The Expert Series: Understanding SEO
With a background in Digital and Content Marketing, a role as Organic Performance Team Lead & Digital Pr at Forward3D and as a fellow Fashion Blogger, Tasha Antwi could not be a more ideal candidate to explain the basics of SEO. Here she shares why we all need to understand SEO, what brands are looking for in terms of digital content and how to optimize website rankings.
1. What's your job role?
I am responsible for developing and overseeing the planning of overall SEO and content marketing strategies. I look after a small team who report directly to me. I’m also responsible for heading up and establishing our new digital marketing offering, as well as - more recently - the execution of a B2B paid social campaign!
2. What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me would involve reading and responding to client emails. I’m the main point of contact when it comes to more complex or technical strategy related queries. Weekly conference calls with the client and team, going over the work delivered. Technical implementations and the results in performance (rankings, traffic, order and revenue etc.), and forecasts and reporting. Technical checks on a client's website, using popular SEO tools and site crawlers - to check what Googlebot sees when crawling and indexing websites. Brainstorming new content campaigns, based on in-depth digital audience profiling. Then to finish up a team meeting, I make everyone come up with a joke of the day.
3. What notable brands and/or campaigns have you worked on?
Kurt Geiger, Barbour, Barceló Hotels, Ralph Lauren Graff Diamonds, Gucci and the Associated Press and many more.
4. How do you work with bloggers and where do you find them?
As an ‘SEO’, we work with bloggers with quality websites, which are likely to pass on SEO value to our target websites pages. Link building (the process of acquiring hyperlinks - aka links of your page - from other websites to your own) has evolved massively over the years, so now we do more events and gifting to try and get natural posting. This is because of Google’s guidelines and new advertising laws.
We find bloggers by using scraper tools, which scrape social networks or Google’s SERPs (search engine results page). So it is vital that you clearly state that you’re a blogger or influencer and your location on your social media bios. We look for people depending on their niche or location. Sometimes we find bloggers via the blogger friends they have, so networking and collaborating is key!
5. What is SEO and why do bloggers need to understand it?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), is the process of ensuring that a website ranks as high as possible in a search engine's results list, in order to maximise traffic to the website. Without SEO your website is like a speck of dust lost in space. The internet is vast, with new websites being created every minute so if your website doesn’t appear in search results, traffic to your website is heavily dependant on people knowing your URL.
It’s important to understand and implement SEO strategies even on your blog, to ensure that all those hours spent writing content, taking photos and editing are being seen and read by people.
As a blogger/influencer, especially if you’re new, people are not jumping on the internet to look for you. They are most probably searching for something else, so make sure you are creating content around those needs. With optimised content and a great website, your website can start to rank in search engine results.
6. What are the brands you work with looking for when it comes to collaborating with influencers and how strict are they about SEO?
When it comes to collaborating with influencers and bloggers, we would look at the quality and SEO value of their blogs first, as well as the quality of written content and engagement from real people.
As we use scraper tools, which can return huge lists, we would then filter this down by DA (domain authority: a search engine ranking score that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages e.g. Google) and location. We typically don’t use sites with a DA less than 25-20 (ranking goes from 0-100, with higher scores suggesting greater ability to rank).
Next, we will assess if the selected blogs and individuals are a good fit. We would like relevancy, as well as for the influencer to reflect the lifestyle of the brand. is just as important as well.
7. What can bloggers do to optimise their rankings?
Minimise the size of the images when uploading to the blog. This is so that the size of the image does not affect the site speed.
Guest posting or collaborating with other bloggers to build links to your own website (Linkbuilding see above!).
Migrating your site from HTTP to HTTPS. HTTPS means your site is secure, and with Google highlighting websites that aren't secure, it could impact people using your site.
8. What sites or tools should bloggers be using to check or help their ratings?
Moz is really good for all SEO 101. They have a google chrome plugin which tells you the domain authority of your website. Opensite Explorer is another great plugin that acts a quick DA checker and provides a preview of backlinks. It's also good to check what competitors are doing too.
9. Any general advice when it comes to promoting your site?
Make sure you always share your posts via social media. It can help that page get indexed quicker by Google. Use websites like StumbleUpon (a form of web search engine) to drive additional traffic and make use of mailing lists too!
10. Any further reading suggestions for a deeper understanding of this subject?
A QUICK SEO CHECKLIST FOR BEGINNERS
1. Check How Flexible Your Chosen CMS (content management system) is for SEO?
For example, WordPress has many great plugins which make it simple to optimise your blog, whereas Squarespace is a bit more manual in terms of the optimisation features. It just depends on what works best for you
2. Be Mindful of the Theme You Choose for Your Site.
3. Be Aware When Changing Your Domain Name.
This is fine to do but ensure that all your redirects are set up like-for-like to the new one URL. Remeber, it takes Google some time to work out the change.
4. Work on Your Meta Titles and Descriptions.
These are what shows up on the actual search pages, explaining what your site or page is about. Ensure that these are of the required character/ pixel length so it’s not truncated.
5. Name Your Images
People often forget to name their images on their site correctly but if you don't, Googlebot cannot see it and rank it in image searches. Include alt text for all your images to make sure Google knows what it is.