Basic SEO for the independent worker
I believe software is a new form of capital, and it itself takes three forms. The simplest form is discover-ability - for the moment that is essentially limited to organic search.
So we want to keep adding little pebbles to our pile of discoverability, to ensure it can support us as independent workers.
Start with an overview of best practises
Let's walk over the a couple of the best resources I know
What does all that mean?
It means, simply put, that you need to produce web pages that are relevant and useful to people who are looking for the service or goods that you supply, a proxy for which are the keywords those people use to search google.
We will want some very very simple KPIs to deal with for now.
1. Conversion Rate This is really, the one and only. Because it has two great implicit questions. What is the outcome you want for site visitors. Me, I am really just aiming for "joins email list". But maybe an ecommerce site wants "buys something". It also forces you to focus on outcomes, not crud like "unique visitors".
Other KPIs you might want include
- Average Order value
And an excellent piece of advice from Patrick Mackenzie, which I precis as:
"Being a world-class SEO optimiser, able to sprinkle fairy dust over any site and have it run to yjr top of the google search rankings, if such a thing truly exists, is *soooo* profitable a skill, that they will be running a Credit Card portal site, and you will never, ever be able to afford them. As such, *there is no SEO consultant that is any good, that you can afford*. Don't hire one. Just learn the basics, and produce good clean content relevant to your ideal customers. Google, and they, will find you.
- Start with basic measurements on your own site
- Google Analytics is a good start Download this
- Focus on Outcomes
- Conversion rate, funnels etc
- Have metrics for measuring success (outcomes)
- measure them
- Customer voice
- the words that customers use and ask for
Start with HEAD terms, (glass splashback) and baseline trends over time Do this for 20 or so terms that bring you traffic, or you think bring you traffic Use brands in this area as well
Start to add terms to extend the tail
Own your own domain
Go to any decent DNS provider, I use www.easily.co.uk, they are fine, but there are better more techie ones out there. Buy a simple .com domain if you can. Do not have sub-domain and root-domain both responding with pages. So example.com should redirect to www.example.com. Do not CNAME exmaple.com to www.example.com because your email will stop working (mx records are then CNAME'd)!
Host your site on your domain.
The very simplest way to do this is to pay for a domain at wordpress.com. Its simple, it works, and it can be done in minutes.
Write interesting stuff
Interesting is the wrong word. Write remarkable things, that people will point at, link to, refer to. Be truthful, honest, be yourself.
Choose a theme or an offering
This is pretty easy if you are building a low-maintenance income site. My own experiment in this area is www.displaymyresume.com which takes your LinkedIn profile and turns it into a CV. It's not live yet (!) but it is focused - resume, linkedin, simple, online.
I can write simple articles on making the most of a cover letter, things like that.
But a theme or offering for me? For my life ?
That's hard. As in business-as-therapy hard.