What is SEO?
Before we dive in, it’s important to get you oriented with this semi (or maybe very) unfamiliar language. So, to kick things off, here is a simple glossary of terms for you to get acquainted with.
SEO = Search Engine Optimization
Search engine = A program like Google or Pinterest
Keywords = Descriptive words/phrases about your business
On-page SEO = The optimization of content on your website
Off-page SEO = External links that point back to your website
Backlink: A link to your website that lives on another website
SEO is search engine optimization and “doing” it is how you get found on the internet. Because, when you do SEO, you give the search engines what they need to find and index your website which, in turn, allows people to find you. SEO is an important part of any digital marketing strategy because the reality is, just because you have a website, blog, and are on social media doesn’t mean your potential clients or customers can find you. You have to make sure that you are building your business a strong digital foundation, which means optimizing:
your website for search
the posts you share on social media
being active on Pinterest
backlinks to your website
The goal of optimizing all of this is to drive organic (not paid) traffic to your website as well as better your rank in online search results. So, it is important to make sure that you are organizing your strategy around the reasons people go to the internet - to do something, learn something or find something.
Fun Fact: 90% of people click on search results on the first page and never continue on to the second page.
Ok, got it. How do I find my keywords?
Putting together an SEO strategy for your business isn’t a big scary thing and you can easily start on your own. Block out a bit of time on your calendar, open up Google and Pinterest, and start typing in the words, phrases, and questions you think your potential customers might type in to find a business like yours. Build yourself a list of 10-20 words and/or phrases like (I’m using examples for a wedding planner based in Orange County):
best wedding planner in OC
best wedding planner orange county
luxury wedding planner in Newport Beach
how much does a wedding planner cost?
do I need a wedding planner?
Put them in an excel sheet or easily accessible doc that you can refer to when making updates to your website or planning your content strategy and update over time.
Where do I put my keywords?
Once you have your list of keywords to target, now it’s time to put them to use! Think of keywords as markers; if you want the internet to recognize you as an Orange County wedding planner, then you need to mark your online real estate with “Orange County wedding planner.”
Here are the places you should be putting your keywords on your website:
Page or blog title
Content/copy (3-4 times in the body, definitely in the intro paragraph)
Meta description and H1 and H2 tags
Image file names
Image alt descriptions
Here are the places you should be putting your keywords on Pinterest:
Pin title and description
Image file name
Page URL it is linking back to on your website or blog
Board you are pinning to
How do I put all of this into everyday practice?
If you have ever heard me speak before, you’ve likely hear me say, “Doing things on the fly is not a strategy.” That’s because building an online presence doesn’t happen by accident. You need to make a plan and then execute it. And, that plan needs to include:
optimizing your website
optimizing any listings you have on marketplaces
building a content strategy
consistently sharing on social media
putting together a process for easily distributing content
regularly pitching guest articles to other blogs
regularly submitting your work for publication
In the end, you are working to build an online ecosystem for yourself - one that has clearly defined and well connected dots. So, take the first steps towards putting all of these pieces into place today and continue to give them the attention they deserve. Because, in the long run, your perseverance will pay off!