow their presence for a cost that is within budget.

    In our experience, businesses that are fewer than 50 staff can use clever, in some cases more radical tactics to rank well. Spending time writing long-form content, for example, is just one of the ways that a business can include ontology, earn greater keyword visibility, and steal ranking positions from legacy businesses that have neglected their website.

  • Video SEO

    You might be surprised to learn that videos can be optimised for SEO, as well as text! That’s right, video SEO is a type of optimisation service, one which can be very effective if you’re a business whose main industry is visual.

    From the outset, it’s important to know that there is only so much you can do with video SEO, and it’s not as powerful as ‘regular’ SEO. This is primarily because the video itself – i.e. the visual and audio elements – cannot be altered after it’s been filmed. That’s not to say it can’t be beneficial, the transcripts, descriptions, titles, and tags can all be changed and tweaked so that they are more relevant to the terms you’re looking to target.

  • SEO Content

    Creating useful, unique and quality content is paramount to any SEO campaign. Sure, on-page optimisations and tech work contribute to performance, but good content is what Google needs to see in order to rank your site highly. Here at Embryo, we have a big team of content and copywriting experts that follow tried-and-tested methods for crafting quality content. We write what your audience wants to see. We don’t keyword stuff or simply regurgitate what your competitors are saying, we work with you to create industry-leading pages and blogs.

Organic Search Campaigns: Our Process for Success

The sustainable growth of an online campaign – whether for an e-commerce or service business – is achieved through a combination of repetitive tasks, hard work, innovative ideas, and taking calculated risks. All things that we have tried to master over the years.

Whilst many UK SEO agencies over-promise and under-deliver, our focus on executing a solid content strategy alongside well-thought-out technical search strategies means that no matter the size of your company, our methods will increase your online footprint.

  • 1. Research

    To create the most high-performing search engine optimisation campaign, we first run our 159-point SEO audit with each point manually checked. Running concurrently with this audit, we identify keywords and key phrases (along with search volume), and look through Google Analytics data to thoroughly identify the existing and potential search audience.

    As well as auditing, keyword research, and competitor analysis, we check search engine results pages for ‘ messy middle’ phrases that serve as inspiration for our content plan.

    If good, solid on-site, off-site, and industry research is done, then this creates a great platform for SEO techniques to work better from the off.

  • 2. Getting to know you

    We can’t start producing results without understanding your current position, expectations, goals and key issues. Your dedicated account manager and SEO team will set up a kick-off session, designed to establish a thorough understanding of your business. During this session, we’ll find out about your priority services/products, identify your competitors and target audience, and learn more about the history of your site.

    The information we collate from our client workshop will then form the basis of our ongoing strategy, making it a crucial step of the overall process.

    Remember: This session is just as beneficial to you as it is to us – it’s a chance to set expectations and understand the deliverables of our SEO services.

  • 3. SEO and content strategy

    Perhaps the most exciting step (for both parties!), is the creation of our SEO strategy guides everything we’ll carry out for you each month. We’ll take into account any pages that have lost traffic, pillar pages that need some extra attention, technical fixes, existing content optimisation and brand pages with minimal content. This approach allows us to get the basics boxed off before we move into a creative, audience-focused content plan that includes long-form content guides and exciting blogs.

    We’re thorough and careful when it comes to strategy development, it takes time to create something truly bespoke to your website. We don’t reuse or recycle strategies here. We take the best route for you, handpicking a strategy that guarantees to boost organic performance.

  • 4. Technical SEO

    Improving how a website is traversed by Google, how fast it loads, and how understandable each page is in and out of the context of a site menu system, is at the heart of technical SEO, or ‘on-site optimisation’ work. A few HTML or metadata changes on a page template can have a dramatic effect on how Google robots are able to understand what the theme of a web page really is. Multiply this by several hundred pages, and rankings and visitors can soon rise.

    Working from our aforementioned audit, our tech SEO team ensure that all online ranking factors are fixed including checking things like broken links, mobile responsiveness, conversion tracking, and local SEO factors, among regular checks for the number of pages indexed, and inbound links.

  • 5. Content writing

    Your website is the face of your business. It’s where your target audience makes decisions and opinions about who you are and what you offer, which is why we carefully craft content with your brand in mind. We put in a lot of effort to make sure your content is the best it can be, from creating a TOV document to interviewing experts and becoming subject matter experts ourselves.

    All of our writers are trained to write for search engines and humans, meaning their work is top quality without compromise. Our in-house editors work together with the writing team to make each piece of content the best it can possibly be.

  • 6. Workflow, consistency and transparency

    We have created first-rate on-page SEO strategies, we love nothing more than to write lots of content, and we harness the power of inbound links, but where we feel that we excel over other digital marketing agencies is in our workflow management and operations.

    Whether building citations, creating an outreach strategy, planning for an off-page SEO review, reporting upon a recent uplift in Google rankings, or gaining a new link, we capture every action and record how long it has taken.

    This makes our client services so much easier, leaving us more time to work on real digital activity. An informed client is a happy client. And an informed, happy client with improving visitor numbers is a content client.

  • 7. Reporting

    Monthly SEO reports, whilst necessary, and indeed important, are much less reviewed at Embryo due to the aforementioned workflow management system and practices that we use to run our digital agency.

    Our highly image-led monthly reports are very easy on the eye, and spend little time in complicated SEO jargon.

    Clarity is important to us as a business, and we have never felt the need to over-complicate or inflate our words. You’ll receive an easy-to-read report on your keyword rankings, organic traffic and other key metrics that keep you in the loop of your site’s performance.

Boost Your SEO Performance Today. Get In Touch.

