As the Brexit saga wends its weary way towards the last syllable of recorded time, I have been jumping into the Twitter bear-pit to waste time trading invective with the invincibly ignorant. The exchanges go approximately as follows.
“The only people who now support Brexit are millionaires and morons. Check your wallet if you’re not sure which you are.”
And more, much more, in a similar vein. My wife doesn’t understand how addictive it is, and gets really annoyed with me.
However, occasionally an actual conversation takes place. One of my more rational (but still deluded) pro-Brexit interlocutors is David Law, who has a multitude of Twitter accounts, one of which, @brexit_politics, mostly amplifies the Brexit Party line. However, one evening, this popped up.
My day job is helping getting sites free organic traffic from Google, I’m an SEO consultant. If you own a business website pop the URL in a comment & I’ll give you an actionable #SEO tip. @SEOGoldUK I don’t care if you are a Remainer or Leaver. (From Twitter)
So I thought, why not, and responded as requested, with the following consequences.
The SEO Advice for davidmelvilleedwards.com
Your Home page title “My Fantasy Life – An alternate reality …” is unlikely to generate any Google traffic. It took me a minute to realise the site is a book author site. Your home page should target author traffic. Your author name “David Melville Edwards” is your brand. Your Home page title (with WordPress it’s the site name) should be “David Melville Edwards”.
This will help with your name searches. Your domain doesn’t currently rank if you search Google for ‘David Melville Edwards’.
When you search Google for David Melville Edwards a ‘knowledge panel’ appears. You need to claim it as your own.
None of your posts should be categorised as ‘ Uncategorized’. They should be give a relevant category. ‘Uncategorized’ is not helpful.
When you create poems add either Poem or Poetry to the title.
Thus you should change https://davidmelvilleedwards.com/poetry/brambles/ slug from “Brambles” to “Brambles Poem”.
If you’ve changed the site name that Post’s full title will be
“Brambles Poem – David Melville Edwards”
Which is much better SEO-wise than
“Brambles – My Fantasy Life”
That’s a terrible title SEO-wise,. It’s highly unlikely anyone would find it if they were searching for a Brambles poem or any of your other poems by name.
What I did
First off, I changed the site’s title as suggested.
I wasn’t going to change the poems’ titles in the text, since ‘Brambles Poem’ as a heading looks stupid, but I did change the WordPress ‘slugs’, the URLs that it generates, so that if the posts are poems, the slugs say so.
I went through all the posts, and fixed the categories.
I have to confess that I’d had no idea there were such things as Google Knowledge Panels, still less that I could claim them. But sure enough, a search for David Melville Edwards brought up a little box on the right with my name, Author, a link to an edition of my book that is no longer available., and a link allowing me to claim the panel. So I have done so. My first attempt failed because the submitted photograph of myself was not deemed to be of a high enough quality, but the knowledge box now includes a picture of yours truly.
I had less success trying to get the book link fixed. Google responded:
Please note that the information we display for these types of books is typically received automatically from third-party contributors. In order to submit any edits in bibliographic details it would be best for you to reach out to them directly at the links listed below to ensure that their records are fully updated.
Baker & Taylor – www.btol.com/
Bowker – www.bowker.com (providing current cover)
Ingram – www.ingramcontent.com (providing current cover)
Livraria Cultura – www.livrariacultura.com
I have no business dealings with any of these organisations, so my “Google Books” link will remain as a tombstone.
I made the changes a little over two weeks ago. It would appear that now:
- Traffic to my site has approximately doubled.
- The UK tops the list of countries of origin for my visitors
- A Google search for ‘David Melville Edwards Brambles Poem’ now goes straight there.
To all those people reading this and thinking “Moron, how could you set up a web-site and not do these basic things?”, may I point to the example of Michael Gove exclaiming that “The British People have had enough of experts”. I am in good company.
If there’s anyone else, may I offer a final shout-out to David Law for his advice and guidance, which seems to have been extremely beneficial. Thank you David!