SEO Guide for Beginners

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There might have been a point in time where you were wondering why you see slump in sales, engagement, or growth. I totally feel you! I have been there myself where I wasn’t getting ANY traction in selling cards and hit a wall in gaining Instagram followers.

What if I told you there was a way to gain visibility without having to consistently show your face in front the camera, go live, or speak publicly? Yes, there is a way and that is using SEO!

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for Search Optimization Engine and it is a process to help you optimize and gain visibility to your website from search results using relevant, searchable keywords. To put it simply, it is a way to boost your site’s ranking through organic search results and make your content more discoverable online. For the introverts who want to organically drive traffic to your content without putting your face out there, this is a great way to help push your site’s visibility.

This is a slow process and does takes a couple of months for your SEO to go into effect, but something that can help boost you and your content once you start and set SEO properly.

Why SEO?

I’ll tell you an intriguing story. Last year, I was approached by a project coordinator from a clothing company called SHEIN who was interested in licensing my art for their products. I had vaguely heard this company name before and decided to dig in a bit deeper about who they were and how they became one of the most recognized clothing brands so quickly….

In 2008, Chris Xu founded SHEIN, formerly known as SheInSide, and he was an SEO consultant for another online marketing company before making his own. At the time, he recognized the value of selling goods to the international market on an e-commerce platform and well, got to work using his expertise in SEO. In just 13 years, his company had overtaken H&M, Zara, and Forever 21 as the biggest fashion retailer in the United States. Currently, the company is worth roughly at $47 billion dollars, almost the valuation of Twitter.

Isn’t it remarkable how the guy behind this company had no background in fashion and still became one of the leading clothing brands in US and internationally? Back then, he originally wanted to help domestic firms sell products overseas. Even when Alibaba (kind of like the Amazon in China) entered as an IPO company in 2007, Xu’s SEO strategy was working behind the scenes where his brand was standing out on the Google Search page.

The company all started from SEO roots. And, my friend, your business can too.

Here’s how to get started.

SEO is really about strategically integrating key, searchable keywords to help optimize the position of website in search results and to help drive traffic to your website organically. Did you know that a whopping 93% of your customers won’t go further than the first page of Google? You can also think about your own search queries – do you mostly scroll through the first page too and almost never click on links passed the second or third page?

What’s exciting is that there are cool tools to help you start the SEO process, by searching top keywords out there using Ubersuggest and also using another tool called Google Search Console to measure your site’s performance. For your information, I’m not an affiliate with Google (I wish though!), but I believe using their tools will help enhance your site just because everybody uses Google and “Google” things nowadays.

What is Ubersuggest?

Ubersuggest is a powerful SEO keyword tool that provides you insight on top keyword searches, monthly search volume, and much more. And no, it has nothing to do with Uber. It’s a free Chrome browser extension you can download here and get your research started today.

For instance, let’s say you want to Google “cute cat art,” this will pop up:

You can see what the top related keywords are people type in – and sometimes it’s not at all what you imagine! This is meant to help you gain an understanding of current trends in your market or topic.

Once you have an idea of top keywords in your market or topic, you can strategically use the top keywords or phrases in your own content to gain leads and traction. Keep in mind that SEO is an ever-changing tool, so it is ideal to start implementing SEO strategy once you have done your latest research.

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Consoleis a useful tool and resource to monitor your site’s performance, measure search traffic, fix issues, and help you optimize your site. Learn more and get started by entering your website here.

With Google Search Console, you can see top searchable queries from your content, impressions and the average CTR (the percentage of impressions that resulted in a click), and the average position of your website when people are searching similar type of content in Google.

Can a blog post be optimized for SEO?

Yes, absolutely! If you are a blogger or are interested in becoming one, there are several SEO-friendly strategies when developing a blog post and they are the following:

  • Make your statements conversational, use “You” and “I” often
  • Create long posts, ideally 2,200 words or more
  • Use images, videos, & audio in between your text
  • Use subheadings and short paragraphs
  • Summarize your content & ask a question in the end to help gather comments on your page to encourage engagement

Consistently creating blog posts for your ideal audience and market can really help drive organic traffic to your website, especially when provide value and are relatable.

Pinterest is more than just a social media platform, it is a search engine.

