SEO Event with the Department for International Trade
On Thursday 5th October, we were honoured to present to local businesses at a Department for International Trade event near Norwich. Our half-day workshop covered the basics of SEO (search engine optimisation), including training on the strategic thought that needs to be put in before an SEO campaign; how Google works and why search engines need you; the basics of website and content SEO; and the signals that search engines use to determine the trust and authority of a website.
It was also a big day for our new trainee Relationship Managers, as they delivered parts of the presentation for the first time! We think that it was a very successful and interesting day, and we hope that everyone who came along feels that they have achieved a better understanding of the basics of SEO and how to get started with their own campaigns!
It was an early start for our team (off at half 6!) as we had a fair distance to travel, but after a few sleepy minutes and a well-deserved coffee we were wide awake and raring to go. As the event was free, and organised by the Department of International Trade, we had a wonderfully diverse mix of people in the audience, with some from large corporations, and others from small or even single-person businesses. What they all had in common was an interest in SEO and how it could help them Make More Money Online!
New Recruits in at the Deep End
Starting a new job at a new company is a daunting task for anyone, and some businesses may be forgiven for bedding recruits slowly into their new role – but not here at Footprint! We like to challenge ourselves whenever possible, as found out by new Trainee Relationship Managers Reuben and Thomas as they were asked to present. Graduates of the Footprint Academy, the guys only started their new jobs on Monday but acquitted themselves well during their sections of the presentation – we’re all very proud and we’re expecting big things from them now that they’ve proved themselves at this event!
The Quiz and Business Questions
The event was opened by one our directors, Tom Bowden. Tom started with The Quiz (Tom loves a quiz), asking questions to start the audience thinking about SEO, content, and web design in general. Maybe it was still a little early in the day though – only one person got the first question right! (well done to you).
After a winner of the quiz was found (and appropriate prizes distributed), the topic moved onto SEO itself, and the underlying business questions that should be asked before beginning a campaign. Tom explained that this is all work that we do for clients as part of our digital marketing audit, to determine the feasibility of, and strategy for, a new SEO campaign.
What Google Wants and SEO Basics
Next to present was Thomas Rowson, one of our new trainee relationship managers. Thomas talked about how the internet works and the basics of search engines, highlighting the huge role that both have on our lives, how this has changed over time, and the future impact that developing technology such as voice search and mobile device usage is going to have.
He then talked about the basics of SEO – what it is and how it works. Thomas highlighted the difference between paid and organic search, and then briefly explained the areas we focus on to improve search engine rankings:
- Strategy and Planning
- Website speed and optimisation
- Content and keywords
Thomas delivered his section calmly and professionally; even for a first time this was great work!
SEO Strategy: Objectives and Keyword Research
After a brief tea-break, Tom B was back to talk about setting objectives and keyword research. This is a key part of any SEO campaign, and by keeping the session interactive Tom was able to get the audience to think deeply about their own businesses objectives.
One of the questions was about your perfect client – ask yourself deep questions about the type of person or business who your services are most suited for, and why. The answers to this can inform your strategy for SEO in everything from keywords, sales messages, calls to action, and any consumer anxieties you address with your blogs and content. This was followed by a discussion on keyword research in general, but unfortunately things from here on get too technical to include in a blog post!
Technical and Content Recommendations
Dave Roscoe, our Business Development guru, was next up to present on some of the more complicated aspects of websites and content. Thankfully, by this point everyone had woken up a bit (or at least been well caffeinated) so everyone was focused and ready to learn.
Topics covered included the effect of site speed, meta data, and page titles on SEO. On this kind of day, we don’t get too in-depth, but simply offer a top-level view of the issues and how people can find out more.
Dave closed with a discussion about the importance of content strategy, and how to mould your site into a knowledge hub, where users from within your own industry and elsewhere will go to find out information.
The last full section was presented by another of our new Relationship Managers, Reuben Marshall. This section was on the signals your website gives off, which search engines use to determine its trust and authority – a major factor in organic search rankings.
Reuben spoke about 6 ways to make sure that Google and other search engines know that your site is trustworthy and loved, including the best ways to gather backlinks. Although nervous to begin with, Reuben soon relaxed and was hopefully able to get the audience to think about how to make their site more authoritative!
Finally, a Summary
The day was closed off by Tom Bowden, who briefly summarised the topics we had discussed, and then talked about the Footprint Digital Marketing Audit, a series of reports we produce for clients to determine the ways in which we can help them improve their site.
Overall, the day was a great success for us, our new recruits, and (with any luck) for the audience. Our goal was to get people thinking about the importance of SEO and how to get started, something that we hope to have achieved!
These Department of International Trade events are always interesting and enjoyable events, as well as being free – if you would like to learn more about SEO then it’s a great place to start.
By Alexandra Eade, Content Manager.