Happy New Year! This is our first blog article for 2022. We are working with several new SEO clients right now. This blog post is for them… however it is also for you if you are wanting to gain benefit from SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), are looking at starting SEO and/or are looking at finding quality SEO professionals to assist you and work for you (and help achieve your business goals).
This is the first of a series of blog posts about ‘Nation-wide SEO’ and how to do it. Each blog post in the series will be relatively short. I will be writing at least 1 post per fortnight. This blog post series will help you learn the main steps of SEO campaigning and provide some tips (and insights).
What this blog post series won’t do though is teach you everything you need to know about how to do effective SEO. You need about 3 – 5 years of full-time study under your belt to do that (plus experience).
This blog post series though will help you learn how involved SEO is, help you have a base-level knowledge to help you vet SEO agencies (to determine if they are any good, before hiring any of them), and to show you that SEO is not just about ‘tweaking a few things’ on your website like some would have you believe.
If you want to learn how to do effective SEO yourself, there are many books, podcasts, online courses, websites, YouTube videos, etc out there. You’ll never learn it all from one source only though. It requires a very deep dive. SEO is a career after all and like any trade career, it requires extensive studies and a lot of learning by doing.
Please note: this blog series is for ‘nation-wide SEO’. This type of SEO is for businesses intending to and/or have the capability (and desire) to sell to the entire state (or part of a state) or nation you market to (and/or reside in). ‘International SEO’ is similar but more complex. ‘Local SEO’ is also similar but a little different. We do a lot of nationwide SEO and local SEO work here at Green Valley Digital.
Side note: I may write a blog post series about local SEO in the future, but we’ll see.
SEO is rapidly changing due to changes Google continues to make to its algorithms. If you want lasting results, you need to ‘play by the book’. This is called ‘white-hat’ SEO. Avoid what is called ‘black-hat SEO’ unless you want your website majority penalised by Google (and worse).
The Google best practice guidelines are here. They are worth a read if you have time.
There are homework activities that you can do throughout this blog post (and each blog post in this series). If you are a SEO client of ours, please do them in the order they appear. Once you read a blog post in this series, then do the homework. Then email it to me before beginning reading the next blog post. If you have any questions, please contact me.
This leads me to the first point of this blog post.
Why SEO? What are your goals?
If you know nothing or not too much about SEO and its benefits, please read this. There are MORE benefits to SEO than you might think. Please do not skip reading these…. after all, knowing your goals and then achieving your goals is the most important aspect of SEO (and the whole point of doing it). Some of the benefits (aka: potential goals) include:
- Massive increase in awareness about your business, AND also potentially those who own and/or run the business and/or are the key personnel
- A lot more media and PR marketing exposure for your business and/or brand
- Large increases in traffic to your website every month
- Because of the large increases in traffic, more and more people will discover your business and what you have on offer
- MORE sales (massive increases!). It’s logical: the more traffic from Google (aka: people searching and then finding/visiting your website), the more marketing awareness for your business. If they like your website, like your services and products they will then decide to do business with you. Hence, more sales.
- If you operate a service-based business, SEO gets the customers knocking on your door via inquiries (phone calls, website form enquiries, enquiries via your social media channels, email sign-ups, etc). It’s then for you to complete the sales.
- If your business is a product-based business and you have an online shop setup, then SEO helps you achieve sales automatically.
- If you happen to sell services AND also products, then SEO will help your business even more! NOTE: if you currently sell services, but don’t yet have a way to sell products on your website, I recommend considering this. You’ll then get EVEN more value from your SEO (and your website) and start making sales 24/7 (including while you sleep).
- SEO leads to AMAZING unexpected benefits. It can lead to you being asked to write a book (or book series), public speaking engagements, being asked to consult in all sorts of ways and industries, aid with forming new alliances and relationships (both nationally and internationally), media exposure and a LOT more.
Over the last 16 years of doing SEO work, I have seen all of these things happen.
SEO is amazing when done correctly!
Activity Number 1: With these benefits in mind, please write down what your SEO goals are. Then add this information into your business plan and your marketing plan. If you want to, you can also write affirmation cards with your SEO goals on them, and then start reading them every day. If you don’t apply ‘universal laws’ to your business each day, it’s well worth looking into.
SEO Step 1: The Quality of Your Website
SEO will do very little good for your business if your website is not excellent! Unfortunately, this is where a LOT of people go wrong; their website is NOT excellent. Instead, it is average looking in appearance, contains averagely written text, loads slow on mobile devices, not up to date, lacks authority, doesn’t convince anyone that the products and/or services they offer are any better than anyone else (their competitors) and overall is a poor representation of their business. If your website is not GREAT, spending time and money on SEO is going to be time and money wasted. PLEASE heed this warning!
Here’s what to do:
- Get experts like us to critically objectively analyse your website. We can be commissioned to do a detailed investigation into all aspects of your website and provide you with an audit report. Amongst things this report will let you know how your website is being perceived in the eyes of the people you are wanting to sell to. It will let you know if your website is good/ great and ready for SEO or it is needs improving… or if it needs re-creating from scratch by experts who will provide for you a professional strategically crafted website (that will perform) once SEO is applied. NOTE: We ONLY provide professionally crafted websites… and that is one of the reasons why our clients work with us.
- Get your website excellent! THEN and only then start getting focussed on SEO.
NOTE: Even if for some reason you don’t plan on using SEO, it is still HIGHLY recommended to have your website audited, to find out if it converts enough visitors into new potential customers. After all, what’s the point of having a website if it doesn’t convert??
Activity Number 2: I can NOT stress this enough; before considering SEO, make sure you get your website professionally audited.
