Search engine optimisation (SEO) is often regarded by businesses as a low-priority task on a long to-do list, which means that it often simply never gets done. And when getting to the very top of the Google search ranks seems like an impossible feat for even the most successful of businesses, it can be difficult to find the motivation to tackle it.

Historically, a bit of time and money spent on SEO positioned a business right at the very top of a natural Google search, providing a healthy slice of web traffic.

Today, however, it’s far more complex and competitive, requiring more sophisticated tools and expertise. Here are five SEO essentials worth taking a look at:

1. The basic operator (free)

Using what’s known as a “site colon search” – or “site:” – can help you to see what pages are live and optimised on your website in Google search.

Most SEO experts will use this at some point to find out whether Google’s search results represent a business’s offering well enough. They might also use it to find out whether there are too many irrelevant site pages that don’t relate to typical searches being made for your products or services.

Bad SEO can be spotted if common search terms for your product or service (for example “carpet fitters London”) aren’t presented efficiently enough in the blue and green lines of text, or the page information.

You can edit or change this via your website or content management tool to better match up with your desired search terms.

Watching out for duplicates is important too. Google doesn’t like duplications of the same content and words, because it’s hard for it to choose between pages from the same domain for the same keyword searches.