So what exactly is SEO?
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ – the name given to the activity that attempts to help a website improve their ranking on search engines such as google. In order to better understand SEO and the importance of it, it is good to know a little bit of the background about search engines and how they work.
TOP 5 TIPS
Lesson 1: Search engines use algorithms that rank websites based on relevance and the use of key terms and phrases. Other factors such as website quality, existing traffic and the frequency of your updates are also used to determine where you’re website (or social media platform) will sit on results page after a search.
* Pop Quiz Tip * search engine users generally do not click past the first page of search engine results – approximately 9 out of 10 searches cease after the first page of results (to put it into perspective – but as a student, you already know this)
Getting your website on the first page of a google search engine results page is the pass or fail of the student world.
” click here for 24 eye-popping SEO statistics “
Lesson 2: SEO key words and phrases, click through rates and bounce back rates.
- Key words and phrases: The trick here is to not focus completely on the words, but rather a mix of phrases associated with that word (and each other). Google is continuously updating their algorithms to provide a more relevant results page for the user, so using a mix of phrases associated to the theme of your posts/website/social media platforms is the key here.
* Pop Quiz tip* use googles ad words tool to better generate phrases. Another website that tests the strength of your website and how it performs on search engines is Website Grader.
lesson 3: Write, write, write!
Update your webpage or blog posts frequently, sites with higher activity are ranked higher on search engines than those with static content. Wikipedia, as unreliable as it is a a source of information, always ranks highest and usually makes it onto the first page on the search results as it is continuously being updated with new content.
lesson 4: Pick a domain name and stick with it
the older your domain name is, the better it will rank in the search engine results page. If you decide to change it constantly, your website or blog will suffer and lose value.
lesson 5: Make your website about one thing!
similarly to writing an essay, when it comes to your website you have to stick to a specific theme or topic, and focus in on that. Don’t be too broad in your writing, and use the headings of your posts as inspiration for finding your keywords!
time to stop procrastinating, the easiest way to start working on your SEO is to write, and keep writing.
5 Benefits of SEO
1. Increase Traffic to your website
2. User Brand Awareness
3. Drive sales
4. Target specific traffic to your page
5. build your reputation
Flat lays, we all know what they are. A snap of an array of items placed in a visually pleasing way to be used on social media platforms, but most popularly on Instagram. So what exactly is the key to a good flat lay shot? After being enlisted by my social media class to participate in a flat lay making experiment, I quickly learnt what works and what doesn’t and the tips I wish I knew before hand. Below is a summary for some quick tips if you are thinking about attempting your very own flat lay.
What to consider when taking a shot:
- One of the biggest factor to considering before shooting a flat lay is lighting! It’s all about getting a really soft natural light. finding a nice big window, preferably in the morning or afternoon, as direct light can be too harsh.
- It always helps to have a really simple backdrop for the products – simple floor boards or marble bench tops can work nicely, marble contact paper is a really cheap and easy and can be purchased from amazon here.
- Composition is everything, and more often then not, less is more! Don’t feel like you always need to fill the entire frame with product, because empty space can work really well, particularly when you want a certain product to stand out.
- shooting in square – Iphone’s and Instagram are great as you can choose to shoot the photo in square mode. This saves time of cropping and moving any of the products around if you’ve already taken the shot and realised it doesn’t quite fit the frame properly.
- Be aware of shadows and reflections, when you have screens such as ipads and iphones in your flat lay, sometimes a reflection can show up. Using sheets of paper to block the reflections is easy (if you have a helper of course). If not, manoeuvre your phone around until the reflection is least noticeable.
How to edit shots:
- There are some really good editing systems already built into your smartphone – I would try to steer clear of the preset filters and instead edit the photos manually. you can adjust aspects such as shadows, colour, saturation and contrast. once again less is more, try not to over edit the photo.
The big no-nos:
- Artificial lighting – taking a flat lay in artificial light can over saturate the photo and make it look too yellow.
The apps to use:
- If I have taken it straight on my iPhone I tend to use the Instagram App stock editing tools. In saying that there are others available such as Afterlight and Snapseed that are good for editing photos
Finding your own style:
- Practice, practice, practice! Only after experimenting with certain light, apps, backgrounds and even different objects have I really become confident in flat lays.