June – Week 3

If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.
– Jimmy Wales

The words “I’m no expert on ____ but…” would probably be the last thing to entice the busy reader, but wait! I’m no expert on SEO but… I know some people who are. (Or useful tools that can make you at least competent in this area.) Search engine optimisation is what every website dreams about, being the at the top – like a whiny adolescent with ambitions of stardom – it rarely, if ever materialises for us.

However some people question it’s real effectiveness and it’s reputation is not helped by the some firms using black-hat techniques, or exaggerating the expected benefits to the less tech-savvy. How search engines see your site, optimising page load times and measuring site traffic do have an effect though, and I’m keen to point you to some useful resources. (I’m aware that I advertise this service on my site, I don’t think I’m digging a hole for myself here, but let’s remember that as long as we’re honest about what is achievable with SEO we shouldn’t feel dishonest.)

Since I’m using WordPress, then quite naturally I gravitate towards using the Yoast plugin. Getting it up and running is pretty self-explanatory and it’s guide is a useful introduction to the plugin and some SEO concepts you’ll see elsewhere. Getting a sitemap, robots.txt and proper headings and keywords will make your site more readable by search engines, simple techniques but they do make a difference. (Try searching for your site before and after making Yoast’s changes for evidence of this). If you’re going it alone, Google have their own SEO guide here too.

Your next step should be linking to and setting up Google Webmaster tools, check if there are any errors and have a peruse. Next is Google analytics which allows you to monitor traffic (user origin, how they got to your site, what their using to browse), a great tool and it’s free. Finally the last thing I’d suggest doing is using the feedthebot SEO tool to see how you can improve your site’s optimisation and speed. (My bee-smart site has an apparent speed issue but I consider it’s load time acceptable.)

P.S :- check out backlinko.com for a rather in-depth guide on link-building which I’d recommend for those who want to take SEO further.

1. Use some basic SEO techniques (Yoast makes this task easier).

2. Get connected to Google Webmaster tools, and Google analytics. Test your site with the feedthebot SEO tool.

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