Rachel Di Martino is owner of Geek Unicorn, a company that focuses on website optimization and brand presence for businesses. I asked Rachel to join me to talk about brand optimization and why business owners need to care about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for their businesses.
What is SEO?
SEO is bringing your web page up onto the search results so if someone looks for a specific subject, a link to your website comes up. This is important because you don’t want to be paying for marketing all the time. Certainly paid marketing through Facebook ads, etc. is important, but wouldn’t it be nice to have nonpaid leads through Google and Bing searches as well?
Years ago, the typical SEO strategy was to pay someone to stuff keywords into the code of your website, but it doesn’t work that way anymore. There have been more hours devoted to developers looking into the search algorithm then anything else – search engines have gotten smart; especially Google and Bing. We need to understand a bit more about how it all works so that we can help ourselves be more findable online.
How does SEO work?
Search engines no longer just look for one specific word or phrase, i.e. cat or dog because they realized that it was too easy to manipulate and people were abusing it. So, now search engines want to be your friend. What does that mean? Search engines want you to think of search the same way you would if you were to ask a friend for a restaurant recommendation. If a friend were to ask you for your recommendation it would be based on many things: service, speed, location, menu, and price. Google wants to do the same – they want to be a trusted friend and make a recommendation based on over 200 factors.
Google also wants us to find quality information – based on more than just one word. To tell Google that you are more than just a word or phrase is to think about what your user is thinking and to think of a search engine like the restaurant in terms of service, speed, etc. So, you want to make sure all the information on your website is easy to find, i.e. is your contact information easy to find, is the information you provide in blog posts relevant, accurate, easily consumable and shareable?
How does Google know something is true?
Google looks for clues to ensure things are accurate, including how long someone has spent on your website, i.e. on blog posts, etc. If someone spends a lot of time on your website then Google will assume it is good content.
Google also looks at your bounce rate i.e., if someone clicks on a page and then leaves right away for whatever reason, they bounced. Maybe the content wasn’t relevant or the site took to long to load. Regardless, Google takes your bounce rate into account.
Google also looks for how the page has been shared on social media and whether the page has other links out there, including backlinks and referral links that link back to your website or blog post.
What are some tips for being Google friendly?
One goal is not to have irritating popups that are difficult to close because people will become frustrated and leave quickly – giving you a bad bounce rate and negatively affecting your SEO.
You also need good content so people will stay and backlinks to build your credibility. (If you can get people to link to your content that will help with your search engine rankings.)
Finally, you need to think about your traffic – how many people are visiting your website in a week or a month? This is where a newsletter is good because then everyone in your network is visiting your website based on the links in your newsletter, and this builds up your numbers and your SEO.
You should also make sure your website is mobile responsive. If it’s not mobile friendly then you are going to have a hard time ranking because it is not current with best practices. If you’re not sure, then you should use Google’s mobile responsive test website to determine if your site is mobile responsive.
Make sure to always approach new content with a little bit of SEO in mind every time – write about topics and trends that are currently popular but where there is an opportunity for better content. Or create content that will be highly liked and valued by your demographic – put your voice into a problem your audience wants an answer or that you can add value to. The more value you provide the more likely people will visit your website, spend time with it and share it.
Build your referral links –partner with other sites through guest podcasting, guest blogging or by being a trusted and strategic partner in their business i.e. a doula can partner with a lactation consultant, etc.
Building your SEO may take time, but the good news is that is something that once you get started and start seeing results, it gets easier.
Resources & Links
As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.
I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:
- subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
- share the podcast on social media; or
- come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)
In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).
Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page
Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):
- The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
- It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
- How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
- E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!