The Four Fundamentals of SEO

In today’s episode, we break down the Four key fundamentals every business owner needs to know.

What is SEO

    1. Search Engine Optimization
    2. Defined: The practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results (Moz.com, https://moz.com/learn/seo/what-is-seo)

Why it matters

    1. Having even a ‘basic’ understanding of SEO will help *how* you build your authority online.  Knowing the few fundamentals that you can do yourself will help you be more visible to your customers. 
    2. You want customers to find you, don’t you

Four Fundamentals of SEO 

    1. Your Site.  
    2. Social Media
    3. (Good) Reviews 
    4. Business Listings
    5. Your content is what FUELS all 4 levers.  By identifying WHO you are writing to and what their problems are that you can solve allows you to produce content and “fix” those four fundamentals in a way that will lead your customers to you ORGANICALLY through search. 

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[SEO]…is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website, through organic search results

-- Moz.com

Podcast Transcript

Welcome to a brand new episode of Raney Day Talks Podcast. I’m your host, Jennifer Sakowski. And today I have a real treat for y’all. I mean, I’m about to bless you with an outlined podcast. I know, I’m shocked too, but this topic today is all about search engine optimization, SEO, and I wanted to break it down to the fundamentals that I know you can get because I believe that every business owner needs to understand these few basics when it comes to SEO, and how it will have a big impact. And normally, if it’s just me, I’ll do my research. I’ll have a few bullet points, and then rock it out. Because then I don’t get… Well, I hope it doesn’t sound like I get so tripped up over words. But today I made sure that I’ve put some research in. I pulled some resources together for when we launched this podcast on our website and I put it down into actionable steps that I’m hoping that you take and run. Right now, our whole philosophy is no excuses.

So if you’ve been following along, whether you’re on our newsletter list or you’re following on social, you’ve been listening to the latest podcast, all about no excuses on rocking your business and elevating your online presence this last few months of 2020. So today it’s about SEO. Let’s get started. First up, so I hope that I haven’t lost you talking about SEO already because it’s very important. And the best definition that I found is from Moz. And Moz is a tool that we use for SEO in Raney Day Design. I love it. There are tons of tools out there, and this is not an ad, but for us, and how I use it, and work it out for, and do keyword research and monitor sites, it works for us. So when you’re looking for different tools, try them all. They all have free a few weeks or 30 days that you can try it and see if it works for you.

So for us, we use Moz and I pulled up a great article about what is SEO? And I pulled this definition, “[SEO] …is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website, through organic search results.” (Moz.com https://moz.com/learn/seo/what-is-seo) That’s it. It’s the practice of increasing quantity and quality traffic to your website in an organic way. Now, what do we mean by organic? We’re doing this natural over time. Putting in the work, creating the content. It’s the long game, is organic. Let’s be honest. Ads are a short game. You can get immediate results, you get great data, but you’re paying for ads. And so paying for ads, most of you know, you can do it from social media, Facebook, Instagram, you can do Google Ads. So on and so forth. In Raney Day Design, our bread and butter is the organic approach.

And we love digging into a website and reorganizing content, reorganizing page structures and digging into meta descriptions, and titles because we know that in the end game, it matters. Because my belief is that before you turn on ads, before you even look at them, I want you to look at your site, and I want to make sure that whenever you’re posting an ad and you’re bringing them back too, that you have enough meat and enough value to add to your clients. And because that’s what keeps them coming back. So you can do a quick ad and ads are great for testing messaging ads. Are great for just testing really your product, your ebook, whatever it is, it’s great. And it’s a great way to build awareness and get your name out there. But, what happens when they come back to your site? How are you capturing that information?

