SEO Made Easy
Today I want to chat about how to do SEO the DIY way so that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on those SEO experts that are spamming your inbox. Have you ever received a scheme-y email from someone promising that they can boost your SEO and even get your business to the top of Google’s search results list? These days it seems like SEO (search engine optimization) is a hot topic and every time I have a call with a potential client they all have a similar question: Do you provide SEO? I’m here to tell you that you can ensure your own great SEO results without having to pay an SEO-expert.
It’s Not Just About Key Words Anymore
The old way of thinking about SEO is to think about tags and keywords. Although that is still important and might be your SEO strategy, what has worked for me has been a focus on content marketing and distribution. I write content that is relevant to my business and the needs of my clients. I also ensure that everything I put out is authentic to my brand. I then distribute it in places that I know where my clients are hanging out (ie social media). I recently read a blog post by Go Live HQ and they posed the question “when was the last time you heard of an awesome brand through Google?” For me personally I find out about cool brands through word of mouth and Instagram. Last summer I attended a conference called the Yellow Conference that is aimed at creative women who want to make a difference. I came across them on Instagram. At that time I wasn’t looking for a conference to go but it seemed to offer a lot of what I needed at the time (especially considering that I just launched Little Trailer Studio) so I bought my ticket right away. The point is that I didn’t go to Google and search “awesomely cute LA-based conference for creative entrepreneur girl bosses.” Your potential clients and customers might not always be actively looking for you but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it easy for them to come across your business. If you are in a service-based industry think about your potential and ideal customers. Where are they hanging out online, where would they most likely search for your service?
Keep it Authentic
Consider this scenario: an online magazine reaches out to you and asks you to write an article for them. They have thousands more followers than you do but their brand, core values, and target audience is not aligned with your own. Sure you might get a lot of hits to your own website but are those the right type of customers that you want to attract? Every strategy you implement should be authentic to your brand and core values. Don’t go fishing for strategies simply because you are desperate for results. Staying true to your brand will yield high results in the long run so don’t get blinded by dollar signs.
Keep Your Code & H1, H2, H3, H4 Clean
If you are a blogger, a simple thing you can do is ensure you are using your H1, H2 and H3’s correctly. Search engines treat headings in order of importance, with H1 being the most important heading. Make sure your blog post titles are all in H1’s and subtitles are in H2’s. If you don’t like the size/look of your H1’s change it rather than using a different heading type. Doing this simple thing will ensure that search engines are finding your web pages and articles.
Have a Good Website that Converts
I think you’ll agree when I say that it won’t matter if you pay hundreds of dollars to show up at the top of Google’s search result list if your website isn’t very good and doesn’t have a clear call to action. Ultimately the goal of being easily found by your ideal customer/client is so that they can book your services, purchase your products, etc. The goal is always conversion so you should tailor your website to reflect that.
Reconsider What is Typically Considered a Search Engine
If you are reserving Google as the only search engine you need to rethink how you think of search engines. With the advent of social media, apps, and the ever countless ways to share content and media, people are now using other tools besides Google to find new content. Consider the following ways that people are now using to search for content.
Many of my blog readers find me through Pinterest. Yes, Pinterest is a search engine and can be so invaluable to the growth of your blog, shop or business. People use Pinterest to search for DIY’s, articles like this one, recipes, inspiration for home remodeling, marketing tips, and much more.
Take Action: Set up rich pins for your pins, post often, tailor your Pinterest profile and boards so that they are relevant to your business and relevant to the needs of your readers/clients/customers.
When I first launched Little Trailer Studio one of the first things I did was ensure that I made a little space for my home office so that I could stay productive and motivated. But since I have a small space I thought it would be a good idea to hire an interior designer to help me maximize my space. One of the first places I looked was Instagram. I used the hashtags #interiordesign, #interiordesigners. With Instagram being so image-focused I knew that would be a good place to start in my search. Since having been on the client-side myself, I now include hashtags that my customers would probably use when looking for design and branding services.
Take Action: Tailor your Instagram so that it is easy for potential customers to find you and consider using Instagram as a sales funnel.
If you are a local business, specialty shop, restaurant you’ll definitely want to get on Yelp. I used to only use Yelp to find restaurants and bars but it is now my go to when I am looking for obscure local businesses like a risograph printer, a custom metal engraving shop and many more. I was surprised to find out that an interior designer friend of mine gets a lot of leads through Yelp. She lives in San Francisco and apparently Yelp is huge up there. So consider your location as well. Is there an app that your customers are using? This goes back to thinking about where your customers hang out.
Don’t leave your Yelp page up to your existing customers. Fill up your business profile to include as much information as possible and encourage your customers to check in or write a review. If you have a couple bad reviews, respond to those customers and offer a free coupon or even an apology about their bad experience. You’d be surprised how this can go a long way and those customers will usually change their review. We used to do this at my last job and it always worked like a charm.
Take Action: Register your small business on Yelp. Upload photos, write a clear description of what your business does, and include as much information as you can like hours of operation, a menu, how to contact you, etc.
Implement these simple tips before you go out and purchase ads or invest in an SEO expert. Focusing on getting on the right platforms has yielded great results for me as well as focusing on content marketing. What strategies have worked for you? This can be a controversial topic and I know every business is different so I wanna know what has worked for you, what hasn’t worked for you? Leave a comment below, I wanna hear about it!
Other Great SEO Tools
Yoast SEO – This WordPress plugin is so useful in helping me optimize my blog posts for search engines.
Google Analytics – Google Analytics tells me so much about how my audience is using my website. It tells me what page/blog post gets the most traction, where my audience is coming from, how long they stick around on my website, and much more.