We just finished our SEO and Social Media module, so thought I’d write a short post on what we learnt throughout the 4 weeks.
The first thing to say is that I completely underestimated the complexity of SEO; there’s so much work behind maintaining your site, keeping it fresh, and making sure it’s still sitting there in the first 3 listings on Google Search. It was a pretty intense 4 weeks of learning:
- how your site gets indexed
- how to use site analytic tools to check your site performance, the demographic of your users, how much traffic you’re getting, CTR and conversion rates
- the importance of keyword research to make sure your site is optimised for search engines
- how to use social media to direct traffic to your site – and not the other way round!
- how to create a brand identity that is consistent throughout your site and any collateral you produce
For the module assessment/assignment, our brief was to write a report which provided a critical analysis of a current site (I chose Yumyum.com) and provided strategies/action points on how the site could be improved in terms of design/SEO/user engagement/user experience/revenue generation.
To be honest, it was a hellish time doing the assignment! I found it really difficult to find enough sites that could actually provide enough data about Yumyum.com – most came up with ‘not enough data found’…So in the end, I had to make do with sites that did draw up enough data and break it down to produce some stats on things like site performance (load speed, HTTP requests etc.), revenue generated (although this did vary hugely between different analytic sites), number of visits and traffic to the site. I didn’t manage to get anything on user demographic from anywhere, so decided it was probably best not to include this in the report!
Keyword research was another head-scratching exercise, I spent so many, if not too many, hours just sitting there staring. I didn’t really know where to begin at first, but managed to find some helpful resources. I looked into keywords being searched for cognate sites like food.com to see the top terms that people were using. Part of my recommendations to Yumyum.com were about implementing these top terms into their content throughout the site, e.g. in their descriptions and headings, as most users usually ask questions or type long-string queries which will always include top keywords like cook, dinner, food etc.
Social media usage was also another biggy, it opened my eyes to the power it has in leveraging a brand and its identity. A crucial thing I took away, is that each social media platform should be used for a specific purpose; create a social media content schedule so that new and different types of content are being posted every day, use Instagram to show the behind-the-scenes of your company so it’s more personable, use Twitter to announce competitions/products/events etc., use Facebook as a discussion forum etc. If you use social media in the right way, you’ll be raking in those users, driving traffic to your site, engaging your customers/audience and creating a community, an identity, for your brand.
After this assignment though, I’ve definitely learnt the importance of keeping your site up-to-date with fresh and original content – this is the most organic way to create a reputation for your brand, earn respect from other sites – which in turn means reputable links linking to and from your site, and getting your site to the top of those search engine results.
Most helpful resources used: