How to SEO your personal site

This talk was given on March 30, 2021. Slides are available here.

If you've made something, there's nothing better than having people use it. This talk covers Search Engine Optimisation and the most effective ways to apply it to your website and projects, specifically focused on personal websites and things that people can realistically do by themselves and for free.

This talk covers:

  • A primer on SEO
    • What is SEO
    • Why should you care
    • Types of SEO
  • Things to keep in mind
    • Understand how SEO works
    • What to consider in your site’s design
  • What goes into SEO
    • Technical SEO
    • Non-Technical SEO
  • How to measure SEO
  • How to improve SEO

About the Author

Maddy Miller

Hi, I'm Maddy Miller, a Senior Software Engineer at Clipchamp at Microsoft. In my spare time I love writing articles, and I also develop the Minecraft mods WorldEdit, WorldGuard, and CraftBook. My opinions are my own and do not represent those of my employer in any capacity.

Like this talk? Why not share it with others!


Hey, yep so this is a talk on how to SEO your personal website or I guess also um early stage startup or something like that. It's basically from the perspective of a developer, so I guess someone who doesn't really know a lot of the written content side of things, but is pretty familiar with the making of the website kind of things.

About Me

So a little bit about me (if I can get the slides changing; there we go) uh I'm a software engineer at Clipchamp. If you haven't heard of it I guess look into it. You should apply it's great.

I graduated from QUT in 2018. I do a lot of minecraft related things (for better or for worse I guess), and I run a personal site and blog that I've maintained for multiple years, now which is kind of what this talk is inspired by I guess. It used to get about a thousand unique users a day, but that's no longer the case because Facebook blocked all australian news sites. Apparently I am a news site, and it completely tanked my traffic. So rather sad but yes.

What I'll Cover

What I will cover is basically a primer on SEO. What it is; why you should care; and also the different types of SEO. Also things to keep in mind such as understanding how SEO works, and what to consider in your site's design. Also like what goes into SEO such as technical and non-technical SEO; how to measure it; and then finally how to actually improve your site's SEO.

I'll also take questions during the talk, assuming time permits, and afterwards if you've got questions or need clarification. Don't raise your hand, I can't see you. Post it in the the chat thingy on the YouTube stream. I'll try keeping an eye on it, if I miss it for a bit it's probably because either there's a bit of a delay in the stream, or I don't know I was too busy looking at my slides and didn't see it. But I'll try getting to all of them if time permits.

What I Won't Cover

Also just what I won't cover. I won't cover literally everything in SEO, this is a pretty focused talk. I also won't cover how to make a site, or any of like the actual html details or anything. There are plenty of resources for that, this is not the talk for it. I'll also only cover stuff that a single person can achieve. There's a lot of seo tactics that like massive companies spend like tens of hundreds of people doing. That's clearly not feasible for a personal site, so I'm not gonna cover it. Also what is likely to best actually help people and what's free. I'm not expecting people want to spend lots of money on their personal site so yeah only free stuff is what I'll cover.

I'm also not going to give in-depth technical information. I kind of feel that that's not really the stuff that developers need. If developers want that information they can kind of find it places. I'm kind of focusing it significantly on the non-technical aspects as I feel that's a better use of time for a developer audience. However, if it doesn't take too long I'm happy to still answer questions about these things if people have them.

A Primer on SEO

What is SEO?

Yeah so first up a primer on seo. So what is it? It stands for search engine optimization, so if you've been really confused up until this point, that's what it is. It's basically optimizing your content to appear in search engines. So when you search like "cats" on google, the first result you see is probably like a picture of a cat or something like that. It's basically just making sure your stuff comes up before other stuff.

It's also not like a quick fix, you don't just like press an "SEO button" and your site is magically number one in Google. It's very much like yeah it's a very long-term strategy. It's something that you need to consistently keep in mind and just always act on.

It's also not a guarantee. Search engines don't give out information about how they exactly work. They may give hints and stuff like that, but there's no guarantee that what you do is going to improve your site. it's also not just technical.

So yeah as this talk is mostly going to demonstrate most of SEO is basically about your content, and it's basically trial and error. There's a lot of seo stuff I've done on my site where I've made a change waited two weeks, seen how stuff's going, and then usually reverted the change because I've had a sudden drop in like page rank or something like that.

Why should you care about SEO?

