This won’t be a technical discussion about Search Engine Optimization. Audrey going to be more of your translator to bridge the gap between the technical jargon of SEO and the practical application. On this episode, she will be sharing the top things you need to do to optimize your site, tools you can use and of course action steps to get you started.
Thanks so much for listening. If you have a question or a show topic suggestion go to our website Inkyma.com and fill out the contact form in the footer. I appreciate all your feedback.
MARKETING STRATEGIES PODCAST EPISODE 22
Links mentioned in this episode:
5 Website Mistakes Podcast Episode – https://inkyma.com/marketing-strategies-podcast/top-5-website-design-mistakes/
A Simple SEO Strategy For Your Website Transcription
Welcome to Marketing Strategies with Audrey Kerchner, sponsored by Inkyma, taking your small business to the next level with proven creative solutions designed to grow your awareness and connect to your customers. Now, here’s Audrey.
Hi there and welcome.
This is Audrey Kerchner, co-founder and chief marketing strategist at Inkyma. Inkyma Is a full-service marketing agency, and we bring that big agency feel and customer service to small business owners. We do marketing strategy, branding, website design and hosting, content marketing search engine optimization, social media, and digital advertising. To learn more about what we do, ask us a question or schedule a marketing evaluation for your business go to our website, Inkyma.com. That’s I-N-K-Y-M-A.com.
So if this is your first show or hopefully it’s your 15th or 20th show, welcome and welcome back. We’re really, really glad that you’re listening. And if you haven’t listened to all the shows yet, feel free to go back to your favorite podcast system and listen to all and any that you want. We are on Podbean, Spotify, Amazon, and Audible, as well as you can listen to them all on our website as well.
So today I’m going to talk to you about search engine optimization. Don’t groan, don’t go anywhere, stay. This won’t be a technical discussion, I promise. I understand that search engine optimization is a frustrating topic for many business owners, because the majority of us, we’re not developers, we’re not coders. And search engine optimization started out with being able to do it and do it well, you really needed to have some type of technical background. And while it’s not easy to do it today, it is doable. And so take a listen to what Neil Patel, one of the leading search engine optimization experts has to say about it.
“I’ve been doing SEO for a very, very long time. When I first started doing SEO, it was literally just as simple as adding keywords to your title tag or within the text of your content, and you could rank on page one. Seriously! That’s how easy it was. And it was that way for a few years. And then eventually you would need to do things like on-page SEO, and then eventually you would need to do things like build links, But it was really simple. These days, there really isn’t a holy grail of SEO. And although some people are claiming SEO is dead, it isn’t.
So Neil’s saying it’s not dead. I’m saying it’s not dead. It’s not easy, but it is doable. And you can learn how to do it, you just really need a translator. Someone who can take all that technical stuff, tell you what it means to you, to your business and why it’s important and what to do with it. And that’s me! I can walk you through all the jargon, explain it in non-technical terms, tell you what non-technical tools you can use and what to focus on the most. Because there is a ton of information out there and so many different things you can do and conflicting information. But what I’m going to share with you today are those top tools and the top five things you can do right now to optimize your website better.
But let’s talk about what search engine optimization is first and why it’s important. So in essence, with your website, you’re writing for human beings. You want human beings to read your content and become a lead. What search engine optimization is, is you’re making that human content readable for Google, right? Cause we’re going to talk about Google. There’s other engines out there, but Google’s the number one. So you’re making it readable for Google, who will then in turn, show it to the humans. And those users will consume the content and become leads. That’s the purpose of search engine optimization and that’s why we need it. And all of this is relatively free. It’s not paid advertising. You’re not spending time on other platforms. You know, those are different tactics. Search engine optimization is all about your website and getting people to come and using Google search engine to do it.
