“We never press the publish button until we’re positive it’s the best page on the internet.”
A good reminder relayed to us from Mark Baartse, the instructor from the SEO Essentials Course in Sydney.
SEO is something I’ve always struggled with. Something that makes my head spin, that I’ve never wanted to pay attention to thus far in my advertising career. There’s always been experts for that – digital teams, content creators, people who know what that stuff is supposed to mean. I love creativity, content, photos and words. I’m very right-brained if you will – until I decided to start my own event planning company and build a website. Then I had to start caring about this “SEO” stuff.
One of the many points that stuck with me from this course, was that typically, clients and advertising agencies will spend all their money on the “sexy stuff” – TV productions, content, etc. But SEO is what makes your business tick. It’s what’s going to get you the results you want. So, however un-sexy it might be, it’s worth paying attention to.
While I might have had a different lens than most of my fellow class-goers who were from larger corporations, below are MY main takeaways from the course – as an entrepreneur and new small business owner.
Your title tag, or the main title that shows up in Google, matters. Make sure the most important keyword phrase is as far left as possible, and keep to around 50-60 characters. Speaking of metadata, make sure your meta description (the description under your title) is focused on attracting attention, and includes any primary or secondary keywords.
High value content is a thing
What is this you might ask? It’s some combination of high quality, trustworthy, useful, interesting and remarkable content. EVERYTHING on your website is content. Not just your photos or your blog posts. All of your content matters. Make it great, and most importantly make it relevant and interesting to your readers. Don’t give them the same old “10 things to do in Sydney” that’s out there in one million other articles.
Linking is everything
Whether it’s internal linking (linking on your site to other pages of your site) or external linking (making friends with other websites and asking them very nicely to link to your site), it matters. Also, it’s not easy work, which leads me to my next point.
SEO and PR have much more in common than I realised
An example of external linking would be a website like theknot.com (a wedding planning resource), featuring your event planning business in one of their articles. However, to do that you must have a relationship with them, or create something where they find value in what you’re saying, therefore featuring you on their site.
User experience matters
Get neutral 3rd party people to review your site, and point out what the issues are. This feedback proves invaluable. Need someone to review your site asap? Go ahead and give this site a try.
SEO sounds scary and confusing – especially if you’re a right-brained person like me. But, there are some pretty easy, not-scary things you can do that could have a large impact on your business.
While I don’t think that the course converted me into an SEO lover, it provided me with the tools navigate around the topic, what types of things I can do to improve my own site, and if all else fails what to look for if I need to hire someone to do it for me.