All posts by Hanju Lee
Over the past few weeks, we’ve brought you SEO 101. A quick recap:
- We defined what SEO is and why it’s important (Short answer: it means “Search Engine Optimization”, which is all about the secrets behind how to impress Google).
- We talked about the role of content, link-building and key words in an effective SEO strategy;
- We gave you some practical ways to improve your SEO game;
- and we faced the reality that whether we like it or not, SEO is going to continue to be an essential part of how we do business in the future.
For this final week, I want to give you one final motivation to develop your own SEO strategy: SEO is essential in highlighting what people see online.
One of my greatest fears in life is that I’ll be talking to someone at lunch not knowing that I have a green piece of food stuck in my teeth. It makes me sad to think the whole time I was talking, the person across from me would have just been staring at that piece of food. After I finally see myself in the mirror and discover what’s there, my biggest question would be: Why didn’t they say something to me??
SEO is how you get that feedback online.
If your website isn’t optimized, if your content isn’t engaging, if your strategy is out of date… SEO will tell you. This is information that is obvious to anyone who attempts to find your business online. Wouldn’t you rather be aware of what they see?
I know for a lot of you, even after all this training, you might still be thinking that this SEO thing is just too complicated for you to figure out. You probably didn’t go into business expecting you’d have to become an expert in digital marketing. I really do believe you can take all the tools from this past month and create a comprehensive SEO strategy that works, but just know: if you ever need a hand, I gotchu. And I can promise you two things that actually set BOS Media apart from a lot of SEO services out there:
1. We are transparent. We tell you in detail what we are doing and how you are ranking.
2. You won’t be stuck with a long-term, never-ending contract. We stop when you say stop. We go, when you say go. Entirely up to you.
BOS Media knows the SEO game – and we can definitely kick some butt for you. We can even give you access to a backend dashboard with all kinds of geeky live stats that show your progress. Actually it’s funny: this part of the job that can be so de-energizing for so many business leaders is literally our favorite thing to do – I would love to do my part to make sure you have the SEO support your business needs.
“If a tree falls in the forest without SEO, does it make a sound?” Here’s to making plenty of noise online – give me a call if there’s anything I can do to help!
Let’s be real. There are thousands of businesses that can thrive in any circumstance. I’ve talked to business owners who tell me that they’ve never done any marketing and hopefully, they never will. “People just find us and we stay beyond busy…sometimes, we have to turn away business, we just can’t handle the load.” Even their bank sends them a notification that they’ve exceeded the maximum deposit allowed for the month. Hahaha, just kidding on the last sentence, I don’t think there’s a deposit limit. Wait, is there?
Well, good for them. But the rest of us are still here, daring to dream for growth beyond ourselves, beyond the capacity of what we can handle, and even beyond our wildest imagination of what our business and our lives can become. What a great problem to have to solve. Also there are those of us who just started a brand new company, just launched a new site with no existing traffic or have been struggling getting new leads. Whatever category you fit in, I still think we should all have a strong SEO for our brand and always be searchable. Why? SEO just makes everything better.
Here’s the thing: when you research and break down Google analytics as a whole, assuming you are not running a PPC (Pay Per Click) Google ad campaign, a high percentage of your site traffic is coming from the organic search. People are still searching key words and clicking on the organic results to get to their desired websites. Your goal should be to have your business show up on that search, bringing more traffic to your site, and in turn, more leads and more growth for your business. But beyond showing up on the first page of the search results, there are other awesome benefits to doing your SEO. I’ll list my top 3 reasons according to the research done by SEJ
SEO builds trust and credibility: People realize that many factors go into establishing an authority for your brand online. When your business shows up on the search result, people know that it went through a pretty thorough vetting process and you made it to the top. This creates trust and credibility. Also, when you are running a Paid Ad campaign for your company, if the search results show up on the Ad as well as the organic search, that just doubles the trust and doubles the credibility. They are seeing it twice, making you the most likely to be clicked on and chosen.
Great SEO also means a better user experience: I’ve heard people complain about certain websites: “It’s hard to navigate; it loads slow; the information is unorganized.” Well, one of the main priorities for Google when choosing the most relevant sites to direct traffic to is making sure the user experience is positive. Their algorithms will test and rank many elements that will show favor in the user experience of your site. That means when your site is Search Engine Optimized, it ensures the site has been fixed to create a positive experience for the visitors.
