Posts tagged: search engine optimisation

Are silversurfers social media gold?

2 November 2015

Silversurfers SocialMedia

Image copyright: (C) the Oddfellows

For younger people, documenting life experiences, sharing know-how and creating rich content to share on social media seems to be second-nature. This is less so for many older people. But knowledge held by older people is precious capital that must be shared, documented and transferred to other generations. We can’t let it become lost.

The University of Salford’s Search and Social Media Marketing course has challenged my thinking – how can social media play its part in helping us to achieve legacy and in enabling different generations to reciprocally benefit from the sharing of knowledge? And do silversurfers hold the potential to tip social media into a golden age of information exchange? Read more…..

SEO Checklists for Healthcare and B2B Websites

28 November 2013

How to Optimise Websites for Performance

In large B2B and public sector organisations, many managers face similar problems when running their websites.
They have a high level view about what a high performance website should be like. But the intricacies of SEO techniques are not for them. Give them detailed explanations plain English that will support their decision making. Then enjoy having a hand in building and maintaining a high performing website for your customer.

What is a high performing website?
Websites that perform well:
• Meet the needs of the people using them
• Achieve the business goals for which they were created.
The trick is to make sure that the website is optimised to meet both needs. Every page should provide a core message that people can find and understand.

SEO Checklist – the Basics

Below are some SEO basics to work on when domain and page authority need improving to meet your company’s standards.

Web Optimisation is For Your Users

First and foremost, focus on what people need rather than what the organisation needs. At the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust,  the website’s primary users are its patients, next of kin, family, close friends and medical professionals. These users seek information about:  symptoms, conditions, treatments, care, clinics, locations, facilities and consultants.  The website is being optimised by putting them first and focusing relentlessly on helping them to achieve their needs.

Website Performance Measures

When a CEO asks about website performance, what is the most useful information to give them? Forage through the masses of statistics on Google Analytics and come up with nuggets that tell managers what targets have been met. Check the all-important tracking code, set up goals on the pages where your primary users complete tasks and you’re good to go. Avinash Kaushik provides expert help directly through the Google Analytics help pages.

Keyword Research for Search Engine Optimisation

SEO revolves around keywords so do your research. Some keyword research sources are:
• Documents and files already published that focus on your key services
• Your customer service team (at the Royal Liverpool Hospitals this is the Patient and Liaison Service Team) for questions frequently asked
• Internal search engine statistics
• Google Webmaster Tools
• Google Analytics
• Introduce your manager to and show them comparisons between the links and keywords competitors are using.

Writing Optimised Web Content

An optimised web page contains a title tag, meta description, navigation links, tagged <H1> <H2> <H3> and images, headings, subheadings, hyperlinks within text and compelling copy.
Title tag
The title tag position is real estate on a web page and the first word is given the most importance. Use 6 to 15 words, or up to 70 characters including spaces, and make it unique.
Meta Description Tag
Although not rated by search engines, this helps people find what’s relevant to them. Write a meta description of 150 (250 maximum) characters of informative copy, unique to that page. Including a benefit encourages click through.

Optimising images

Label images with descriptive alt text that makes it relevant for people using screenreader software. This will meet W3C accessibility standards too. For example: new-royal-phase1-floorplan. Not: DMC31002.
PDF and document files
Use primary keywords for PDF and DOC file titles. For example: medical-education-newsletter.pdf

URL and File Structure

Write unique URLs with primary keywords. For example:

Compelling copy

Write one core message per page and cut anything superfluous.
Focus on the primary audience and the calls to action for each page.
Write the primary and secondary keywords in the first sentence of the first paragraph, two or three more times throughout the page and in the last sentence.
Page length should be between 200 and 400 words.
A good test: can your gran understand it?


Links hold everything together and are essential for rankings.
Write hyperlinks like this: More information on pain medicine
Not:     Click here for more information on pain medicine.
Links within text are rated more highly than lists of links.
Are all links correct? Check broken ones using the W3C link checker tool.
Redirect – 301s – permanently moved pages to avoid ‘page not found’ (404) errors.

Page Loading Times
Pages should load in 2-3 seconds. Test using Pingdom to investigate slow loading times.

Clean code
Use a W3C validator to check quality and highlight errors.

More Site Optimisation Checks – Beyond SEO
Site structure and the technical development of a website affects search engine ratings. Fix the above SEO basics then try some off-site optimisation for best results.
For more information, connect with me on twitter @sue_lister, on LinkedIn and Google+.

Sue Lister

Why are there fewer women in SEO?

17 November 2010

Women in SEO

Do you know what got me thinking lately? Are women not as interested in search engine optimisation (SEO) as men? Being the only women doing the Search and Social Media Marketing course, I started to wonder why there are few women in SEO despite the fact that it’s not really that technical as women think it is. I mean there has certainly been a rise in women SEOs but women are still taking a back seat.

I find it quite surprising that most of the SEO firms are male dominated furthermore even when I attended the SAScon conference held in Manchester on 29th October 2010 the ratio between men to women was quite significant. While reviewing the SAScon Manchester delegate list I was quite amazed with the difference. Out of approximately 157 people in the conference 125 were male and only 32 females.  In addition looking at the 30 most influential people in UK SEO – The Results show only 3 women out of 30 that are most influential, now as a women I feel there need to be more SEO women in that list and more and more women in SEO need to come forward and take a lead!

However, on a positive note, I am proud to say that the most influential and popular SEO business, SEOmoz is owned by a women. Also SEO Chicks play a big role as top Women in SEO. The most popular women in SEO industry that are at the top of the field are Judith Lewis, Dana Lookadoo, Ann Smarty, Donna Fontenot, Lisa Myers and Nichola Stott.  I am sure you have heard some of these names before and the list will expand further as more women join SEO like social media or search engine marketing.

Reasons for fewer SEO women

Here are two opinions from Mindy Gofton and Ben McKay about the reason behind fewer women in SEO:

People either don’t understand what SEO is or feel it’s primarily a technical role – it’s not yet seen as an arm of marketing – and for whatever reason, women don’t tend to gravitate towards technical careers”. Head of SEO at I-COM Mindy Gofton

Ben McKay, Justmeandmy.comI say sadly, as I think it’s a real shame that it seems like a techy, male-orientated industry…there are too many niches that are male / female orientated. So what can we do to sell the idea to get more women SEOs? Do we need to sell the idea to women some more? After all, SEO does rock! The women that I know in Search tend to be PPC / Display / Business Dev / PR / Social Media…not many in SEO though. From the people that I know, maybe 1 in 10 might describe their responsibilities to include SEO

How to encourage women to join SEO?

I think including SEO into marketing curricula and treating it as a marketing discipline while working basic web development into digital marketing courses would probably encourage women. I also think more women being vocal and involved in more high profile positions within the industry and even in local networking groups and events would help too. Or maybe grants/internships directed at women might encourage women who would maybe gravitate towards advertising or more traditional marketing to get into SEO”. Mindy Gofton, I-COM

I certainly hope that more women take the Search and Social Media Marketing course starting again in February 2011; it has allowed me to enhance my SEO knowledge and skills and with SEO you never have enough, there is always something new to learn every day. Furthermore, I believe it is a great field to work in for men or women I would recommend and encourage everyone to take this course if you are interested and enthusiastic about online marketing, it’s an exciting world to be in!