How are you nurturing them through your sequences? How are you continually keeping them engaged? So it’s more than just turning on an ad. And so when we talk about organic, just think of it as you are putting in the work to these few fundamentals that we’re going to talk about today, and that you’re building off of those. And that once you get your foundation set, then we’re continually optimizing. We’re going back. Remember it’s the practice of increasing the quantity and quality. And we’re constantly focused on the type of audience that we’re trying to attract, and how we’re bringing them through. And how are they finding us? So if you look, if you go to our site and when this podcast is released, we have a great… I pulled a snapshot from Moz, on this awesome diagram that breaks down how all the different clusters of ranking factors within Google. And what it does, is that it just gives you, it’s not a one and done approach with SEO.Rank Factors Graph from Moz.com

I’m sorry, it’s not a quick fix. It’s something that you have to work at. And that’s why we do retainers for this. We do monthly ongoing plans, because once we get a site cleaned up, and we get focused on our content, and we know who we’re targeting, we know the keywords we’ve done all of the fixes on the fundamentals. Then it’s, we continually roll out that good quality content that will attract our customers. So there are multiple areas that go into this. There are keywords, there’s social media, Google analytics, traffic, your links, backlinks, internal links. There are all kinds of technical SEO that we can work on. I’m not going to go into that today. I’m going to keep this really basic. And so I believe that as a business owner, having a basic understanding of SEO will help you build your online authority.

It’s knowing the key fundamentals that you can do yourself will help you more visible to your customers. Because really that’s all. Because I mean, don’t you want customers to find you? Isn’t that the end game here? I keep saying end game but isn’t that the result that you’re wanting to see, is to have an increase of customers, people to buy your goods or services that you want to see new leads coming and filling out your forms online. And so that’s why it’s important. You have to be visible. You have to be able to be found online, for them to buy from you. And offline there’s obviously a lot that you can be doing, networking and passing out business cards, and beating the pavement. That’s great. But online, you have to be searchable. And so what happens is let’s just talk a little bit about Google and how that works.

So when you go to Google.com and you put in a search inquiry, and so you put in a keyword and let’s say, you put it an Apple. Now, when you type in Apple, Google uses these crawlers and that they go out to the interwebs and look through all this content and brings you back in a nice, pretty package of all of this information. It might be apples you eat, it might be your phone, Apple. Products from Apple and it compiles all this information. And so it’s important because Google uses different key elements that it goes out and crawls and makes sure that there’s information that they’re pulling in is actually what you want. And over time that we as users of Google have gotten smarter. So we put in a more narrow query, so it might be Macintosh apple, a type of apple that you eat.

And so by getting more specific, Google then uses those key terms and goes out and looks specifically for what they think that you need. And if you notice those SERPs that show up, it might be questions and answers that most people have asked, or frequently asked. It might be a location. This map on the side, it might be a few ads on top. And then at the bottom, there are these organic listings. Those are the ones that have a lot of weight behind them, those websites and that Google validates, like this site, this is what you need. And so all of that goes in and just a matter of seconds. And so when we start to re-engineer our SEO approach, we always, always start with the user in mind, the person who you’re selling to, your ideal customer. And we have to reprogram ourselves into thinking, how are they searching for us?

Now here’s a disconnect that I see happen too often. And it’s all about how we think that, oh, customers are looking for me for an SEO specialist. And a lot of times that’s not how it is. They’re looking to, how do I rank on Google? Do you see the difference there? In my viewpoint, I’m using all these technical terms in that I’m an SEO specialist. And I think that people are just, know that about me and that that’s how my customers are going to find me. That is not the case. We have to step into the people who we are serving, and helping, and solving their problems and break it down of what terms and keywords are they going to put into Google to find me. Oftentimes it’s a little bit different than what you expect as a business owner, because we, we’re so technical.

We’re so in it, we’re in the weeds of what we do, and this is what we are, but we have to take a step back and really think, through and brainstorm what it is that people use to find you. And so oftentimes that’s an exercise that we do first does. Just so we can… I mean, obviously, first, we do a big audit and we dig into where they’re at right now. And we take all the snapshots. The second thing is, is that we look at your audience, and then once we look through your audience and we get a good grip on, okay, so these are the problems that we’re solving. These are the products or services that we’re selling, and this, after doing research is the terms and phrases that we know that that’s what they’re searching for to find us. And then we do even more research on those terms, to see what’s competitive and what do we have a likelihood of building authority using?

