SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Sounds super technical and complicated, doesn’t it?
P.S. if you’re not familiar, SEO is basically a fancy word for prepping your site and content to get spotted first in an internet search for your thing!
And if you don’t fancy yourself a tech-savvy person, it can feel like there are far too many settings, site tweaks, and best practices to ever get it right.
So you quickly hop on (you guessed it) Google, and try to rustle up some paid SEO help.
And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing in the big guns to get pro help (huge fan, actually) there’s just one thing you need to know first…
SEO isn’t a one-and-done thing.
There is not some master checklist out there that once every box is ticked you suddenly become the star of the internet.
It’s something you do every dang day that you show up online.
And it’s easier than you think.
And yet I was still able to:
✔️ massively increase my organic site traffic
✔️ fully book out my services
✔️ double my prices almost right away
So you can relax a little know that you don’t have to have some crazy extensive knowledge of SEO to make it all happen.
Want to know my secret?
I consistently showed up with genuinely useful content.
It wasn’t some flashy set of keywords I stuffed into every last corner of my site, or some magical back-end setting I tweaked that transformed my online presence.
Nope. Just good old fashioned help, in the form of blog posts, provided twice a week to anyone who would listen.
And because I was consistently blogging about the problems people most needed solving around my topic, I was already naturally including the keywords they’d be most likely to be searching for.
Two things happen when you consistently put out helpful content that covers your main keywords in a natural way:
1. People know they can count on you to be dropping knowledge bombs the same time each week and will actually base their routines around being loyal consumers of your content!
(I once had a subscriber let me know how much she looks forward to her morning train ride on Tuesdays and Thursdays because she knows she can read my new blog posts!)
2. People will start to recognize you as the authority because no matter what question they ask, you always seem to pop up with legitimately useful answers!
Not only will they automatically click on your result because they know you will always have solid content on that topic, but they may just skip Google altogether and search your site or blog for their future answers instead!
Here’s why it works:
Google’s goal is to connect the searcher with the best answer the first time.
(Because if they were constantly delivering less-than-useful content, they’d quickly lose their street cred, and users would start turning to other search engines.)
The fact that Google is picky about search results should actually encourage you! It’s a big win for smaller businesses because they are not just going to automatically connect searchers with the biggest names out there.
Instead, they are going to intentionally prioritize the content that their millions of tiny robots tell them will deliver the most useful answers.
So just make sure the most useful answers are coming from you!
(Suggested reading: If I teach what I do for free on my blog, why would anyone hire me? )
Useful content comes in many different forms, and internet users all have different ways they like to learn about the topic they are searching for!
But before you go and ditch written content altogether, there’s something you should know…
So your insanely helpful video will def score you brownie points for someone who’s already familiar with your brand and is subscribed to your channel or podcast, but you aren’t necessarily poppin’ up in a search result for that thing, because Google has no way of knowing which content is being covered and if you truly answered the questions your title said you did.
One word. (Ok, four).
Show notes & episode descriptions!
You’ve already thought up the content in a way that feels more natural to you, so no need to reinvent the wheel when trying to put it all somewhere Google can actually read it.
(That somewhere is your site, btw!)
It’s true, if you want to reap the SEO benefits of your audio or video content, you def want it to live somewhere on your site.
Rather than rewatch your whole episode, or try to write it all down from memory, grab a quick transcription of your file to make creating show notes a breeze!
Here’s an example of how I’ve used a podcast episode transcriptions to create SEO-friendly show notes that include all the keywords or topics covered in the episode: 026 Beginners guide to strategically blogging for an online business.
(Oh, and it just happens to be on content marketing, so it’s worth a listen!)
I have used Amazon AWS in the past to get a pretty spot on transcription of my podcast episodes, but if you’re video already lives on YouTube as a draft, you can also just click the video’s preview link and copy and paste the captions it automatically generates.
A) Can Google tell what my content is about? (a.k.a have I included all my keywords and topics covered in the episode?)
B) If someone stumbled upon my post, could they benefit from the content without actually having watched/listened to my thing?