Also why you should care about SEO. Because like I know this sounds like a different concept to what most people do when writing a website. But basically if you make something, it's better if people actually use it. You want people to see it, so therefore you should try optimizing for that. It's also really useful to solidify yourself as a domain expert in something. People trust google results for some reason, so if you show up like for a lot of different questions around the topic people will associate you with trust in that topic. I've kind of had this happen with like minecraft related stuff for server administration, so I'm kind of like uh yeah I've got too much many people like trusting my posts. When they search stuff, because it pops up high in the ranks.

But most importantly; it's a ridiculously useful and marketable skill. So while this talk does focus on a personal website, uh these are still the same steps that you would take if you were trying to get like a new startup or something like that out there in google ranks. Basically it can make or break startups, but it's quite often overlooked so it's I don't know yeah it's a very useful skill that a lot of people, especially developers, just kind of ignore. So it's good to know about it.

Types of SEO

Uh yeah so there's a few different types of SEO. There's the technical SEO, which is ensuring the site can be seen and seen correctly by a search engine, but also provide hints to the search engine about how they should show your site. Also, search engines don't kind of take what you tell them as like gospel, they just kind of take them as hints and uh go from there. Like for example if your site is uh about something and you give it a description tag that's just full of a lot of high-ranking keywords, it'll probably ignore it because it knows that it's irrelevant to your site's content.

There's also non-technical SEO. So on-page SEO, so that's like SEO in your actual site. It's basically having good content. And off-page SEO, which is making search engines see your site as trustworthy. A good way I usually like to see it as technical SEO helps ensure Google sees your non-technical SEO work. So like technical SEO alone doesn't achieve anything. It's more that poor technical seo kind of dampens the work you're doing in other capacities rather than boosting stuff like in itself. And we'll get into all of this stuff later. This is like a primer as the intro slide kind of demonstrated.

Things to keep in mind before starting

Understand how SEO works

Yeah so things to keep in mind before starting. Uh so understanding how seo works is pretty important to doing SEO stuff. So at it's like at the core of a search engine, their goal is to give users the information they want. They want users to use the search engine, search something, and have the user come away like happy. They've got what they were after, they don't need to go somewhere else. So therefore your base goal should be to provide the right users with the right information. If users finish their search journey with your site, that tells google or whatever other search engine that the user got the information from your site, and therefore your site is a good choice.

If however, the user leaves your site and checks other sites in the search results, that tells the search engine that your site doesn't have information on that topic, and therefore the user couldn't get what they wanted. Anything the user does beyond like getting the information they're looking for is basically just a happy bonus. If they look through the rest of your site, that's just I guess, I don't know a happy user.

Also don't expect much when starting out. Most search engines just uh don't like new domains. They don't trust them at all. So it can take six to twelve months before like you'll actually start getting rankings. You may get some rankings in uh like lower quality keywords. Stuff that no one searches for. But for anything that people realistically search for, you're going to struggle to actually like get high in the rankings.

Also don't expect to overtake massive sites on very popular topics. You basically want to try developing a strong niche before expanding into more common stuff. Like for example you're not gonna try taking over say, I don't know, facebook in social media. Stuff like that's just not realistically possible.

However, in saying all these negatives, don't let it dissuade you. Nothing is instant, it's always going to take time and you can achieve like decent stuff as an individual.

What to consider when designing the site?

Oh yeah so what to actually consider when like designing the site. This doesn't mean like initial design, it could just be like you're planning on updating it, like improving it in some way.

But basically, what goal are you trying to achieve with your site? Do you want people to see your projects? Do you want to advertise yourself for freelancing or like a job or whatever? Or like do you want people to read a blog post or something like that.

You also want to consider who your users are. For example, the demographics you want. if you post about programming you likely want programmers. So trying to optimize your site for golfers is likely a bad idea. That is a actual story that happened to me. Someone tried getting me to advertise their golfing products on my site, and they would send me golfing traffic. So like yeah there's no point in doing that. You just you want to try like optimizing your site for your target demographic.

You also want to think about how your site benefits the users. Like, users aren't just there to increase metrics. They're there because they want to get something out of the site. Like after they've visited the site the user should feel like they've spent their site well. "and like they've spent their time well", sorry. And not that they've like just clicked on a useless link.

What goes into SEO?

Technical SEO

Yeah so what goes into SEO. Technical SEO, which I'm only going to touch on briefly, has stuff like html tags. So that's like the title tag, the different header tags. And there's various rules about it, like you should only have one h1 tag per page, and you should have them in order, and that kind of stuff. And also OpenGraph tags. OpenGraph tags are basically the things that facebook, twitter, etc use to display the title, description, and like an image or something like that. They're super useful to set up just because if people share your post they're more likely to look, like others are more likely to click on things that look good.

Sitemap falls under this, it basically just tells the search engine about all the pages that exist on the site. If it's a simple site, you technically don't need one because google is good at finding stuff itself. But like, it doesn't hurt to make, it and any site generator can generate sitemaps easily.

Structured data is probably the most complex out of these things, and it basically describes the content of a site using a schema that the search engine can understand. Uh it's not required, but it does enable a few fancier features like rich presence in the search results. On google, this is stuff like the "frequently asked questions" or "people also asked". That stuff or also like the featured snippets which sometimes pop up at the top of search results and those are pretty nice to get because even if you're like rank 3 you can still have a featured snippet and therefore people are more likely to click your site.

AMP, or accelerated mobile pages. This used to be a really good thing with Google. Not saying AMP was good, but it was really good for SEO. Google really heavily pushed it in their Google Discover and Google News tabs, on mobile devices specifically. But they're stopping this in May 2021, so like a month and a bit from now. So probably don't bother with AMP. But like it was great up until recently. I definitely made the most out of it.

And also load speed and usability. Google now have a system called Core Web Vitals, and these basically are metrics that they use to determine how good of a user experience a site is. This includes stuff like load speed, mobile touch targets. Like if buttons are too close together. And all that kind of stuff. So yeah, making sure your site loads fast and works well on mobile is very important. For most new sites, Google actually indexes your site on a mobile device. So if your site doesn't work on mobile, Google is going to have a really bad time understanding it.

Non-Technical SEO

So for non-technical SEO, which this talk is mostly about, content is basically key. The content on your site is basically the biggest targeting factor. So write concise, clear, and informative content that the user wants to read. Don't just write stuff for the sake of writing, make sure that it's actually something someone would want to read.

Keyword analysis, which is understanding what people search when looking for information. Say if someone wants to make a cabinet. They may search how to build a cabinet over how to create a cabinet, or how to construct a cabinet.

Backlinks are basically links to your site and pages from other sites. So say for example, if someone is writing a blog post and links to your site from there, that's a backlink.

And also internal linking, which is basically backlinks that you give yourself from your own site. So it's stuff like linking to other pages, having navbars, all that kind of stuff.

How to measure SEO

Have Data

Yep, so how to measure SEO. So first up you want to have data. To measure your success you need to be able to like quantify it, and see it. I personally don't like doing anything without data, because it just yeah it feels like you have no idea what's going on without it.

So I personally use three tools pretty heavily. Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and the Ahrefs webmaster tools. It's not super important to use specific tools, but instead to kind of use tools to provide certain data metrics. For example, page view tracking with unique sessions; Google Analytics does that amazingly. Search engine clicks and impressions; Google Search Console. And backlinks and linking sites; Ahrefs provides that information pretty good.

Google Search Console

Okay, so I'm just gonna show Google Search Console. Basically, it lets you view how your pages show up in search, and how often they're clicked. If a user sees the search entry, that's an impression. So if you're like number 11 and someone doesn't scroll down that far, it's not an impression.

It also lets you submit sitemaps to Google, this can help them index it faster, but it may not. You can also submit RSS feeds for blogs and stuff like that.

And also get notified if google penalizes you. This is a fun one because it does happen pretty often when like they change guidelines and stuff. Like uh these are two screenshots from my site. One of my pages got like this many clicks, and that many impressions over a month I assume, and I've also been penalized before for having clickable elements too close together. And it'll tell you like where in each page and like what pages these issues have occurred on.

So just uh going to Search Console. So this is what it looks like for Every three months it gets this many clicks and impressions, and it shows you what queries people are searching for. And you can click on a certain one and it kind of shows you like the stats for that specific term. You can go to pages and it's uh filtered to that query, so it now shows what pages that query usually shows up.

