Website Optimization - Do You Suck At It?

July 16, 2008

Do you suck at website optimization? If you have a blog, or website you really need to optimize it so the search engines will find you.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m really lazy when it comes to website optimization. Now and then, I’ll go into Wordtracker and find a great keyphrase for a post I’m writing. And other times, I don’t think about optimizing my posts at all.

But I’m changing my ways and so should you. If you don’t bother to optimize your site, you might get a whole heap of visitors eventually. Trouble is, you might not be able to give them what they’re looking for. For example, here’s a few things people have been keying into the search engines to arrive at this blog lately. And I’m guessing a few of them were probably a little disappointed with the results:

Dirty Pictionary Ideas: Does working in a cubicle drive people to this?

Mortician Wedding Ideas: Well, I suppose we’re all different - some more than others.

The fact that nobody understand you doesnt make you a genius:
Too true - I only wish someone would explain that to one of my old nursing tutors.

Downloading porn at work gross misconduct tribunal: Serves you right you prat.

Mi5 recruitment questions: I could tell you but I’d probably have to kill you.

Ian denny magician: Well his business is doing really well these days - now we know his secret.

Can i sack staff for swearing at customers
- Do you really have to ask?

I also get so many searches for “sky tv complaints” and similar keyphrases that I’m considering asking them if they want to outsource their customer complaints department to me. I guess that’s what happens when big businesses try to rip off small customers.

Don’t worry, with a little bit of website optimization, you can attract customers who actually want what you’re offering. Here’s a few useful resources:

Increased Search Engine Traffic For Lazy People:
A guest post I wrote for Barbara Swafford over at Blogging Without A Blog.

SEO School - the ultimate guide on how to use SEO to drive thousands of visitors to your website.

Wordtracker - Free Trial: Find hundreds of great keyphrases for your website.

How To Find And Target Long Tail Keywords For More Search Engine Traffic:
Maki of Dosh Dosh explains long tail keywords and shows how you can use them to drive traffic to your website.

10 Ways To Optimize A Popular Post On Your Blog:
Excellent advice from Darren Rowse at Problogger and he’s worth listening to, as he blogs for a living.

Wordpress SEO - The Definitive Guide To High Rankings For Your Blog:
A long and informative article for those of you who want to optimize a wordpress blog for the search engines.

Do you suck at website optimization, or do you have no trouble in driving heaps of targeted traffic to your website? What strange keywords have people keyed into the search engines to find your website?

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20 Responses to “Website Optimization - Do You Suck At It?”

  1. Vered on July 16th, 2008 4:39 am

    I freely admit that I suck at it, but since I blog as a hobby, I’m not sure I am going to worry too much about it. However, I am bookmarking this post for possible future reference. :)
    Vered’s last blog post..Google Search Terms: The Funny, The Sad, And The CREEPY

  2. Davina on July 16th, 2008 6:22 am

    I can see it’s value, but I have to admit that it’s just not on my priority list right now.

    Davina’s last blog post..The Beauty Path

  3. Barbara Swafford on July 16th, 2008 6:33 am

    Hi Catherine,

    I am the worst at that for my BWAB blog. I start writing and because I don’t want to sound repetitive, I don’t concentrate on using keywords. I know I should, but often feel it would change my writing style. I have the SEO plugin installed, but don’t optimize that either.

    I do get some funny search strings. I get a lot for “wife sues husband” or “alienation of affection” based on a fictitious story I did months ago. How disappointed they must be when they land on a blogging blog.

    Thanks for the link to my site. You choose a great post to link to, written by a great author. :)
    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..It’s Not Your Fault I Can’t Spell

  4. Scott McIntyre on July 16th, 2008 6:48 am

    I also read Vered’s recent post at momgrind, and was amazed- and shocked- at some of the bizarre routes visitors were coming to her blog.

    It is interesting to learn more about this issue of search results as it is something I’ve been increasingly coming across as I travel and research the blogosphere.

    The “art” of optimization is, from what I gather, a fine balance between design and accident.

    Using the tools you mention above sounds a good way to try to control how you are found by the casual browser.

    But, as you,Vered, and Barbara highlight, there’s only so much you can do to ensure you get targetted visitors.

    I guess the rest lies in the search-term tailwinds of the search engines.

  5. Jamie Harrop on July 16th, 2008 8:55 am

    Excellent post, Cath. Some of those phrases, combined with your response, had me laughing out loud.

    I used to get a lot of visitors searching for “Love to suck”. I once wrote a post titled “I Suck and I Love it” (talking about how I love being bad because I get constructive feedback). I soon learnt to stop using fancy titles with a sexual connotation. :)
    Jamie Harrop’s last blog post..Working to Visualise Your Life Goal

  6. Mark White on July 16th, 2008 10:39 am

    The thing is that for most, basic SEO doesn’t need to be a chore and particularly using a Wordpress blog (like yourself) with a few choice plugins you can have a lot of the elements work automatically for you. Granted you still have to do the writing and keep that focused, but such is life!

    I also think that we also spend so much time focusing on optimising on Search Engines that we often forget about optimising for our readers or for our business as a whole.

    As for search phrases - I wrote a post a while back entitled “All bloggers are real amateurs”. Unfortunately now I rank well for the phrase “Real Amateurs” but I feel that my content is less X-rated than what the searchers are looking for!

    Mark White’s last blog post..Optimizing your Blog for your Business

  7. cathlawson on July 16th, 2008 11:55 am

    Hi Vered - I began blogging for a hobby too and it’s harder to justify the time spent when it’s just a hobby isn’t it. But as time goes on and you get more traffic it may come in useful.

