How to tell Google you exist (It’s quite important)

When I work with Shine clients, I always ask, have you submitted your sitemap to Google before? The question is often met with one of these responses:

  1. Yes, a long time ago I think it was done
  2. Isn't that the same as Google Analytics?
  3. What's that, then?

I then ask the same question but in another way:

What shows up when you Google your own business name?

Three things need to be showing up as a the very foundation of getting found online:

  1. Your website (ideally more than one page of your website)
  2. Your social media links
  3. Your Google Maps/Google My Business listing

Now, if you're not showing up when you Google your business name, it's almost certainly because you haven't told Google you exist.

How do you do that?

You need to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webmasters. This includes whenever you make significant changes to your site, such as creating new pages, changing your menu, then you need to tell Google about it.

Fear not, I'm here to tell you what you need to do.

What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is a free online tool provided by Google. It used to be called Webmaster Tools and can still be found at that URL.

Why is it important?

The main reason you need to know about this tool is to submit your website to be read by Google so it will send over its spiders they look at the menu, the pages and posts, and what they're looking for is if your website is useful, is it a quick website, is it all seamlessly linked together- how useful you are.  And then it will know about all the pages and posts on your website.

Google Search Console is needed because a) we need to tell Google we exist and b) we're human and we make mistakes. This handy free tool tells us where we've made mistakes and helps us fix them, and then helps us make sure our sites are as error-free as possible. 

Google Search Console vs Google Analytics?

Google Search Console is different from Google Analytics but the two can connect smoothly. Analytics shows you a lot more information about how people are using your site, whereas Search Console shows you what people are searching for to find your site as well as tracking how your site shows up in search engine results.

OK, where do I start?

I'm so glad you asked. I've put together a PDF guide completely free with the step by step process on how to submit your sitemap to both Google AND Bing. Download it by clicking below!

Why is blogging important for SEO anyway?!

This week I had the great pleasure of being interviewed on The Flourishing Pantry where I was asked a fantastic question on the Live interview: why is blogging important for SEO? I realised then and there that perhaps you're persuaded that it's generally a good idea but not quite convinced of the SEO benefits of blogging

So, today I decided to share with you just how it helps specifically as I think it might help spur you on into blogging more often....!

SEO is not stand alone.

The first thing to note is that SEO is not a stand alone activity. It's not as cut and dried as that task is SEO related, that task is marketing related, it's ALL about driving traffic to your website. Once you have traffic on your website you then set up about converting that traffic into repeated traffic, and from there you have the opportunity to convert them into a sale.

Not every blog post is there to attract sales

People come to me all the time wondering why they didn't get enquiries as soon as they published a blog post, or an Instagram post. It doesn't work like that. This is the second key point. Not every blog post is written with the goal of attracting sales and therefore the social media posts that promote the blog posts should not have the goal of attracting sales. It's a rule of marketing (and therefore SEO) 101 that you can use the AIDA model: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. Most of the content you produce is there to create awareness and interest, in order to move onto the third and fourth stages of Desire and Action. I made a pink diagram to highlight this model 🙂

Create more content

The next thing to note is you are probably not creating enough content in order to get your audience to remember you and to buy from you. I get a lot of questions about blogging. People wanting to make sure they do it right. Guess what? Most of those people are using these questions as reasons not to blog more often. Create more content to get found by your audience. You need to constantly remind people that you exist. The easiest way to do that? Create more content.

But that doesn't mean get lost in creating a beautiful aesthetic on Instagram. That means providing valuable information that answers key questions that your audience has. For example, like writing a blog post about why blogging is important for SEO (see what I did there? ;o) )

What do you do with the blog posts?

You need to create content that attracts attention, that increases awareness of who you are and what you offer the world. You need to point this attention to your website. This is why LINK IN BIO is on Instagram posts (or should be!) and this is why people try to figure out the best way to post links on Facebook status updates (remove the image, post the link in the comments, the options seem to be endless don't they?)

On my last blog post I talked about what I learned when I didn't blog for 2.5 months as an SEO expert - talk about putting your money where your mouth is! This attracted a LOT of traffic. It piqued people's interest. It sparked people's motivation. It jolted people into action. It got people talking. The key thing was I tracked all this on my Google Analytics.

How did I get this traffic?

I posted the link on my email newsletter, I shared the link on Facebook page, personal Facebook profile, Instagram bio, tweeted it. I shared it via private message with a few people in my network. I can see from Google Analytics that people were sending it to each other too.

As a result, I watched my search engine rankings increase because more eyeballs were looking at my website.

