Let's cut straight to the good stuff, shall we?? How do I rank for this keyword is one of the most common questions I get asked.
The kind that gets you grinning at four o'clock in the afternoon as another enquiry lands in your inbox.
That gets you high-fiving your(self? Cat?) as you wrap up another order.
Keyword ranking may not sound all that sexy, but it can do A-grade things for your creative business. So exactly what do you need to do to get in on the action, and which of the so-called tips and tricks are nothing more than myth?
- It's time to be choosey
Whenever someone asks me (i.e. every day) 'how do I show up in search engines for this keyword?', then I ask them in return, how did you choose that word? It's so often picked at random, guided by the not-so-specific method of 'Ooh I like that yes', rather than what their ideal clients are actually searching for. It can be as simple as the choice between “floral designer” vs “florist” or “illustration” vs “painting” that really can make all the difference.
But, if you aren't sure, what else can you do? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to figure it out because yes, there are tools to help figure out the popularity of any particular phrase but if you don't do this ground work first you're going to be going round in circles.
Get a pen and notepad out and write down...
- Where in the world are you based? Be specific
- Where in the world is your audience based? Be specific
- What do you offer
- Are there different ways to sum up what you do?
- Are you clear on how you differ from your competitors (this can be the difference between wedding bouquet illustrator and wedding day illustrator, both of which are great businesses but are quite different in terms of actual service where one shows up to the big day and the other does not)
- Are you clear on how you add value to your audience's lives?
- How well do you understand what they're looking for?
If you design clothes or take photos it's not just - my clients need clothes or they need new photos, it's the kind of clothes, it's the kind of photos they need, and what they will use them for.
- One word: phrase
When is a keyword not a keyword? When it's a phrase! Don't get caught out by thinking your keyword is 'photographer' when actually it's probably more like 'Birmingham wedding photographer'. Because here's the secret: more often than not, that's what people are typing into Google. Think about the last searches you made, then apply the same logic to the queries your ideal client could use to find you.
Often, creative business owners bundle up hashtag and keyword choice in one fell swoop. Your time is valuable, so streamlining makes sense, but don't try and skip this key step just to save time (instead psst...find the places you totally CAN save time in your business right here). Keywords are what get you found on Google, hashtags group your social media posts. They're both ways to bring new eyes to your brand, but they work in different ways so don't assume one works for the other.
- On target
If I asked you to describe your ideal client, what would you say? (Apart from rolling your eyes, because isn't it enough that you've got one, do you really have to deep dive more?!?) Could you tell me their age, their likes, dislikes and favourite places to splurge? Could you tell me their pain points and the things that spur them on to get out of bed in the morning?
You may be feeling a bit smug right now as you've got this information down, but even if you haven't, don't let the research stop there. Include it in your keyword ranking planning too. You can find out how many people search each month for phrases linked to your business (start with Google Keyword Planner, but on my SEO course Let's Get You Found I teach you much more specific ways to do this). Check out your competition, too - what are they using? You always need to know what you're up against before you can take top spot, otherwise you're just fighting against yourself.
- Play the game
Competing for number one takes courage, confidence and clarity (I talk about it in my free trainings, which you probably wanna hear more about, right?). If you've got your keywords right, you'll face plenty of competition in your bid to top the charts, so you need to play the game to win! Using the exact same keyword phrases on multiple blogs and pages means you'll be in direct competition with yourself - and only one page can be number one. So instead use similar phrases that mean the same thing on different blog posts you write. Get clear on where keyword phrases work best on your website. This very idea is debated widely amongst SEO experts and is different for every business, so take the time to work out what is best for you.
- One size does not fit all
It used to be the case that you could create a page, add the search phrase, link the page on your menu or footer, name it with your keyword phrase and that would be enough to ace your keyword ranking. But as with most things in life, times change.
Google is getting cleverer than ever, tracking not just what people search but also their intent behind it. Make sure you tailor your keyword phrases specifically to each page to ensure they display in search for what potential customers will actually find.
- Wrong place, right time
One of the most common mistakes I find on client websites is that they've used one keyword phrase in a lot of places, or they've not used enough at all. The trick to scoring great SEO results and watching that organic traffic roll in is to put the right keywords in the right places, every time.
- Pare it back
When you've done your research for keyword ranking, it can be oh-so tempting to pour all that time and energy into the next post you write. Don't! Because trust me, we've all been there, done that and ended up with a post you can't make head nor tail of. Packing in every possible variation of your keyword phrase won't a readable page make, so choose one for this time, and save the others to enhance your strategy another day.
