|"The Alan Titchmarsh of SEO"|
As well as carnations, we like competitions and so, when the topic of an SEO challenge was broached, I leapt at the chance. The outline was simple: get Stone Junction’s website to page one of Google for the key phrase technology PR.
So that's exactly what I'm trying to do. Although I have to admit, it's not going as swimmingly as I first thought it would.
When the challenge commenced, we were at position 19 on Google. That's bottom of page two. The keyword difficulty, which you can extrapolate with the free Moz toolbar, was 'highly competitive.'
My youthful naivety and vigour led me to proclaim that I could achieve the target in less than two months. The rest of the Stone Junction crew, although normally heartily supportive, bet considerably more.
I started off relatively small and ensured the page we wanted to push up the Google rankings was in fact optimised for the key phrase 'technology PR'. The title tag length, H1 and H2 tags, ALT attribute and image file names were optimised already. The keyword phrase was in the URL and there were three mentions of technology PR in the on page content. Three is a good number; three cannot be considered keyword stuffing by the search engine.
All I did was to underline one of these, italicise another and embolden the third. I also changed the meta description because it was too long.
We went down two places and on the same day I received a junk e-mail telling me that SEO was dead. It wasn’t going great so far.
I was less Alan Titchmarsh and more lumberjack. But why wasn't my garden flourishing?
Our slip could have been due to a number of reasons: the changes I made, other companies optimising their sites, or routine maintenance I was doing on other pages. I should probably mention that during this time a number of other pages on our website shot up the Google rankings.
In hindsight, I should have tweaked bit by bit and waited to see what the impact was before changing other errors. I now understand what Paolo Nutini meant when he sang Jenny Don't be Hasty.
This was last week and since then I have focussed on building good quality links to the page, because as we all know, the Google algorithms Penguin and Panda push down pages with thin or poor quality inbound links in favour of those with high quality ones.
This is obviously going to take time, so keep watching this space for SEO challenge updates and feel free to leave comments or suggestions. If I manage to get to page one before two months have passed, I'll be sure to share with you my green thumbed SEO tips.