Activity Number 3: Use Google to find ALL the websites of other businesses that you consider to be direct competitors. Compare each of their websites to your own website. Decide who has the best website and rank them all (including yours). Be honest with yourself when you do this.
Nationwide SEO work can take many months to achieve results. 5 – 10 or more hours per week (at the very least) typically needs to be invested into it. It PAYS to invest the time though… and believe me, your competitors who are making great sales volumes each month are putting in the SEO effort. They are winning the lions-share of work and sales.
Another way of saying this: If you are NOT doing aggressive SEO work, you’re not making anywhere near the money your business could actually be yielding.
SEO Step 3: Early Pre-planning Phase – Information Gathering
Like the saying says, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. Successful SEO requires VERY strategic planning. SEO is an ‘art and a science’. The art and science of gaining quality traffic via people using Google and Bing to search for products and services they are looking for is highly competitive. SEO is also not a new thing; it has been effectively used by many businesses since before 2002. If your website has never had SEO applied to it before, you’re starting from scratch and are going up against VERY established businesses (websites) with very established SEO strategies in place. They have proven to Google they deserve to rank high in Google for the search terms (keyword phrases) they are targeting. They have ‘built authority, trust and relevancy in the eyes of Google’.
Part of your SEO journey is to do the same. If you give up 6 or 12 months into it, guess what, you wasted your time. HOWEVER IF you treat this as part of your business and understand that SEO is as important, if not more important than many other marketing activities in your business and you therefore choose to make it part of your business life forever, you will WIN… and WIN BIG!! SEO only works if you keep working at it; the efforts compound over time.
There are more than 1 type of ‘keyword phrase’. You will hear me refer to these versions from here on in:
- Head-phrases (often referred to as ‘money phrases’): They are highly competitive but once you rank well in Google for them, watch the money in your bank account dramatically grow.
- Long-tail Keyword Phrase: you’ll learn more about these in future posts within this blog series. If you want to know what they are now, watch this video. Also read this blog post.
- Exact Match
- There are also others.
Activity Number 4: Before we can plan your SEO strategy, we need to gather information. First I need you to watch these 2 videos and write notes:
Once you have watched the 2 videos (above), it is time to provide us with critically important information we will need to know, in order to plan your SEO campaign. See below:
Activity Number 5: Please provide us with concisely written (but detailed) answers to each of the below questions:
- Which of your services and/or products do you believe have the most market demand?
- Which of your services and/or products do you think will yield the most actual sales?
- Which of your services and/or products currently make the most money (gross revenue and profit)?
- Which of your services and/or products currently don’t sell particularly well, but you believe they will once they become more well known?
- Which of your services do you enjoy doing/ providing the most?
- Which of your products do you enjoy selling the most?
- Which industries, niches and geographic markets (and market areas) want your services and/or products the most?
- Which markets and niches do you most enjoy working for?
- Which business types in which locations have the potential to be good referral sources for your business?
- What media attention do you feel we can gain to achieve more awareness for your business. List industry magazines, publications, major media outlets, newspapers, TV shows, online TV shows/ YouTube Channels, and anything else you can think of.
- Which minor and/or major celebrities do you think might endorse your business (or services and/or products)?
- Which social media influences do you feel might socially share and/or promote your content, business services and/or products, etc?
- List all the press releases your business has done in the last 2 years. Send me each press-release
- If you have engaged anyone to do SEO work on your website in the past (and/or done any DIY SEO work), send me all the info you have as to what work they did, what strategies they were using, etc.
- Do you have friends and/or family we/ you can call upon in the media/ journalism/ publication, etc industries? Maybe they are working in their industry atm, or taking a break to have a family, or maybe they have left to start a new career. Either way, knowing who they are will be very helpful.
- Who is currently in your star referral list; who are they currently? As in, who refers your business to the most people atm?
- Name the names of your clients whom you feel will be most likely to write great testimonials, have the best case studies we can write about, may be willing to help promote your business in other ways as well (including distributing your business flyers to their contacts and/or be willing to promote your business on their social media, on their blog, in their eNewsletter, on their YouTube channel, etc
- Which of your clients (and client types) already bring in the most work (and money).
Please note: later on we will also be working with you to research who else you would like as a client. We will then be creating a leads-list database.
SEO goes way beyond ‘optimising a website’. SEO is PR and many other things. Our clients know that all information they send us is 100% confidential. they also know we are more than happy to sign NDA’s and/or Confidentiality Agreements.
If your website does not yet allow people to buy products from your site automatically, please consider what types of products you may be able to sell. Write them down. For example, if your business provides video editing services, you could look at becoming an Amazon Seller and promoting DIY camera shoot gear (lapel mics, cameras, lighting, backdrops, etc for the MANY people in this world who are now creating LMS (Learning Management System) style online courses, creating content for YouTube, TikTok, etc.
Or if your business makes soaps or candles or other items, perhaps you could sell them via your website.
OR if your website provides useful information about a topic (typical of a blog site), perhaps you could broker deals with wholesalers and retailers who may like to sell products on your websites, where you then receive a commission of each sale.
There are MANY other ways to also sell products on your website, without actually having to buy products wholesale yourself. Look into ‘affiliate marketing’ to learn more.
TIP: A professional website is an investment. The more ways you can make it make money for you and your business, the more of an investment it will become. Your website has the ability to do amazing things for your business and bank account. It’s purely your choice if you will allow it or not.
This concludes part 1 of this SEO blog series. I will be writing the next part during this week. Thanks for reading.
If you would like to share your thoughts, please do so in the comments. Or if you would like more information from us, feel free to contact us.
PS. This blog post has been written by the founder of Green Valley Digital: Jay Daniells.