What’s the very first thing you do when you have a question or are looking for a product or service? I call my Mom. Yes, at 36 years of age I still phone my Momma and ask her questions. And then I Google it. Not because she’s wrong – she’s never wrong. Mother knows best, right? But because that’s what people do. We don’t pull out the yellow pages anymore my friends. Sorry Yellow Pages to call you out, but we don’t. At least no one under the age of 75 does anyhow. And if you audience is under 75, you need to get in front of them. Right? And how do you do that? Improve SEO.
SEO? Yawn, right? Wrong. Bzzzzzz. Try again. Be prepared to feel enlightened, excited and empowered my friends.
…Enlightened, excited and empowered about search engines and weird techy B.S.? Oh yes.
Having a website is awesome and you need it if you want to be successful these days. We’ve gone over this at length here on the Peppercorn Creative blog. But unless people can find you, it doesn’t really mean diddly squat. Or diddly jump. Point being, you can wave and yell and be as loud as you want on your end of the laptop but if search engines, people and clients can’t find your website, it won’t matter.
I want you to matter. I want you to be seen. I want you to make a crap ton of money. Why? Because having a crap ton of money – or at least enough that you get to live the life you dream of – doesn’t suck. It’s the exact opposite of suck. It’s awesome.
So here’s the dealio: Google is doing away with a lot of traditional SEO practices. Sure your Yoast SEO tool and alt tags and image names are still valid (and important) but there’s some big changes coming down the water-slide that you’ll want to be aware of to make sure your site gets seen.
- The bad news: You may not know what SEO stands for and I’m talking what sounds like gibberish to you. Also, if you haven’t had your website or blog SEO updated since 1999, you may be in a bit of trouble from Google. It’s possible they’re going to spank you (and not in a good way). I can help you with that. The SEO (search engine optimization), not the spanking. Unless you ask nicely. And even then, you’ll have to pay me. A lot.
- The good news: It makes being appealing to search engines (showing up in Google Search) SO much easier for you – the blogger, small business owner and freelancer.
But how? Oh I’m so glad you asked. here are 5 simple but effective ways to improve SEO, get your blog or website seen (for free) and make a crap ton of money:
1. Improve SEO: Invest in a Good Flippin’ Website Design.
People make an assumption about you and your brand within 3 seconds of clicking onto your site (watch more about that here). Seriously. 3 Seconds. So if your design isn’t up to par both functionality-wise and for industry aesthetics, people will click away. So whether we like it or not, your website design matters.
I’m a huge advocator for positivity – we should work together to make each other great. Challenge each other to make our industries incredible. Be collaborative to change the world. The more happy, successful, productive people we have in our universe, the better off we all are. So I hate to admit it but your competitors ARE a force to be acknowledged, reckoned with, accepted and surpassed. In your own unique way.
In the end, potential clients, customers, readers, followers and brands are comparing you to them. We’re all at different stages of our journeys and that’s okay – it’s necessary. But if you want to set yourself up to succeed, you have to think forward to save yourself time, money and frustration later on. Especially if your site isn’t mobile friendly because Google is penalizing websites and blogs for that now.
A gem of an insight: Ultimately I base my rates on the amount of hours I put into a project – research, creation and client satisfaction. If you want something more economical (read: low quality and/or low customizability and control) you could take a look at Fiverr.com. Most people who offer such low-bid rates lack the understanding, experience, results-driven expertise, client service & communication, and quality assurance that boutique firms like mine are able to guarantee.
You often get what you pay for when it comes to website design so choose who you hire wisely. You get back what you invest in your store front, your brand and your business. I want your brand to be amazing. Invest in a good website design so you can reach the people you want to. Make. it. count.
2. Improve SEO: Maintain and update your site. For the love of god.
Google cares about its users. It wants them to have the most useful, simple and helpful experience possible. So they actually reward people for regularly updating their sites, pages and blog posts. Investing in a new design and maintaining your plugins, themes and search engine settings every few months (or even years for some of you) will ensure you stay current and up to date with the latest algorithms, security releases and trends to guarantee your site doesn’t get clunky with outdated technology.
Ever try to shove a VHS tape in a DVD player? A square peg in a round hole? A box of VooDoo Doughnuts into a pair of skinny jeans? Shit don’t fit. The same goes for out-dated websites, blog themes and tools.
If this is something that scares you, I’m easy and available on a retainer basis to do all this crap for you.
3. Improve SEO: Get social.
This is one of the newer, more interesting ways to leverage your brand’s SEO. Engaging on social media authentically is one of the key ways to leverage your brand’s clout and increase your SEO. Using social media the right way is one of the quickest and most effective ways to reach your audience. And Google.
It’s also constantly evolving which both sucks and is awesome at the same time.
Sucks because it means there’s lots to keep up with.
Is awesome because if you don’t like a particular platform or it isn’t working for you, there’s always another one right around the corner that would be a better fit for your business. Be it Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, what have you – you have the tools in any device you carry to potentially reach new people right now. All you gotta do is show up and start engaging.
Pretty neat, right?
4. Improve SEO: Write blog posts.
And make ’em great. No kidding. Gem of an insight, right?
You knew writing blog posts was important for your blog – obviously – but did you know it’s also incredibly important to Google? Yep. This goes for all content – videos, podcasts, images, memes and even vlogs or Tumblrs. Essentially you want to write good, relevant, helpful, personality driven content for your readers and potential clients or sponsors so they can:
- A. Get to know the personality behind the brand. The only way to stand out from the masses these days is to bring YOU to the party. Gone are the days of faceless corporations. People come to to bloggers, entrepreneurs and small businesses for the personal attention you can provide them with. So run with it.
- B. Get free insights into what will help them, what won’t and how you do business. A blog isn’t a traditional marketing tool; it’s social. So use it as such and then funnel people in to your products, services or partnership opportunities;
- Find your site! Writing new, relevant, interesting and clever content on a regular basis (i.e. once per week) helps alert Google’s site crawlers that you’re producing amazing stuff that its users will want to know about.
5. Improve SEO: Write for Others! (and have ’em write for you).
As with any industry, the real opportunities that present themselves come from relationships that you nurture. You know that person who got the raise or job because they “knew a guy”? The same rule applies to improving your SEO. Sure you can buy links just like you can buy followers on social media but doing so can very quickly get you on Google’s blacklist and your site banished to the bad SEO dungeons of Hell. Where no one will see it. Ever. Not good for business, right?
Instead, produce less of your own content and spend a bit of time emailing, engaging and promoting industry leaders and peers whom you admire. Foster those relationships and then either ask if they accept submissions to their site or if they’d be willing to contribute a post to yours. Not only will you be able to generate back links and social updates with YOUR name and URL attached to them, you’ll also be creating relationships that could pay off big down the line.
What do you think? Can you do this SEO stuff? Is it enlightening to know it’s getting easier? Or more confusing? What do you struggle with when it comes to getting your website or blog seen? Is your site mobile friendly? How much do you invest in your SEO or website? Share your thoughts below and I promise to reply personally!