Thursday, 9 February 2012

Spice up your life - or search engine optimise it!

I work in two areas: copywriting and customer service. Part of copywriting involves what we marketers call search engine optimisation. That's SEO, for short.

This means designing, writing and structuring websites and their content in such a way so that they rank highly when you search for a certain product, service or piece of information on Google. The purpose is to attract lots of visitors to the website and then, once they're there, persuade them to buy the company's product or hire its service. 

But I feel you can apply some SEO aspects to life too and have a little more fun. Here's how:

When people search in Google, they search for something specific. SEO specialists identify the most popular terms used in searches for specific items, services, etc. and tailor the website and the content, or part of them, to these searches. In SEO, we call these terms '(meta)keywords'.

So what are you searching for? A new job? A new home? A new love? What is it about them that would make you happy? Identify the important aspects - these are your 'keywords' - and base your project on them. Once you know what you're searching for, you can optimise your own search. In other words, you can tailor it to achieve the best results: to live a happier life.

Links are a great way to optimise your website. Ideally, your links should be to good quality websites or to benchmark websites. If these link back to you, they'll optimise your website even better: Google puts quality before quantity. Of course, the more high-quality links on your website, the better. And these links may even generate more links.

We all have friends, family and workmates or colleagues. These are our 'life SEO' links. Live a happier life by spending time with family and friends (the high quality links!). Visit them, go places with them, have fun with them. They can introduce you to new 'links': new friends, new experiences or even a new love.

Looking for a job? Chat to workmates. See who or what they know, what links they can offer. Do that and you may just increase your happiness on the work front. 

All good copywriters know that headings are crucial for copy, especially on websites. Internet users scan text before they read it (a kind of internet look-before-you-leap equivalent!). Breaking up a text with headings gives it structure, and makes the text easier for readers to scan and go straight to what they're looking for. A whopping big block of text, on the other hand, will frighten them away.

SEO-wise, headings are a chance to slip in some good ole keywords and optimise your site further! They make the website more useable in the eyes of St Google too.

But what do these headings mean for your life? Well, you should never let one part of your life absorb all the rest. 'Family/Partners', 'Friends', 'Work' and 'Education' are just a few of our life SEO headings or sections. Try to split your time up evenly.

If you work or study a lot, find time to play, for the other headings can disappear if the links aren't strong enough. If you spend lots of time with your friends, be sure to always find time for your partner too, and don't let your social or personal life interfere with your work.

Ultimately, try to find balance.

Alt Text
This SEO term refers to the text beneath images that describes the image content for the visually impaired. 

How the Dickens (since he's topical at the moment!) does this apply to life, you ask. Well, take plenty of pictures and capture as many of those special moments as you can. Then you can enjoy explaining your adventures when you show your friends and family the photos.

If there's one thing I've sometimes regretted, it's that I didn't bring a camera with me to certain events (like the Motley Crüe concert, darn it!). The ones I have brought it to, I've loved looking back over the photos. 

Okay, so I stretched that last SEO analogy a bit... but hey, aren't we here to have fun? 

And if you're an SEO specialist, or even if you're not, perhaps you can optimise my joie de vie with some of your own SEO lessons for life!

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