You can also use it for comparing, which I personally find great for working out if certain pages have gotten better or worse over time. I like to compare last three months to previous period, because I feel that's got the most useful data. And yeah so you can see that it says this page has got more clicks in the last three months than the previous three months, but the next page has less in the most recent three months to the previous three months. So like I mean it's hard to extrapolate directly from that data, but you can yeah I guess correlate it with other data and think about changes you've made. Or like look into keyword stuff to find out why.

But basically, yeah this is super useful data to have. And yeah it's hard to work out if you're doing a good job without it. But also uh I'm hoping the site's been penalized. Yes! Okay, uh yeah so you can see the different penalties in these enhancement tabs. Mobile usability is kind of a big one, like apparently six pages do not have a viewport set. This makes sense, so basically you can then click into a page and once it loads... Uh okay it wants me to test the live page, that'll take a while so I won't do it. But it'll show you in the HTML which element. Actually shows you like which element breaks the current uh requirement. In the sense of viewport not set, that's like a page-wide issue. So it's just going to say the page is the problem. So in this case it has given me the url, so that's kind of all the information you'd need to go fix it. Then once you've fixed it, you click validate fix and it yeah validates if you fixed it.

Google Analytics

So that's yeah Google Search Console. Now to move on to Google Analytics. It basically does so many great things. I check this app and website too many times per day. Um you can see how many unique and returning users you have on your site. You can break it down by country, time of day, device type, the source, and more.

Oh I notice I have a question uh so uh yep. So the question is basically, do stuff like alt tags for screen readers affect SEO. I'm not exactly sure if they do, but it improves user experience. So therefore it may. Like if it doesn't directly affect SEO, it may indirectly affect SEO. So like you definitely want to make sure that the user experience for every user is as good as it can be.

Oh yep, so back to what I was saying. You can see real time visitors which is super useful if you've just sent the site to someone and you want to see what pages they're looking at. Uh also if you've like posted it to social media, or you've just released it on like uh I don't know hacker news or something, and you just want to see how many people are actually coming in and viewing that post. And then maybe looking at other posts from there. But basically real time view like stats is useful.

You can also see how long people spend on certain pages, and why they leave. Like for example, if they click a link to another page, click a link to another site, or something like that. And then another one which is very useful but under utilized, is setting up events to track user interactions at like important points. For example, clicking a share button. You probably want to get stats around that so you can actually like optimize share button placement or something like that.

This is just an example of the users by time of day chart. It's a nice metric that I personally use to work out when to post links to stuff on social media and stuff like that. And it's not really ideal for Australia's timezone. Unless I want to stay up until 2am.

But uh this is the Google Analytics for my website, which is as you can see, significantly down from my old 1000. But uh yeah so you can see traffic channel breakdowns, like apparently on Wednesday I got 384 people like referred. So that means another site linked to mine. Uh social is like facebook, twitter, etc. Other is I honestly don't know. Direct is if they've like directly gone to the link, or a website uh disallowed referral so like you wouldn't be able to tell what site it's from. An organic search is people came to it from google specifically. Bing counts as a referral. Yandex, DuckDuckGo, all referral, not organic search. I don't know, Google don't see them as search engines for some reason.

Uh yeah but you can also see stuff like uh, which pages people view. You can also correlate this with search console and all that, to see I guess if people are most often coming to a page from search or like direct link. But my favorite stuff is uh the events, where basically I track a few different kind of major interaction points on my site. Like sharing. No one has shared something from my site recently, people don't like sharing. But stuff like uh, I have like an emojify tool on my site. And that gets used pretty frequently, so I track a few different things around that. Like when people actually use the emojify tool, or when people copy the text from it. So it's just useful to have metrics on anything on your site like that. That can be helpful to working out are you doing the right thing or not.

I think that's I guess behavior flow is also useful to kind of understand. But this is basically when they go to a page where do they go next. Yeah so people who go to my emojify page, a very small percentage of them go to my spongify page. Which is kind of like the spongebob mocking meme text generator kind of thing. Uh some of them somehow directly go oh I know. Yeah, so from a blog post it shows me which are the most frequent ones they go to from it, and all that kind of stuff.

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools

Yeah, so next up we will talk about Ahrefs, which is a tool I very much love. I found out there was a free version about six months ago, and ever since then I have very heavily used it. You can run like SEO audits on your site, and they tell you like if you've got any broken links, or you've got titles that are too long, too short, all that kind of stuff. It basically gives you a simple analysis of technical SEO problems. So it can be great to find issues like that.

