I’ve been struggling with my blog a bit of late. More specifically, I have been struggling with its purpose; capturing regular learnings about social media and digital platforms.
I haven’t done that much lately.
In all honesty, I think a bit of complacency and fatigue has set in – and that is never (ever!) a good thing.
So, I’m going to spend the next month or so trying to get a better understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) – something that I really want to know more about.
The plan is to share the useful parts of this self-guided education with you. That sound OK? Cool…let’s make a start…
In search of…an education in search engine optimization…
Part one – the basics
My objectives for this lesson:
– Understand exactly what SEO is and why it is important
– Get a better handle of keywords and the role they play
– Test out some basic tools and gauge effectiveness / usefulness
I started out by watching some videos on YouTube:
Both are worth a watch, but the following is a snapshot of what I found most useful / interesting.
Key learnings from video one
- 80% of internet users click on the first three organic listings on Google
- Keyword research is the first step in the process – Google has a free tool (AdWords) which can be used for this activity
- Word Tracker is a paid for service that has been recommended to me by others of late, keen to try that out
- SEO Book is a free tool that gives you some of the intelligence that Word Tracker provides
- Competition analysis is an important early step – video one suggests finding out four key things about your competitors
- Find all your competitors to begin with
- Find out how important these websites are
- Find out link popularity
- Find out the number of indexed pages
(Note: the plan is to test my own blog using this technique in the next part of this series, so I am just going to continue gathering the theory for now)
- Video one moves onto on page and off page optimization next – I will treat this element as a separate post too, but here are some interesting things I learnt in the on page department.
- Your meta title is one of the first attributes search engines see (automatically I want to alter the meta title of this blog)
- The proper keyword density and placement of keywords plays a big role (this is something I’ve never actively done before – I have to do my keyword analysis first – looking forward to trying that out)
- I never really take the time to do this, but search engines won’t be able to find and index pictures you use unless you provide a description – these are called image Alt tags – add that to the list of things I need to learn more about
- Google Webmaster tools can tell you if there are any errors with your site / blog – I had never considered this either – more reading required!
- Off page optimization is next up – I have intuitively done a few of the things listed here but there was one interesting technique I learnt about…
- Link development – there are three types – one way, two way and three way links
- Three way links are the most interesting for me as it involves re-routing reciprocal links back via 3rd party directory – is that ethical? Again, I need to understand this better.
- The remainder of video one takes you through the importance of fresh and relevant content – for me, this has always been something I ‘got’ but perhaps didn’t consider all the bits that go before that
- Spy Fu is a solid free keyword research tool (need to spend some time on it)
- Hit Tail is an analytics tools that I’ve never heard of before – the most useful element of this tool appears to be the ‘suggestions’ functionality