DIY SEO Presentation – Federation of Small Businesses
This is a blog post about the presentation at the Oak Tree Event Venue (next to the Speedway track) in Somerset which was organised by the Federation of Small Businesses.
To begin – 3 Questions
- Who has heard of SEO?
- Who has heard of the phrase content is king?
- Does anybody know a rough guide about how many words Google likes on every web page of your website? I will give five points to anybody within 50 words.
Introduction – About Me
My company 1weekSEO was launched in 2009, and I started to teach SEO in 2010 as a sideline. Nowadays my client base is 50% freelancing and 50% delivering SEO training.
Small businesses are tight on budget and often business owners will research SEO online to promote their website on the internet however there’s so many outdated articles out there I wanted to talk about the best ways in 2017 to perform DIY SEO on your website.
Not everyone in the room had heard about SEO, a show of hands from 40 people demonstrated that around 30 had heard of SEO, so I explained a few basics for the attendees that hadn’t:
- A Search engine is a powerful program that enables users to search for documents on the World Wide Web
- Hence the ‘www’ we all recognise
- Global favourites are Bing, Yahoo! and of course Google
- Today we’ll talk about Google. When you optimise your website for Google, this will apply to all other search engines too. 90% of most traffic will come from Google as a broad statement.
- Search Engine Optimisation is a marketing method for websites.
- The point of SEO is to attract visitors to your site that are not aware of your brand name.
Searches in eBay have elements of Google search
I used to be a vinyl record DJ many moons ago and sell on ebay. I quit my job to sell online and quickly found out that my background in Media Sales helped me to write enticing sales copy and regularly would sell a 12″ record that was also for sale on eBay at a fifth of the cost purely down to the way I wrote the headline and copy.
Scenario: I’m preparing an eBay listing to sell a well-known record Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
Other people on eBay would sell Michael Jackson – Billie Jean by calling their listing simply ‘Michael Jackson – Billie Jean’
My listing title was is completely different.
All of my titles would start: 12″ vinyl
The second part of the title would read: Funky House DJ
The last part would be: Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
The amount of traffic specifically searching for ‘Billie Jean’ would be much lower than people searching for the generic term “funky house” and 12″ vinyl record, therefore my listings covered all bases. I benefited from having specific targeted traffic for Michael Jackson fans, however I also reached a broader audience of people searching generally for house music records.
Let’s use the eBay principal and apply it to your website.
There is a fictitious hairdresser in Bristol called TRIM NATION. People searching Google for TRIM NATION will always find the website as it’s their brand name. In this instance we can compare that to ‘Michael Jackson – Billie Jean’
The point of SEO is to attract visitors to your site that are not aware of your brand name.
What we need to do for TRIM NATION is to attract traffic from broader keywords, so I am going to rewrite the homepage as I often find the title of the website will be headlined with text saying ‘Welcome to TRIM NATION’.
I would rewrite the homepage headline (called a H1 heading) to read something like
- Hairdresser in Bristol
- Haircuts ladies and gents
- Hair styling
If you notice I did not use the brand name on purpose. Usually your website is your brand name additionally you will have your logo and banner also saying your brand name. Write about your company on your home page and include variations of keyword within the text.
Never write purely for Search Engines, write from a marketing point of view to convert the visitors from your site to make a conversion. A conversion could be to pick up the phone to make a hair appointment, or to fill out an enquiry form online, or if you are an ecommerce store the conversion would be to make a purchase online.
Go to town with your text – Google will reward you
Google tends to ignore website which have “skinny content” so make sure your home page has around 300 words on there, underneath your website headline (called a H1), and your most popular landing pages should also have around 250-300 words of text.
I often have arguments with wedding photographers “But my site is so pretty! I don’t want any text to spoil it!
So I ask for compromise, do you want a pretty website with a huge fancy slider of wedding photos and never get found in Google, or do you want some text on your website to beat your competitors and succeed as a profitable business?
What questions are you thinking about SEO?
The most popular question I get asked is “How long will it take for my website to be Google page 1?”
The answer is the same for everybody. There is not one SEO company in the world that can predict how soon your websites will hit Google page 1 as there are over 220 points in Google’s new algorithm that define how well a website would rank better than it’s competitors.
Ensuring your H1 headers reflect your target keywords, adding good content to your homepage and main landing pages and writing for visitors but with a slant for Google will set you apart from your competitors.
Question number 2 that follows close by is “How much is SEO?”
Again, the answer is the same. You could ask me “How much is a new car?” and I would ask “What size engine, is it a high performance Jaguar, is it a small Smart car, what extras are included?”
Every website is unique so SEO costs are unique to every website. If you wanted a quote for SEO send me your website URL via my contact form and consider the following questions:
- How old is your website? Google trusts domains over 2 years of age so expecting to be top in Google when your website is 3 weeks old versus your competitor who has been around for a decade means you will need to invest in many months of SEO marketing work.
- Are you local? Local websites using your geographical town or city are easier to rank in Google as opposed to ranking throughout the UK.
- Do you sell products on your website? Ecommerce websites enter a fierce competitive arena. There’s billions of websites in the world and everybody wants to be on page 1. Sometimes it’s physically impossible to rank for “Designer handbags online” but more probable to rank for a long tail phrase like “Buy Blue Denim Handbags”
There’s more improvements I’m going to tell you about – but first a Quick quiz question – in 1996 does anyone know what Google was called before it was Google?
This was because their algorithm checked backlinks to estimate the importance of the site. You scratch (or rub) my back, I’ll rub yours.