And so it’s more than just a sticking these keywords into our content. There’s a bigger opportunity here that you can take hold of. So going back to that reverse engineering, that’s what I want you to start with. Okay. Think through how your customers are finding you, and don’t get hung up on you. Think about them. And a great way to do this, call up one of your customers, and talk to them. Listen for buzz words that they’re using, start asking when you get a new customer, how did you find us. And take notes on that, because that is, woo, that’s the good stuff right there. That is out of their mouths that you can use right into your marketing strategy, right into your content. Okay. So the next step is now we need to start looking at the fundamentals. And I’ve come up with four that I think are the key, for this talk, are the key four.

And the first one is when it comes to SEO, is your site. I feel like that should be a no brainer. Your website, is your home base. That is your face on the interwebs, of when someone searches for you. Yeah. Your social media, maybe your Twitter account, maybe your LinkedIn, maybe Instagram, whatever it may be. There might be all of these different… Maybe you’re in directory, you’re in a local business directory that might pop up, but your website needs to show up. They need to be able to find you, find information that will solve their problems. And there needs to be a clear way for them to take action and getting a hold of you or buying. Okay. And so your website matters, and it’s important to understand that a website is not just launched and forget about, it’s a living and breathing organism of your marketing strategy.

It’s very important. And it’s a very crowded space. I didn’t bring the stats. And maybe for the, when we launch this podcast on the site, I’ll pull in the stats, but it’s important for you to understand that it is a massively crowded space and to stand out, yes, you need to be unique to your own brand, and your own voice, but you also have to add that quality content that Google will validate. Yep. They know who they are. They know what they’re selling, and this is how they’re going to help this user searching for them. And it’s important to make it easy for your ideal customer. Do you notice a thing here? We’re always going back to our ideal customer. It’s important for you to get inside of their head. Because you want to set up a site that is easy for them to navigate, and you put the right information right in front of them.

What is marketing all about? It’s getting out the right message at the right time, the right medium, and the right way. There’s a bunch of other rights to that, but those are the biggies. So your website matters. And how we set up a site, how do we design and develop a website for daycare is way different than a doctor’s office. Or an auto mechanic, or an attorney. There are a different design and development and feel. And it all starts with who is your customer? The second fundamental is your social media, social media. I have a lot of clients who are like, oh, I hate Facebook. I hate… I get it. I get it. But listen, that is multiple channels to engage, enlighten, and build trust with your audience. Think of it as a way to soft sell, to introduce you, your products, and then to bring them back to your home base, your website, where you can do your hard sells.

Because oftentimes we forget that in marketing, it’s like dating. You don’t start… I mean, maybe you do, but for this analogy, you court somebody, your date, you don’t go out and start making out with them, right when you meet them. No, it usually happens at the end of the night. You had a good date, shared a great dinner. You come back, they’re dropping you off and you have that little bit of uncomfortable, excited feeling, the butterflies, all of it. And then anticipation. And the first kiss happens, but it’s not out there. It’s behind closed doors. That’s where it blossoms. It’s the same thing for your marketing and yourselves. Do the soft sells, get them excited about your products. Tell them how you’re the expert in that you have the thing that’s going to solve their problems out there, and then bring it back into your website.

Most of the time that happens offline, or through direct messages, and emails, and things that are not public. So think of that as a way, as a social media, as a channel that you can build that trust, that you can court your customer. And so it’s an opportunity. Reviews are number three. Reviews validate your services and also build trust. So what do I talk about reviews? Reviews are if you’re selling on Amazon and as you scroll down the product page, you have all these reviews. When’s the last time that you bought something online and scrolled down and looked at the reviews to see what other people were saying about the product? I know I did it just last night. And that’s just come habit. We want to see what other people are saying. We don’t want to just take their word for it.

We want to know what other people who’ve bought and tried it say, that’s why reviews matter. Google uses that to validate. And our customers use that to validate our products and our services. So reviews, a matter of Google reviews, Facebook, social media reviews, there are all kinds of different business directories that offer reviews. It just depends on your industry, and where your customers are, and where we need to put the emphasis on. So remember number three, reviews.

Number four is listings. Listings make your site easily accessible. And once again, validate that you are legit and business listings is a way to… And we use different tools that, we can put the information in and we broadcast it out to all these big directories. And what are directories? That’s like Google My Business. If you’ve been around us, you’ve heard. Or if you Google somebody and you notice that place page that pops up, and it has a nice cover image and it has their logo and their information.