So why do you want to do all this? Why do you want to invest all this time in learning and doing this? SEO is probably the second, most powerful way to get people, to engage with your company. Because if they’re a potential lead for your business, they’re doing research on whatever that service or product is. They’ll come across your site or they’ll come across your article, and you will give them information. So they are finding you. Because they’ve found you, they’re choosing to look at your content, which means they have a little bit of a vested interest. Then they consume the content. And if they like it, then they’re really invested. They’re like, look what I found. Look what I did. So, right, they’re taking kind of ownership of what you’ve already created and this makes it more likely that they’re going to become a lead or a customer, because they’re taking ownership of what’s happened, versus having content pushed to them via digital ad or via social or something like that. The only thing that it’s more powerful than this is referrals from friends and family. someone else saying, Hey, here’s who I used for this, I think you should use them too. So these are the top two.
So this is why it’s important to create content but create continuous content. Because the more content you create, the more likely you are to have people see it. Google likes a website that has a lot of content. And when Google likes your site, they push you up in the search rankings when people are looking for content. So that’s really all ranking is, is where Google places, your content so that people can find it. And in order to do this well and to do it the right way, your business website needs a blog. That blog is how you’re going to make search engine optimization work for you.
If you listen to the show that I put out about five mistakes, that websites make, one of those mistakes was putting way too much content on your main pages. Main content pages need to have little content that is very scannable and easy to consume and fast to consume. But search engines don’t like that. They need more content to figure out how to place you and where to place you. And that’s where a blog comes in. A blog can be that long content, articles have 4 to 600 words in paragraph format that has a table of contents. The stuff that you don’t do on your main pages.
So that’s where the balance comes in. All the really great search engine optimized content is in your blog. And then your main pages, it’s easy to scan, easy for people to understand what problem you’re solving for them and how you do it, and what product and services that you’re offering.
If you have a WordPress site, I have really good news for you, because this will be so, so much easier for you to optimize your content if you have a WordPress site. If you don’t have a WordPress site, you have Wix or some other proprietary system where they have probably have their own built-in search engine optimization tools use those. But for WordPress, there are two main plugins out in the industry right now that will help you optimize your site and not need a stitch of code or any technical support. Those are Yoast and Rank Math. And what they do is they look at your content and they give you recommendations on how to fix it. And then they give you forms and fields to fill out, and then they inject that into the code so that it’s sitting in the right place for Google to go and find it. Can’t get much easier than that.
And the best thing is that both of these tools, there are a ton of YouTube videos out there showing you how to use it, showing you how to tweak it, giving you processes. So not only can you get the plugin for little or no cost, but you can also get all the education for free too.
Here at Inkyma we love and use Rank Math as our standard. The reason is that the free version is really robust, more robust than Yoast’s free version. But the other thing that Rank Math includes is schemas. I know, technical term. What schemas are, they’re just indicators of code. It’s little pieces of code that tell Google, Hey, this is a recipe; This is a book; This is a product; This is a service. It just identifies it and tells them what it is so that they know where to pull it up and out when people are looking for that type of content.
So if you’ve ever done research and looked up recipes on Google, and at the top, you see a picture with a link and they’re in these blocks at the top before you get to the search results. That’s because whoever put that post out included a schema saying, this is a recipe, here’s the image, here’s the bits and pieces. They like to float that to the top. What Google wants to do is give people what they want as far at the top as possible, because they want people to click through. And that’s all schemas are. And here’s the beautiful thing, is that Rank Math, you just go in and identify it with an indicator within the blog post, and then it gets surfaced up. So we’ll talk more about that for other things for businesses in general.
So while I’m going to mainly talk about blog posts today and blogging, you do need to optimize your main pages. You’re not going to have a lot of content, so that piece of it’s not going to be there, but all the other things need to be done in order to optimize those main pages. And once they’re done, they’re done. Unless you add or delete products or services or something new comes up in the industry, like when COVID happened, a little bit of optimization there definitely had to happen for open hours and that sort of thing. But unless there’s a major event, you’re not going to really reoptimize your main pages all that often. And so while we’re going to focus on blog articles, now I’m going to talk to you about the top five things you can do on every single blog article to optimize it so that you get noticed by Google,
So let’s start out with number one of the five things I want you to take notes on and to get you ranked better. Again, there are tons and tons of things you can do, but in my mind, and from what I’ve seen, these are the top five to get the best bang for your buck. And then once you get comfortable with these, then you can dive into other things. But if you’re optimizing every single page you have now, and into the future with these things, you’re well on your way to being optimized well.
