SEO, Keywords, and Macramé! What could be more fun? Our June meeting was a great balance of business education, crafty fun, and laughter with other creatives.
This is one of those weighty topics that it is so easy to get overwhelmed by, so I really wanted to focus on one area that we could tackle in an evening. We did a fairly in-depth analysis of SEO last summer, and I took a poll in the group and several people indicated that their pain points around this topic were finding and using keywords, so we focused on that.
I did share with the group my free SEO for Small Business guide. If you’d like a copy, join the 304 Collective mailing list. It’s a step by step plan to improve the SEO on your site, and a great starting place for any creative or small business!
Keywords: Start with Your Niche.
When thinking about keywords, start with your niche. The specifics of what you do. I used my wedding video site, WV MotionWorks as the example. For us, the first keywords we pinpointed are the obvious ones like “wv wedding video, wv wedding film, wv wedding videographer”. Be specific. It’s easier to rank on those specific (and regional) keywords than general or national keywords.
It sounds obvious, but when I first started evaluating my site for SEO, it was surprising how rarely those words appeared on my site. Sure, I had wedding videos all over the place, but search engines (as of 2018) do not watch videos for content; they need to read the words to see what the site is about!
Goal #1 is to reach the people in your area who are looking for the services or products you provide. Goal #2 is to reach people who didn’t even know they wanted your goods or services in the first place!
Sourcing New Keywords
Once you’ve made sure your niche keywords are found on your site and started ranking for those, how do you figure out how to reach those who aren’t specifically looking for you?
Predictive Text Search
The first way is ridiculously easy. Open up a new google tab, and type in one of your more generic search terms (do not hit enter), then see what the predictive text suggests. These are all things that people have searched, in the order of popularity.
Next, check out the blog categories and menu items of some of the top industry sites. For those of us in the wedding industry, these are sites like Wedding Wire or The Knot (not the blog posts of the professional down the street).
Side note on that kind of copycat behavior – when you copy the post of the professional down the street, you’re probably never going to rank higher than they are for that topic. Why? They posted about it first and earned the organic push that comes along with it. Not only will everyone in your local network see and recognize that, but Google will as well. In fact, if you go as far as to copy sentences and phrases, you may be penalized. Just one more reason to dig deep and create original content.
Of course, there’s nothing new under the sun, and it’s likely that your closest competitors are posting about the same general things you wish to rank for. If you notice their post before writing, you might take a pass on reading their thoughts until you’ve had time to compose your own. Then do a quick check to be sure you didn’t unintentionally duplicate content. (It happens. Most of us are all following and inspired by the same national sources). You might also decide to wait and push that topic down on your list of scheduled posts for a few months. This will allow the internet (and its users) incredibly short-term memories to refresh a bit before ingesting your content.
Google Keyword Planner
Yet another tool in Google’s suite of great, free, business assets is the Google Keyword Planner. If you don’t have your Google business account set up yet, it’s totally worth it. I think you probably also have to set up your AdWords account to use the Keyword Planner; but again, totally free to set up, and definitely worth it.
Simply type 3 of your favorite general keywords into the search, and Google will spit out a list of associated keywords, tell you approximately how many monthly searches occur for that keyword, and how much competition there is to rank for that keyword (ie, how many other sites are publishing relevant content).
If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck (or make the most of your time, really) start with the low competition phrases with the highest number of searches.
Answer Your Client’s Questions
Google has figured out that many people don’t type in a phrase; they’ll type in an entire question. Additionally, voice to search tools like Siri, Alexa, and even “Okay Google” are usually searches phrased in full questions, so it’s working to fulfill that type of search more readily. Google’s answer to that is the featured snippet.
The featured snippet is so new that I haven’t been able to find much definitive research on how you can get a featured snippet, but the bottom line is that your site must provide an answer to the question being asked. How can you find out what questions your clients are asking? Check out Answer the Public. This gem of a site can provide you with MONTHS of easy content, from just one keyword search. Plus, it’s so freaking fun to use.
Once we covered the basics of keywords, Amberlee Christey (a woman of an endless variety of talents!) taught us some basics of Macramé! I love finding these fun little crafty things that tie in with our topic. Also, I just really wanted to learn Macramé and Amberlee did a great job walking us through creating our first wall hanging!
IG Stock Photo Shoot: Next Thursday, June 21, we’ll open up the 304 Collective studio for a fun little photo shoot. Bring a handful of items that you feel define your brand (about a shoebox full) and we’ll all take turns creating some custom stock photography for use on your social media and websites. If you’re a maker and can’t make it, but would love to have some products featured, connect with me about when you can drop things off (and pick them up afterward). We may grab some lunch downtown when we’re done.
July Meeting: Passive and Diversified Income. We’re working on some fun plans for the next meeting. In July, we’ll discuss passive and diversified income (though possibly not on our regular Tuesday night event, which will be on July 10. Make sure you are plugged in to our Tuesdays Together – Morgantown Facebook group to stay up to date on meetings and other events!
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