    Hi Davina - I can understand that. I spend 16 months barely doing any.

    Hi Barbara - I remember that post. SEO plugin is pretty useful but I must admit that I don’t use it for every single post and ignore many functions. And as you pointed out, writing can look really unnatural with too many keyphrases. I try to get one in the first and last paragraphs but it’s hard to remember when you’re concentrating on writing isn’t it.

    Hi Scott - I read Vered’s post too. Some of the search terms were shocking. And you’re write when you say some of SEO is down to accident. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to control all the search terms we’re found for.

    Hi Jamie - That was bad luck. You don’t think of these things at the time of writing do you? I used the word “nude” in an old post and it wasn’t the greatest idea.

    Hi Mark - that was a really innocent mistake. I would never have guessed that phrase would bring X rated visitors.

    As you say - you can definitely overdo SEO. I’ve done that before and the results were really unprofessional. You also have to consider your regular readers, social networks and your overall brand.

  8. Marelisa on July 16th, 2008 2:26 pm

    Hi Cath: Thank you for this because it’s something I want to concentrate on. I get very little search engine traffic. You know that in mid-May I wrote a blog post on “75 Skills Every Woman Should Master” and I’m getting over 50 visits to my blog every day from stumble because of that one post (it got 23 reviews on stumble). I need to analyze that post and see how I can benefit more from it.

    Marelisa’s last blog post..What is Love?

  9. cathlawson on July 16th, 2008 4:58 pm

    Hi Marelisa - you’re welcome. You’re getting some great results from that post. The problogger article points out how to improve your most popular posts to get better results, so it really is worth checking out.

    You’ve only been blogging for around 5 months I think. If you begin optimising posts now, it really will pay off. Remember the more posts you have - the more search engine traffic you’re liable to get.

  10. Ian Denny on July 16th, 2008 9:14 pm


    Firstly thanks for the mention. I’ve never pulled rabbits out of a hat.

    SEO is a mystical science. Mainly because the rules can change tomorrow without notice. Imagine that happening with Newton’s laws of motion?

    The apply wouldn’t land on his bonce, instead it would float away.

    With SEO, I suspect it’s even worse. The apply would turn into an orange. And also sing a boisterous song as it floated off into the sunset.

    I’m glad to see Mark White commented. He’s an absolute blogging guru and he doesn’t know this yet, an absolute God. We recommended him to a client, and the work he did has accelerated their business far more than he suspects.

    As a result, at 5PM today, we secured an additional piece of work from the same client which I would dedicate to the after-glow of the work he did.

    The shape of their business has likely change as a result of the work he did.

    I can’t find the words to describe the expertise the guy has. Suffice it to say, any serious businessperson who has a blog as part of their promotional mix needs Mark.

    Today, I am sat here in awe of his work.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Is Your Small Business Missing This Vital Competitive Edge?

  11. cathlawson on July 17th, 2008 1:52 am

    Hi Ian - Hope you didn’t mind. I’m guessing that there’s a magician called Ian Denny somewhere - but I couldn’t resist mentioning it.

    I was just checking out Mark’s site. Isn’t he the guy who designed your Multisolutions blog? His blog has some useful info. I see he does blog consulting and workshops. Things like that seem to be getting really popular.

  12. John Hoff - eVentureBiz on July 17th, 2008 3:27 am

    Hi Cath,

    Would I sound arrogant if I said I thought I was good at SEO? I think I’m really beginning to believe that keyword phases placed in the right area works better than lots of backlinks.

    Interesting that I came along to this post when just a few short hours ago I was analyzing my stats and happy to see that people have been coming to my site primarily through Google and using keywords that have matched my articles.

    I haven’t seen any strange keywords used to find my site, though I’m sure there’s been some. Those you listed above had me cracking up!!!

    In regards to being lazy with All In One SEO - you should do as I did and ditch that plugin and go for the Platinum SEO Plugin. It automatically generates a description and keywords for every post on your blog. You can even tell it to no index Archives and Categories. I never worry about entering keywords anymore.

    John Hoff - eVentureBiz’s last blog post..20.4 Ways People Scan Your Website

  13. cathlawson on July 17th, 2008 3:36 am

    Hi John - you don’t sound arrogant at all. I think it’s really helpful for other readers to know that it does actually work if you use it. Getting visitors to go directly to specific pages and find exactly what they’re looking for is something we should all be trying to do.

    Thanks for the tip on Platinum SEO plugin. I’m betting it’s on that excellent plugin resource that you wrote recently, so I’ll download it from there.

  14. Sterling Okura on July 17th, 2008 6:23 am

    Hi Cath, thanks for the informative links. The Wordpress SEO article is making me rethink my sidebar blogroll.

    @Ian - That’s some huge praise for Mark, I definitely have to check out his blog.

    @John - Thanks for info on Platinum SEO. I’ll definitely check it out.

  15. Ian Denny on July 17th, 2008 11:30 am

    Yes, it was Mark who designed our site and blog.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Is Your Small Business Missing This Vital Competitive Edge?

  16. cathlawson on July 17th, 2008 12:34 pm

    Hi Sterling - you’re welcome - I’m glad it was useful to you.

    Thanks Ian - I thought I recognised his site. He has a really unique design.

  17. John Hoff - eVentureBiz on July 17th, 2008 2:59 pm

    You betcha! ;)

    I think I’m also going to download the new “edit your comment” plugin Barbara mentioned the other day.

    John Hoff - eVentureBiz’s last blog post..20.4 Ways People Scan Your Website

  18. cathlawson on July 19th, 2008 11:28 am

    Hi John - me too. I’m always making typos in comments - so it’s really useful.

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