SEO is not going away: While the rules of SEO and the best practices will continue to change and be updated, we know that humans are going to keep searching for products and services online. It’s important to stay up to date as the internet world evolves, and stay ahead of the competition by being proactive in monitoring significant changes to the algorithm. Google makes thousands of algorithm changes a year. Don’t fall too far behind. Stay relevant.
So, to answer the question of “Does your business absolutely need SEO?”, I have a question for you: Do babies go “goo”? The answer is resounding YES. Every baby I’ve every known has said “goo” to me. Don’t believe me? Google it – here’s the search result page of whether babies say goo.
Hope your SEO game is better than a baby’s!
My friend came up with a brilliant idea a couple of years ago. It all started because so many of her single friends were running into the same issues when it came to online dating – they kept telling her, “It’s just so difficult to find the right person, you don’t know who to trust anymore.” When the profile says 6 ft tall, is he really? How current are the selfies displayed on the app? Was it taken within the last 10 years? In fact, here are the top 10 common lies people use online dating apps.
- Height (see, I told you)
- Body type (men will frequently describe themselves as “athletic”)
- Income (usually 20-40% over)
- Job type/title
- Outdated photos (again, I told you)
- Hobbies and interests (‘walks on the beach’ is most popular)
- Looking for a relationship (this actually surprised me)
- Relationship status (this surprised me even more)
So, what was her brilliant idea? It’s a program where one friend nominates another friend and submits an application on their behalf. Then, the program chooses five potential matches (10 people total) within a certain radius and hosts a fun party to see what happens. I am leaving out a lot of details but that’s the gist of it. The key behind the program’s brilliance is simple: it builds trust because someone else is vouching for you. This is why referral marketing works, this is why Yelp reviews are important, this is why reputation matters. What others say about you builds trust.
Imagine you are Google, and you are ranking businesses to send traffic to. Your goal is to send traffic to the most deserving and the most talked about business…how will you know? Easy. It’s called link building.
Link building is an SEO term for the process of getting other websites to link to a page on your own website in order to earn a higher spot on the search engine results pages (aka SERPs). The more links you’ve built (meaning other sites share links to you) and the measured authority of the links you built (meaning those who link to you are credible) will determine one thing…trust. You are a trusted company according to a lot of people and that will help your SEO tremendously, which will increase your traffic to your website significantly.
Google’s goal is to find the most trustworthy links from trustworthy sites. For example, if you are a golf academy that has produced a lot of PGA champions and all these top athletes keep referring to your academy on their own websites…wow…Google is going to love you and send you a ton of traffic from those looking to find the right academy for their own training.
Finally, let’s talk about how we can start building a link. There are hundreds of ways to do this, but I would start with these 3 options:
- Continuously create content: I mentioned this in our last post – content is the key to successful SEO. Focus on your industry and on your client’s needs. With quality content, you will gain authority in time. Make sure that your content is relevant, useful and well-structured. This ensures that others who will find your content useful will want to link to it again and again. That’s how you get great backlinks; you earn them!
- Build relationships: For good link building, you need to build good relationships. There are plenty of opportunities to build new contacts. You should start with niche-related communities: forums, blogs or social groups. Make the first step and start contributing with interesting and relevant comments and posts, providing contextual value to each discussion. By actively participating in these online communities focused on your niche, you will not only gain some good backlinks, but you will always have access to the newest industry news and be able to connect to people who share your passions.
- List your site in trustworthy directories: There are many online directories that provide real value to the users. The ideal directory will not only give you the chance to post a link to your website, but also provide useful information for your potential customers. There are even tools and apps that help you get on these lists…even niche directories.
So, there you go. A little bit about backlinks and the important role it plays with SEO. Again, don’t forget, it’s all about building trust. Continue to be relevant out there by keeping your website dynamic… and don’t forget to help other credible sites by offering links to their content on your website. Because at the end of the day, we’re all just single businesses trying to sift through the lies and hoping to find a match.