And there has a call button, website button, and get directions. And then there’s a few details underneath. That’s a Google My Business page. That is very important, because how often when you’re out looking for dinner and you put in Mexican and because y’all know if you know me, I love me some nachos. I put in… Or even tacos. So I put in Mexican near me, all those place listings, come up, those Google My Business Listings, and then I’ll scroll through. And I’ll find one that I like, and I’ll hit call, to put an order in. I don’t even get to their website. A lot of times there’s menus, there’s so much information right there. I just hit call. Boom, I’m a customer. So it’s important that we keep all of our listings up to date and consistent. Because that’s one more notch, one more fundamental that we can check off that we’ve maintained.

And it is a very time-consuming thing task to go through and put your name out on these big directories. But once again, we have tools that we can do it just like this. Or if you just make a list of where your customers are at, and what do they search for you on. Then go there and make sure that your profile is up to date. So our four, just to recap, our four main fundamentals of SEO, that we’re talking about today, is your website, social media, reviews, and your business listings. Now I kind of have a fifth one. You probably would have guessed this. It’s your content. Your content fuels all four of those levers. And by identifying who you’re writing to, and what their problems are that you can solve, allows you to produce content and fix those four fundamentals in a way that will lead your customers to you, organically through search.

I know that was a mouthful, so let’s break it down. So your content matters. And I want to encourage you that having quality over quantity content is best to start out with. In whatever capacity that you can put out a good, meaty, quality blog post that has more weight than popping up five quick paragraphs. Because that one blog posts are done right, then you can spread that, share it to all of your social channels, your email database. You can post it everywhere to draw and attract your customers. So I would much rather, whatever it is that you can produce, do it, and think of the quality over quantity. And if you go into our site, and you download our free ebook, I drop you several emails that go alongside of these actions that you can take to level up your website’s presence. But I also include a bonus content worksheet to help you formulate.

And that you can go back to every time to produce content that will attract. So that is the fuel that makes this machine work. So when you’ve set up your site, you’ve claimed your social media channels. You’ve started tracking your reviews and pushing people to review, your customers after they’ve bought from you. And then you’ve updated your listings. Once you’ve done all that, it’s time to take a hot minute and focus on your content. Now, if you’ve done the work in the beginning, like I talked to you about, about re-engineering, how your customers come to you, and getting those keywords and phrases, what are they putting into Google? Then you know, what kind of content you have to put out that will attract them. You want to use that as your focus, your starting point, and then you roll out content based upon what their needs are.

And I am one, I would much rather give it away, to let them know that you are the authority, because what happens is that you’ll give them enough information to add value, to do the thing. And then a lot of times they get stuck, or sometimes they’re like, “Oh, I don’t even want to do this. I’m trying, I’ve done it myself, but I need help.” Who are they going to call? They’re going to call you, the one that provided them with that golden nugget. So I’m going to challenge you is to write up a blog post in the next week, and share it across your social media, share it to your email, and get ready to see an increase in traffic. And so it’s very important if you don’t know what I’m talking about with Google analytics, and you’re not sure, definitely reach us at Raney Day Design, or shoot me a message, direct message me, because there are these few key components that you need to monitor your SEO.

So I know I threw a lot at you today, and I know that there was a lot to take away from today, but the biggie is, I want to encourage you. You need to understand your customer, who are they? What are their needs? How are they coming to you? And then, because that is what will help build your four fundamentals of SEO. And what were those again? It’s your site, social media, reviews, and listings. And the fuel that charges them all, is your content. I hope you found this helpful today. And I would love to see, not only you subscribe to our podcasts because that helps us out, but tag me tag Raney Day Design, and share this post on social media. So that way I know that you’re taking action.

And another way that you can take action is to drop into our Facebook group. I’m going to post that in our notes, our show notes. So make sure that I would love to see your face. And this is the type of basic marketing information that we’re going to be producing, to make sure that you have no excuses for building your authority in the next few months. I hope you all have a great rest of your day.