Beginners guide to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

It’s no longer just about having a website. It’s about having a website that appears at the top of search engines.  If you are not on the first page your website risks never being found. And this is not necessarily an easy thing to do. And just when you think you’ve got it pinned down, the most often used search engine, Google, releases a change to their algorithm making everyone with a website panic and wonder how it will affect their ratings.

There are a lot of SEO tips out there. Some are great. Some are written by people who think they’re great. When they’re not. 

It is important to remember that SEO is a campaign. You will not rise to the top of the rankings overnight. It takes time and continual tweaking. Here I will run down 7 basic actions you can put in place today that will help you on your journey.

Choosing Keywords

When writing content for a website or blog or whatever you will have identified a specific topic to write about (you don’t put everything under one heading do you?). But before you start writing you should use the Google keyword tool. It is important to take some time to do some research to identify keywords that are relevant to the subject at hand.

It’s quite easy really: you simply use the Google keyword tool, enter words or questions related to the theme you’re considering, and examine which ones are frequently searched by people on Google, using what keywords.

When you do this you’ll get a table back with a load of related entries. The amount may seem daunting but don’t worry.  Simply click the competition to organize the entries and make it easier to find what you want:  A keyword phrase with high traffic and low competition. Once you have this use it in your content. But it needs to be integrated seamlessly in your content and not overused.

Content Matters

There’s no getting around it. Content is still King. No matter how great your ranking is, the most important tip you can use to improve your search engine ranking results is to provide content that is rich in information, engaging, and moves your readers to take action. Like this post ; )

Quality of content matters. It really does.

It may surprise you that quantity matters as well. Make sure you don’t put out one perfect post that took months to write. The more often you create quality content, the more often the search engine spiders will crawl (visit each page) on your site.

Want Engagement? Engage with Other sites/ bogs.

Commenting on other blogs in your niche gives is good in so many ways. But one massive  gift is often  links back to your site. Links pointing in to your site (aka inbound links) increase your relevance to the search engine crawlers and this will result in a boost to your rankings. However take a little care with who you engage in. Fewer quality links are better than a lot of low quality (less trustworthy) sites. And never pay for inbound links.  They will almost certainly be “link farms” and this could actually harm all of you SEO efforts.

Sitemap – The Map to Better Search Rankings

Did you know that having a sitemap is one of the easiest ways to boost your rankings? It is. Google sitemaps and there are hundreds of tools that can do this for you. WordPress also has a lot of plugins that will create a sitemap for you. No excuses for not having a sitemap. It is too easy.  In fact one is not good enough. Ideally it is best to have an XML map and one in HTML.

Social Media

This is becoming increasingly important in ranking result and this will only increase in time.Search engines often equate a large presence on social media with quality content which is what they are after.

When you create content, take the time to link to it from multiple social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and the big one – Google+ (Google seems to have a preference for content provided by authors with Google+ profiles). And you can even have an image next to the result which increases the likelihood it will be clicked on.

Speed Matters

Make sure you site loads quickly. One second is way too long. Ensure such things as images are optimised for the web. Regularly check you websites loading time for speed and tweak accordingly.

This is especially important after any  changes or after loading any plugins, as they can dramatically alter  loading time.  If you suspect that one of your plugins might be affecting your site’s loading time, you can check this by disabling all of your plugins, and then enabling them one at a time to see which one is the culprit.

Be Consistent

Like I said at the beginning. SEO is never finished. Ideally you should do a little bit of SEO every day. .  It needs to be constantly looked at and tweaked. All the SEO strategies in the world will have no effect if it is left to stagnate. Unchanged.

Don’t expect to chuck up a website and appear at number one overnight. It takes time. (Age of a website is another factor). Slow and steady and you will see your ranking rise

Remember . The above is only for starters. SEO is a constantly evolving process. As the algorithms change so too will SEO optimisation.

Oh and one final note. Don’t try and trick the Search Engines. They will notice and you risk being deleted altogether from the database. Don’t do it.

What are your favourite SEO tips?


The lies you tell about your career.

Not so long ago, when you got a job, you had a career. You stayed in the same company for half a century gradually moving up the ranks. That was the career.  The turnover was a fraction of what it is today. Nowadays changing companies is commonplace.  An average worker would be expected to change jobs multiple times in a ten year period.  Changing jobs is not frowned upon anymore

Yet many people still end up settling with average, uninspiring jobs and tend to forget that they actually don’t like them. Maybe they’re afraid of not finding another job or that they will never do better than what they have now.

There are many reasons why you might choose to stay in a career that you don’t enjoy. Fear, lack of confidence, or willingness to accept the status quo are all reasons you might stay in an unfulfilling job.

But beware of lying to yourself about the reason for staying. Here are ten lies that could be stopping you from finding your dream job.

“I will only stay for another year.”  We’ve all said this at some point. But all too often that year can turn into 5 or 10. Sometimes more. Don’t put off the inevitable. If you know it’s not the right career, make that change now!

“I went to college for this.” Just because you got a degree in History doesn’t mean you should suffer through a boring and meaningless career. There is no reason why you can’t become a project manager, a photographer, a life coach.  Whatever your passion is.  More than 70% of people in the workforce don’t work in a field related to their college degree. FACT.

“There are no jobs out there.” There are. A company will always make room for a talented person such as yourself.  If you think you can’t find a job you need to look harder. Finding jobs can be a full time job in itself!

“The pay is too good to leave.” Don’t believe this. You have a choice. Keep the money and remain unhappy or live life of experiences doing something you love. Money can’t buy the latter. Which would you go for? It’s no brainer.

“I don’t know how to start over.This is a valid concern. Any people fear that if they don’t find a job in a similar field they will end up with nothing. But being burned out in a dead-end career will slowly drain the energy and passion from you. Starting on a new career path, regardless of your age, may be exactly what you need.

“My company needs me too much.” Sadly. No it doesn’t. If you stopped making it money your job would cease to exist. FACT. It doesn’t matter how specialized your knowledge is or how integral you think you are the bottom line is money. You make the company more money than you earn. If this stopped the company would no longer employ you…otherwise they would be making a loss.

“I’m not too unhappy.” Millions of people tell themselves that “everyone hates their jobs” or “there are worse careers.” Do not let yourself fall victim to this lie! We will spend upwards of 90,000 hours of our lives working and it should be doing something we are passionate about! Something we love.

“I’m too old to start a new career.” Age is just a number. And you only have one life. As long as you are still willing to learn and reach out of your comfort zone there is nothing stopping you. “Too old” is a fiction and a lame excuse.

“I’ve put too much time into my career.” The time you have spent in your old job should not be a limiting factor in searching for pastures new. There’s an old proverb, “don’t throw good money after bad.” The same holds true for your years. GO FOR IT!

“I don’t know how to do anything else.”  Translation, “I’m not willing to get out of my comfort zone and learn new skills”.  Even if you think you have no marketable skills, you do. And these can all be honed by a little education. Learning is something you should be doing on a continual basis regardless, so why not use it to your advantage?

And remember. You only have one life. Once chance. You will spend between 40 and 45 years of your life working a job. So don’t fall victim to these lies that can rob you of precious time.  Honestly assess your career at this moment in time. Is it time for a change? If so DON’T DELAY. Do it now!