If you saw my post last week, I talked about the fundamentals of SEO. One of the coolest studies I found while doing my own research was this simple chart of the Google Algorithm Ranking Factors. Basically, it charts what Google thinks are the most important elements on your website if you want to increase visibility and traffic to your site through SEO. As this chart shows, out of 15 different categories that can affect your SEO, the most important is Consistent Publication of Engaging Content.
Which makes total sense to me. Logically speaking, the more content you have, the more chance you’ll have of someone seeing it, right? Well, not always. In fact, if you have an article or blog post on your website that goes on and on without providing a solution, making a point or offering any kind of significant information, your visitors will leave quickly which can actually hurt your rankings. So the key word here is “ENGAGING” content.
So, I know what you are gonna ask me next: “How do I write engaging content?” Before I answer that question, let’s first define the word “engaging” in the context of SEO.
Engaging Content is so genuinely appealing and interesting that it immediately grabs your attention and makes you want to learn more. Engaging means having the ability to stop someone in their tracks and draw them in by being informative, insightful, inspiring and even entertaining.
It’s not just about great writing or storytelling – it’s about the visuals as well. Here are some cool tips and resources so you can increase your SEO game.
- Find what people are searching for. Duh. There are 5.6 billion Google searches per day. What are they searching for? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you had special insight into what people needed so you can write about it and answer their questions? Well, here’s a free tool you can use. It’s called Answer the Public. Click on this link, type in your area of specialty and voila! You’ll get a list of questions that people are asking online about your subject. You’ll be surprised at some of the popular things that people are searching that you haven’t thought of in your own field.
- Use Large Headers and Sub-headers. Make it stand out. Because, most of the time, before someone commits to reading your content, they will quickly pan the page to see if it’s worthwhile. And while skimming through, they’ll first read what’s most catching to the eye – the large headers and sub-headers. Not only should they be bigger, but they should use words that immediately capture a reader’s attention.
- Use Graphics. We are naturally drawn to images. Create or add graphics to illustrate your point, set the mood or spark an inspiration.
- Use Keywords. Not just one, but 5-10. And categorize these keywords into 3 types: Primary, Secondary and Additional.
- The Primary keyword is your main focus, so let your title reflect that. Use the primary keyword to drive the bulk of the content forward.
- Secondary keywords are complementary keywords to the primary one, but just slight variations. Have 3-5 talking points and use the secondary keywords to support it.
- Additional keywords can be other related words that can be phrased differently but mean the same thing. This is a way to get variations of your main keywords in there to provide additional padding.
- Incorporate Internal Links. This is a great way to keep the visitor on your site longer. Referencing another post from your existing site is a great way to create more engaging content and provide the visitor with more relevant information while letting Google know how cool you are.
- Be Consistent. Consistency in your voice helps people get to know you, and will keep them coming back if they like what they read. If you are a great storyteller, keep writing relate-able and relevant stories to continue to communicate your point. Also, be consistent in posting so people can start counting on you for new content and looking forward to it. Best case scenario, your content can become part of the regular rhythm of people’s lives.
- Be You. The most engaging content is content that’s written by someone who’s not only knowledgeable, but also someone who’s passionate. Let them know how much you love and enjoy sharing, teaching, informing and entertaining. It will shine through. I always say, people can spot a fake…so, you be you. You are the only you and that’s why they’ll want to read it.
So, to answer the original question, does content really help SEO? The answer is resounding YES! Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to adding more traffic and eventually adding more clients to your business.
Here’s to the engaging content you’re going to create – can’t wait to see what you have to share!
I talk to so many clients and business owners about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and realize that there is a lot of misunderstanding about it. I thought it would be fun to spend some time going over the basics and learn together what we can do to ultimately help increase traffic to your website.
But first, what the heck is SEO and why should I even care? In order to answer this question, you have to understand Google’s mission…this is straight from Google’s own words:
“People around the world turn to Search to find information, learn about topics of interest, and make important decisions. We know people rely on us so our commitment will never waver. As technology evolves, we will continue to help everyone find the information they’re looking for. We believe Search should: Deliver the most relevant and reliable information available.”
Let’s start there. Basically, Google wants to be the #1 guide when you’re looking for answers online. How? By giving you the most relevant information that you’ll find helpful to you. Why? Because if Google keeps giving you the best answers to your questions, you’ll start to trust them, and eventually, Google will become a huge part of your life.