- Back in the 1990’s (Remember Ask Jeeves?) Google was launched in 1998 – the more backlinks you had the quicker you would get to Page 1
- When this was realised by search marketers there followed an explosion in the few years after this which led to the overnight success of SEO … and ultimately its failure.
Backlinks in 2014
Google realised that search marketers were manipulating their results. Companies were buying hundreds, if not thousands of backlinks, overnight their website would jump up in Google, increasing their traffic – and also increasing their revenue.
Schemes like link farms and link wheels were used. People used to swap backlinks just to get further in Google no matter whether it was relevant or not.
British Hairdressing websites were linking out to chicken farms in Russia. Chinese hairdressers were linking back to airport taxi companies in Bristol.
The evolution of Google has led to the evolution of search marketing. No longer are backlinks a primary factor of ranking – since 2012 websites have actively been penalised by Google for having poor quality irrelevant backlinks. Websites dropped overnight after the Google change in algorithm, and CEO’s all over the globe started to panic, what’s the new magic trick?
Today a few dozen quality backlinks are much better than the old way of buying thousands of spam blog comment backlinks, or from a directory in Aisa. Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and Google Blogger are all sources of very high quality backlinks that won’t damage your website.
Meta tags and Keywords
Website owners researching SEO on the internet will stumble across old articles shouting about ‘Keyword meta tags’. Even in 2014 I speak to people and they tell me “I know a bit about SEO I’ve already made sure my website has loads of keywords in the meta tag!”
In 2014 Google completely ignores the meta tag and has done since 2009.
The Evolution Of Local Search
SEO has evolved. The single most influential factor ranking every website is now relevance and geographical location.
Google’s mapping system shows people in Somerset searching for ‘SEO training’ my website on Google page 1 – without the word Somerset. People searching in Leeds would not have my website returned to them for the same query in their search results.
I’m number 1 in Google for ‘SEO Weston super Mare’, but if you search for ‘SEO Bristol’, even though I have the keywords ‘Bristol’ on my website I do not rank for this search term.
However – for an Estate Agency in Weston-super-Mare it is recommended you still add the words “Weston-super-Mare” as people in Leeds will be searching for properties for sale in Weston-super-Mare if they are looking to relocate.
Images and Alt Tags
So let’s go back to our fictitious hairdresser Trim Nation, or a wedding photographer.
The Trim Nation website will have images of hairstyles on most pages. Very similar to a wedding photography website which will also be heavily image led. This is impossible for search engines to rank as they cannot read images.
Solution and benefits of renaming your images
When you download a photo onto your computer its default name is usually something similar to DC001098 – renaming all of your images to include your keywords helps search engines attach importance and relevance to your website. These are called alt tags.
Trim nation would have a male hair stylist model images renamed
Gents Hairdressers Bristol Fishponds Filton Trim Nation
A photo of a small child would be called
Kids Hairdressers Bristol Fishponds Filton Trim Nation
A wedding photographer could rename 50 images with variations of
- “Wedding Photographer Somerset Bride Groom”
- “Wedding Photographer Somerset Family Shot”
- “Wedding Photographer Somerset Uphill Church November_1”
- “Wedding Photographer Somerset Uphill Church November_2”
- “Wedding Photographer Somerset Uphill Church November_3”
So now Trim Nation has an optimised website title, H1 heading, Alt tags on images and 300 words of descriptive text. What can we do next?
Most websites are now on Google places, which used to be called Google maps, nowadays referred to as a Google+ page.
On your Google plus page are you backlinking to your website?
Are the images that you have uploaded named to include your geographical and relevant keywords?
Video SEO and YouTube
Your company images can be easily be turned into a YouTube video for your channel. Why would you want to have a YouTube channel? Google owns YouTube.
Read my blog post on how to optimise your YouTube channel.
- Complete the ‘About Us’ section of your YouTube channel and backlink to your website.
- Using the YouTube software upload your images and company logo and make a slideshow video.
- Think carefully about naming the title of your video. Remember the Michael Jackson eBay theory.
- Read my blog post on how to optimise the title of your YouTube video
Google Blogger and backlinking
What else does Google give us for free that would help our website?
There is another free Google feature called blogger.com, simply sign in with your normal Google account and create your first blog. Here’s mine. Even if you have a blog already on your website the addition of a Google blog is great for backlinks not only to your home page but also to internal product or service landing pages.
Think about how you would title your blog and your blog posts with your keywords.
- Upload your product or service images which have been renamed with Alt tags. In your text hyperlink out to landing pages inside your website which are relevant.
- Go back to your YouTube channel and copy and paste the embed code in your video, and upload your video to your blog.
- You can also add your company logo which would link back to your homepage.
- Read my post on ‘How to write a blog post for SEO‘ which is the same principle for any web page, landing page or home page.
The other advantage of Google blogger is that its links to your Google+ profile publishing your posts to your stream every time. Google+ is a social media platform that’s like Facebook for people that you don’t know. Like Twitter you can find new people and interests, and promote yourself by by using #hashtags in your posts.
This is a great use of social media. YouTube is also classed as social media, and it has great benefits of SEO, as videos will often be presented in Google search results when you are looking for keywords.
Google SEO Summary
Using Video SEO, Google products such as Blogger and other social media channels for quality backlinking, together with an on-page relevance of keywords, page titles, headers and image Alt tags, your website will improve in Google rankings.
Original date November 2014, updated in 2017 following Google’s recent Algorithmn change.