Is Search Engine Optimisation on your radar? Or just not sure what this SEO caper is all about?
I was talking to an entrepreneurial friend this week, and he mentioned getting help for SEO and content for his site. We discussed how it feels as though creating the website is the BIG step, and it takes all your focus for that time, then you feel so relieved that it’s done!
But then you realise… How are people actually going to find your website? You can pour money in Google Ads and Facebook Ads but it’s not a great long-term strategy on its own.
To put the ball back in your own court, what else can you do? Create awesome content regularly. Yep, that’s all. So easy, right?!?
However, as my friend said, since their site went live a year ago, nothing’s been changed. They haven’t added any new pages, or blogged as regularly as they’d like, because we all know this – you get busy actually running your business, helping your clients, and blogging becomes the last priority on the list.
I interviewed Shae Baxter, SEO coach recently, and I asked her:
For clients who don’t want to blog, or don’t feel like they need to – what would you say to them; can your website successfully bring the traffic you want for your business if you don’t blog?
If you’re not prepared to blog, then I ask – how can you drive traffic to your website on a regular basis? Google loves fresh, updated content.
Quality content and good use of SEO strategies is critical to getting your site noticed out of the squillions of others out there.
So what can YOU do to get a handle on Search Engine Optimisation?
If budget allows you could hire someone to teach you how to do it, or take care of it for you. That’s a whole other story on what to look out for, as there’s some pretty shonky operators in the field and Google actually penalises some of the practices in use. You do not want to end up there.
If you want to learn the basics yourself, here’s some places and resources I recommend to get started. Even if you don’t intend to do all your SEO and content strategy or creation yourself, I believe it’s really important to at least understand the key concepts and terms so that you can relate to what a specialist is talking about.
Blogs & Websites to Start Your Research
I’ve learnt more from Shae’s free resources than any single other site. She gives a lot of valuable information for free; her blog posts give very specific explanations and tips that any SEO beginner can understand and implement.
If you do nothing else, sign up to receive Shae’s free guide to writing Google-friendly posts in under 5 minutes; print it out and stick it on the wall near your computer.
Started out as SEO Moz, they’ve expanded to cover all aspects of inbound marketing (i.e. marketing that brings customers “inwards” to you).
Begin with their “Learn” page, and in particular, The Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Even a good skim-read over this will enlighten you about the terminology and most important aspects of SEO that you need to be aware of.
Search Engine Journal
Keyword Research – What is it?
Basically, you need to understand the keywords/phrases that people are searching, that lead them to your site. To learn more about this, check out these posts:
This one tells you how to find out what keywords your competitors are using. Sneaky & creepy, yes but also may be useful:
Creating the Content Your Readers Want… That Google Will Love Too!
All the SEO experts I read say the same thing; keywords are important, but writing engaging content is critical.
You could write the perfect SEO’d post but if it’s as boring as watching paint dry, no-one’s going to read past the first paragraph.
For tips on being creative AND engaging in your writing but still being SEO-friendly, here’s 2 great posts from Shae Baxter on this topic:
Leaving aside the SEO nuts and bolts for now…
If you want to create awesome content that your prospective clients will need and love, here’s a few blogs I like for blogging advice:
Kate McKibbin’s Secret Bloggers’ Business has plenty of informative posts about the fine art of blogging, as well as a couple of blogging courses if you want to really up the ante.
Great for: learning the ins and outs of successful blogging, without being boring.
I also find Alexandra Franzen amazingly generous with her information, as well as a totally inspiring example of making it online, by doing something she clearly adores:
Great for – scripts to get you started with just about any kind of page (sales, about, blog post, etc) or email (not-so-fun ones, how to ask for someone’s help/support with your project, introduce yourself, etc).
Donna Moritz from Socially Sorted focuses on VISUAL content that attracts and rewards your audience. My whole perception of blogging changed after reading and listening to Donna, I was really focused on writing, because that’s what I enjoy, but as she so rightly points out – visual is one of the THE best ways to quickly connect with your audience, and give them what they want.
Great for – sparking ideas, learning about tools to use to create cool visuals, and keeping up with the way our online interactions are changing.
So there’s my SEO 101 tips, with one last bit of advice – this SEO stuff moves like lightning, so keep researching and learning, and make sure that the blogs and sites you are following for this info are up to date. Reading blog posts from a year ago about Google’s algorithms will give you a nice history lesson but may be completely irrelevant today.