In order for Google to keep their promise, they have to have their own set of rules (algorithms) to help them filter and determine what information is most RELEVANT out there and rank it accordingly. The higher the ranking, the more visible the answer will be for the people searching…meaning, it shows up in the order of relevance starting from page 1 of the search results.
So, why is that important to us as business owners? Because we want Google to look at the information on our website and be impressed by what we provide, so when they’ll show it to others as part of their promise to provide the most relevant and reliable information. And if Google wins, you win.
Here’s the ultimate question: How do I impress Google? How do I create, format, design, add content, structure and work on the website so that Google will determine my website to be credible and useful? Simple – know the rules (algorithms) Google has determined to increase your rankings, then do it authentically and do it well. But here’s the challenge: there are a lot of rules, and the rules change. Not only that, there are rules that are transparent and obvious and there are also rules that they do not share…not even within their own company. (They don’t want the secret getting out so no one can unfairly manipulate the numbers).
Here’s a reference that I hope you find helpful. This company began conducting a continuous study of Google’s algorithm 12 years ago, and for the last several years has published its results publicly. As the largest SEO firm in the US, it has a sizable data set on which to base its understanding of the factors that comprise Google’s search algorithm.
Below is the 2021 update, along with a description of each factor and a summary of changes from the past year. Also, here’s the link directly to their page if you’d like to read more about it.
I hope this gives you an overall picture of how SEO works. Unfortunately, it can get very complex and it’s always evolving. But I believe it’s important enough for us to pay attention to it and continuously implement the right factors into your website. I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks about how you can raise your SEO game. Because what’s more important than receiving love from your mom? Receiving love from Google. 🙂
SEO ya later!
It’s the last big bang! A moment that has been anticipated by the entire audience, as everything slowly crescendos throughout the show…increasing in sound, the instruments playing louder and faster, the vocals getting higher and higher, the lights are flashing, the dancing gets more frantic yet synchronized, the crowd starts to clap, then they stand, then they scream with their hands in the air…the fireworks are going off, every single shape and color…all at once. It’s the finale.
Where I live, due to the pandemic the city didn’t budget or even plan for fireworks this year, so we didn’t get to have a show. So, the last paragraph I wrote about the finale? Well, that didn’t happen. It was just another day…business as usual.
If you’ve been following my emails for the past three weeks, we’ve been on a “Dream Series.” Here’s a quick summary and the links if you missed it.
• Week 1: It All Starts with a Dream: When I first started this company, I got to do an important exercise that taught me how to dream. But not only that, I talked about writing out in detail what a perfect day would look like and what steps to take to tangibly help you get there.
• Week 2: Life Interrupted: I shared about Suleika Jaouad and how her dream was interrupted when a leukemia diagnosis gave her a 35% chance of survival…and what kept her dream alive in the midst of it, and how it re-defined for her what it means to truly “live well.”
• Week 3: If I Became Successful: What is the main contributor to one’s success: Hard work? Luck? Or both? I imagined what I would say if someone in the future ever asked me about my secret to success.
Today will be my final thought for the “Dream Series” – The Finale, if you will. Whether you are a business owner, entrepreneur, or an employee, you probably have some end goal in mind… it might be cashing out and traveling the world, or going into 100% retirement with the freedom to do whatever you want, or finally buying that giant mansion you’ve always wished for… is that the end?
I love this quote from the founder and the CEO of Numi (a 50+ million-dollar company) when asked if there’s a part of him that wants to just sell his stake in the company and start enjoying life and stop grinding away everyday. He said this: “I enjoy my life everyday. We have a great team and I feel that the balance of life is here. We want to continue to thrive. We’ve created a legacy, and we get to help educate the world and as we continue to live out our values, we get to make our planet and our world a better place.”
So, there you have it. Yes, it all started with a dream. But it doesn’t end with a dream. Our dream just continues. There’s no finale. Like a child who never gets tired of the same game – every time it ends they say, “Do it again!” It’s enjoying our life everyday. Having a great team, finding that balance, continuing to thrive, creating a legacy and helping others along the way. That defines success, and by that, we are already successful. There’s no finale, it’s just another day…business as usual.
Hope this inspires you to wake up tomorrow and say, “Let’s do it again!”