Also it lets you track new and lost backlinks, and referring domains, and all that kind of stuff to your site. And also track keywords. But yeah it's a very powerful tool, and it's used by like massive companies for SEO. Yeah and the free version is definitely good enough for personal sites. It doesn't allow you to do some of their advanced keyword stuff, but other than that it's it's like pretty decent.

This link here, is the free version. I have not been able to find a way to get to that page from their website. So I just yeah I that link is useful to get the free version. Oh uh so I'm just gonna quickly show off what it looks like. It shows like a domain rating thing, which I'll explain later. Uh referring domains which is good to like uh see for like backlink reasons which I'll also explain a bit later.

I don't really want to go into showing this data specifically, because I don't know it's not really good to show specific keywords you're ranking for and at what positions. Because if I post that on my site and then someone sees it, they'll kind of just uh know exactly how to like replicate my site's SEO. So I guess it's a good idea not to display that information. But stuff like referring domains is probably safe to show.

So if I go here this shows me a list of all of the sites that have recently linked to my site. Now most of these are spam sites so you can basically kind of just ignore them. This one here looks decent, uh but I bet it is a spam site. Yes. Yeah so spam sites you can kind of just ignore. I'm sure if I go a bit further back, there'll be some real sites. Yeah none of these are recognized as real sites so... is a real site, it's basically just an index of web apps that yeah don't store data. So they've listed something on my site for some reason. So therefore, like it's a backlink.

Yep so now the the main useful thing. Oh I noticed this question. Uh yeah, so most people don't use share buttons. Yeah, I'll kind of get into how you can improve that later. But as you saw from my stats, it like even then it doesn't work that well. Like share buttons are kind of yeah a pretty not good method of having your site shared.

How to start improving SEO

Put written content on pages

Yeah but basically the main thing about improving your SEO is put written content on pages. Google can only index written content, it won't index like some embedded game or app that you have on your site. All pages on your site should have a non-trivial amount of written text for search engines to see, so this is like maybe a few hundred words. Anything less and it's not really going to like rank in search. That's not necessarily a bad thing, you don't need to have every page rank. So if you are putting a game or similar on the site, it can make sense to have like a landing page which has all of the information. And then like a play page where the actual game is hosted, so that way there's something for google to see but you don't need to like make your actual play page really complicated with lots of text.

Also, if you're not good at writing, Grammarly is amazing. I have used that tool for like as long as I've uh like maintained a blog and like it's somewhat improved my writing I think. Although my writing drops to bad when I'm not using grammarly so maybe it's just like a, I don't know, like a placebo kind of thing.

Keyword Analysis

But yeah, so keyword analysis is also a very important thing. It's basically just learning what terms people search for, and using those terms in your content. So you can just like make searches on google, and use the "people also ask" box thingy to determine what other terms you could like search for to get the same results. And then you can use things like Google Trends to compare different keywords. So for example, uh if you were looking at yeah "how to build a cabinet" and "how to construct a cabinet", I bet how to build a cabinet is probably like a significantly more common keyword. And google trends will show that.

It's also good to come up with what are referred to as long tail keywords. So basically, this is something that isn't as commonly searched but has like a hundred percent user intent. To use the cabinet example again, someone searching cabinet may not be looking to build a cabinet. They may be wanting to buy one, look at pictures of one, I don't know. But if they search "how to build a cabinet", you know they want to build a cabinet. They should also contain the main keyword. So in that case the main keyword would be cabinet. And they're generally used as like a title, or a problem statement, or something like that on the page.

It's also good to determine the keywords that search competitors are using. So these are like the sites that show up when you search what you want to rank for.

And also links from spam sites can harm your site, don't just go off and spam like low quality links everywhere. Uh I think that's actually meant to be on another slide but we'll ignore that.

Uh oh question! No, this video has not been sponsored by Grammarly. I just really like their product.

Yeah keywords should be used in page title, h1 tags, and throughout the text. But like don't just go around spamming stuff. Overall you want stuff to look as natural as possible to search engines. They're really good now at detecting like illegitimate content.

It's also much harder to rank for certain keywords than others. Ahrefs can tell you this on the free version, but only after you've already ranked for a keyword. For example in the picture down there, my site ranks pretty highly for "paper spigot". That has a KD, or keyword difficulty, of 22. Uh that's a logarithmic scale so if it says like 50, just don't bother uh it's very hard to rank for that as a like an individual. And also while your site is starting out, it's going to be much harder to rank for like those higher difficulty keywords than other times. So basically just stick to the lower difficulty ones as you're starting out, and then as you get more confident with it or your site starts picking up then start going for the higher difficulty keywords.

