5 Ways to Conquer SEO

Diary of a Freelancer, Freelance, Marketing

In case you managed to miss the memo: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and the online world seems to be absolutely obsessed with it. And in my opinion, a little too obsessed with it. So the real question is: SEO: is it worth the hassle?

Initially, I want to say a huge, big, fat and resounding “NO”. However, despite my reservations about this obsession, SEO does have its benefits; as long as you get it right – and so many people, just don’t.

Therefore, here are my five ways to conquer SEO:

1. Content is Always King

Oh yes, it’s the old cliché that Content is King, but content really is the master of your success.

Problem:

Imagine the ideal scenario:

Image sourced here.

Image sourced here.

You’ve created lots of keywords, and the Search Engines are bringing traffic in by the bucket load. Yippee, you’re thinking – excellent, lots of business heading your way! But wait, you’re sat by your inbox, waiting ever so patiently for all those orders to come and hmm…nothing!

You check your website analytics (as you should be doing, on a regular basis), and barely anyone has remained on your site for longer than ten seconds.

Here is where the problem lies, just because you’ve brought traffic in, doesn’t mean that your job is over with. Your second job (after drawing people to your site) is to ensure that you keep them there, and tempt them with your amazing wares. Unfortunately, keyword-heavy content that is boring, full of jargon or doesn’t even make sense, is not going to do that for you.

Solution:

  1. Create content that is interesting to read and packed with relevant information 
  2. Ditch the jargon – no one has a clue what you’re talking about, so seriously, don’t do it!
  3. Make your content easy to browse – remember, we’re lazy, so make things easy for us with headings and keywords and important phrases highlighted (although, don’t do overboard)

2. Do your Research

It’s really easy to fall into the trap of thinking “Oh, I can do that – it’s easy!” when it comes to SEO, but in reality, you can’t expect to get anywhere, without doing a little bit of research.

Research helps you to determine your market, and target it to perfection.

Research KeywordsProblem:

The real problem is distinguishing what keywords you should be using. If Search Engines are going to bring traffic to your website, you’re going to want to make sure that you use the best keywords. Using the wrong ones might draw in the wrong kinds of people. You should also be aware of using keywords that could be interpreted as misleading.

Solution:

  1. As the heading suggests: Do your homework. Check out the competition, find out what keywords they’re using and look into how you can adapt that into your website. However, don’t just copy all of the keywords that they use, because some of them might not be suitable for your brand.
  2. Think about your brand, and the types of keywords that people might search for, in order to reach that brand
  3. Put yourself into the shoes of your customers. What are they looking for? What are they likely to type into Google?

3. Stay Relevant

Why would someone buy a product or service from a website that contains content that isn’t relevant to the product or service? Honest answer: They wouldn’t. It’s as simple as that. Therefore, relevant content is just as important as good content.

The Problem:

What exactly is relevant? One of the mistakes that I have made, and a lot of other people make, is to write about the things that interest

Bananas

This image has no relevance to this post whatsoever.

you. If you’re writing a personal blog – that’s great. Nevertheless, in the world of business, writing about how hilarious your cat is, well, it’s hardly going to draw customers to your company that sells lipsticks, is it?

If someone comes to your website looking for a funny story about cats, then it’s likely that the website they are probably looking for is going to be something to do with cats; a vet, an animal charity, a retailer who sells animal toys for example.

Solution:

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What are your customers interested in?
  • What information could you provide?
  • What could you teach?
  • What would customers find helpful?
  • How could you provide this information?

4. Imaging

The Problem:

I once read that you shouldn’t bother putting images onto websites, because Search Engines can’t read anything other than text, so why bother.

The problem is that images are useful when it comes to whether or not a person will read your content. Take me, for example, I’m your typical internet surfer, I want to be spoon fed information and I don’t want to have to work hard for it. Why? Because I’m Lazy, and because the internet is so full of information, it starts to get boring. If I come across a website that is just one big huge paragraph of content, I’m likely to yawn, and click away.

The Solution:

The critics might have been right, Search Engines can’t read the actual images, but they can read the ALT Tags and ALT tags are an incredibly valuable part of SEO. ALT Tags should be used to describe the image, allowing Search Engines to read what the image shows.

One way of approaching this, is to imagine that you are describing the image to a blind person, or someone who – for whatever reason – cannot see it. Ask yourself a few questions that a blind person might want / need to know:

  • What does the image depict?
  • What is it representing?
  • What is the images purpose?

5. Don’t Get Obsessed

Despite what we’re quite often told, keywords are not the centre of the universe. Yes, they’re important and yes, they can help your business, but they’re only one part of a very big puzzle.

