Overwhelmed by SEO?

Time to demystify keywords, rankings, and the SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

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Hiya,

how do you feel about SEO? One the one hand, it’s cool when Google sends hundreds and thousands of people to your site WHILE YOU SLEEP. On the other hand, the technical stuff behind it can be intimidating.

In this edition of the newsletter, we’ll demystify and de-intimidate SEO.

What you’ll learn:

  • When you should start doing SEO

  • How long it takes to see results with SEO

  • Resources for learning how to do SEO

  • How SEO will change with AI and what you can do with that

Let’s get into it!

Meet the Expert

I’m no expert on SEO, so I got some help for this edition. Mariah Liszewski from Mariah Magazine (you can learn about the story of her brand name here, it’s a sweet one!) is an SEO consultant and educator. She’s been working in SEO for 8+ years.

I appreciate her straightforward and practical approach to SEO. I’ve been trying to get into SEO for a while, but have been putting it off because it sounds kinda complicated with all the technical stuff you need to do for it. Or so I thought until I interviewed her!

You can connect with Mariah on her site and learn more about SEO on her YouTube channel. She has a great and engaging style of teaching, I recommend you take a look!

Mariah also has a great intro workshop on getting started with SEO. You can find the Getting Started with SEO workshop here. She’s offering you a 10$ discount on it with the code SEOLOVE10.

How to Win at SEO ⚡️

1. When is it a good idea to start doing SEO as a solopreneur (freelancer, coach, etc.)?

When it comes to just getting started with SEO, this depends. If you’re like new-new and you’re just starting to explore what you want to offer and who your people are, you can prob wait. BUT, once you’re clear on ideally what problems you solve, I recommend AT LEAST doing some SEO keyword research. Keyword research can give you such a great overview of what people are searching on Google related to your zone of genius. And this data can impact your website, the pages on your website, how it’s set up, products, blog posts, etc. 

I personally do keyword research before I do anything in my business, just for the simple reason that I want to know if something deserves its own page on my website or not (aka can I target a keyword that makes sense or nah).

I find that a lot of clients use keyword research to help them flush out their business ideas when they need to make a decision too! This happened with a client of mine, who was in SEO, as well! It wasn’t until we did SEO keyword research that she was REALLY clear that she wanted to be an SEO copywriter, and not just a regular copywriter, because the gaps in the market were there and she felt lit up by it.

I see SEO as strategic market research, content planning & business development all wrapped into one.

BUT if we’re talking about “doing SEO” in terms of implementing and going hard in a strategy, I’d start when you have the space to implement. For some people that’s in the beginning, for other people that’s after 3+ years. So it totally depends!

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2. How long does it take to see results with SEO?

Oooooh this one is a good one. Most SEO agencies will tell you it takes at least 6+ months to get results, I know why they say that. SEO takes testing & tweaking, and building momentum because Google judges a website on 200+ factors. BUT, that “6+ months” also needs context.

Because it actually depends on where you’re starting & what keyword you’re targeting.

I’ve had clients get on page #1 for a target keyword within 3 weeks. That keyword wasn’t too competitive though. It had a good monthly search volume & low competition. There was a gap in the market, and we filled it, which is why we got results quickly.

My client's page was also a really great solution to the problem for the keyword that we were targeting. And we knew that because we dove into the intent of WHY the user is searching that keyword, and that made sure our page & content on the page aligned with that.

For more competitive keywords or keywords that you’re “kinda targeting but not really, just sprinkling them here and there on your pages or your site” those can definitely take 6+ months in order to get results. 

But “how long it takes” is based on a keyword-by-keyword basis. 

There is no overarching timeframe.

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3. For those who need or want to DIY it: Which resources on SEO can you recommend?

If you’re first dipping your toes into SEO and you’re looking for a free solution, I’d recommend my SEO Roadmap. The roadmap will help you understand what SEO is, how it works, the 6 steps that are involved, and 3 tasks you can do today to get started (with links to videos & extra resources).

There are definitely other resources on the web if you want to dive even deeper like Moz.com & Backlinko. They have SO MUCH really awesome information on their websites. Truly. Bookmark them. 

