Can you teach an old dog new SEO tricks?

By Nov.01, 2015

SEO tricks: Can you teach an old dog new SEO tricks?

It was face down on the physiotherapist’s couch that I had my SSMM epiphany.

It was about week 4 of the course and the physio was talking about his own website and trying to improve its ranking. He had recently done some training in New York learning a technique that was not widely available in the UK. He obviously had the makings of some great content and I suggested he get it on his website and have a think about optimising it for some of the more unusual keywords. We also talked about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tricks in general and the many different tools out there that he could use to improve his website and in particular its position on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

It was good to feel that I was starting to make sense of a world I had only stepped into a few weeks previously!

Using the SEO tricks in the real world

By week 9 what I’d learned was really paying off. I was self-funded on the course and only started working for my current firm at the time the course started. It had taken a while to get access to their Google Analytics and an understanding of their keywords and main competitors. But, once I had all this, the Search and Social Media Marketing course gave me the tools to make sense of their current situation and, more importantly, how to improve it.

Watson Moore website screenshot

The firm, Watson Moore, is in financial recruitment and is well established. The website was only built last year at which point SEO was an “added extra” that they had not opted for. While the business is largely about people and the site not e-commerce, a brief look at competitors’ websites showed that many had optimised and were therefore forging ahead in the rankings in what is a very competitive market. A merger this year means that the Watson Moore site is being rebuilt and re-branded affording us the opportunity to integrate some of the basic SEO techniques I have learned on the course into the build.

Basic SEO tricks

Specifically we will be:

  • Incorporating keywords into URLs, Title Tags and H1s.
  • Writing better Meta Descriptions; while not directly affecting SEO this will improve the user experience and Click Through Rates (CTR).
  • Having a closer look at content; whilst the message on the course has consistently been to write for a human being rather than a search engine, not incorporating key words and phrases into content means you are likely missing an SEO trick. The keyword “financial jobs”, for example, seldom appears in our content.
  • Doing some work on link building.
  • Using Social Media to amplify our content and drive people back to the website.

SEO Tools

The sheer volume of tools out there which even a novice can employ has been a surprise. Even better, most of them have free versions which provide ample data for the non techie like me, leaving me with plenty of SEO tricks up my sleeve for future use.

In particular:

  • Access to Google Analytics and Google Search Console are a must if you want to evaluate and improve your online presence.
  • The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress sites makes on page optimisation straightforward.
  • Opensite Explorer allows you to analyse your own and your competitors’ backlinks profile.
  • Google Trends shows the relative levels of interest in different search terms over time.
  • has a great SEO audit tool which indicates, amongst other things, how accessible your sitemap is. In our case, not very at the time of writing!

Watson Moore website analysis

Course impact so far

I definitely feel that this old dog has got to grips with the basics of SEO. Feeling that I can now at some level “talk the (techie) talk” should add a degree of transparency to conversations with developers on our rebuild project. More importantly the SSMM course has given me the confidence to push back on technical questions where previously I might have crumbled.

Finally, I have the crucial knowledge that, when in doubt, you are only ever a couple of clicks away from a nifty tool that can empower even the least technical amongst us.

Please feel free to share this post especially with any “old dogs” you know who might be on the look out for some new SEO tricks…