The Problem:

For many businesses, it’s easy to become so obsessed with keywords that you lose sight of what you are actually hoping to achieve. Content becomes boring, stress levels sky-rocket and you don’t enjoy working on a part of your own company.

Solution:

Don’t allow yourself to be consumed by keywords.

The truth is that if you know your product/brand/service well (and you should) then it’s likely that keywords will flow into your text with absolute ease.

Concentrate on creating content that is interesting, and relevant, and you’ll find that your job is a lot easier. Just remember not to give up, and don’t allow yourself to forget to post regularly to your blog, because that’s a sure-fire way to notice a nose-dive in your blog’s statistics.

 

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A Week of Barefoot Girl: 14.07.2013

Diary of a Freelancer

a week of barefoot girlHey guys, I hope that everyone is having a great Sunday and enjoying the lovely sunny weather. I love summer, because it means that I can get my bare feet out without worrying 🙂

Anyway, I thought that it would be fun to start a new feature, looking back at what I’ve been up to over the past seven days, in terms of writing and blogging etc. That way, if you’ve missed anything, well you can catch up – how awesome is that?

 

Monday

WRITING. Monday, on Barefoot Girl Writes, was all about Camp NaNoWriMo, and how I was getting on, as I reached Day 8 and 5,859 words towards my 15,000 word target, which left me feeling incredibly positive about my mini adventure.

Catch up on my Day 8 update from Camp NaNoWriMo, right here. And the next update will be with you tomorrow!

BEAUTY. Over on the original Barefoot Girl Beauty Blog, I reviewed Yves Saint Laurent’s The Black Eyeliner, a liquid eyeliner that I was hoping would be a great alternative to the cheaper Rimmel Glam’Eyes liquid liner. How did the YSL liner fare?

Read my review and comparison here, to find out.

Tuesday

WRITING. Tuesday was Word of the Week day, with this weeks addition being: Myth.

Find out the origins of the word Myth, and what it actually means.

RE-BRANDING. Tuesday was also the day when I officially wrote the final blog post over on my original freelance writing blog; Kat Musselwhite Writer, which seemed a little bit sad. However, this blog was designed to take it over, so it’s not all sad 🙂

If you want to check out my final post, relating to the re-branding, then you can read that here.

Wednesday

RE-BRANDING. After writing my final blog post as Kat Musselwhite (well, I’m still Kat Musselwhite, but that’s no long my professional “brand”), I decided to have a play around with the Barefoot Girl website.

First of all, I added a sub-domain for this very blog, so that I could run the blog a little independently of the website, but it is still connected to it, literally, so the domain is just http://www.abarefootgirlwrites.com/blog, but it’s actually separate. If that makes sense!

By splitting the website and blog, I allowed the main page to be dedicated to my freelance writing as a whole, with the blog a part of it. I wanted to do this, because I felt like the blog was taking over, a little bit too much, from what I actually do.

I also felt that the original Barefoot Girl Writes website was a little bit complicated, so splitting the website in two (hypothetically) allowed me to simplify everything, and I’m very happy with the results.

WRITING. In the meantime, this weeks Confessions of a Bookaholic looked at writing that scares you, and whether it’s possible to write about what you know.

Read my confessions here.

BEAUTY. On Barefoot Girl, I shared my latest Bargain Hunting spoil, which amazingly didn’t come from a Charity Shop. Instead, this eye shadow (which only cost £3) came from T.K. Maxx – a shop that I love to hate – and was a colour that baffled me a little. Then again, I’m pretty easy to baffle!

Check out my new eye shadow, and decide for yourself what colour it really is.

FILM. Wednesday was definitely a very busy day, but I also managed to squeeze in a quick review (that wasn’t really that “quick”) of Anne Hathaway’s One Day.

Find out what I thought of One Day here.

Thursday

WRITING. Thursday came was a writing inspiration from my favourite children’s book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I chose this book because I felt that the time had finally come to read the series all over again, and it seemed fitting!

Do you remember the opening and closing line to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? Have they inspired you to get writing?

BEAUTY. I re-visited a topic that I’ve covered a number of times on Barefoot Girl, which was the question of What is Beauty? I love this question, because everyone has a very different outlook on it. I also like to re-visit it every-so-often just to see how much my own opinions have – or haven’t – changed.

Here’s my 2013 response to What is Beauty?

Friday

After a busy week of writing, I ended with a easy-to-follow guide to moving images from your phone, into your PC (or laptop) without the need for cables. This is something that I find myself needing a lot, since my cables have a habit of going AWOL on a regular basis.

Find out how here.

So, that’s it for this week’s round up. Thanks for reading, and if there is anything you would like me to blog about, or if you have a question about my writing, blogging or you’d like to hire me, then please do feel free to get in touch 🙂