Domain Authority

So domain authority is basically a thing that Ahrefs and all that invented. It's not an accurate metric, because Google and search engines don't expose it. In saying that, it is still useful to estimate how trusted your site is compared to others. So for example, if your site has a domain authority of 10, another site has a domain authority of 60. Google is going to trust that other site. And therefore, if it trusts it more, it's going to show it more. It's also not guaranteed that like Google and these services have the same data. So if they say yours is 10 and someone else is a 60, Google may actually see it differently. But in saying that it is still somewhat useful to know. It's basically just a function of quality backlinks to your site. So the more sites with a higher domain authority that link to your site, the higher your domain authority.

Ahrefs can tell you this, I think Moz has a free tool for this as well. They'll both give you very different numbers, because they have different data sets. Which just goes to show that it's not super accurate but it can be like a good indicator.

Yeah so it also technically exists for individual pages. If a specific page is linked to more than other pages, it'll be trusted more and also by more trusted sites as well. It's relative to your page, so like it's relative to the whole site itself. A single page cannot be trusted more than the site itself. It's kind of just like what portion of trust does this page have of the site's trust.

So, well yeah don't take it as a definitive fact. Use it as a gauge to determine what sites you have a chance of beating for keywords. Don't try to increase this directly, uh because it's kind of like a fake metric. It's not that useful, uh it'll increase if you do everything else correctly basically.

Uh also backlinks that are marked as nofollow by the site do not increase DA. Generally this means user generated content, so like forums, comments, that kind of stuff. It also gets harder and harder to increase the higher it goes, so it's like a logarithmic kind of thing. You can kind of just pretend it's a Runescape skill, as it has like a similar kind of curve from what I can tell.

Internal Linking

Yep and another thing that's super super important is internal linking. So all pages on your site that you want public should be able to be found within only a few clicks. And that goes from like any point on your site, so it's kind of like that six degrees of separation thing, but in terms of two pages on a site.

So it's good to link to other pages in text when relevant, that's basically a good sign to search engines to say "hey, these two pieces of content are relevant to each other". It's also good to have super easy navigation to where people want to go from a page. So if it's a blog it's good to link to other relevant posts somewhere, kind of like a "people also read" or something like that.

Uh if it's a project, linking to similar projects somewhere like if it's a game linking to other games you made in a similar time frame or something like that.

But also don't overuse internal links, only link if it would actually be helpful to the user. Don't just link because you need to link this page from somewhere.

Create an Acquisition Loop

You also want to try creating a acquisition loop, because backlinks are very hard to create as an individual. Big companies have like literal teams dedicated to reaching out to sites to build backlinks. This is not something you can do as an individual. You basically need to design your site in a way that convinces people to advertise for you. Which sounds kind of like difficult and sketchy, but it is done literally by every site.

So basically try to design your site to encourage people to share with their friends. So this can be a share button. It's good to keep them visible always, because people usually don't read an article then think "oh, I want to share this". As they're reading it, they see a certain piece of information that they want to share, but if they don't immediately see a share button they won't think of it. So basically you just always want to keep it like within the user's mind.

For software stuff, try to encourage sharing. So if you have like, I don't know, like a tool on your website. Maybe try to have like a share button or something instead of having people share it themselves. Because if you have a share button you, can try making the user include a backlink or something like that. They're also more likely to share something if they feel they have a personal connection to it. So for example the emojify tool on my site that I mentioned earlier. Because users are pasting in text and then emojifying it, they want to share it because they feel like they've created it. So therefore like it's a much better kind of place for sharing.

And also, all sharing is good sharing. Even if like they're marked as nofollow or stuff like that, because the more links that bring people in, the higher the chance of another share happening. And you just want users, not necessarily backlinks. Like you're not trying to build backlinks for the sake of building backlinks, you're trying to build backlinks for the sake of getting more users. So therefore getting more users is always a good thing.

Content Lifecycle

Also, content lifecycle kind of matters a fair bit. Always try to make new content. Search engines like active sites. I usually find that my traffic bumps up a bit every time I release a blog post. And that's like across all pages, not just the new page that I made.

