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SEO Masterclass


By  Victoria Willis

A novice's first impression of SEO

What happened first?

I personally had never been to Manchester Central Library before, so I spent a few minutes being overwhelmed by the beauty of the building.

We were seated in a small, personal room where there couldn’t have been more than thirty people. Everyone was encouraged to sit together, despite the human nature telling us to remain reserved.

Capturelizhardwick

Above: Event hostess Liz Hardwick’s site/blog

That was one of the main themes of this event, something which I noticed immediately – the welcoming vibe present. The hostess, Liz Hardwick, had set up this event purely to help those who wish to run their own business successfully and had vague ideas about what SEO is and how it works.


What on earth is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?

How on earth does one ‘optimise’ their search engine results? I had no idea – I had never even heard of SEO before, I certainly had no clue on what it stood for.

The answer was surprisingly simple – all it is is affecting the visibility of your website/webpage so that it is presented primarily via search engines.

The message of this workshop was how to improve the content that represents your business to its advantage when found through search engines, such as Google or Bing for example.


How do search engines work?

We are all familiar with search engines, whether we realise it or not. The most obvious and most popular site is, of course, Google, followed by Bing and Yahoo.

googlelogo

Above: Google is internationally known and carries out millions of searches every day

Liz described search engines as being similar to spiders. They crawl around the web, retrieving the best and most relevant sites to showcase to the user in as little time as possible. Every link to every site and web page out there is considered.

What makes one search engine ‘better’ than another is the number of users it generates, and which can provide the fastest and most useful results.

Liz answered both of these first two questions through presenting slides and speaking clearly and confidently at the front of the room, this acting almost like an introduction before she got us all slightly more involved.

She decided using demonstrations on a large screen would be the most useful and easy-to-follow method of showing us an in-depth analysis of a search engine and advertising in such a way.

The first step was to pull up a Google search, in this case, it was ‘SEO’.

Liz shared with us a tip I was never aware of – but actually, justifies the presumably expensive prices involved with high visibility Google advertising. The tip was that, naturally, the human eye reads and scans in the formation of a letter ‘L’ , in this case, an upside-down L.

GOOGLE

Above: As you can see when you make a search, the top results are paid advertisements

Information is processed quickly along the top first, before travelling downwards. This is why some companies probably desire and pay extra for advertising at the top of Google when relevant words or themes are searched, whereas companies advertised down the side will have paid significantly less. This method of advertising involved looking at the rates of something called Pay per Click – how much Google charge for every click onto your link/site.

  • Notice the ‘ADs’ marked with green squares – these companies paid for a place on the first page. All of the more desirable places to advertise are obviously on the first page and along the top.
  • The company advertising on the right at the top at the column will have paid less than the very first three on the left.
  • Most users dislike ads on search engines and will be more likely to click on high-ranking organic results.

The cheaper way to co-operate well with search engines is to be a high-quality organic search. Liz created a bullet list of points to make your site rank higher on search engines, increase visibility etc.


Keywords

Liz expressed the importance of keywords numerous times. If words relevant to your business and what you offer are featured on your site, URL, name etc, your page will be much more likely to come up when people with the relevant interest search such words or words of a similar nature. This attracts the right kind of audience too, therefore, potential clients and customers.

(Liz, however, did mention that although keyword usage needs to thorough , you must remain slightly cautious as some search engines such as Bing can have you penalised if they figure out what you appear to be doing.)


What keywords would you like your company to be associated with/ found online under?

  • Agencies
  • Blogging
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Web design
  • Photography/videography
  • Graphic design

This was a question Liz asked us all, and we were to list what keywords we personally felt were important to our company and its services.


Blogging

The first event I went to featured a spokesman who expressed his love of blog posts, and his belief that a business without a blog is a business unfinished. Blog titles can be specific, the title could technically be a question that has been asked into Google word for word, therefore resulting in a link to your blog as the article is one of the most precise and relevant results.

seo

Above: Liz giving the talk and displaying slides ‘What titles of pages would you use on your site?’

Remember to include your location as this could attract realistic customers, refines the search a bit more. At this point, Liz picked on someone from the audience to share a keyword which links to their business and got “online fashion” from a lady at the front. Liz then told us that if someone was searching for something more specifically they would probably include a desirable location, changing the search to Online Fashion Manchester. This, quite literally, assures that whatever business you find will be in Manchester, and actually helps in terms of usefulness.


Socialising

At one point in the day, Liz had us all converse with one another on our tables. It was at this point I realised how geographically lucky I was, strangely. The library was no more than a ten-minute walk from the Nuttersons office, yet there was one lady on my table who had travelled for a good three hours coming from West Yorkshire.

Another lady told me about her business which organises five star luxury holidays. I became genuinely interested in her company and decided to take a look at it for myself.

justresorts

Above: JustResorts.co.uk

Her name was Caroline, and when talking about her business she almost immediately mentioned how she doesn’t believe agencies are ‘worthwhile’, and how she preferred to do all of the site work for herself. This was an opportunity for me to put my new-found knowledge of my new job to the test, and I defended agency work to the best of my ability.

I felt so empowering doing this, mentioning Nuttersons and what it is we do and why I felt she should look into creative agencies rather than building her site entirely through WordPress.

For a girl like me to conquer my usually present shyness like that, I was pretty impressed with myself.

Liz, in my opinion, was a perfect spokesperson. She was captivating and bright, her motivation tips were lively and realistic.

Manchester_Central_Library_2

Above: Manchester Central library is a beautiful building as you can clearly see

Everyone I spoke to was friendly and ambitious, and the small size of the event made it very unintimidating.

Once again I would describe it as a successful and informative event where I learnt about something I had never even pondered before.

This post was tagged with; Events, SEO, Social media, Workshop.
Victoria Willis
This post was brought to you by: Victoria Willis

Victoria started off as one of our youngest nuts, joining us at a mere 16, and fulfilling a blog editing apprenticeship. Youth is generally linked with immaturity and carelessness, but in Victoria’s case she has an eye for precise detail and thoughtfulness, particularly where art and design is concerned. She was originally a college student fumbling through A-level work, before making the bold move to officially become an adult and work full time at Nuttersons. View more articles from Victoria Willis

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