Our team of experts are ready and waiting to work on your website to increase your online search visibility.

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Embryo were amazing to work with and delivered some incredible results for the brand. The team are so easy to work with and couldn’t do enough for us!

Sophie Rigg, I SAW IT FIRST

Embryo’s 3 Pillars of Search Engine Optimisation

Any good house is built on sturdy foundations, and the same goes for search engine marketing. Without the pillars of authority, relevance, and trust, search rankings and increased online visibility simply won’t come. Not for results on desktop, nor on mobile phones. To achieve success across these three pillars, a lot of disparate tasks have to be completed, requiring multiple digital marketing disciplines.

It may feel odd to read words such as ‘relevance’ and ‘trust’ when discussing something as technical as optimising websites. However, they are essential search engine staples because they each relate to the fact that search engines care about providing their users with the best possible experience. Every result for a search engine listing needs to carry an air of authority, be relevant to the keyword that’s been typed, and be from a source or website that can be trusted.

  • Content authority


    The first key pillar is authority. A need to be authoritative comes from the fact that there are millions of users posting billions of pieces of content trillions of times a day. The democratic nature of search algorithms means that literally, anyone can post a piece of content about a topic they want to. Authority is used to differentiate between the respected sources and the chancers.

    Google’s authority-o-meter (not an official title) is designed to stop Joe Bloggs’s thoughts about the universe being treated with the same authority as Brian Cox’s. If both Bloggs and Cox write a blog about the latest revelation in astrophysics, the latter is going to receive a higher ranking. How? Because Google – who, remember, owns Youtube – and its algorithm will be able to see that Brian has a far greater authority on this topic than Joe (sorry, Joe). It sees all the content that has been previously posted and can decide in microseconds who should rank higher.

    What is truly remarkable is that search engines do this for every single keyword, query and search that every user types into the laptop or phone.

    Domain authority or domain ranking (DA or DR) is a metric used to measure the authority of an entire website, every page, all the blog posts and everything in between. The metric is the one websites should be aiming for as it will make it easier for the new pieces of content that they publish to rank quicker because they have all that background authority from their domain. If the BBC publishes a new article, it’s going to rank position one faster because they’ve shown their authority hundreds of times before.

    Increasing authority is one of the most important ways to rank in search results. Search engine authorities’ main currency is in links. Achieving quality links to your site/page from websites that are already authoritative – called backlinks – is a great indicator to the Yahoos and Googles of the world that what you’re saying is worth showing up for relevant searches. Backlinks act as a sort of recommendation, an assurance that your work and what you’re saying is going to be of value to users.

  • Content writing


    If your website isn’t relevant to the keywords you’re trying to target, why should search engines promote your content? This second pillar is used to make sure that the content created is relevant to the list of keywords it’s purporting to target. The better your service page or blog post matches a particular query the better you’ll rank because what you’re offering is the closest thing to what the user has typed.

    Achieving relevance can be done via several means. Having visible text that’s relevant and ensuring the images and videos on the page are also closely aligned to what you’re trying to rank for are the obvious things that one can do. However, relevance isn’t just skin deep. Meta elements such as meta titles, tags, and alt-texts within images are all important ways of increasing the relevance of content. Other ancillary things like locations can also impact the relevance.

    Relevance also comes back to links, which is a key factor in how search engines determine your ranking. Let’s say you’re a big fan of football and love writing about it, giving your thoughts and opinions etc. If, because of something you write, you get a link from the Sky Sports News website, this is as clear an indication as possible to Google that what you’re writing is high-quality content that is relevant to the target keyword.

    Internally linking to relevant pages on your site is also a great way of increasing relevance because you’re showing to Google’s spiders that other pages on the site are relevant to that page. By internally linking, you’re showing you have a broad knowledge about other relevant topics. If you write about a blog about the best running shoes and then internally link to another piece of content that talks about the best running shorts, you’re showing this content is relevant. This is of course providing the link context itself is relevant.

  • EEAT signals


    It’s a big word, trust, and one that comes with a lot of emotion and nuance. But in terms of search engines, trust, for them, is everything in many ways. If they can’t trust your website, there is no chance they are going to provide you with the search visibility needed to achieve anything because they wouldn’t risk their reputation on it.

    Trust comes in many shapes and sizes when it comes to search engine rankings. For example, does your site have a privacy policy, terms, conditions, and disclosure? Do the blogs and content on the site go over a certain limit, are they well written (i.e. by a human) and not duplicate content, do the contact details on the site correspond to the actual number and emails of the office. Yet again, links are important to establish trust because it shows that other sites have been happy to reference your work.

    Increasingly, off-page factors have been given more importance as companies and individuals have a greater presence in areas such as social media. Achieving more likes, follows, and mentions on social media all build toward a more trusted business or entity which will lead to additional benefits. Other factors such as site loading speed and the average time a user spends are all great indicators that your site deserves to be trusted.

Contact Us Today to Work with Manchester’s Leading, Independent SEO Agency.

Speak to our sales team today to discuss how we can help you achieve your online business objectives.

Burgess Pet Care

Burgess Pet Care

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Link acquisition agency

Backlinks: How Does a Link-Building Strategy Help?

In terms of optimising your web presence, link building is the most effective, proven way, of establishing authority, trust, and relevance. Simply put, link building is the practice of gaining links that point FROM someone else’s website TO yours. When indexing the pages of a site, search engines will record links and reward websites that are linked-to. The number of (useful) links is one of the most mathematically-proven ways for Google (as an example) to judge which websites should be listed highly in its search engine results pages.

Despite advances in search engine algorithms, links remain one of the best ways for search engines to decide what sites are worthy of wide coverage, and which aren’t.