Once you've nailed your audience targeting, it's time to hone in on your strategy too. Strategy doesn't have to be a scary word, and in fact I love helping people sort theirs out. Scaling back your keywords to cover a chosen area or niche won't limit your potential. Far from it, in fact, because by doing this you'll appeal to the people who matter most.
OK, so you've done some thinking, come and tell me on Facebook which tip helped you the most....
P.S. If you're in the mythbusting mood, you might also wanna check out my post on whether SEO is dead.....
It's all go pre-holiday this week which is why it's so good to look back on the week and go ahhh, I achieved a lot, had a lot of fun, but I'm quite ready for some time off 😀By focusing on what went well each week, it gives me the opportunity to stop, and be grateful! I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for doing all this hard work, right? I've upgraded this into not only what I love but wha I think you'll love too....so here’s what I loved this week:
And now I'm off to get blued up, spruced up and pack up as I'm off on my trip to Mexico on Sunday.
Come and follow me on Insta
as I'll be popping on there to spread some sunshine with any luck
Dance break requests on the beach anyone?
What did you love this week? I love to hear from you 🙂
P.S. When I get back, I'll be sharing some juicy announcements, so watch this space!
So, in light of last Friday's #ThingsILoveFridays post, I'm sharing again here and phew! what a week. So good to reflect, look back on the week and check in with myself. Gives me the opportunity to stop, and be grateful! It sounds pretty out there, but I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for doing all this hard work, right? Right?!
With that in mind, here’s what I loved this week:
- Thinking about whether SEO is dead and sharing some thoughts (spoiler alert: I strongly disagree)
- Speaking to lots of new people on breakthrough calls about my Let’s Get You Found program and enrolling quite a few
- Coming ever more into the realisation that with being more visible, you get just as many people not wanting to hear from you as people very much wanting to hear from you, and that doesn't mean they're not your ideal clients, and you don't have to take it personally!
- Learning about sustainability and fashion from Stefania at One of a Style (I can’t wait to share her Gin & Magic episode!)
- Spending some wonderful time at my soon-to-be new co-working space The Wing (I cried happy tears more than once)
- Receiving branding shots taken by the legend John Nassari (Have you considered having branding photos done? It’s wonderful for the confidence)
- Devouring some lush Indian sweets from my developer - happy Diwali! (Still on my goals list to be in India for Diwali, as I always missed it in the past when I lived there!)
- Signing up to Talking Shrimp Inbox Hero course (not an affiliate just a huge fan).
- Getting organised! Spring cleaned all my email templates using Hubspot (free version).
- Went a bit nuts on buying clothes for my upcoming holiday to Mexico to be honest (Dancing Leopard, I’m looking at you)
- Drafting my handover doc for one of Team Shine to look after my inbox whilst I’m away! #organised
- This proving popular in my DMs
- Participating in Lisa Johnson’s passive income challenge (have you thought about passive income? Not an affiliate!)
- Booking in some fun-looking classes at Rachael Kay Albers’ Toilet Seat Summit next week (the tongue-in-cheek title is quite wonderful, check it out).
- Going to see Hannah Gadsby in her show Douglas (the sequel to her Netflix special Nanette (tickets for UK dates still available here)
- Onboarding a new client for my Shine SEO Done for You service (and spruced up the copy - thoughts?)
What did you love this week? I love to hear from you 🙂
P.S. I’m off to see an absolute legend tomorrow - can you guess who it is? Come and check my Instagram to find out #BrownPaperParcelsTiedUpWithString
P.P.S New biz blog post filled with top tips coming Monday!
Last week it kicked off on my social media. Someone had heard from someone else that SEO is basically dead. Time was when I would read these kinds of things and go OMG my career is over. I’m dead. How will I ever recover. OMG, I’m off to ask for a job at my local coffee shop. Goodbye cruel freelancing world. So, this kind of stuff happens most weeks and I’m sure in hundreds of other conversations that I’m not privy to. See also: a beer out with a friend a few weeks ago where they told me that they didn’t think people were using Google in the same way any more and that I needed to find something else to do. The thing is, is SEO dead?
So often people come to me and say "But XYZ is the thing now".
To them I say this:
The thing is, SEO isn’t dead. People (i.e. your potential clients) are googling stuff just as much as ever.
As a small business owner, you probably think SEO is a luxury. But to make more money from your website, you want more people to see it. To get more people to see it, you need to increase your rankings on search engines. To do this, you need to work on your SEO. You may have heard that SEO is dead and past it, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. My personal opinion is that people just say that so that they don’t have to work on their SEO. (Or worse yet, and this is truly cynical, that they are working on their SEO but don’t want to let on that they’re not doing well with it).