Pinterest is not just your average social media platform, it is also a powerful search engine. Relevant content can drive traffic to your Pinterest and help you gain visibility. Do you notice how some of your search queries has sites or images from Pinterest?

To help you maximize Pinterest, here’s how you can use pins to boost your visibility:

  • Maximize your pin size so your pin can take up more real estate on screen (1000 x 1500 px)
  • Use strong, descriptive keywords in your title and captions
  • Make your image title large & use your brand colors
  • Make your pin link to your shop, freebie, site, Instagram, etc.
  • Put this into a board (i.e. Ideas for Business Branding)

You’re probably wondering, so what’s the perks of pinning? Pins have a longer shelf-life (beyond the 24 hours on Instagram) so your work will show up months after you post your pins. Also, about 80% of pins are repins, which will help your pins be seen by a new audience. You don’t have to post everyday and can batch post your content. Your boards can include content that isn’t yours – which helps get more eyeballs to your own boards & content too. You can also join group boards as well as link other social media accounts to your Pinterest business account.

SEO in Website Platforms

Website SEOis an important feature when you’re deciding on the website platform you want to host your content on. I highly recommend choosing a website platform that allows for SEO capabilities. Here are two website platforms I use and their SEO features:

WordPress is a website platform that has SEO plug-ins and settings to help your website become more visible and searchable.

Squarespace has built-in, fully integrated SEO tools so you can freely publish content without too much setup beforehand. There are specific strategies to ensure you are using Squarespace’s SEO tools effectively and you can use guides from Squarespace to help optimize your content for SEO.

Tips to Avoid Low SEO Rankings

While there are many pros about setting your SEO properly, be aware of the downsides too. If there are misleading or irrelevant content tied to the terms and keywords you are using, your website ranking will go down. Also, it is important to remove broken or update links no longer used in order to ensure this won’t impact your SEO rankings. Your website traffic and ranking may be negatively affected if you have URL links that aren’t fixed. Use the free Broken Link Checker to see if you have any broken links on your website.

The idea behind good SEO is to ensure your website is legitimate, consistent, and allows room for engagement. As more people go to your website for relatable and valuable content that you provide regularly, the better your SEO rankings will be. Also, allowing an online exchange of communication, such as comments and replying to comments, is a great way to let search engines know that your website is being interacted regularly, which will help boost your rankings. Also, as mentioned previously, SEO is an ever-changing process that will continue to optimize its search results, so just because your website is on the first page of Google, it does not mean your website will stay there. Regularly research top, searchable keywords in your market and continue to optimize your site as a way to keep your SEO rankings high.

For the beginners wanting to learn about SEO for your content, use any of these tools or resources that you like to start to get familiar with or use one that you already are using. There are many ways to approach SEO and I find it is best to use one or a combination of tools you can easily work with to help get your website more discoverable organically. Continue to do expand your knowledge about SEO and you can seek expert help if you really want to promote your website.

This is part of an ongoing Grow Yourself Monthly series where every week I cover a topic and provide beginner’s level content to help you build knowledge and learn new skills. For the month of January 2022, I will be covering the following topics: books, SEO, self-care, and art. I also do a weekly recap of the topic to my email subscribers. If you like a recap on these topics straight in your inbox, sign up at here.

I know it’s a lot of technical information to take in, but does this get your juices flowing? With this, I hope you can gain a bit more traction when you’re trying to put your content out there and give you momentum to keep sharing gifts to the world. Let me know in the comments if you found any of these strategies helpful!

Boost Your Instagram Strategically

Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com

If you’ve ever spent a chunk of your day creating a post or crafting the perfect caption for the ‘gram, but didn’t get the number of likes or follows you were really hoping for, then you are not alone. We’ve all been there and have felt discouraged about not getting enough likes, reach, or engagement as much as we hoped from having spent more time than we’d like to admit on one post.

Here are some encouraging news about Instagram: the social media platform is meant to keep people using the Instagram app and want people to discover new accounts and content. That’s why the “Feed” and “Suggested Posts” are always presenting fresh content from people you don’t currently follow. While carousels and videos perform really well, photo posts perform equally as well.