A few Types of Content to Acquire Backlinks With

There are many types of content that create the ‘container’ for a backlink. From guest blog posts, sites hosting your assets such as an infographic (and accompanying credit in the form of a link), the listing of your company on an ‘industry body’ website, quotes in news stories in national or niche publications, to a friendly mention on a friend’s business website, all such links can add value. The much-maligned ‘directory link’ – from the correct directories of course – can also be advantageous.

The aim is to get as many of these links as possible, while at all times monitoring the quality of the sites linking to your site. Do this in abundance, and you will be very unlucky if you are not successful.

The chances of your link building efforts being successful will be closely linked to the abundance of quality content on your own site.

  • Guest Posting

    Creating blogs for other people’s websites is the bread and butter of backlinks. Hundreds of sites – across more industries than you can count – are essentially guest blog platforms that accept content from people in return for backlinks. These guest blogs aren’t easy though and many places will have strict guidelines which need to be followed before they post your work. Expect to be writing 1000, 1500, even 2000 words of valuable content to achieve just one backlink. Our advice when it comes to guest posting is to do your research and find publications that have guidelines that align with your industry/expertise. It’s a bit of a commitment to guest post and write thousands of words so make sure the place you’re sending it to is going to provide the right link context for you.

  • Leveraging Business Directories Listing Websites

    Years ago, the Yellow Pages was the SEO of the day. Now, while no one has a directory sent to them, sites like the Yellow Pages very much exist. These directories have high DRs and are ideal to get links to your site from. These sites constantly accept submissions and all that you need to do is fill out a small profile detailing who you are and what you do. Another good thing about business directories is that you can ask to be listed in specific areas. So if you’re a Manchester SEO agency you can ask to be listed in the northwest section of the listings.

  • Outreaching to Sites That Accept Guest Blog Posts and Building Relationships

    This isn’t a way to link build specifically, it’s more a part of the process. Building relationships with the people that decide if you’re content is worthy for their website is a great way of cementing long-term backlinks.

  • Offering Valuable Comments on Forums and Blogs

    Good forums and blogs are out there! While some are spammy and complete nonsense there are genuinely insightful areas out there where users look to help one another. The golden rule for this type of link building is to point them to links that are relevant to what the blog or thread is about. With that link must come a thorough, genuinely insightful comment. Think authenticity and be prepared to offer advice.

  • Creating Infographics

    Reading thousands of words on a topic is good, being able to interpret everything about that topic by looking at an infographic is better. Spending time to collate data and build eye-catching infographics not only provide a visual element to a website but can be shared and distributed amongst thousands of people, potentially.

  • Providing Quotes for Newspaper Articles

    Publications and magazines are hungry for content, especially in an online world. The need to fill virtual column inches never ceases – this is something you can leverage to your benefit. Keep an eye out on #journorequests and follow publications that are relevant to your industry. Outreach to journalists, build relationships with them and soon enough they’ll come to you asking for comments on something. Your price? Just a bunch of links to your site – it’s a win-win!

Jamal is a web developer at Embryo

The Importance of Quality Links

Getting a bunch of links from a load of random sites without putting in any work is the quickest way to failure, or at the very least, no results at all. The importance of quality in your backlinks is the single most important thing to think about.

Years ago, Google prioritised quantity over quality when it came to backlinks but now they value where those links are coming from instead of how many.

Backlinks are endorsements and as you well know not every endorsement is the same. You as a person would want to be endorsed by authoritative people that are well respected in your sector. You wouldn’t want to be endorsed by someone who has no credentials or is looked down on for whatever reason.

Backlinking is the same.

Invest your time in getting a handful of links. You might want to scan the backlink profiles of your competitors and during this, you may spot that, whilst they are ranking in the top, they’ll have a bunch of links from spammy sites.

Doesn’t that go against everything we’ve just said? No.

These wins will be short-lived, you only have to look at the history of Google updates to see that, semi-regularly, they’ll remove THOUSANDS of backlinks from sites that have indulged in spammy link building practices. This is when you’ll succeed because your link building profile is whiter than white and filled with quality sites from authentic websites.

Get in Touch With Embryo Today!

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After years of experience dealing with multiple agencies, I almost believed there wasn’t one out there that truly cared about the results delivered. Since engaging with Embryo to manage our PPC our business has gone from strength to strength, which has allowed us to scale at a healthy rate.

Kieran Harris, Owner, Senior Stairlifts

Types of Search Terms

The sheer volume of keywords means that there are plenty of types into which they are segmented.

Choosing the right keywords, as you’ll see, is important. But before you go about doing that you’ll need to know which types of terms and phrases are out there so that you can segment and tailor content differently. There are a hell of a lot of types and all the relevant ones must be understood.

  • Branded and Unbranded

    The first set of terms is fairly self-explanatory. The branded phrases are those that include a brand’s name as part of a larger term or are just the keyword themselves. Branded keywords are usually a good indication that a company has a good market share and is known by its audience. Unbranded keywords are those which don’t feature a company’s name. For businesses or individuals, you want to rank for as many unbranded terms as branded terms. Both come with benefits, the intent behind branded terms is more sales-y. If someone is typing a company’s name in, the chance of them purchasing something from them is higher because they know where to go.

  • Page-Specific and Seed Key Terms

    Seed terms are the broad keywords that could cover a multitude of subtopics. These types of terms are usually searched for in the early stages of the buying journey. On the contrary, page-specific terms related to those phrases are a bit more specific and are looking for one thing.

    Think of it like this, the seed phrases will be relevant to most of your website whereas the page specific ones will only really be relevant to one, maybe two pages on your site.