I hear every day that the market is saturated, but no one is talking about the really obvious solution: promote why you’re different. The way to do this is to work on your SEO. It really isn’t as dry and dull as it’s so often made out to be. Let’s pick it apart like a Terry’s chocolate orange (too early?) (for more on what is SEO you can check out my blog post here)
If you hop on to Google Trends or Google Adwords keyword research and start searching for your type of business and commonly asked questions you’ll find out how many people are looking for you….
which finger does a wedding ring go on - 12,100 people a month on average are searching for the answer to this worldwide! A perfect opportunity for you to showcase engagement photos, the I do moment in your favourite venues
london wedding photography - 1300 couples a month are searching for you, yes it’s competitive, but it’s not impossible
wedding songs 2019 - a whopping 18,100 a month and not enough people are embedding Spotify playlists and Youtube videos in blog posts in my opinion!
I could go on - London wedding venues 8,100 a month, Cornwall wedding venues 2900 a month, calligraphy wedding invitations 1600 a month
It's not just wedding suppliers either, 40,500 people a month are searching for a chocolate brownie recipe, 210 people a month are searching for the answer to "how do i know what to do with my life", 1900 women are searching for "dating advice for women" and 2160 people are searching for gifts for newborn babies.
So what can YOU do with this information?
It comes down to three very practical tasks:
- Creating content (blogging on your website (read: do I really need to blog) + then promoting on social media - here's my tips on how to use social media for SEO)
- Tracking how well that content does (checking your Google Analytics + insights - here's how to set up Google Analytics)
- Create more content based on the results (it doesn’t matter if it overlaps because people aren’t paying nearly as much attention to us as we’d like them to.)
It’s up to you to remind them you exist. So plan some blog posts to publish between now and the end of the year, share them strongly on social media. Don’t hold back (for tips on this check out my blog post "Six ways to put yourself out there")
If you work on it from now on and you’re consistent, your efforts should pay off in enquiries. You can't just turn up and expect to get lucky on the first date i.e. stop publishing one blog post a year and expect to get bookings from it. I wrote more about dating + SEO here.
Useful? Hit me back and let me know your favourite bit. I love hearing from you!
So, I've decided to bring you all into the fold a little more.
It kicked off last Friday night when I went to see the iconic Jonathan Van Ness, grooming expert from Queer Eye in his stand up show. He was positivity personified and I almost died from smiling so much. But he also shared how his personality radically differs between Instagram and Twitter and it got me thinking even more about how I feel so differently about those two platforms that I'm actually not even active on Twitter really any more, and yet I love dancing on Instagram.
You see, there's something about this time of year and the seasonal change in the air that always makes me think, 'right Mads, gotta change things up', that forces me to look at what's working and what drives conversation.
One such thing that *always* comes up when I meet people who follow me in real life is my #ThingsILoveFridays💖 that I share on Instagram but that I've been thinking I want to be a little more useful and informative rather than just a 'look at me' kinda moment. I started this hashtag over a year ago and it's always been useful for me to focus on what went right in a week rather than what went, shall we say, slightly off plan. I know, there's no such thing as failures, only opportunities, but hey, I'm human too.
So with all this in mind, here's some things I loved this week, that I thought you might too.
- A lively debate started off in my Facebook community about whether SEO might be dead. (Newsflash: it isn't and more on this to come)
- I've been loving hard on Ash Ambirge’s content for years but her latest post "You Don’t Exist to Please Dipsh*ts" is quite wonderful.
- I've been loving speaking to so many people about my 10 week Let's Get You Found program. We chat on the phone for 45 minutes about their business and they decide if they want to enrol. No pressure, and always helpful.
- I've been back to it with responding to pretty much everything with GIFs and Bitmojis to everything. It communicates *so* much without words, and in a world where punctuation can be misconstrued, why not just use GIFs, haha.
- I tend to spend like Liberace when sales go remotely well, so reading 33 money lessons from Tarzan Kay was enlightening!
- I spent time studying a new launch strategy technique for next time from Lisa Johnson - I've been a member of GSD Society since it began but rarely make time for it. OMG so meaty.
- Learning how my Myers-Briggs profile could match to a new style of marketing - I'm an ESFJ. What are you?
- Everything Talking Shrimp is brilliant.
- Walking around Soho and the West End of London is one of my favourite things to do but I don't do it enough. Just talking with a good friend and telling stories and before we knew it was 10 miles. I hadn't realised how much of a difference it makes tbh.
- Catching up on Catherine the Great - Helen Mirren is fab.
- And of course, discovering the joy of going blue (OAPs and small children stare at you, a lot).
What can you celebrate from your week?
Maddy Shine x
P.S. New blog post filled with SEO advice coming Monday!