But hang on I hear you question...if I have blog posts already on my site, can't people just see them and that will work for me without me having to focus on that for a while?

The short answer is nope.

Remember what I said earlier - people want a reminder that you exist constantly. Therefore, search engines LOVE regularly updated websites. The easiest way to update a website? BLOGGING. This is because you're much more likely to actually write these rather than update your main website pages. You're much more likely to attract traffic if you post a link to a new blog post on social media.

Every time you publish a piece of content online it creates a unique link. Search engines love websites full of juicy content with lots of pages and posts all linking to each other. Therefore, you need to create more unique links.

Don't try to shortcut this.

Don't get lost in creating hidden pages, black hat SEO techniques. Write more consistently on your blog. Publish the link to social media.

This is just the start.

There's much more to learn about SEO. SO much more. In fact I teach a whole course on this (are you on the waiting list?). But until you do this one thing of following my advice on blogging, you won't be able to grow your business and attract the enquiries you want.

So what are you waiting for? What will you blog about next? Come and tell me in my free Facebook group So Exciting Obviously SEO for Creative Women.

Talk soon,

Maddy

Photography is all by the marvellous Julia Gold

Why dating + SEO are similar a.k.a. why you aren’t making more sales

Putting the time in with your business is a bit like dating. You actually need to put in the work, play the long game, to get what you want out of it. Bear with as I share more about what I mean….

Every day I receive requests for guest blog posts on my site. Some more spammy than others, some wanting to buy a guest post spot. They’re just trying to get a link back to their site from mine so as to collect backlinks, clearly having ignored Google’s latest algorithm updates about relevancy and quality over quantity.

I have a template stored that I copy and paste in response to these requests which is essentially a polite but firm no together with some tips on how they might be more successful in their future link endeavours.

I rarely receive a response but when I do they fall into two categories:

1. IGNORE: They’ve ignored my advice and they’re still trying to go in for what they want out of the situation
2. YEAH BUT: They use the excuse ‘yeah but’ and try to make me feel sorry for them in some way

When I started to notice these two attitudes in link building, I started to notice it everywhere.

I see it when people complain about the follow/unfollow strategy adopted by some on Instagram
I see it when I have spammy requests on Instagram (why thank you, darling, yes I *am* a gift from God!)
I see it when people comment in my Instagram feed and try to make a sale right there

When they ignore my advice, they’re not just ignoring me, they’re ignoring everyone. They’re blindly moving on with asking for the sale because they just want the sale goddammit why aren’t you booking already….

And the second…they have a huge To Do list and getting through it is more important than getting results.

Now, I know I’ve found myself in these two camps many times before and I have to say that these two attitudes didn’t work in my favour then either.

This is pretty similar to turning down someone you’re just not interested in and actually, they’re not particularly interested in you either, they were just hoping to get lucky. It’s not a good sign of a lasting romance now, is it? I’m not saying I want to be sent chocolates by these companies, but I am saying I don’t want to feel used. I know I’m not the only one who receives these requests, and this definitely is not a “poor me I get so many emails” post, but it got me thinking.

It reeks of desperation, and no one likes a desperate date. You want to feel a bit special, right?

So what’s the solution?

Let me tell you a funny story I share with friends over wine…it’s where I say I’m going to write a book called “How to date” and it’s quite short.

1. Ask the other person questions
2. Listen to the answers
3. Ask more questions based on those answers
4. Remember the answers in future conversations

The end.

And this is how it is with getting more sales.

You have to warm up your audience…put out your work, listen to what the audience has to say about it (likes, comments, engagement, analytics) and drip feed them with metaphorical compliments, roses and chocolates and listen to them.

Everyone’s favourite topic is themselves. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you spend more time thinking about yourself than anyone else. Therefore, it makes sense that people want to see themselves in what you do.

Make them feel good with Instagram photos and stories that speak to them, with blog posts that are helpful, that entertain, that provide value.

People buy from people they like. It’s why social media is so good for business. People want to buy into the idea of you because they think they belong in your lives, which is great! But so many people are scared that they won’t be liked. They’re scared that they won’t be accepted. I say embrace who you are, go for it with all your soul and be unashamedly you. Listen to what your audience likes - which photos get the most likes and post more of them! Which blog posts get more eyes on them - check your Google Analytics and share those blog posts more often.

Just like with dating, you don’t highlight the bits you don’t like about yourself, you highlight the bits you do. It’s not enough to just exist and be gorgeous like you are. You need to show off, but listen, and pay attention.