  • Short and Long-Tail Keywords

    As we touched on, SEO keywords are so many because they can be almost any length. These are categorised into short and long-tail terms which are sometimes called ‘head and tail’ terms.

    The shorter the keyword, the larger the search volume and the harder it is to rank for it. Whereas a long-tail term has lower search volume but is usually far easier to rank for. The keyword “socks” for example is going to take longer to rank for than “What are the best socks to wear with hiking boots?”.

    Real inroads in search engine traffic can be made by aiming for those mid to long-tail keywords as they tend to have higher converting traffic.

  • Customer Journey Terms

    A whole bunch of Google search terms can be segmented via the classic buyer journey. Different keywords will provide clues as to what stage in the buying journey someone is.

    These clues can be used to leverage content toward them. The ultimate goal is to attract all the traffic from search engines for all the different buying phases so that you’ve constantly got different people, at different stages in the pipeline, coming to your business.

  • Local, National, and Global Phrases

    These segments of phrases explain themselves in a way. Local keywords are those which include terms that are relevant to the area in which you are based or feature a term that’s unique to an area. National phrases expand on that and focus on entire countries, with global terms not having a geographical bent and being more generic.

  • Terms Searched by Audiences

    Audiences, target markets, and sectors all type different things that are associated with them and their identity. For instance, Manchester United fans may type terms that are related to their club as they are interested in the team and see it as part of their identity.

    These terms allow you to align your marketing to the customers and learn what types of things they are searching for. You write content to that and you have a pretty successful, if niche, strategy.

  • Evergreen and Topical Terms

    Evergreen terms are phrases that never lose their relevance and are not affected by the time of year, outside influences, or changes in trends. Topical terms are the exact opposite and will suffer peaks and troughs depending on when people are interested in them and are searching.

  • Primary and Secondary Phrases

    A primary term is the main phrase you’re looking to rank for when writing a blog or a piece of content. As with many key topics, there are usually 5-10 sub-topics within it, these are what secondary phrases are, the keywords that will help support the performance of the target phrase.

How to Choose the Right Keywords for SEO

So you know your business, your niche, or sector and you want to reap the benefits of Google search engine traffic. But how do you go about choosing the right keywords that are going to bring said benefits?

The trick, as with most things to do with SEO, is to plan, plan, plan.

Choosing the right keywords starts with intent. Without intent, your whole strategy including the whole messy middle strategy that is so important for success will be based on nothing of real merit. Sure you’ll rank for things, maybe, but you won’t bring the necessary traffic of people who want to purchase things or are interested in learning more. You need to think like the customer you’re looking to target and plan out your content around how they would go about searching for things. From their first inquisitive search right through to their final query that is solely based on wanting to buy something, your content needs to be at every stage.

As we saw earlier, understanding the keyword types and how achievable each of them will be is a vital step when it comes to choosing the right phrases. Choosing terms that have hundreds of thousands of search terms a month just isn’t going to be beneficial for you in the short to medium term at least.

When choosing the right keywords, don’t be afraid to look at the competition! After all, they’re doing something right if they are ranking ahead of you (no offence). Look at the keywords they are ranking for and target the same ones (provided they are relevant to you of course!).


The content on your site is the fuel that powers your search engine traffic and rankings. It’s a key factor in SEO marketing that often gets overlooked by people who don’t believe in the power of the written word or come to it with preconceptions about long-form content and how it can convert into revenue.

At Embryo, we class ourselves as a content-first agency among other things. This means that we prioritise content above other marketing practices, this makes us different from the crowd, but we’ll explain why that makes us right in the next few sections.

On a fundamental level, the words on your website will help to persuade, engage, or excite people to buy your product or service. Without a sufficient amount of content, you’re not going to win over enough people with that as an internet marketing strategy.

Content marketing has many purposes, and as well as acting as a tool of persuasion to users, it’s the most proven way to organically rank for the core terms and phrases you want to rank on page one for.

Writing words on your site is how you show Google you know what you’re talking about and signal to them which of the competitive keywords you want that particular page to rank for. There are some instances where these goals of persuasion and organic rankings can be achieved by writing 300-500 words but in this day and age, long-form content is the passport to success.

The term ‘content’ covers a whole host of types, all of which have different benefits and features. The key for you reader is to decide where to spread your content investment. It depends on a thousand different factors – e.g. what your KPIs are, the intent behind your audience’s searches, and what keywords you want to target.

Types of Website Content:

  • Blogs

    A very common type of content that can be leveraged by virtually every business in any industry. Blog writing allows you to write a lengthy answer on a topic to do with your business or a competitive term that your audience is regularly searching for the answer to. Blogs allow you to increase the total number of keywords you rank, and, as a key ranking factor, show to search engines that your website is active. Further, blogs give you a platform to link to important pages that you want traffic to go to.

  • Whitepapers

    These standalone documents are great lead generators as you can put the paper behind a ‘paywall’ where users have to submit their email addresses to access it. Whitepapers can be about an upcoming event in your industry or a study that you’ve taken that provides people with new and interesting data. These documents can also set you apart as a thought leader in your industry.

  • Product/Service Page

    These pages are probably the most important on your site. The pages that showcase the products and/or services you sell need to be your main focus if actual content has been hard to come by in recent years. Within these pages, you should be looking to target one highly searched term and then within it mention several core terms that underpin it. Content on this page should look to answer every possible question about the keyword that you’re aiming to rank for. FAQ sections are perfect for these pages as they allow you to answer several related long-tail key terms/questions.

  • Case Studies

    What better way to showcase how brilliant you are than writing about how you helped a customer or client. Case studies are proof of your abilities to help people, and within them, you can provide stats, figures, and other data. Once written, whole case studies can be shared on social media or snippets can be broken up into smaller pieces of content.

