Lucy’s top tips for search engine optimisation


CALLING ALL WEBSITE OWNERS: Here are my top tips for improving your website’s ranking in search engine results. If you are a webmaster you need to handle your own SEO. Simple as that. It is an ongoing beast that needs regular tweaking but it’s not that tricky. When your site appears in the organic search results, that’s FREE traffic to your website. Smash the SEO on your website before you go paying for sponsored Google advertising. Here we go…

1. Ignore all solicitations from “SEO companies”.

They will suck moolah out of your bank account with little regard for your return on investment. I have never met anyone who has had great results from using an external supplier for SEO. Especially an offshore one. SEO is all about language and good content. You can’t outsource that and no one will love your baby like you do.

2. Do some research to work out your most important keywords.

Don’t assume your lingo is the same as your market. Use Google’s trending utility to see which phrases are trending in your world. Which phrases are people using the most to find the thing that you do? I once built a website for a plastic surgeon and he was horrified to learn that no one was googling the term “breast augmentation”. It was “boob job” and “plastic tits”. True story. So we needed to work those terms into his website in key places such as title tags, headings and blog posts. This made a huge difference to his ranking in a very competitive online market.

3. Successful SEO rests on good content.

Create good broad content that appeals to your market. Your website should have a blog which uses blog technology like WordPress because this has higher ranking than plain old HTML pages. Blog weekly if you can, 500 words or more. Draw up a 52 week blog post plan and pull in guest contributors if you have to. I blog very sporadically so don’t follow my example!

4. Social proof is an important SEO factor.

The more your website URL, and deep links within your website, appear in social media, the better it is for your SEO. This ties in nicely with your blog. When you post a blog, share the link across your social platforms, others will share it and waaah laaa, your social proof begins to grow.

5. Never call your home page “HOME” or “WELCOME”.

Your title tag is 70 precious characters to craft with your most important keywords. Don’t waste it on the bleeding obvious.

6. Keep your website up to date.

Google can see if your file dates are old and drops you down the rankings because your content is “decayed”.

7. Don’t try to outplay Google.

Those bastards are cleverer than you and me and the rest of the universe put together. They can detect dirty tricks like keyword loading, link farming or hidden text. Here’s a list of the no nos. Play clean for best results.

8. Read this document from SEOMoz.

It’s the best SEO summary I have ever read and it’s been downloaded millions of times. You can read online or download a PDF. Don’t just assume that SEO is for the “website guy”. If you own or oversee a website, understanding how SEO works will change the way you create content and manage your site. And your “website guy” will get his act together when you start talking like an SEO pro after reading this blog and the Moz guide.

9. Have fun.

That’s my last point on just about all my blogs and articles. SEO is a game. If you are ranked number one for a key search phrase and you drop to number three, consider that a direct challenge! What have the top two sites done differently to knock you out? Where has that key phrase appeared in their sites to outrank yours? Tweak, change, win. I built a competitor’s website once and it took me 15 months to outrank another website I had built previously. What a sweet moment that was when I outdid my own work! Ha ha! Have fun x

When she’s being an SEO master, Lucy is a speaker, author and consultant.

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