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4. A lot of SEO-optimized content looks the same. How can you get ranked without sounding like a robot?

I agree, it totally does!

That’s why it’s important to not ONLY target keywords on your blog posts. You can target keywords on your homepage, services page(s), landing/sales page(s), freebie pages, etc.

And ALL of this comes back to your SEO keyword strategy and finding keywords that make sense for you, your business, and the people you support and problems you solve.

We don’t want to target keywords because we think we HAVE to if they don’t align. If you’re not excited to target a keyword, don’t do it. There are a TON of opportunities and gaps in the market. We can get creative & create a strategy that works for you.

It’s ALSO important to infuse your tone, voice, and personality into your content. Because even if you do show up on Google for X Tips for XYZ, if your content falls flat and sounds like everyone else, are people going to walk away from that knowing you, liking you, and trusting you? Probs not. 

We get conversions from Google by showing up as the best solution to the problem AND by letting people know who we are and why we give a shit. Your passion for what you do should bleed into your content. It’s how you make a connection. And the people that want to connect with you, are going to be the ones that are most likely to buy from you. And that’s not everyone. (which is 100% okay). 

So with all of that being said, also keep in mind that “optimizing” does not mean “sounding like everyone else” or “regurgitating the same thing everyone else is saying” – it means making sure the Google bots get enough context clues to understand what you’re talking about, and to be able to tell if you’re a good solution to the problem.

So “showing up on Google” is only half of the equation, which a lot of people obsess over. But there’s another piece, which is “getting people to convert”; and that takes more than robotic content. 

I dive into this a bit more in this blog post.

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5. Google is rolling out huge changes to search because of AI. Do you think SEO will lose its importance with that? If somebody hasn’t done SEO up until now, is it better to hold off a little and see how this all shakes out or not?

I truly don’t think SEO is dying, lol, I’ve been hearing that for years. I DO think SEO is changing, and it’s going to continue to change based on how people interact with the new AI-infused search experience. The more Google learns about people interacting with the update, the more it’s going to change - one way or another. 

I do think it’s going to be interesting how they handle legal things with it. (Time will tell!)

Regardless though, I think people are going to crave human perspective, tone, voice, and opinions EVEN MORE because of AI.

Think about it, if you go to Google and type in “toddler-friendly Disney world itinerary” are you going to only read what AI spits back? OR are you going to try to find a Disney mom blogger who has been there, has experience, and can truly give you the ups & downs about things? Probably the mom blogger because AI ain’t never planned a Disney World trip in the middle of spring break with 2 toddlers like she has. 

Perspective & experience are going to matter a LOT more. So I think we’ll have to get more intentional & strategic about the keywords we want to target and how they translate into conversions vs. trying to target a shit ton of them because it “looks good”.

I also believe YouTube is going to blow up because people are going to want to see people & connect with them via video vs. just reading possible AI-generated content. So if you’re not down with SEO content in written form, you can get really good results with SEO on YouTube!

If you haven’t done anything for SEO yet, I think it’s still worth tinkering with, ESPECIALLY if you’re an eCommerce shop or service provider. Set up Google Analytics. Set up Google Search Console. Do keyword research. And start infusing keywords into your website little by little.

Feel free to hold off on the blog posts until it shakes out though, if you’re nervous. In the meantime, start to get associated with other keywords related to your niche, industry, zone of genius, etc.

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6. Anything else you wish I had asked you about SEO?

I don’t think so! I just want to say that SEO is not about perfection. It’s about infusing SEO-friendly habits into the things you’re already doing.

And you can get great results in only an hour a week. Truly. I see it all the time.

Hopefully that’s all helpful :) 

How to Use SEO in Your Business?

SEO is a great way to bring people to your site. If you’re looking for something that has a similar mass reach as social media does, then SEO can go a long way.

At the same time, it helps to be clear what you want to get out of SEO and the role you want it to play in your business and marketing. Just like any other marketing channel, it needs an intentional place in your marketing plan.

What do you think? Are you ready to dive deeper into SEO now?

I am! It’s on my list of things I will tackle in 2024!

Happy Marketing,

Johanna 📣

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