  • Infographics

    Not strictly ‘content’ per se, but infographics are like whitepapers in that they are great at lead generation and can be shared across social media. With the right image optimisation tool, these infographics can be found via Google images.

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Long-Form Content Is the Key to Success, Here’s Why

Content is good, but long-form content is better. Writing truly long-form content on the pages that matter to your business is one of the more effective ways of showing Google how knowledgeable you are. Adopting a long-form approach gives you the best chance of ranking for more keywords, answering more questions, and proving that you’re more authoritative than your competitors.

Overall search visibility is one of the most KPIs in SEO because it tells you how visible you are for all the keywords you’re ranking for. The great thing about long-form content is that it helps your overall visibility by being so broad in scope that you naturally acquire more rankings for other keywords.

Generally, long-form content starts at around 700-1000 words and can be as long as you want it to be. At Embryo, we have pages that would equate to short stories – some of our content comfortably exceeds 25000+ words.

Long-form content is not meant to be stuffed with keywords or other Black Hat strategies. It is well-written and researched, and is intended to be read by the target audience to educate them on a topic.

With this type of SEO writing the length isn’t the point, it’s what you do with it that’s important. The point is that writing more allows you to explain topics in more detail. Content through search is all about context and by opting to write more than your competitors, you’re broadening the amount of context you can be searched for. You’re talking about a greater number of topics and linking them all together under one umbrella term.

We believe in this type of marketing so much that we underwent the largest study into online writing and its benefits. We analysed the search engine results page for over 24,000 different keywords and found that the average word count for position one was 2855. In other words, you need to be hitting that number as a minimum if you ever want to consider ranking in the top spot.

Sure, you could analyse more and more keywords but the point is that at least 2000 words are needed if you want to rank for a single keyword. It’s clear – long-form content is here to stay.

Ontology Explained

Defined as “a set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them” by the OED, Ontology is a rare term in SEO but it’s one we use regularly when talking to clients here at Embryo.

Ontology to us is the idea of including as many relevant words, phrases, and terms that individually don’t rank on their own, but are part of the lexicon around a key term that does rank, and is one that you want to be on page one for.

Essentially, you want to create a piece of content that is rich and relevant to what you’re writing, having thorough ontology will help you do that. By focusing on writing naturally, and knitting the keywords into sentences that are filled with those rank-less words, you’re naturally going to sound more authoritative.

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Ontology Example:

Let’s take the England Football Team for our ontology example. Imagine you aren’t that familiar with football and are tasked with writing 1000 words about the Three Lions. Your work might look something like this:

“The England Football Team are the national team of England, play at Wembley Stadium and are managed by Gareth Southgate.”

A perfectly fine sentence, no doubt, but it’s not particularly in-depth. However, a more ontologically rich piece of content, from someone who has either researched the Three Lions or knows a lot about England, might say:

“The England Football Team is the national team of England and has won the World Cup once in 1966. They were then managed by Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Geoff Hurst scored a hattrick in a 4-2 win against West Germany. Currently, the top scorer is Wayne Rooney with 53 goals. The team is now managed by Gareth Southgate and came closest to winning a tournament since 1966 in 2021 when they lost on penalties to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.”

You can see in the second example the sheer amount of additional information in there. The phrase “top scorer is Wayne Rooney” may not rank for anything but it is relevant to the overall piece. The same applies to “managed by Sir Alf Ramsey”, it is this added information, this ontology, that makes the difference in trust, authority, and relevance.

Let Our SEO Team Do the Hard Work, All You Need to Do Is Enjoy the Results. Contact Our Team Today.

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Understanding Intent: Why Do People Search?

Search intent is how we describe the ‘Why?’ behind a search query. Every time someone types something into a search engine, they are doing so for a reason. These reasons can be mundane or very serious – from searching for a funny GIF to looking for a specific insurance policy.

The intent behind a search gives us, the marketers, a lot of clues as to what they want to find by searching for that particular term. They could be looking for a particular product, want more information about something happening in their local area, or have a specific brand in mind that they wish to purchase from. There are millions of reasons why people search.

Understanding audience intent is vital if you want a successful SEO strategy. Google itself has put a great deal of emphasis on refocusing its algorithm to better serve search intent, which should give you some indication as to the importance of understanding the ‘Why?’ behind the query.

While the traditional ranking signals and markers – backlinks, keywords et al – matter, the fact is that if your page doesn’t satisfy the intent of the search, you’re never going to rank.

Before you begin writing your content that targets a particular keyword, break down the term and understand what it’s saying.

For instance, an example keyword such as “Quick Vegan Recipes” might not seem that interesting but, when broken down, there is a huge amount of intent behind that search.

  • “Quick” – The intent behind that is fairly obvious. They don’t want to be spending hours cooking, anything under 20/30 minutes should be your aim with your content/recipe.
  • “Vegan” – Creating your content cannot involve anything that involves an animal – be it meat, cheese, eggs, or other animal-based products.
  • “Recipes” – The user isn’t interested in ordering a vegan takeaway, they want something homecooked.

If a user searches for quick vegan recipes, lands on your site and your particular recipe takes 1 hour to cook, they’re simply going to leave your website until they find your competitor’s website which has a recipe that takes just 15 minutes! What they’ve done is understand the intent of the query.

To enhance that intent, be sure to create a great user experience. It doesn’t matter if your content is exactly what the user is after, if it’s horrible to read through on a phone, or is taking ages to load, they’ll go elsewhere. Make sure that your text size is big enough, ensure your content is split up with headings so that users can find their answers quickly, and don’t spam them with popups.