So, number one, I want to talk to you about keywords. So used to be where you did try to optimize for a single word, right? And they call it a keyword, things like shoes or coffee. Nowadays, when there’s so much competition for a single word and the word’s not in context, what you want to focus on is phrases. So instead of coffee, you want to optimize a single page for a phrase: decaffeinated, natural coffee, right? That is a completely different phrase. And then you can get a ton of articles in there about coffee, but they’re hitting different phrases. So another example I’m going to give you that we’ve done is articles on QR codes. You can do QR code as a single word, or the phrase could be increased sales with QR codes. So I’m targeting people that are doing research on how to use QR codes to grow their business, to grow their sales, rather than how to create a QR code. See the difference? I could do the creation article as well.
And that brings me to my next point in this section is you want to be very specific with each and every article. You don’t want to write one article that has a bunch of different sections about QR codes. You want to write a bunch of different articles about QR codes, and then you can link them together. And I’ll talk in a little bit about how linking them together is helpful. So be very specific in your content and what you write. Don’t write just big general articles, deep dive, right? Write three or four articles about a specific subject. You’re the subject matter expert in your business, right? You’re the owner, you’re very high up in the rankings and you know your business inside and out. I bet if you sat down and you just thought about your product or services, you could come up with 5, 10, 20 article titles, especially if they’re all specific about what you do. So doing keyword research is fine, but honestly, I think as business owners, you probably don’t need to do a lot. I think it’s all in your head. The hard part is writing out the articles, but coming up with the topic and what that phrase would be, you can probably sit down and write them all out.
If you do need some inspiration, there are a lot of tools out there, but the one I recommend everybody to start with and it’s free, of course, is Google search console. So what Google does is once you set it up and link your website, it’s going to show you all the data from the search. It’s going to tell you what phrases people use to find your existing content. It’s going to show you impressions, meaning how many times it showed up. And then it’s going to show you how many clicks you got on your content based off of that word and where the click went to. Did it go to the home page? Did it go to a blog article? And so that data is gold because it’s actually telling you what people are searching for and then how you’re relevant to that. So you can write more articles about it, or if there’s something you thought was more relevant, but it’s not coming up, you can tweak the article.
So let me give you an example. We work with a home health agency and we put out seed articles about different topics that we think people are going to like. And one seed article that we created was to help senior citizens with video conferencing. And ironically, we did this about a year and a half to two years before COVID. So our content was already out there when video conferencing became completely mainstream. And what we found through Google search and to Google analytics and all the places that we look, is that the article was really popular. And so we made a decision to write four or five more articles. We evaluated software products that were easy to use for senior citizens. We walked through a step-by-step installation guide for the major systems and then how to help your senior get connected on the other side and then a bunch of other articles. And all have done really well. And when, I say really well, meaning people are searching for this. They’re clicking on the content, they’re reading it, and then they’re signing up for the newsletter because we know that they’re the type of audience that we want, people that are looking to help senior citizens in their lives. That way, at some point in the future, and they need the services, they knew who to call.
So number two –I know I spent a lot of time on number one. We’ll flow through these a little bit faster. Number two is adding frequently asked questions to every single blog article you create. So FAQs, frequently asked questions, is a schema that Google recognizes. And if you remember what I said about schemas, this is just the indicator that tells Google what it is. We put questions in search all the time, stream of conscious, that sort of thing. And so what Google has created to support that is that when you ask a question, they give you the question and answer or something very similar, much closer to the top than where the full article would be. And so how Google does that is they look through the articles and if they see the FAQ schema, they know to pull that content out and put it at the top of the search engine and your article still ranks somewhere below. But if your questions at the top and they want more information, they’re more likely to click through. So this is why FAQs are probably the most important schema for the majority of business owners out there. You’re going to have your service schemas, you’re going to have your product schemas, but just make sure you’re using that. And again, if you are a WordPress site owner, that schema indicator is built into the blogging systems, or you can download a plugin if you don’t have it. Again, all free, easy to set up, it’s just clicking point.
