Why everyone needs to chill out about SEO
Firstly, let’s start with this SEO summary video by the gorgeous Farideh Ceaser.
Actually I could stop there, but you need to know this:
SEO is important, but it’s not the be all and end all for your business. Honestly, it’s not.
I have to say this because I've seen so many people get tied up in knots because their SEO specialist has told them they’re failing in business when they’re not on page one of Google, or that being there will solve all their engagement and sales problems.
Repeat after me:
No single company knows everything about SEO. And good SEO will not solve all my business problems.
The secrets of the search engine giants (namely Google) are just that, secret. AND, reaching the golden front page doesn’t guarantee success. It can be a short-lived process where you fall out of favour rather quickly if your service sucks or you paid someone to get you there unnaturally.
So, I want you to RELAX.
Yes, you can’t sell in a vacuum, people do need to know about you and see you. But there are so many ways to be seen and heard than wrestling with frickin’ ever-changing algorithms. These include: social media forums, networking, word of mouth, direct mail, adverts, PR, guest blogging, regular blogging, writing features, holding stalls at events, speaking at events, TV and radio appearances, even wearing a placard and walking up and down your street - if you want.
EXAMPLE OF SUCCESS: One of my favourite beauty companies, Liz Earle, doesn't come up on page numero uno when I search for ‘ethical beauty products’ or ‘cleansers’, but they happen to have one the best known and award-winning ethical cleansers the world has ever seen (I'm not paid to say that - it just is) and clearly the most devoted, loyal customers. And I have no doubt Liz Earle herself earns a blinding fortune.
Why I'm not crying about my SEO
I'm not on page one. Well, I am if you search Elizabeth Inniss because there are very few of us around (I think there are two of us). But who goes around searching for Elizabeth Inniss when they need a copywriter? One day perhaps...
Anyway I don't get upset that 'Elizabeth Inniss' and 'Copywriter' aren't synonymous. Like many good business owners, most of my business comes from word-of-mouth recommendations, but I still manage to get a sizeable 25% from organic online sources while not trying very hard.
Six Simple SEO Boosters
Many copywriters have a basic grasp of SEO (or should do) so here's my knowledge, which you can implement today, even if you're fearful of the interwebs:
1. Write for humans first
People keep bandying around the phrase ‘content is king’ like it’s going out of fashion. But it has to be good content: well written, clear and relevant for the reader. This can take the form of a website, sales page, blog, article, video or podcast. It can be entertaining, moving or informative, but it has to be written for human consumption - not for crawlers/bots (whatever) trawling around a cyber-universe. When humans interact with your work, such as reading it, sharing it, liking it or subscribing, your SEO improves.
2. Write regularly
Don't let your web presence stagnate. You need to update your website, write regular blog posts and keep things moving and dynamic. Quantity matters as the more often you create content (again, good content), the more often the search engine thingamies will visit your site, I’m not sure why this is important, but that helps too.
3. Choose focused keywords for each page of your website
If you’re a business coach, don’t put ‘business coaching’ several times on every single page of your website as you will confuse the bots and probably sound very repetitive to the humans.
Instead, pick a relevant keyword/phrase for each page. So, as a biz coach you may have a time management page – so on that page you can cool off the ‘business coaching’ and instead use ‘effective time management’ a few times. Remember to write for humans, so make sure this is naturally occurring and doesn't sound like you’re a stuck record (remember those?). You can include keywords in your headlines or sub-headers too.
4. Create an FAQ page
Apparently plenty of FAQ (frequently asked questions) helps not only to appease your visitors’ addled and cautious minds, but creates long-tail search terms like: ‘Why do I need a personal stylist?’ which those online crawlers seem to really like. So, in time, when someone types in that question, they could well land on your site.
5. Allow energy to flow in and out with useful, relevant links
Add some relevant links to other quality sites on your blog or website. They should complement what you’ve written and be useful for the visitor.
It's also important to get inbound links from reputable sites, whether they are fabulous blogs, other people’s websites or good directories (not shoddy ones). Commenting on other (relevant, trustworthy) blog posts is one way to do this.
Note of caution: don’t pay for inbound links. The search engines don’t like so-called link farms and will penalise your site.
6. Use social media
I've read mixed reviews on social media’s SEO-generating abilities, but so many of my clients either use it themselves, or turn up on my website from one of my channels, that I have to throw it in. When you create content, just share it and link it to all your social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) – by the way Google loves Google+ so make sure you create a profile.
7. Make sure your website doesn’t take too long to load. For instance, check that your images aren’t enormous and review your site’s plugins (your website programmer can help you if you’re not sure about all this).
8. Create a sitemap – this allows visitors and search engines to see all the pages on your website more clearly. Again, your web person can help with this, or you can start here.
Don't let your page one obsession take over
Remember this: SEO...
- is only part of your business marketing strategy
- is a campaign and takes time to build
Now go and get visible! x
P.S. Do you think I should be more bothered about SEO? Have you been burned by an SEO company? Tell me in the comments below.
And if you’d like to know when I publish my next blog (and for special discounts and beta services I only offer to my list PLUS a cool freebie - phew!) sign up here.
Useful SEO Links:
Google Analytics is really useful for tracking traffic coming into your website.
Google Webmaster Tools gives you with detailed reports about your pages' visibility on Google and you can search for particular search terms here.
Natalie Lussier has some wonderful resources (some fee based, some free) which can help you navigate SEO and analytics.
Recommended reading for you to start you off: