October 8, 2020
Does SEO scare the heck out of you?? Do you forget to blog or even worse, don’t even have a blog?? Are you relying purely on social media for your leads and sales?? If you said yes, we’ve got some tea for you today.
Today’s guest is the incredible Lauren Taylar.
Lauren is a brand designer, Squarespace website designer, and SEO strategist. She helps powerhouse coaches and creatives build a highly converting website and create an evergreen lead generation machine so that they can stand out, get seen, and make more sales. After spending 2 years in the SEO industry servicing billion-dollar global brands, Lauren is passionate about combining the art and science of websites to give her clients a rock solid online presence.
Today we jump in the deep end of SEO. We talk about what SEO is, why it’s important, keywords, SEO mistakes, different search engines and how to figure out what your customer is searching for on each, how to approach a blog post to rank highest on Google, and more. If you’re struggling with SEO and need a step-by-step guide to blasting to the top on search engine rankings… this is your episode.
Lauren is a brand designer, Squaresapce and Showit website designer, and SEO strategist for coaches and creatives who want to professionalize their business, attract more aligned clients and generate more leads from Google.
After graduating from college, Lauren got a job at an SEO agency where she spent two years. Her role was to move down negative search results that would appear on page 1 of Google when you searched for a company or person’s name. She worked on accounts for billion-dollar global brands and high profile people like activists, celebrities, and lawyers. Some of these negative search results were things like review sites or articles that didn’t show the person or company in a good light. Over time it really took a toll on Lauren’s happiness. She felt like she didn’t have a real purpose at her job. It wasn’t sitting right with her ethically, even though they were doing everything right by Google’s standards.
About a year and a half into her role, Lauren found out about the online business world through a Facebook ad and it literally changed her life! She always assumed you had to wait ten years before you started to freelance. Seeing these online entrepreneurs selling their information through online courses was absolutely mind-boggling to her. This was when she discovered her love and obsession for design, especially website design, and realized she could combine her technical experience working in SEO with her passion for design. Coming into the online business world she realized just how big of a gap there was between design and SEO in terms of websites. Whereas her 9-5 job felt very reactive in pushing down results, Lauren loved the proactive approach she takes now with her clients to help them climb the pages in Google.
Lauren is so passionate about having a website that works for you 24/7.
SEO stands for search engine optimization and it is about making your website readable by search engines. Furthermore, it’s about making technical and content tweaks to your website to give it the best possible chance of ranking high in search engines. Search engines can be anything from Google, Youtube, or Pinterest. The idea of keywords is important for all of these platforms.
Having some kind of SEO strategy in your business is important because we tend to focus on short term results but building a blog and pairing it with an SEO strategy is a long term visibility plan that when done right can work for years. The shelf life of an Instagram or Facebook post is typically a day and often we have to recycle content on those platforms. With blogging, it is almost like a one and done content platform where posts have a life span of years. Rather than constantly having to find people through Instagram or Facebook, people are searching for solutions to their problems and finding you. This is means establishing yourself as an authority, growing your leads on autopilot, and making more sales with ease.
Google is not going anywhere! I’m sure we all know how frustrating it is when Facebook or Instagram goes down or have tech issues. With blogging, you own the content on your site and you don’t have to worry about everything you’ve built.
People tend to think that blogging is dead, but it is definitely not.
SEO helps Google understand what your website is about. Disregarding it all together and not implementing best practices can severely impact the user experience even if you are not blogging. Image optimization is a prime example of that. Uploading large images to your website can create a horrible user experience since it will slow down the speed of your website so much. If it takes 3-5 seconds or longer, people are going to click out of it. Even if it looks beautiful, people are not going to reach your website.
Make sure that you are taking your large images, which are typically between 3-20MB and condense those down to below 500KB. Lauren has three-step process that she does. She manually condenses the images down and then uses tools like tinyjpg.com and jpegmini.com to reduce the file size even further without compromising the quality.
In addition to the file size, you also want to make sure that you are changing the file name before uploading it to your website. When you name it, be sure to describe the subject of the image. This will help amplify your SEO efforts. For example, a file name could be “Boston Wedding Photographer- Bride smiling and holding flowers”. This lets Google know exactly what the image is in a clear and concise way and you are also able to add in your keywords without looking spammy.
In addition to this, you want to make sure to add alt text to each image. This describes exactly what the image is. This is so people who are visually impaired can still understand the image.
You really need to add content to your site in the form of blog posts. You want to focus these on helping people solve problems instead of focusing solely on trying to rank for what you do. This is secondary.
For example, if you are an Instagram coach, you want to focus on “How To” articles such as “How To Create an Effective Instagram Strategy”. Then, you would naturally include the keyword “Instagram coach” into your content, but your focus is on educating and informing. Google wants to provide its users with the best possible resources, so you want to aim for your blog posts to be between 1000-3000 words. That may sound daunting to some people, but this is where you can recycle some of your Instagram posts, Facebook posts, Youtube, IGTV, podcasts, etc. Repurposing is huge and recommended for your blog since Google can only read Youtube content and nothing else from social media.
Don’t be afraid to take a series of Instagram posts and turn them into blog posts.
The first is not doing keyword research. If you are not using the exact words that people are typing into the Google search bar, you are setting up your blog posts to fail. Most business owners don’t take the time to do their research. Although you might phrase something a certain way, people might be thinking about it slightly differently. Sometimes you may need to tweak the order of some words or how something is phrased. Keyword research is so important!
Often business owners will write super short blog posts. You need to have more in depth blog posts. Although it might work for Pinterest to have a 500-word post, it definitely won’t work for Google because they want to showcase high-quality content. Short blog posts are not going to cut it.
Keyword stuffing is also a huge mistake. This is a spammy SEO tactic that is used to trick Google. Business owners may not realize that they are doing this. It is when you take a set of keywords and entering variations of them throughout your website and blog posts. Lauren sees this with a lot of photographers. An example of this is having something in the footer like “LA Wedding Photographer”, “LA Weddings”, “Engagement Sessions in LA”, and “Los Angelos Photography”. You want to avoid keyword stuffing because it looks unnatural. If anything, you just want to mention your keyword once in your footer. Keep your focus on blogging and optimizing the other areas of your website. You want to make sure your keywords naturally occur.
While yes you do want to include your keywords, you don’t want to include it every 100 words. If you read it out loud and it sounds unnatural, then it’s probably spammy. If you read it out loud and it sounds conversation, you are good to go!
You want to first and foremost be thinking about the user experience and how someone is going to feel when they come to your website and read those words. QUOTE user experience
You want to make sure you are using a long tail keyword in your content which is three words or more. This is a phrase that you want to rank for. For example, you wouldn’t want to try to rank for the word “photographer”. Instead, you would want to try to rank for the location or type of photography or some other subject matter relating to photography. This could be “Dallas wedding photography” or “adventure wedding photographer”.
The more specific you can be, the more aligned the types of people who are going to be coming to your website will be.
Doing keyword research is not as scary as it sounds. Lauren recommends using Keywords Everywhere and Ubersuggest. Keywords Everywhere is a paid Google Chrome extension that integrates into the Goole search bar and is super helpful in displaying search volume. Ubersuggest is a great way to access keyword research data.
Take note of both the search volume, the number of searches per month, as well as the search difficulty, which is how hard it would be to rank for that term. If you are just starting out, Lauren recommends trying to rank for keywords that have between 100-1500 searches a month and you can work your way up from there.
Google Page Speed Insights will tell you how fast your website is and what the problem areas are. Ubersuggest will also give you a website audit. Through this platform you can check your traffic, the number of keywords you are ranking for, site speed, how many errors, and if you have any broken links.
Google Search Console is also super helpful to see what keywords you are ranking for and your positioning in Google Search. If you see that you are ranking on page three for something you can create more content using that keyword.
The first thing you want to do is identify what category you want your blog post to be part of. For your blog in general, you want to have 2-5 categories and also do keyword research to back up the types of blog posts you want to be writing. For example, if you want to write a blog post on “5 Things You Want to Ask Your Wedding Photographer” you would want to do your keyword research to make sure that “things to ask your wedding photographer” is actually highly searched. From there, you want to solidify your title based on your keyword research.
In the actual blog post, you want to take those five different things and break those up with a heading. Business owners often will add Heading 1s throughout their blogpost, but your Heading 1 needs to be your blog post title and there shouldn’t be another Heading 1 on that page. The Heading 1 tells Google what the page is about. You want to break up your five points with Heading 2 tags. If there is anything additional that you want to add below, you could add a Heading 3 or 4.
For your images, you need to condense them down, change the file names, and add alt text. If you have a freebie or lead magnet that you want to give away, you can have a screenshot of that and have the graphic link out to a landing page.
Once you are done with the blog post, be sure to put a call to action at the end. Lead the reader somewhere else, such as your services page. It’s important to give your audience somewhere else to go!
Invest before you are ready. Every big investment Lauren made in business was before she had the clients or the money. Pay for coaches and programs that will set you up for success.
You are never really ready, you just have to dive in.
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WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
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