The cobbler's shoes: My SEO story
- Simone Abt As a PR company, we’re often speaking with our clients about their full range of communications needs, including everything from media relations, to events, to social media. On more than one occasion, I’ve even heard myself speaking to clients about the importance of Search Engine Optimization. While SEO isn’t a service we offer at Elettra, as I would tell any client, it’s an important part of an organization’s online life. If no one can find you online, you're giving your competition huge head start.
But like the cobbler whose children have no shoes, earlier this summer I discovered to my great horror that, not only did Elettra.ca not rank well on Google, we actually didn’t come up at all for our key words. Without a doubt, it was a knock to the ‘ol ego.
But our website is so beautiful, thought I. How can that be?
How that can be is quite simple: what passed for SEO in 2010 when our site was built falls woefully short in 2013.
So why did our website fall so far out of Google's favour? Well, over the past few years we’ve been so (gratefully) busy with client work that it’s simply slipped off the to-do list. But it turns out SEO is a bit of a use it or lose it game.
Luckily, this summer I received the gift of a few quiet days which I used to tackle the situation and re-educate myself on SEO. I did a lot of reading, dove into the backend of our Wordpress site and did some experimenting, and devised a long term plan for raising the profile of Elettra.ca.
The result? As of today, we're on page 3 of Google for our key words! Clearly, there's still a long way to go. But not too long ago our website lived on the moon, so I am claiming this as a victory. And I’m going to keep chipping away and moving us forward.
While all this may seem very obvious to someone who works in digital, if you’re not digital savant, taking on SEO for your organization may seem a little daunting. It's really not, though. Here are a few things I learned might might be of help:
1) There are lots of great resources out there – many really simple, difference-making tips are available free online. I found this article and this article useful, but there are scores more. Just make sure you add "2013" to your "SEO tips" search so that the information you're reading is current.
2) While I was able to make many changes myself, you can also have an SEO expert help with the more complex stuff. Just make sure you’re dealing with one of the good guys.
3) It takes time. SEO is about playing the long game, and improving your Google ranking won't happen over night. You bring people to your site by developing a track record of quality content, not with magic.
4) Yes, sir, you're going to have to hop on board the social media train. And that includes Google+. Google really likes Google, if you catch my drift. Just make sure all of your online channels are linked by including your website URL in your social media profiles and driving traffic by referencing your website/blog posts in your updates.
5) You have to keep at it. Google changes its ranking algorithms frequently, so your tactics need to change, too.
6) I’m so glad Elettra's website is on Wordpress. That means I can do a lot of the fixing and updating myself with only the smallest bit of knowledge about coding. And if I do something wrong, there's a previous version of the page always there to save me. That flexibility is so helpful...and so affordable.
But what was the most surprising thing in all of this? That I actually had fun doing it! So my best advice is: dive in and go for it!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me @ElettraSimone.