Types of Intent

The intent of a search comes in four different forms, broadly speaking. By understanding the categories of intent you’ll be able to create near-perfect content that answers the question and matches the reason for the initial query.

  • Commercial search intent and decision making


    This is a pretty big category of intent. Informational intent manifests as the kinds of queries that are looking for more information about something – be it the weather, the merits of a new diet, or how their football did on the weekend. Informational intent-based queries are often tweaked by Google to ensure they are as relevant as possible.

    For example, if I’m searching for information about the 6 Nations Rugby Tournament, search engines know that I’m interested, primarily, in getting the latest scores or to know the times/dates of upcoming fixtures, rather than the history of the tournament. If I wanted to know about that, I’d have enough intent in me to scroll down and find that info. For certain queries, Google will also know the type of content that is most relevant. If someone is searching for a how-to guide, a video may appear as the top result.

    Other examples of informational queries include:

    • ‘Best cricket blogs’
    • ‘How to rank for a keyword’
    • ‘Why is sugar bad?’
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    Closely related to transactional queries, commercial intent searches are usually made by people who are interested in purchasing a product but aren’t quite ready yet and want more information. The people in this category need more time and more convincing to purchase a good. Your goal is to create enough relevant content that answers their questions and educates them. That way, when the time comes to purchase an item, you’ll be the person they go to because you educated them when they were further up the sales funnel.

    Commercial queries can look like this:

    • ‘Best washing machines under £400’
    • ‘What are the best running trainers for beginners?’
    • ‘What size TV is best for my living room?’
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    This type of intent is pretty specific and usually involves people searching for a specific website or brand. Those who are typing navigational queries aren’t interested in learning about something, they just want the search engine to get them from A to B.

    Broadly, these types of keywords are only good if your site is the one people are searching for – just ask Facebook, Apple, or Amazon. Even if you did rank on page one for that keyword, it can be hard to drive traffic there as you being positioned on the same page as them is inconsequential to the user. Nothing is going to make them click on your site, their intent is set.

    Just three examples of navigational queries:

    • ‘Twitter Log In’
    • ‘Manchester City Council’
    • ‘Wembley Stadium’
  • navy eCommerce icon


    ECommerce on the internet is massive – billions of pounds are spent online every hour of every day. As a result, there are a lot of transactional type queries where the user intends to purchase something.

    With this specific intent, users tend to know what they want and are in a position to buy it relatively soon. If you sell products then your SEO strategies should skew to match these transactional queries.

    There are billions of examples of these queries, here are three:

    • ‘iPhone case’
    • ‘England shirt’
    • ‘Black hi-top Converse’

How to Create a Bulletproof SEO Strategy

SEO checklists tend to be fairly generic and not very helpful to the reader, there are a lot of basic things in there that don’t go beyond ‘do this, do that’. To create a bulletproof SEO strategy you need to always be thinking about the “Why?” behind whatever it is you’re doing. Further, everything must be aligned back to your overall KPI, sure great keyword rankings are important but if they don’t bring you new revenue or increased traffic, then what’s the point?

  • Set Goals from the Very Start

    Setting goals is so important when making a plan for your search engine optimisation tactics. Goals will ensure everyone knows what the point is behind what they are doing. In addition, work will be done with that goal in mind, making it more relevant and impactful.

    With your goals set you can start to decide which platforms and types of content to invest your time in, as opposed to just throwing money at things and not knowing if they are relevant to you. If performance isn’t where you expected or it’s not helping you get to where you want to be, you can make small adjustments because you set goals at the start and have a north star to face it.

    Your indicators of performance could be anything, they just need to be specific, like doubling the traffic in 6 months, increasing sales by 30% in one year, or increasing the number of page one keywords to 50. Whatever they are, goals will help you measure ROI which will allow you to budget more effectively going forward.

  • Research Your Competitors, What Are They Doing?

    No matter your industry, you’ll have competitors who are online and ranking on page one for the keywords that are just as relevant to them as they are to you. So when the time comes for you to invest in SEO make sure you research the content your competitors are putting out. Check out their backlink profiles, keyword rankings, online reviews, blog strategy, everything. After all, they are winning in the online world.

    Analyse your competitors and the people who are ranking for the key terms you want to rank for. The latter may not be direct competitors but at the end of the day, they are doing something right and are therefore worthy to be analysed.

  • Undergo Extensive Keyword Research

    It sounds obvious but with it being so integral, it’s certainly worth a mention. Undergoing extensive keyword research is vital if you’re going to create targeted content that ranks for what you want it to rank for.

    You wouldn’t believe the number of businesses that write and write and write without thinking about what it is they are targeting. Advanced keyword research allows you to avoid cannibalizing rankings (this is where two pages of the same domain end up competing with each other for the same ranking) and reducing the impact of the pages that you’ve worked so hard to complete.

    Keyword research equals better ROI, there’s no greater incentive to do it than that.

  • Invest Time and Money Is Attaining Good Quality Links

    A strong backlink profile that is packed with external links from authoritative websites is one of the best signals to Google that your site is authoritative and worthy of strong rankings.

    Spend real time earning quality links over a high volume. The value of those high-quality backlinks (those with a DR of 60, 70+) is worth far, far more than 10 links from spammy websites that aren’t relevant to what you do as a business.

    Once these links get indexed and scanned by Google, your rankings will rise.

  • Align What You Create with the Intent behind the Targeted Keyword

    Your content could be the wittiest, most engaging piece of work you’ve written but if it doesn’t match the intent of the query it’ll never succeed. Certain keywords you’re looking to target may be driven by a particular type of intent that just doesn’t match what you’re creating.

    Be sure to analyse the intent of the first 10 or so results for a keyword, you’ll get a better understanding of how the content is matching the intent.