Oh, and then you might read What needs to be in my podcasts show notes? Podcast show notes blueprint.
Not sure what the heck to blog, vlog, post, or podcast about?
1. Think about who your ideal audience is.
2. Think of the questions they are likely to be asking about your niche topic (and therefore are going to be typing into Google, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.)
3. Answer those questions in a legit helpful way. (The answers you would want if you went searching for that thing.)
Stuck on the first one? Check out: Do this one thing to ensure your website will appeal to your ideal clients for help finding out what that person looks like.
Let’s use travel blogging as an example of how to get this right!
If you’re a travel blogger, your people are obviously dreaming about traveling. Travel is still a pretty broad topic, so you’d want to get more specific about which traveling hopefuls you are targeting.
Do they want to live it up in the hottest (literally and figuratively) tourist destinations and find the most Instagrammable attractions, then call it a day?
Or do they want to be fully immersed in a culture, taking in the rich history of different countries, experiencing all the sights, sounds, and most importantly food of the local natives?
Then, once you know who your ideal audience is, think of the questions and how you can use your content to provide real answers to them.
If all you do is blog about how fabulous your life is and how much you’ve got it made sitting in the shade in *insert FOMO inducing location here,* it’s not super useful.
And while people may truly enjoy reading about your travels and are aspiring to the kind of life you have, you haven’t really given any answers as to how to get there.
But since the goal is to increase site traffic from new visitors (a.k.a new potential customers of however it is you monetize your business) then, a much more useful post might be something like “A 3-day itinerary for your trip to .”
Or “What to pack in your carry on for .”
No matter what you are creating, you always want to think about things from the searcher’s perspective and ask yourself:
‘How can I create a piece that is actually helpful for them?’
Not convinced this strategy will work for you as a small business that nobody knows about (yet)?
Let me take you back to the beginning of my business to show you why organic SEO and consistent content matters.
I had a big fat 0 subscribers, 0 paying clients, 0 networking connections or hook-ups (I was living in a country I didn’t even speak the language for), and less than 0 dollars to spend on my new venture.
All thanks to consistent content marketing.
It’s really only recently that I started testing out a few Facebook Ads here and there.
But if I had to ballpark/guesstimate, I’d say 95% of my sales are still generated as a result of my content marketing and SEO efforts.
And all it cost me was my time.
So yeah, pretty sick profit margins to be had with organic SEO.
Oh, and the other good news is that by picking one thing and doing it well/consistently, we honestly haven’t had to rely too much on other platforms to bring us traffic.
I actually took a whole year off Insta, and loved it so dang much that I never really went back to it in full force.
(You can read about my break-up with social media here if ya like! Honesty hour: What a year without Instagram did to my business)
So my #1 tip for anyone hoping to explode their business is to get consistent with sharing (useful) content and answer the questions other people are afraid to give away for free.
Pick a frequency for publishing that feels doable for you and stick with it.
Don’t get discouraged if people aren’t busting down your door the moment you hit publish on that first post!
Organic SEO does take time to build up.
It’s not like a Facebook ad where you go and drop a couple thousand dollars and then WHAM get a bunch of new leads tomorrow, but the results are more lasting, and they will continue to get you ranked again and again in a Google search.
Oh, and with content marketing, the leads you are getting are going to be a heck of a lot more qualified.
The people who are manually searching for answers and finding them in your content are more likely to be interested in a paid offering on that same topic than someone who’s never heard of your biz but spotted you ad on their Facebook feed.
The people who consume your content on the regular will already be hella familiar with your brand, and therefore more likely to trust you with their precious investment in the future.
Consistent content marketing is the easiest way to build up trust and authority, while also quietly building the list of people in the background that you will someday pitch your paid thing to.
In a nutshell…
Ads are a pretty fab way to scale an already established biz with the budget needed to pay for ads, and can certainly make for some pretty quick wins, but that sweet sweet organic SEO is where it’s at for long-term biz success!
(And much better profit margins.)