So number three, this one’s really important. And this one may be more time and cost, but it’s worth it, is making sure that your site is mobile friendly. Google is a mobile-first search platform. They’ve announced it. What this means is, if your site is not optimized, doesn’t look great .not good, great on search on mobile, then they’re not going to put your content up, because they don’t want the person who’s clicking through to have a bad experience. So if you and a competitor have an article out there, similar topics, similar information, if your site is more mobile-friendly than the other one, they’re going to put you first.
Now mobile optimization is relatively new to the industry. To really get the benefits, your site has to be within three years or less. If it’s five or more, you’re definitely going to get pushed down. We had a client who came to us because they stopped ranking at all. You couldn’t find them anywhere on Google, and that’s because their site was 10 years old. It was so antiquated that Google couldn’t even read it anymore. So take a look at your current site, see how old it is. See if there are things you can do to fix it so that the mobile version is better looking or completely redo it. Because if you completely redo your site now, things like WordPress, you can use a site builder like Elementor, which is what we use. And then you can actually tweak and optimize the different versions of your site. It actually creates three different versions, a desktop version, a mobile version, and a tablet version. And all of those can be tweaked differently. You can resize things. So it looks good across all three, which is really what you want, right? That’s the gold standard: look good, look great, no matter where you are.
So let’s move on to number four: images. Images are searchable, but they need a little bit of a tweak and they get pushed to the top. They even have their own category. So every time you write a blog article, or even on your main pages, for that matter, every single image should have search content. And that search content is called the alt text. So I’m going to keep using WordPress as the example because that’s what we know, that’s what we use. If you go into your media library and you click on any image on the right-hand side, it gives you the information about that.
The very first field at the top is the alt text field. That’s the most important. You put your keyword phrase in there. So if it’s for a blog article, it’s the exact same phrase that using for the entire article, if it is on your main pages, like your product or service pages, put your product, put your service in there. The rest of the fields don’t matter from a search perspective, they’re not even looked at. You may use them for something else in the site, but not for search. That alt text field is absolutely important on every single image you have out there. Because if they click on the image, it’s going to take them back to the page that it’s associated to.
And then finally, number five, I want to talk about internal and external links within your page. Your blog posts your main page, whichever, but let’s talk about a blog post. So external links, Google likes when you link out outside content. It makes your content look more credible, because you’re actually trying to inform and educate, and you’re using credible sources external from your site to do that. And the keyword there is credible. Don’t just link to any content. Link to content that you know, to be valid and good, hopefully very high ranking in and of itself. So let’s say you’re a medical office, just general medicine, you’re going to link to articles from the AMA or The Journal, or other highly credible medical sources. And so that’s external links, Google really likes them. They want you to have at least one or two on every single page that makes them think your content’s really good. And internal links, they support your content in two ways. One, they’re for the humans read it, because you can link to other content within your existing website to help give them references to look at. And then where it’s good for Google, is that when it links all of those different pages together, it gives them a broader picture of who you are and what you’re talking about. And it makes it more likely that they’re going to push you up in the search rankings, because then they look at one piece of content in context to the other, and then they make connections between the two.
So let’s talk about an example. Let’s say you’re a contractor and you wrote an article about kitchen remodeling and how to remodel that kitchen so that you get a better return on your investment when you go to sell the home. And let’s say the article specifically about kitchen sinks. So the external link could be where you talk about these are the five kitchen sinks that we use to help homeowners get a better return on the investment. And then you link out to where you actually order your sinks from, those vendor sites which are highly credible because they’re the manufacturer of it. You’re not linking out to Amazon. Amazon’s fine, by the way. And then the internal link could be to something where take a look at this kitchen remodel we did showing you one of those sinks that we previously mentioned. And then you’re linking to your image gallery within your existing site. And depending on how your site’s structured, it could be just the kitchen pages on your site. And that’s how internal and external links work.