  • Optimise the Back End of Your Website from the Very Start

    A car is only as good as the tires it runs on. The same principle applies to a website. If your website isn’t technically optimised then your on-page content isn’t going to perform to the best of its abilities. Providing the best user experience starts with back end optimisation – removing bloated code, reducing image sizes, ensuring your site has breadcrumbs, these three things just scrape the surface of what needs to be done from a backend perspective.

    Building a website is a great opportunity to get these back-end practices in as you’re building them rather than having to put them in after. Doing them as you build them is a great way of ensuring your website’s launch has the fullest possible impact.

  • Measure Results in 3-Month Chunks

    SEO is a long game, with so many different pieces of content to index every single second, getting ranked online can take a while. Once you’re indexed, the process of moving through the rankings takes a great deal of time. All the while you should be looking to add fresh content to that page to further enhance its relevancy and potency.

    Once your blog, page, or entire site is published, the hardest part is to wait and let it index. You really should wait 3, 4, 5, or even 6 months to check your website’s online visibility, rankings, and traffic.

Nine Things An Organic Search Strategy Needs

Original content across all pages

Relevant internal and external links

Great Core Web Vitals

A website that is fit for mobile

Easily navigable pages

Relevant calls to action across the site

A good balance of short and long-tail keywords

Patience, SEO success takes time!

Demonstrate Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust (E-E-A-T)

SEO results

I Haven’t Got All Day! How Long Does SEO Take?

It can be tempting when looking to hire an SEO agency to find that one that offers quick wins, immediate results, and ‘guaranteed’ success. “Get ranking on page one in just a few weeks”, they’ll cry! They might even have a convincing argument but the truth is that SEO simply will not properly impact your business in weeks, it takes months.

At Embryo, we’ll be the first to tell you that SEO takes a fair amount of time for your business to feel the effects and benefits of ranking on search engine optimisations.

The length of time SEO takes also depends on the goals that you want to achieve from it and the fact that algorithms and search engines have become far, far cleverer. A few years ago, SEO agencies would’ve been able to provide their clients with ‘quick wins’ by dumping backlinks from useless websites and spamming their websites with keywords. They’d look fantastic to their clients but these wins would only last as long as Google didn’t update their algorithm, the moment they did, sites like that would suffer and digital marketing agencies wouldn’t look as brilliant as they once had.

Nowadays, Google and co recognise and reward hard work, authentic link building, and overall visibility. These practices take far longer but they are platforms from which long-term SEO performance can be founded. These things cannot be cheated anymore.

While it takes longer, businesses should take comfort from the fact that what you are doing is the proven method to success.

Why It Can Take So Long

The reasons why SEO takes so long are two-fold. Firstly the researching, planning, and creation phase take time. Keyword research and competitor analysis need to be done, and entire websites need to be built in some cases. To do this properly takes weeks and weeks – this is a good thing. You want your search engine optimisation planning work to be as thorough and detailed because when your site goes live you want it to have as big an impact as possible.

The second is the reason it takes so long is to do with what happens after your site, blog, or piece of content goes live. It has to be crawled, understood, indexed, and placed in a ranking position by search engines. The amount of content that goes live on the internet is astonishing which means your piece of content is, effectively, in a queue waiting to be looked at. Your rollout of content can be affected by many things, for instance, news websites get their pages indexed in minutes (for obvious reasons). Similarly, more important websites will take precedence over yours which can extend the amount of time your sites indexed.

Even after all that happens which can take a month or two, indexing doesn’t mean ranking. You can be indexed for a given keyword and be put on page 10! It’ll then take even longer for your page to move higher up the pages.

At Embryo, we generally say to clients that they can expect results from month 6 onwards.

While there are exceptions, with some companies doing better than expected, the general trend is 6-12 months, even then ‘success’ (whatever that looks like) is dependent on a variety of factors such as:

  • Content quality.
  • The level of competition in your industry.
  • Current website architecture.
  • Geographical location.
  • The level of social activity.
  • Age and speed of the website.

SEO Never ‘Ends’

Optimising your site for search engines doesn’t stop once the site has gone live and you’re ranking for a keyword or two. Once you’ve reached your goal, it isn’t the time to stop – optimise, optimise, optimise!

Even if you’re ranking number one for a keyword, you have to continue to add fresh content and optimise the page to keep that spot. There are also thousands of other related terms and phrases that you’re going to want to rank for which will require work. Algorithms change all the time and to remain in a stable position you need to be in a position to react to them so you don’t suffer. Constant work – by your in-house team or an advanced SEO agency such as Embryo – needs to be carried out every time Google makes a change.

Google algorithm experts

Understanding Google’s Algorithm: How to Track It, and Why

Underpinning everything that is done on Google, is its algorithm. It’s multiple algorithms, not just one, that decides when and where to index content on the web. The search algorithm is there to make sense of the billions and billions of web pages that are set live every single day – without it, the internet would be chaos.

The algorithms look at all the aforementioned ranking factors such as search query, speed of website, location, relevance and other things in a fraction of a second and provide the user with – nine times out of 10 – the right answer. These tools will also react in real-time to live events too so if a game in the World Cup is happening the SERP for those keywords will show you the score first, as opposed to the Wikipedia entry for it.

In this fast-paced world of content-hungry people, Google must constantly refine its algorithms and the way it scores content to keep up with changing intent and trends. As a result, it’s estimated that the search engine giant changes its algorithm around 150 times a year, which works out at around one every two days!

