SEO in 3 (very) simple stages

SEO - Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is vital to any web activity and should be an absolute key consideration from the concept beginning. I seem to spend lot my time explaining what it is in VERY broad terms to non-technically minded people so…

Here are the 3 simple guidelines that I break SEO into. Ok there are loads of principles and I really just cover three bits here but when you have to explain it twice a day, everyday, you end up streamlining.

Compliance – Number 1

Doing the right thing.

This is simple to explain and people seem to get it quite quickly. It’s simply about putting your current content in the right format so that Google can read, make sense of, and understand what your website and its information are all about. I normally talk about headers and how it is simply about telling Google what is the most important bit on your page.

People also tend to understand the concept of Title tags and Meta Description quite quickly as it’s these that appear in Search Engine results so they can see the immediate correlation.

Finally I tend to mention robots.txt and sitemap.xml as simply files to make sure they have within their website to ensure Google can find all of you pages.

Simple, easy, and heavily abbreviated.

Keywords – Number 2

Doing the right thing, right.

People seem to get this as more of a targeting piece so I usually phrase it in terms of what people search for. It’s amazing how many peoples websites are so jammed with ‘management speak’ copy that they don’t actually mention what they do. If you actually write this people/customers won’t find them! It’s this simple principle which is why a lot of business/management consultants don’t attract any new customers to them online. It may appear that the content is being dumbed down by incorporating keywords but people don’t search for superlatives, they search for a problem or a solution.

Once people have bought into this, it is very easy to get them to see the value of finding out what people search for; I usually introduce them to Google Adwords keyword tool to give some estimates. Ok, it’s not amazingly accurate but at least you can show that more people search for ‘tooth brush’ than ‘toothbrush’ and reflect any targeting from there. Most marketers get this bit quite quickly as the concept of targeting is second nature. Other management backgrounds can be harder; I’ve had awkward conversations with people who can’t understand why a homepage with very little content won’t rank well for hundreds of key terms.

It’s then simply a case of picking the right keywords (on quantity and relevancy) and incorporating them into your key SEO areas (see number 1!)

Simples!

Links – Number 3

This one’s easy. By this point they’re normally very pleased with themselves for understanding everything so far so I try to make this brief so they don’t get too full of themselves. This is how I phrase it.

If I call you Steve, and that guy calls you Steve, and 10 other people call you Steve, there’s a good chance you name is Steve! The same principle works online. If I and 10 other people link to you and say ‘Cheap digital cameras’ as the link text there’s a good chance you sell ‘cheap digital cameras’ and it is worthwhile Google showing your website if someone searches for ‘cheap digital cameras’.

But, I’m a well-respected person, an expert in my field, and a genuinely trustworthy source for all information on digital cameras. Then surely my opinion is more valid than the other 10 people in the room. I then explain Google’s page rank as a rating of 1-10 in terms of what it thinks of a website and that links from higher ranked websites are more worthwhile than others. People seem to like this as it naturally applies to other marketing principles such as influencing KOL’s.

I might add a couple of bits here to gain inbound links like content, link baiting etc but they normally have got it all by now and are excited to take a look at their own website to make changes.

It might be at this point I explain that, as it’s built in flash, Google see’s pretty much no content from there site anyway!

I always like to save that until last :-)

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I’m a 30 year old Digital Marketing Manager currently living in NY. I love all things digital, Cardiff City FC, eating, and Glastonbury festival. I spend most of my life online and, in case you haven’t noticed, like to talk about myself a lot. Follow Tom

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