We are very lucky in Devon to have access to some excellent (and free!) training for new and small businesses. This week I attended a session entitled ‘understanding the world of SEO’ (search engine optimisation). Having tried to improve my website in this area using a beginner’s guide to SEO, I was eager to find out what I was beginning to do right, and what I was still doing wrong.
I was encouraged to learn that the aim is to write website content for the customer, not for Google. That was a relief as I really didn’t want to have to squeeze my website (www.karenwalshe.co.uk) into a Google shaped hole in such a way that compromised what I wanted to say. The trick, I learnt, is to write for one (my lovely customers) and at the same time, please the demands and requirements of the other (Google). Keywords and key phrases need to be woven into the text to ensure that the text flows, makes sense and is relevant. It is no good overloading the content with keywords to improve ranking as Google simply won’t like it!
I also learnt that content needs to be ‘sticky’; it should make readers want to stick around. The more (relevant!) pages there are, the better. Add media, images, videos etc…things that viewers can engage with. Think about what a customer might like to know about the product, the inspiration behind its design, and how it might be used. I think this probably means that I need to bite the bullet and make a short video of me at my sewing machine, making one of the front covers for my wading bird cushions. Yikes!
Content also needs to change, regularly. The Google spiders (crawlers) will be out there searching for new content. If a website stays the same, it gets overlooked. Regular updates are key. For me, this could mean changing my home page so that different products are featured. It could also mean making sure that I publish new posts on my ‘Latest News’ page frequently. As I struggle a little with this, I need to think more creatively about what might count as relevant and recent news….things like local community events; updates on best selling products; news about upcoming additions to the range; dates for the diary and how to catch up with us at local fairs/shows.
Above all, I learnt that getting it right means taking SEO seriously and remembering that it is an ongoing process. I need to treat my website as if it were a physical shop window….change the display and content regularly, keeping it fresh and up to date. For someone who has always been afraid of creepy crawlies, it is time to embrace the Google variety and entice them to make frequent visits.