I preface this post by saying I’m genuinely not trying to promote myself. I’m just using Fitzroyalty as an example. Hold that bile and invective. Today’s website insight is about search engine optimisation. SEO to you digital natives. SEO is about writing web content in a particular way, including using lots of keywords, to make Google rank your content highly so people can find it easily when they search for something that you happen to have written about.

Keyword density is important, but metadata is even more important. Metadata includes tags that provide contextual information, such as location information. Specific geodata is good too. Google is all about combining content with maps and putting it all into a geographical context. Tags also include the html tags defining titles and other specific content items in every web page. There’s endless information online about SEO: try this for one insight into how it works.

To give an example of building good SEO, 11 hours after I published my review of the Bell Jar cafe in Clifton Hill, I did two Google searches: ‘Bell Jar Clifton Hill’ and ‘Bell Jar cafe Melbourne’. These would be logical searches to make if you had heard via word of mouth that this cafe was good and you wanted to find out more about it.

I’m thrilled to see that my review is the highest ranking individual review. It is beaten only by a commercial site that probably has inhouse SEO experts. I also beat Three Thousand on both searches, which amuses me enormously.

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A screen capture of the Google search for ‘Bell Jar Clifton Hill’ on 21 May 2010

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A screen capture of the Google search for ‘Bell Jar cafe Melbourne’ on 21 May 2010

In the first example, the reviews from Douglas and Hope and Vetti live in Northcote that I link to in my review both make the first page of search results. In the second, Vetti’s does not. The search terms are less specific, and her site may not have the keyword density to allow it to rank high enough to get onto the first page of results.

How did I get such great results? I wrote a literal headline that contains mostly keywords, such as the name of the cafe, the street it’s on and the suburb it’s in. Boring to read but Google loves it. It contains more keywords than the titles of all the other reviews, so it ranks better.

You can tinker endlessly with your html templates and CMS to achieve minor improvements, but the biggest SEO improvements can come from using a few simple words. If you want to improve your search rank and receive more traffic, this is an SEO initiative you can implement in moments. Lesson over, class dismissed.

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