Also, try to update existing content to keep it fresh and up to date. It's the same kind of thing. Search engines like active sites, and stale content they kind of stop recommending over time. Also, if you have structured data set up, update the last modified tag so that way search engines kind of know it's been updated and don't need to infer it themselves.

Also, if something's no longer true, doesn't work anymore, or something like that, just get rid of it. Or if possible, update it to be accurate again. If there's information that's incorrect, it can harm your SEO in some ways because users will just exit that page immediately.


Basically, yeah. So just as a wrap up to the talk. Understanding what keywords are best is like super important. Then writing content, increasing the number of backlinks, internally linking between pages when relevant, encouraging users to share, and then repeating this process is basically uh what is needed for the non-technical side of SEO.


Yeah, are there any questions?

And I'm just gonna like probably be sitting here for 30 seconds while I wait for any potential questions to roll through the stream.

Oh a question! Okay uh what tools/technologies you use to achieve this. So I guess yeah the stuff like uh... okay yep some, sites help with uh sitemaps and stuff. So my site is personally made with GatsbyJS. There's a gatsby-plugin-sitemap or something like that, that generates sitemaps for you. But yeah like there's like so many other tools. Like I think a lot of people use Hugo or something for blogs. I generally prefer to kind of do everything myself, which is why I've used gatsby. But yeah like it very much depends on what kind of stuff you're like writing with.

Uh the next question was how do I SEO my brain to give me the right info. uh yeah that would be that would be good yeah. But um yeah so I guess back to technologies um it is worth mentioning that with React, a static site generator or something like NextJS that server-side renders is actually pretty important because browsers will take longer to render React. So therefore um it's just bad for some of the metrics. It used to be that they couldn't like uh, that search engines could not index React at all, uh so they were much more important back then. But nowadays search engines are very capable. So it isn't as big of a deal, but it's still pretty important.

So I'm unsure if there are like more questions coming in. It's it's just one of those things where uh I'm just waiting. However there were some questions right at the beginning which I will just answer to take up the time for more potential questions to come in.

Uh will this talk ensure I get onto the first page of Google. No, but it gives you the tools to try achieving this. Yeah, there's never a guarantee in SEO I guess.

And then yeah, the other question is is, it like Canva. Um, I guess this is in reference to Clipchamp I'm assuming. It's a company that makes an online video editor, like in the browser. So I guess similar to Canva, but video.

I'm kind of assuming no more questions are coming in. But like, if they do I will uh like after the talk I guess look at the youtube like comment feed for a bit.

Have I done SEO stuff for Clipchamp? Uh, not directly. I used to work on the Clipchamp marketing site for a fair bit, and I guess like I learned a bit of SEO knowledge from that as well as um like yeah my personal site. But yeah, I've technically worked on SEO relevant things for Clipchamp, but I've never done like SEO research specifically for Clipchamp. Because Clipchamp has people to do that.

How much effort do you have to put in to get the same level of SEO from like wordpress/ghost have. Oh, yep so to get the same level of SEO that those sites or site builders have if you're doing it manually. Um, I personally have had bad experience with like a lot of the plugins for wordpress like Yoast giving bad results. So like, I'm not personally convinced by them in general. But also, wordpress is rather slow so you're gonna suffer a bit from the speed aspect. But most of the stuff they handle is, automatically setting up like open graph tags, the html tags, and all that kind of stuff. Which like realistically isn't that much effort to do. You can find probably like tools online that'll generate them out. But um yeah I wouldn't say it is that much effort especially if you're using something like React where you can just set up like an SEO component which pre-fills it all for you. If you're using gatsby it actually, their normal starter-like project thing, comes with an SEO component that does that. I believe I'm actually using that on my site, just tweaked a bit to I guess do things more my way. But yeah like, I wouldn't say it's that much more effort compared to like using wordpress. It's definitely a lot more effort for someone who isn't a developer though. Like the main the main benefit wordpress has is that it does it in a user interface, whereas like as a developer I don't think it's that much more effort.

Okay, I'm kinda gonna assume the questions have stopped. It's just this like, the awkward delay for the questions coming in. Cool I'm going to assume that message came in for like after I gave that answer, so yeah I'm just going to assume there are no more questions now.

So yeah in that case, uh yeah thanks everyone for listening to my talk. I hope it was useful.