In which I attempt to boost my Google ranking through devious means

I was trying to explain to a non-journalist friend what search engine optimisation was, and why it could be important to a freelance journalist in Redhill or a freelance journalist in Surrey.

“Hm,” she said, when I’d finished, “sounds like a load of bollocks”.

Obviously I hadn’t done a very good job at explaining why being search engine optimised could be of interest to a copywriter in Surrey.

But I can see why she might have thought so. I mean come on, it does sound massively tedious, doesn’t it. I could almost send myself to sleep talking about it. It doesn’t interest me in the slightest, other than in its potential usefulness to a copywriter in Redhill.

It might be bollocks, I conceded primly, but it’s bollocks you need to know. In other words, BUNK. Rather like how to check your tyre pressure, or how to bleed your radiators. You’d rather not fill your mind with such things but, unless you have someone else to do them for you, you need to have at least a passing acquaintance with the subject.

Anyone who’s still reading might have noticed I’ve been trying to SEO this very article. Yes, those magic phrases freelance journalist Redhill, freelance journalist Surrey, copywriter Redhill and copywriter Surrey are the cheeky ones I need to get SEOd.

I was delighted, when I did that most egotistical of things, Googling myself, to find that the F Words name appears as number 3 on Google. And Sue Fenton (me, not any of the rest of the clan I discussed in a previous blog) comes in at position 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9. An egoist’s dream.

But Google “freelance journalist Surrey” and I don’t show up till page 7 – and of course no-one ever gets that far. As “freelance journalist Redhill” I get one mention on page 2, and nothing else.

For “copywriter Redhill” I’m number 2 on the first page. But “copywriter Surrey” is simply nowhere.

One’s not supposed to post web copy blatantly and irrelevantly repeating phrases like “freelance journalist Surrey”. Apparently Google frowns on such carry-on when it sends its little spiders out to crawl about on the internet.

But I’m fascinated, far more so than the subject warrants, to find out if it works or not.

So, sorry Google, forgive me this little transgression of the SEO rules. I’ll try not to do it again – after all, I’m usually too busy waffling on about steam rooms and cats and things. Which might explain why I show up on Google when people do searches on phrases like “Italian cookware” and “swearing at police”.

I’m not convinced that it’s vital to be near the top on Google if you’re a freelance journalist – in Surrey or anywhere else – I think potential clients are more likely to search on the NUJ or LinkedIn. But it all helps.

And a quick plug for WordPress – I know it’s SEOd, cos a couple of nights ago someone was looking for a blog post I’d just written – and she found it on Google, less than an hour after it was posted. Well done, WordPress.

Pic credit: digitalart,

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