What is search engine optimisation and why should you care?
Episode 1: Simplified Basics of SEO
In this episode I introduce myself and my background. I’ve worked for the likes of:
- SEO trainee; meta data keywords optimisation for the retailer. This is a very old SEO tactic and no longer used by Google to rank sites. A lot of the time this is now seen as spam indicator.
- Carpetright; here I had a varied role, from social media to blog post writing and product description optimisation and writing also. I worked with Summit Media agency in this position.
- Debenhams; I did a lot of the link building in this role, working with bloggers on collaborations and looking at technical areas.
- The Fairytale Pretty Picture; I’ve been a blogger for a handful of years and I’ve learnt a lot of my tech here by playing with code and trying optimisation tactics out for myself.
- Tesco; I consulted employees in this role a lot, helping them understand how to optimise the site in their job roles as well as explaining the importance of the optimisation areas to improve the business site visibility online.
- and I’m currently at Amara; heading up the SEO team.
Apart from the almost 7 years of experience, my achievements include:
- Speaker at Brighton SEO conference
- Winning Best Interior Blog at Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2014
- Lifestyle category judge at the UK Blog Awards (for 3 years!)
I then explain what SEO is. It’s natural/organic search results that sit below PPC/sponsored results on Google. It’s ways to optimise your site in order to make it visible online. Personalisation in this day and age is key so there’s technically no ranking position 1 any longer. Google and search engines take into account your gender, age and your previous history and other information on your demographic which they can gain from your emails, cookies and other tracking methods. Location is also key, which looks at IP addresses (I simplified this in the podcast as the thing that you internet is connected to but technically it’s your internet protocol that is used to connect to the world wide web and network.)
First Steps to Optimise your Site
- Titles; page titles and blog post titles need to have keywords within them (Episode 2 will be around keyword research to help you with this) and must contextualise the page to match the reader with what they’re looking for (i.e. your content.)
- Meta Descriptions; use the plugin Yoast SEO or another SEO plugin to help you write your own result snippets for pages. Add information about your page and a call to action to increase the chances of the reader/customer of clicking through to your site.
- Google Analytics and Search Console; Add tracking onto your site to ensure that you can see important information about your readers and customers. This will also help you see what keywords you show up for and to help you improve click through rate and improve the pages that people are coming onto your site.
- Buy a domain; build your own site with authority. You will then have your own domain authority and trust flow online. Brands are more likely to work with you and you will be seen as more of an expert by Google and other search engines. I’ve used GoDaddy.
- Robots.txt; this is the first file that search engines see with basic code that tells robots what pages and areas of the site they can visit and index and which ones they cannot. This file often links to the sitemap (below.) I use a plugin called Virtual Robots.txt.
- Sitemap; this file tells crawlers what pages to look at in priority order and perhaps find pages that are not linked properly on your site (ie. orphan pages.) I use Yoast SEO plugin to do this also but Screaming Frog can also do this for you. I thought Moz has a sitemap generator also but I’ve checked and it doesn’t look like it, apologies.
Let me know if you’re interested in how to set up your own site or blog! I’m happy to cover it in a future episode, looking at getting a host, where your information sits and how to connect a domain to it.
Google and other search engines use over 200 factors to rank sites. These factors can be split into 3 main pillars or areas and these would be content, links and tech. All of which I’ll be covering, bit by bit in the podcast.
There’s so much more to talk about and I can’t wait to talk about these things in further detail. Let me know what you’ve thought of this episode via email, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter (@MrsAlinaGhost) and thank you so much for listening!
Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes