Neil Pursey from Webgrowth did a workshop on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at last year’s Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba. On a scale of 1 to 10 about my knowledge on this subject, I would have rated myself a minus 10 on the day of the Indaba. After the Indaba my understanding had increased slightly! I did not choose to attend this workshop but as I had won a prize of a full SEO package for my blog, I switched workshops and sat in on this one. I was mortified to learn how bad my blog performed on a SEO level, and even more mortified to have this shared in such a manner with people I consider my peers, as well as with people I deal with on a professional level. It has taken me so long to write this post as I needed to really think about what this all meant to me on a personal level.
A whole lot of words were bandied about in the workshop, and I diligently wrote them down!
- google panda fights web spam
- google penguin searches for incoming links so you must link back to your own blog
- site accessibility is important
- new search protocols
- local maps and optimization → content strategy → search verticals → reputation tracking → social network reach
- social media promotion → facebook fan page → google+
- inbound marketing
- title tag pulls from URL → everything underneath is the meta description → visual website optimizer
- bounce rate = 1000 hits plus 1 page
- introducing call to actions makes your reader do something
- themed design for different readers
- content strategy → use google alerts → participate in forums → interviews → competitions
- on site optimization – you will need to add plugins to wordpress
- twitter advance search → bookmark
- chrome extension
- raven tools → project seo → majestic seo → google search → site:
- page authority / domain authority
- do track! query parameter = s → site search settings
- google analytics → traffic sources
I hope this made sense to some of you! After the Indaba I was still lost, and being lost was detrimental to my blog – this was the source of all the small little hiccups I had with moving to a self hosted blog! Make a note of the following:
- all outbound links must be ‘no follow’
- all photographs must have ALT tags
- make sure there are no duplicate meta data
- your page load must be under 2 seconds
- have an HTML sitemap and an XML sitemap
- have friendly URL’s → permalinks settings → post name only
While checking the ‘broken link’ checker I made the error of deleting all the links. This led to me deleting all my posts and uploading my xml file again – which resulted in 740 posts being republished and 740 emails being sent to each of my (over 100) subscribers in one day. This of course meant I lost a lot of subscribers who did not want to be inundated with emails, and I don’t blame them. I also changed my permalink settings which caused all my links to appear to be
crossed out. The moral of the story – unless you know 100% for sure what you are doing, leave well enough alone! I have lost too many blog posts and comments as a result of attending this workshop. Had I not gone, I could have carried on blissfully unaware.
However, Neil Pursey did come to my office for the first of two meetings in which he helped me sort out some issues and explained a lot of things to me. If you are interested in the SEO performance of your blog I would recommend going to a professional and do not attempt to do it yourself. I am still waiting to hear from Neil as to how what he did has improved the SEO ranking of my blog. Now that I am a few months along from this I have more confidence in what I am doing and more understanding of what needs to be done. If you are interested in the plugins I use then please send me an email. I will explain what I use and why and then you can make the decision for yourself what to add. I am not really interested in my ratings amd rankings on Google, but more interested in whether my recipes work and what my readers think. That has not changed at all since attending this workshop.
2014: Neil has still not contacted me. I have found more and more errors from the ‘work’ he did on my blog which I am slowly working through.
2017: This is still an ongoing issue for my blog!
2019: You would not believe that I am still sorting this out!