Maximise your best features and you’ll make more sales. But only if you’re willing to put in for the long game. Which I’m guessing you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be running your own business, am I right?

P.S. this was a bit different, wasn’t it? But I figure, I haven’t blogged in two months, it’s about time I put my money where my mouth is.

52 Reasons Why You Need to Be Blogging

Did you know, one of my favourite things to do is listen and observe. That's probably a bit surprising to you, particularly if you follow my adventures on Instagram, because I'm quite loud and eccentric! But it's true. I love listening to the real problems behind why more people aren't feeling confident with promoting themselves online. Because that's all SEO really is, in it's broadest sense. Getting yourself "out there" so you attract more sales.

One of the key reasons why you're not getting found is because you're letting overthinking get in the way and you're just not blogging enough. There are a million reasons why (time, pressure, other things take priority) but I'm not interested in why you can't, I'm interested in why it's a Good Idea.

So, this week I launched a challenge in my Facebook group "So Exciting Obviously: SEO for Creative Women" to find out why they think blogging is a good idea and added these reasons to my ever-growing list of 52 reasons why you need to be blogging more.

Have a read, and let me know in the comments if you think of any others!

  1. It's free
  2. It’s great for building your brand
  3. It gets you noticed
  4. It builds trust in your readers' minds
  5. It makes you stand out from the crowd
  6. It helps you grow in confidence
  7. It gives you content to use on social media and newsletters
  8. It ensures your latest work is always published
  9. It’s a chance to offer value to your clients
  10. It shows potential clients more in-depth information about the products you sell
  11. If the posts are engaging, gives people a reason to return to your website
  12. It’s a way of sharing helpful advice, tips
  13. It’s a source of pride in your website - you’re happier for people to look at it
  14. It’s great for getting found online by a new audience
  15. By publishing more, you improve and attract more
  16. It’s a great way to practice writing
  17. It increases your audience’s confidence in you
  18. It’s a way for you to express your creativity
  19. It brings traffic to your website
  20. It shows off your best work
  21. It establishes authority in your readers' minds
  22. It lets you help others
  23. It’s a way of sharing examples of your work
  24. It shows experience in specific areas
  25. It updates your website with new work
  26. It lets people know that you’re still here
  27. It’s a way to communicate your values
  28. It helps you guide them
  29. It’s a way of getting to know you, so they can proceed to the next stage of decision making
  30. It’s a great way to build relationships with others you mention
  31. It gives others content to share
  32. It gives your target audience content to share
  33. You can send specific posts to people who enquire to help them with their questions
  34. It provides a good reason for sorting the cream of the crop images to update my gallery
  35. It gives you content for sharing on social media.
  36. It challenges you, and being challenged is good, it stretches you
  37. You learn how to do a new thing
  38. When you monitor traffic coming to your site, it’s motivating
  39. It allows you to share your thoughts and develop them
  40. It has a higher reach than your website alone
  41. It creates new opportunities
  42. It documents your work and life
  43. It shows you care
  44. It sets the tone for what you’re like to work with
  45. It’s a way to share your expertise and experience
  46. It helps you stay in touch with your audience
  47. It keeps your shopfront updated
  48. It can be fun to share something you’re passionate about
  49. Readers can relate to you
  50. It shows off your ideal clients so you attract more of the same
  51. It gives you a voice
  52. It reminds your clients you exist

So, what are you waiting for? Write and publish a blog post and share the link in the Facebook group! If you're looking to get to grips with blogging and need some help, then my SEO workshop on 11th October is perfect for you.

Talk soon!

Maddy

My Business Story to date told in GIFs

It may or may not surprise you to know (if you watch my InstaStories) that I enjoy a gin of an evening. Whilst having my gin, I have been having a few conversations over Instagram about personal business stories recently and this got me thinking that whilst my About page is all spruced up and sparkling and ta-dahhh, I haven’t actually shared my business story here on my blog. I do love reading other people’s stories, and so I thought it might be fun to share my own almost entirely in GIFs. It's important for me to inject humour as much as possible into what I do because it's a crazy world and I think kindness and humour is key.

Enjoy!

I have always loved weddings. When I was a little girl I had an alter ego. Her name? Mrs Wedding.

I went to a convent school which I kinda loved actually.

I grew up by the seaside in Devon....


....where I watched Splash a lot indoors on VHS....

I actually won certificates at school for smiling so much. Whilst others got them for doing well in geography or achievement in maths, I got awarded for being so happy.

I learned to code in HTML in 1999 when I was 16 - my dad gave me a page on his business website! The masterpiece was all about Ace Ventura....

