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In this blog SEO guru and copywriting extraordinaire Kate Toon gives us the lowdown on why we should be focusing on SEO as part of our marketing strategy.

 

Jo-Kanaris-bioBrought to you by Jo Kanaris Operations Manager & Coach
Resident tech nerd with a strong focus on providing exceptional client service.

 

 

 
Whilst SEO has been a focal point of both her own marketing strategy and the services she provides, Kate’s all about keeping her existing customers happy. By nurturing these relationships, she is able to use the various parts of her sales funnel to sell them more of what they love, so that they become strong brand advocates.
 
Kate obviously lives and breathes SEO, but she acknowledges that it can be a steep learning curve for most. However, “once you have the foundations in place, it will continue to bring traffic to your business for a long time.”
 
 

UNDERSTANDING WHAT SEO IS AND WHAT IT ISN’T

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and the aim is to make Google fall in love with your website. In true Kate Toon humour, she likens this to a series of The Bachelor.

“There’s one bachelor, he's got 20 bachelorettes to choose from and he can't tell them what he's looking for. So, they kind of have to work it out and guess. And you kind of see some women go by the wayside and you start to see well, maybe he doesn't like blondes because he's not keeping any of the blondes around. Maybe that's a rule. Maybe that's a rule that we're going to add to Google's check list of what it wants and what it doesn't.”

Now Google is explicit in telling us some of these rules, but others you have to work out for yourself. If you’re not an expert in this area, then it’s a very difficult job. The idea is to take the entire list of 200 plus things that we think Google wants and implement them in a logical fashion, starting with those that will bring us the most impact.

 

 kate-toon-arms-crossed

 

WHERE TO START WITH SEO

So, if there are over 200 things that we could be doing, where on earth do we start? Kate breaks it down into a few main areas for us:

        1. Technical: this takes into consideration your website’s platform, where it’s hosted, speed and mobile friendliness. Kate sees tech as the foundation of SEO as nothing else will matter if this part fails.
        2. Keywords: this involves understanding what your ideal client is typing into Google to find the solution to their problem (which you solve!) You then need to examine how many searches are being made on this term compared to how many other websites are competing for it. This involves a bit of research and you may end up with a few phrases that contain slightly different words but mean the same thing.
        3. Copy: this is where to place your keywords on your website. Kate suggests using it in the title tag, meta description and the URL. You will want to use it on the page as well as in the name of any images.
        4. Know who is searching: this is about understanding the intent of what your ideal customer is searching for. Are they looking to buy? eg using words like buy, affordable, price of. Are they comparing? eg using words like best, testimonial, review. Or do they even know that you can solve their problem yet? eg how do I…the best way to…. So, understanding where they are on their journey with you will determine the best keywords to use and on what page.
        5. Backlinks: this refers to links to your website from other websites. The more relevant and highly ranked in authority that these websites are, the more SEO love Google will pass on to you. This blog is a good example of this. Here you can see Kate Toon is hyperlinked back to her website. This is a backlink for Kate.

 

BACKLINKS AS PART OF YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY

Finding quality backlinks will take quite a bit of research, which is something that Kate teaches in her Recipe for Success SEO course. But as a rule of thumb she says, “for every blog post on your website, try and post two on someone else’s”. But remember, it’s all about quality, not quantity!

Choosing the websites to target first starts with finding out where your competitors are receiving their backlinks from. Make that your target list.

Then build relationships with businesses that have a similar target audience to you but aren’t direct competitors. Perhaps they might sell complimentary products or services, be within the same industry or simply have the same ideal customer as you.

 

SEO AND ALGORITHMS

Trying to beat an algorithm never ends well. By taking a customer-centric focus instead we can ensure that we are providing searchers with exactly what they are looking for - which is exactly what Google wants. Google’s main focus is providing searchers with exactly what they are looking for so a website that does this, rather than has 7,000 backlinks from irrelevant sites is going rank higher.

Kate says that “a site like mine has never been impacted by an algorithm update because I’m not trying to play Google and not trying to do anything tricky”. People who use ‘black hat’ tactics will invariably be punished by any algorithm updates.

The whole purpose of your website is to provide your ideal customer with the exact content that they are looking for. So instead of stuffing your keywords into your copy so that it doesn’t really make sense, the best SEO focused websites are engaging, fun, easy to navigate and read.

Whilst ROI and website traffic are important, so is serving your customers. “Humans hate pop ups. Humans hate slow sites and badly designed websites and crappy images and poor copy. We hate that. So, if you come from a human centric point of view, you will nine times out of ten please Google and that is plain common sense.”

 

NEVER SET AND FORGET

Kate believes that “SEO is for life, not just for Christmas”. Once you have the foundations set up such as the tech, the website build and maintain your plugins you shouldn’t have to revisit them very often.

However, parts of SEO such as your keywords should be revisited at least every quarter as keywords can evolve. The meaning of words can change over time, abbreviations come into play and people type in different words to find a solution to their problem.

Technology and culture change as well. Copy is more conversational these days, voice search is on the rise and mobile searches are more widely used. All these things can impact our keywords and phrases so it’s worth revisiting them regularly.

 

kate-toon-with-cup

 

DIY OR OUTSOURCE?

In general SEO companies do not have a good reputation. It’s important therefore to know exactly what’s involved in SEO and whether you have the time and resources to invest in it yourself. The best way to look at this is to understand what services you’re getting for your money.

The average spend on SEO would be $1,500 pm. Any good copywriter, graphic designer or SEO consultant would charge a minimum $150 per hour. So that’s 10 hours’ worth of work per month you could buy with $1,500.

What could you do in 10 hours of devoted marketing a month? You could write 2 blog posts, fix a few SEO things on your website, start a relationship with someone to guest blog for, write the blog and edit.

But SEO companies charge $1,500 every month. So, what else are they then doing? They fix the tech, research your keywords, optimise your pages. All of this work is done up front, but instead of charging a hefty fee they break it down over monthly periods especially since you probably won’t see any of these results for up to six months.

After they’ve done the work upfront, what you’re paying for each month is simply building backlinks. This costs about $500 per backlink when you factor in writing a guest blog and the admin involved in making it happen. This is where the magic of SEO happens because if you build a beautiful island resort but don’t have an airport or ferry terminal, then no one will visit!

So when it comes to deciding whether to DIY or outsource SEO Kate suggests looking at your finances. “If you can afford $1,500 a month, then pay it. Even if you DIY it’s very rare that you can do it an the level of an SEO consultant that’s been doing it for 20 years.” Kate suggests that you need to make sure you understand the return on investment. You want to see an increase in traffic and you want to see an increase in conversions. But most importantly she says “if you do not understand what you're paying for, do not be paying for it.”!

 

IN SUMMARY...

Whilst understanding the intracacies of SEO can take a while, knowing the foundations and implementing them in a logical and strategic way should be a key part of your marketing strategy. Knowing your ideal customer, what they are searching for and where they are in their journey with you will ensure that you are focusing on keeping your potential and existing customers happy. By approaching SEO in this way, you’ll be keeping the Google gods happy too.

 

How have you tackled SEO in your business? Share some tips in the comments below.

 

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The Elevatory® is a coaching & mentoring hub for women looking to significantly advance their business. Founded in 2016 The Elevatory's mission is clear - to deliver Women all the coaching, training & resources they need to ensure next level RESULTS in their small business.

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