My name is Tomas Heed and I have a blog that’s all about me. This would probably make me a narcissist, but wait. There is more! Sometimes I google my name.

I write on my blog in an expectancy that I will succeed in all the three areas where I aim – Writer, Musician and Entrepreneur. Since I haven’t done any progress in any of those areas thus far, it’s no wonder that my site isn’t that highly ranked on Google. But there is one thing that bothers me. I have created a blogg that is about me. The site has my name, tomasheed.com. All the texts are about me. Most of the images has my face on it. But still as I google my name, I only end up in seventh place! (Hey! In the English version I’m actually on row number three)

I have to get to the bottom with this to see if I can get to the top. Let’s try to find how you can search engine optimize yourself.

 

Search engine optimize yourself - search results

Google results for my Swedish site

 

Googlebot

According to the site Smart Insights, 6,586,013,574 Internet searches are performed each day. Out of those, two thirds are done on Google. Those two sentences contains a lot of information. 6½ billion is an enormous amount, and over 4 billions of those is via Google. Every day!

To be able to answer all the queries that Google gets, they have a gigantic computer network that stores information about all web pages. The information about those web pages is harvested by something called a bot (as in the last part of robot), web crawler or spider. The name of Googles web crawler is Googlebot. Google feeds the bot with a list of big sites around the world. Then Googlebot enters each and every one of those websites and when it finds a link to another site it ads it to the list. When Googlebot scans that link later on, it may find other links which it will also add to the list. This way, Googlebot traverses the Internet from the start page, by a link to the next page, by a link to the next page and so on.

In every site that the Googlebot visits it gathers information about its pages. The page title, content and images are stored on Google’s servers. When you search on Google you will get the information that you need in a flash. What Google does so well is that they provide the correct data really quick. Of course, there are other search engines – Bing, Baidu, Ask, Yahoo, AOL and Lycos are all great players. Google is still number one, though.

Search Engine Optimization

In order to help Google to provide the correct information you can add a bit of data to your site to make it easier for the Googlebot to categorize it. Generally, the more you help the Googlebot, the more the Googlebot will help you. The more accurate information (so called meta data) about your page that you provide, the higher Google will rank you. All companies, and especially those selling something, wants to be in top of that list. That is why we spend so much time to make it easier for Google to index our sites. This process is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO in short.

During the last few years there has been a lot of ways of exploiting this. When YouTube and online movies were new, Google were very generous to this kind of content. If you added a film that pointed to your page, you would automatically end up in the top of the list. When Google realized how easy this was they changed the rules and something else was prioritized. When the companies started to exploit those new rules, Google adjusted them again, and you had to change your strategies. In this game the board keeps on changing every day, and to keep yourself up-to-date with the current rules is a full time job nowadays. A skilled Search Engine Optimizer can do wonders on a site and this had turn into a well paid high prestige job.

Speed

Another thing that Google likes is speed. There are a number of services online where you enter your page address and they will analyze it for you and give you information about what to do to perform better. One of those is Googles own PageSpeed Insights. Let’s see just how good my Swedish page is.

Search engine optimize yourself - PageSpeed Insights result

Google Insights for my Swedish site.

Well, that’s not so good. 46 % on the mobile version and 54 on the computer. Let’s see what we can do about it!?

Optimize Images

It is possible to remove redundant information in an ordinary image without ruining the quality. By compressing the images with a smart algorithm you strip away the bits that you really don’t need. The file size is reduced by 40-80%! I installed a WordPress plugin called Smush that performs this for me. But I realize that they won’t optimize it all the way if I don’t pay for it. That’s annoying!

Activate Cache

Every time someone wants to see a post on my blog the page is created on the web server before it’s sent to the web browser. Cache is a pocket memory where we store a snapshot of how the page looked last time it was created. On the next request, the stored page is transmitted again without creating it once more. This saves a lot of time. I use WP Fastest Cache for caching.

Minimize Javascript and CSS files

The look and feel from your site and what happens when you click buttons is determined by your CSS and Javascript files. A Javascript variable name can be written as MyFantasticButton or simply m. There are programs that will minimize your Javascript files and exchange long variable names with short ones. Besides it will remove all the comments, so the resulting file size is just a fraction of the full file. I first installed a WordPress plugin called WP Super Minify, but it didn’t perform like I expected it to. Instead, I found settings in my WP Fastest Cache (from the section above) that solved this for me.

Search engine optimize yourself

When I run PageSpeed Insight again after my changes I have already reached 68/100 for the mobile site and 80/100 on the computer version. That’s a great start! Now that my page is a bit faster I will also try to add some keywords to Google that will connect my site to the phrase Tomas Heed. I will add some Meta Keywords: “Tomas Heed Writer Musician Entrepreneur” on my page. Then we will have to wait for a while and see where Google will position me.