I went to university in Bristol and studied business, and left for London and expected this.

But it was more like this...

But as a side job, I worked in rowing PR...as you do. There were quite a few perks...

Oh, and I used to organise a LOT of fancy dress parties.

I got very, very tired and needed a break. It was the recession and I lost my job.

My partner at the time loved India and encouraged me to go...so off I went. I expected this....

and instead got this...

Having space to think about life made me realise....

After six months, I came back to England to live on a houseboat, engaged.

I read about 100+ wedding blogs regularly. I entered all the competitions. I won my wedding photographer in a competition on a blog!

I started interning for the blog, and then, dear reader, I got married.

Meanwhile, because I like to keep busy (LOLZ) I led an international media campaign to save my houseboat community from extinction (side note: they're still there seven years on)

I qualified as an English teacher so I could work abroad. After travelling for 18 months, I was ready to come back to England

I started to network (read: fangirl) the shiz out of the wedding world. And things started to happen....

Also me...

The wedding blog where I won my wedding photographer (Darling Lovely Life) offered me a job where I wrote and shared my adventures.

I helped organise a networking event and met Nu Bride who hired me as an assistant researcher. She sent me to John Nassari’s masterclass at the Savoy later that year where I met Laura Babb (who I totally fangirled over and she forgave me) as well as Nicola at Propose PR.

I was then involved as a model in a photoshoot where Fiona Kelly was the photographer Fiona became my first real SEO client. Apparently it was this photo that led her to hire me....

That was 2014. In December that year I finished my last ever temping job and had my first logo and was officially madeleinenoblejones.com.

Having gathered a group of clients, I went off to Goa again for a few months but this time came back single.

Pouring all my energy into the business, I started getting speaking gigs.

(this is actually how much I talk with my arms...)

I had to change my name and therefore updated my brand, fully embracing my love of pink and became Madeleinejones.co and hired two assistants - Bex & Emily, so now we were 3.

I was asked to run 1:1 SEO reviews with attendees at Snap Photography Festival which went down a treat, it was here I was crowned the Queen of SEO by the fantastic Snap community, so much so that I was asked back again for a second year in 2017. (I gush publicly fairly often about the wonder that is Laura Babb but I'm not going to stop now!)

In the winter that year I made the brave decision not to go to Goa and stayed in England.

The gamble paid off and 2017 was the biggest year yet - we completed over 70 client projects and countless internal projects! I travelled all over the country sharing more SEO goodness, Pinterest fun and drank gin with wonderful people.

And so here we are in 2018, where I’ve published the research I had spent much of 2017 working on with (mostly) positive reception and we’ve been busy setting goals for the future. Working with VIP marketing clients to create their strategy and my SEO course Let's Get You Found continues to be wonderfully popular.

I’m mega excited about where this journey is going. 

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey thus far. I’d love to know your business story, so send me a link to yours!

Maddy xo

Huge thanks to Natalie J Weddings for this image of moi.

Guest Blogging : What Is It And Why You Want To Do It

Is your business’s blog languishing in the corner, lost and forgotten, starting to gather dust? If so, don’t worry, because you’re not alone. You may be surprised how common it is!

I think if people knew the benefits that a good blog can bring to their business, there might be a lot more sparkly high-functioning blogs out there!

Blogs are important for attracting potential customers to your site. They can give visitors useful, enjoyable content on a regular basis. Blogs also provide a chance to use links that show Google and other search engines that your website is high-quality and meaningful. But have you considered that your blog could also be an awesome networking opportunity?

One such kind of networking is guest blogging.

Simply put, guest blogging is where two or more bloggers within the same or similar industry write blog posts for each other. This allows them to create useful links between their businesses and increase traffic to each other’s sites.

Have you considered guest blogging? Why not talk with some local businesses or other industry suppliers (only ones you’d want to be associated with!) and suggest guest blogging on each other’s websites?

Here are our five reasons why you should start guest blogging :

  1. It’s a fantastic way to increase your site’s organic search views and lead potential customers to your site..
  2. Strength in numbers is a real thing! Forming friendships (and partnerships) with other businesses in your niche will strengthen brand awareness and grow your following.
  3. Guest blogging generates interest and discussion in new ways for your business, and for your industry.
  4. It allows you to share your valuable knowledge with a wider audience of potential customers.
  5. Guest blogging creates valuable backlinks to your website which helps to increase your search rankings.

So what are you waiting for? Start guest blogging! Find out HOW in our super helpful (free) PDF guide How to Become a Guest Blogging Superstar.