The algorithm is cloaked in secrecy and despite having a good inclining, there are only a few factors that we’re sure Google values, which are:

  • How fast your website loads. Page speed is so important to Google because fast websites mean users get their info quicker, thus improving their experience.
  • Your content has to be relevant to the keyword that it is attempting to rank for.
  • A well-designed website is always going to be preferred by search engines because they, again, provide the user with the best experience.
  • The quality of links that point back to your site is a good indicator of how authoritative your site is.
  • Having a website that looks as good on mobile as it does on a desktop is an important signal to Google.
  • Having SSL certification and thus an HTTPS Status is a good sign to Google that you have a secure website.
  • If you have high bounce rates and not many returning users, it’s a sign that your user engagement is low, amend this and you’ll find your favourability among Google increases.

How Many Times Does Google Update Its Algorithm?

The algorithm is almost certainly tweaked every day, however many of these updates are so minor that you don’t need to pay much attention to them – these won’t affect your site. What will affect your website are the one or two major updates that Google releases every year, such as Panda in 2011, Penguin a year later, and Hummingbird in 2013. These updates are for various reasons and will have a direct on your page performance if you’re either not aware of it or not ready to adapt to it.

You must be aware of upcoming changes to the algorithm, luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you’re up to date about any changes being made.

One of the best and simplest ways of tracking updates is by setting up a Google alert. Once you’ve set it up, you’ll get an email in your inbox showing you all the content that mentioned algorithm updates. On Twitter, following Google Search Liaison is the best way to receive news about Core updates. You can read their statements and decide if these updates are worth tweaking your site instead of it.

A retrospective way to view rankings is through Google Analytics. Through one of Google’s flagship platforms, you can view your traffic and conversions and spot any unusual activity. Activity that would indicate how the latest update has affected your site.

How to Avoid Being Punished by Google’s Core Updates

  1. Make sure your website is optimised for mobile from the get-go. Approach site design as a mobile-first practice and you’ll avoid major punishments from future updates.
  2. Review all the internal links across your site. Check that they work and make sense within the context of the page. Inbound links that are up-to-date show that your website is ‘alive’.
  3. If your website is slow and unresponsive you bet your page one rankings that are going to be heavily punished in the next update. Having a fast website provides the user with the best experience which is Google’s number one priority.
  4. Keep all the content on your website unique and avoid duplicating it at all costs. It might seem tempting to copy some work here and there but, without sounding harsh, it’s lazy, and Google will spot it, and reward other sites over yours.
  5. Rather than duplicating content, invest time and resources into creating informative, rich content that looks to authentically answer the key terms.
  6. Related to point 5 is the need to naturally include your target keywords. Stuffing phrases into the pages isn’t for the benefit of the reader which means it will be punished in a Core Google update.
  7. Make sure your site is easily navigable – a website with good architecture will provide the user with a more pleasurable experience and make it easier for Google spiders to crawl the site.

Results in the Doldrums? Here’s How to Improve Your SEO Ranking

If you’re reading this guide and are panicking because your SEO rankings or website performance are nowhere near where you want them to be, don’t worry. Virtually everything in the world of search marketing is fixable, providing you have the patience and resources to make changes.

In a broad sense, improving your rankings starts by following the best practices we’ve spoken about regularly on this page. So, make sure you have unique, long-form content (that you’re updating and adding to regularly), and outreach to sites so that you can guest blog and have links pointing back to your site.

Further, remove any bloated code using an HTML cleaner to streamline your site and optimise your images so that they have titles and alt-text which are semantically relevant to the page on which it sits.

All those practices, plus many more, are all things you should regularly be doing to constantly improve your rankings and performance.

If you want to immediately see an impact, here’s what you should do.

  • Check Your XML Sitemap

    Your XML sitemap describes how your site has been built in code form. Once you’ve downloaded it you can compare it to a regular sitemap and spot any errors or inconsistencies. These errors can include 303s and 404s, missing key pages, no indexed content and orphaned URLs – all of which can impact the fundamentals of your site.

  • Check That Google’s Crawling Your Site

    If Google isn’t crawling your site you’re invisible online so it is vital you know whether or not your site has been crawled by their spiders. You can use Search Console and click ‘Fetch as Google’ in the ‘Crawl’ section. Once you’ve put your main URL in there you can request that Google indexes your site.

  • Find Out How Many Pages Are Being Indexed vs How Many You Have

    This step is super simple. Head to Google, type “site: {ENTER YOUR WEBSITE}” then view the number of results that are shown. This will tell you how many pages Google has indexed. If you then view your website from the backend, you can see how many pages you have on your site. If the numbers are drastically different, you’ll be able to see whether or not you have a problem with duplicate pages.

  • Set Goals on Google Analytics

    In your Analytics, you can set and determine what goals you want to track. It could be when someone signs up for your newsletter, makes a reservation, or completes an online payment. Choose the goals that are relevant to you and you’ll be able to judge the value of your current SEO practices.

Invest in Your SEO Performance Today With Embryo.

Contact us today and see how we can transform your online activity.

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There aren't enough superlatives to describe the Embryo team and the digital marketing solutions they've provided for our business. We've been working with the team for over 18 months, and I can say that they are an extension of our in-house marketing team and consistently go above and beyond with service levels, creative solutions and input, as well as supporting our day-to-day efforts. Even as we've pivoted with our priorities, had budgets cut, had budgets increased, had new hurdles to overcome and challenges and requirements thrown at us as an in-house marketing team, the Embryo team has been there to support us throughout, with fresh ideas and approaches alongside practical advice. The results we continue to see are outstanding and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend their services (and regularly do!). If anyone has the chance to engage Embryo for SEO, digital PR, link building, organic and paid social, PPC and content writing to support SEO, go for it, you'd be mad not to.

Sam Shrager, BCB Group