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Three Major Lessons from an SEO Amateur

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I was a marketing professional who didnโ€™t know SEO. There, I said it. After consulting the popular SEO sites likeย Copybloggerย I thought I had it figured out. So when I began optimizing my first website, I thought I would rock itโ€”after all, shouldnโ€™t SEO be intuitive for a writer? When I saw myย 2minuteSEOย score of 53 percent (technical score of 5.5) I felt my cursory research like a half-baked egg on my face.

However, my company owns a full year subscription, so I could ย use the tool to implement changes over time. My first siteโ€™s score is now at a whopping 95 percent, with a technical score of 9.8. The result has been increased web traffic, e-mail and phone inquiries for the clientโ€”not to mention that they are now at the very top of Googleโ€™s rankings for their terms.

While Iโ€™m more of a savant now, the process of search engine optimizing my first site was slow, laborious and fraught with lessons, and I felt certain it shouldnโ€™t be (and probably wasnโ€™t) that way for everyone. So I thought back to that very first analysis to share three lessons that have stuck with me.

Give your SEOย keywordsย a little TLC

Of course, I paid extra attention to those five keywords that set me apart from my competitors in my text, but I quickly figured out that a TLC approach was the best way to maximize on these little gems to launch me to the top of the rankings.

TLC stands for

  • Titles
  • Lists
  • Thenย Content.

By giving my keywords a little TLC I divided and conquered myย SEOย score on a page-by-page basis without loading my site withย keywordย spam.


Or does it? Admittedly, meta keywords donโ€™tย reallyย make a difference to search engines like Google any more, but having them on my page and ensuring they were reflected in the content was an exercise in reviewing my message to make sure it was on-message and revolved around my specific niche.

Optimized content is short and sweet

The tool (and many a reader) gives extra points for keeping pages short and sweet, inside 300 words per page, in order to allow search engine spiders to crawl them easily. Someย blogsrecommend up to 500 words, but from a journalistโ€™s point of view, keeping the content tight, punchy and informative is the best way to make compelling content. I was able to boil down some of my pagesโ€™ 700 words to 300, and what was shaved off were the irrelevant and off-message facts that were diluting my message.

I do admit, my SEO journey was a lot more complex than these three little thingsโ€”my web developer and I shaved off code, optimized alternative text, trifled over tooltips and pretty much ran the gauntlet to get our page into the top five for our search engine keywords (yes!). But these three little lessons, imparted by a simple (and free) tool, are the ones Iโ€™ll keep in my pocket as go-to fixes for any web page (or article) that Iย  write.

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United Kingdom (UK): London, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Kirklees, Fife, Wirral, North Lanarkshire, Wakefield, Cardiff, Dudley, Wigan, East Riding, South Lanarkshire, Coventry, Belfast, Leicester, Sunderland, Sandwell, Doncaster, Stockport, Sefton, Nottingham
Canada: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton, Mississauga, North York, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Scarborough, Quรฉbec, Hamilton, Brampton, Surrey, Laval, Halifax, Etobicoke, London, Okanagan, Victoria, Windsor, Markham, Oshawa, Gatineau, Vaughan, Kitchener, Longueuil, Burnaby, Ladner, Saskatoon
Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Canberra, Newcastle, Wollongong, Logan City, Geelong, Hobart, Townsville, Cairns, Toowoomba, Darwin, Rockingham, Launceston, Bendigo, Ballarat, Mandurah, Mackay, Bundaberg, Bunbury, Maitland, Armadale, Rockhampton, Adelaide Hills, South Brisbane, Hervey Bay

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