So hopefully you’re still with me. Hopefully, you’re not so frustrated with the concept of search engine optimization. And you’re a little excited about figuring out how you’re going to do this for your website. So if you’re one or all of those things, excellent, I’m so glad. But now the next thing I want you to do is take action. All this information is just information until you do something with it. So let’s walk through the next couple of things I want you to do. As soon as you’re done listening to this podcast, or at least within a week.
First, if you don’t already have a blog on your website, create one, add one, figure out how to do it. 99% of the website builders out there, they allow you to have a blog because they do know the secret: blog is the secret to search engine optimization. If you already have a blog, you, or someone on your team, go back and optimize all of your existing blog posts with what we just walked through. Google will see it as an update. They will see it as a content refresh, which is a really great thing. They love refreshes and they love brand new content. They see them both as good things. And then when you optimize it, they’ll understand what it is better, and then the windup ranking it higher. And it’s already been indexed into the search. They know it already exists. If you’re using WordPress add Rank Math. Again, it’s free. It’s going to really help guide you through this optimization process. It even has more in it than what I just talked about, these five things. It has so many more things. But even if you just go through and do the five things we talked about, you’re going to see your score go up. They give you a really great score. They’ll tell you that you’re scoring 70 out of a 100. And then you change things. And then you get to see yourself go up to like 86 out of a 100. So it’s a little gratifying too.
I want you to create two new articles per month after you’ve gone through and done all of this stuff and make sure you optimize them, just like we just talked about. Try to shoot for 600 words per article. If you can only do maybe 400, 500, that’s fine. But the sweet spot is 600. And you’ll read articles about longer articles. Longer articles are great, but not everybody has the time to do them like 1,200, 1,500 words. So try to shoot for 600, plus or minus a hundred in there. Register your website with the Google search console and use it to get inspiration to find new and different phrases from the people that are searching your type of content to get more ideas. And the other thing that Google search will do is, it will actually tell you if there’s problems with your website. It’ll tell you if wording on your mobile version is too small, or if an image is too small, or stuff is too close together, or if there’s an error message. So it actually will take a look at the behind-the-scenes code and tell you if there’s things that you need to fix. So it’s a win-win and it’s free. So this is just the tip of the iceberg.
As I keep saying, there’s so much more out there, there’s so much that you can be doing, there’s speed optimization, there’s all other kinds of stuff. And so if you really want to do this and you don’t want to do it yourself, maybe even just using a tool like Rank Math feels like it’s too daunting or too much, right? You got too much on your plate, hire an agency. But when you’re talking to agencies about this, ones that you want to hire, bring up these five things, talk to them about it. Any agency that is actually good at this, they’re going to talk to you about content. They’re going to talk to you about phrasing. They’re going to talk to you about those types of things. Don’t talk to the ones that are out there that all they’re going to do is say, oh, create your content. And we’ll go find backlinks for you. That’s not search engine optimization. That’s just one small piece of it. And they’re probably going to charge you a lot of money to do that. So at the very least, this show has given you the tools to talk intelligently about it, so you can hire the right agency. Ultimately, whether you write it, an agency writes it, whoever optimizes it, it’s got to be written and consumed by human beings. And Google’s part in it is just to lift that content so that the human finds it and finds you and makes the connection.
Here at Inkyma, we like to give back to the business community. I provide a free 45-minute consultation to any business owner. Let’s say you just want to talk about search engine optimization. Maybe you have other questions there, or you want to talk about having us do your search engine optimization for you. Regardless of the conversation, those 45 minutes are for you and what you want to talk about. Just go to my website Inkyma.com, That’s I-N-K-Y-M-A.com, and in the upper-righthand corner, there is a button for you to schedule a free marketing evaluation. Just click on it, pick your time, and we are on the calendar together.
If you found this information helpful, inspiring, and you think it would be useful to other business owners that, you know, please share it. That’s what this whole podcast is for, is to help the entire business community, educate themselves on marketing, figure out what they want to do themselves, figure out what they want to outsource so that we can all grow and thrive. So thanks so much for listening and have an amazing day.
Thanks for listening to Marketing Strategy sponsored by Inkyma online at I-N-K-Y-M-A.com. Listen to Marketing Strategies, now heard every Saturday morning at 9:30 on KPPF