Tuesdays Together | The Basics of SEO and Building an Online Presence

Photo from  Sourced Co.

Photo from Sourced Co.

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.

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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 URLs

  • 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

  • blogging

  • 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!