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The Beginner’s Guide to SEO: Desktop Edition

By The Webspec Crew | Around the Office

seoMost people by now have heard of SEO, but they still aren’t quite sure what exactly it all entails. The definition of SEO can be explained as the process of increasing visibility of a website or webpage in search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

While search engine optimization for desktop and mobile websites has some overlap, right now we’re going to focus on SEO for desktop websites. We’ll discuss the importance of SEO on mobile websites at a later date.

Search Engine Optimization is made up of a lot of different factors that can be separated into two categories: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is the process of optimizing content within your webpage to make it easily readable for search engines. There are a few key factors that go into on-page SEO to easily optimize your webpage.

Content. Content. Content.

If you have worked with a Webspec SEO team member, you’ve probably heard us talk about the importance of content, and might be a little sick of hearing about it, but we promise we have good intentions.

Some SEO experts have gone so far to say that “Content is King.” While not every SEO expert agrees with this statement, they can all agree that content is an essential part of SEO. Content on your website should be unique, updated frequently and contain keywords that are relevant to your business.

Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

Title tags give users a snippet of information on any given page of your website. They should be 50-60 characters long. Title tags are important for both user experience and search engine optimization.

Meta Descriptions are a short description, usually between 150-160 characters, below the title tag that should be used to describe the webpage users are about to click on. The focus of meta descriptions is to engage users for a higher click through rate.

Heading Structure

Headings serve as a website’s outline both to users and to search engines. Users are able to skim headings to get the information they need quicker. Search engines crawl headings in numerical order before they crawl the rest of the content, therefore prioritizing keywords and determining how the information is organized before serving your site to users.

Alternative Text on Images

Search engines cannot see images on a website. The alternative text on images help search engines understand what exactly is being displayed. The purpose of alt text is to describe the image to search engines and the end user. Alt text is especially important for screen readers that assist users who are visually impaired.

Internal Link Building

Internal links on a webpage give users the option to explore more about a topic they might be interested in on your site. Search engines want to bring the best user experience possible, so the more opportunities a user has to learn about a specific topic the better.

Your On-Page SEO checklist:

  • Proper Heading Structure
  • Alternative Text on Images
  • Relevant, Unique Content
  • Optimized Title Tags
  • Optimized Meta Descriptions
  • Internal Link Building

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO entails promoting your website on different web platforms such as social media shares and external link building. Essentially off-page SEO is building an online reputation for your company/brand/website.

External Link Building

When it comes to external link building, quality is more important than quantity. External link building works best with natural links. Paying for links is considered an artificial way of boosting your rankings, and search engines recognize this. It’s best to stay away from paying for links altogether to ensure your page isn’t penalized.

Social Media Shares

Social media allows for opportunities in creating effective link building and unique content to increase overall user engagement, which leads to a successful web presence for your company.

Business Reviews

Online reviews can have an impact on a business’s local SEO campaign. Positive reviews can increase the overall trustworthiness of your business and can influence a user’s decision to purchase.

Your off-page SEO checklist:

  • External Link Building
  • Social Media Shares
  • Online Reviews


Have any questions about Search Engine Optimization or Webspec’s SEO services? Email me at and don’t forget to look out for The Beginner’s Guide to SEO: Mobile Edition, coming to the Webspec Blog soon!


And don’t forget to register for our upcoming lunch and learn!

Click here for more details.



The Webspec Crew

Webspec Design has an industry-leading team of web designers, web & software developers, content writers, SEO strategists, project managers and marketing staff based in Des Moines, Iowa. We hire the best and brightest to develop creative web design solutions and deliver your business unparalleled results. After fifteen years, hundreds of web design and development projects, and many software development projects, we are proud of our reputation for service.