I am not here to teach you on how to beat the algorithm – I am here to EMPOWER you to use Instagram efficiently and effectively and to maximize results to help grow you, share your gifts to the world, and reach the right audience with Instagram. 

I have four tips to help boost your Instagram growth strategically:

Tip #1: Build Consistency

Think about the people you like to follow – you also tend to follow people who post on a regular basis. You trust that they will come back consistently and provide more content for you to see or watch. Imagine you doing the same for other people. Providing consistent content for others builds trust and value in you and your brand. The more you show up regularly, the more your audience will too.

There are strategic ways to build consistency without feeling burnt out. One of them is to start scheduling days and times that work for you to post regularly. This means start posting once a week that works around your current schedule, whether it be work or class. You can wake up earlier or use breaks throughout the day to post. While you do need to start building a routine around posting, it doesn’t mean spending hours creating the perfect caption or photo.

Tip #2: Create Valuable Content

Create value in your content by providing new knowledge, advice, or stories your audience will find useful or relate to. The idea is provide valuable information to your audience and the more you do, the more they will come back to you for information. It can be a topic you have a solid understanding of or something you inherently know, such as the best tacos in your local neighborhood or the best programs to use in your professional industry.

Also, you don’t have to create new content every time. You can re-use your previous content and craft a new one or research other similar content and make it your own. You don’t have to create something new and fresh every time, it is okay to re-post old content in new ways. This helps reduce feeling burnt out too quickly and allows you to focus on other parts of building your business.

Tip #3: Engage With Your Audience

You don’t have like or comment on every post out there – there are strategic ways to engage with your audience. There are specific engagement strategies to use for Instagram stories, responding to a comment on your post, and commenting on a post from someone you enjoy following.

Tip #4: Create Smarter, Not Harder

The shelf life of your Instagram post at most is 24 hours and, at best, 48 hours. Instagram is designed so new content will always supersede older posts in order to provide continuously fresh content for people on the app.

While you can’t control this, you can control what you put in your caption. This means including some sort of actionable step that allows your audience to take a step further with you after seeing your content. What does this mean? This means providing a link to your blog or website, a Google form to your newsletter, or directing users to a platform you do own.

Growing your Instagram doesn’t have to be simply to gain new followers or have a ton of views – it can be a gateway to actualizing your dream life by growing your own brand and business with content and messaging you are truly passionate about. I want you to have the freedom to share your gifts to the world and to live your dream life one day. If you would like to figure out how to build your Instagram strategically for your business, I have a free guide for you here to start taking this journey. Good luck!

Top 5 Business Podcasts to Help Kick-Start Your Business and Maximize Results

Photo by Faith Stocksey on Pexels.com

If you’re feeling stuck about what to do with your business and need some quick inspiration, I recommend listening to podcasts, which is a fast and easy way that gives you extra ideas, knowledge, and expertise, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to take the next step in your business.

WHAT IS A PODCAST?

A podcast is an audio recording of a host or a group of hosts who share insight, stories, life experience, and expert knowledge on a broad spectrum of topics, including crime, comedy, business, and lifestyle.

The best thing about a podcast is you can listen to and pause on your own time. You can listen to a podcast while driving, on a slow day at the office, or when you’re cooking. You can easily pick back where you left off from the episode or you can stop and simply move on to the next one.

A couple of years ago, I didn’t believe in podcasts and simply thought the idea of listening to people talk about their expertise was invaluable to reading a good, old-fashioned book. But at the time, I was too busy to even pick up a 300-page book to learn about business tips and tricks, so I decided to give podcasts a try.

Now, here I am (I was once a hard skeptic) who has listened to 65,000 minutes of podcasts last year. Yes, you can see that I’m pretty obsessed with all things podcasts, especially business related ones. I find so many business tips, tricks, and easy wins from purely listening to podcasts without ever picking up a book and, best of all, I can listen to them while doing something else! For those who love to multi-task, listening to a podcast will be perfect for you.

THE ULTIMATE FIVE

I have listened to many hours of a wide variety of business podcasts (from the Dave Ramsey Show to NPR) and have found five podcasts that stand out from the rest because of the impactful, insightful, and applicable tips they share that you can start implementing today. I am not sponsored to share these podcasts – I just truly believe these podcasts would help you with building your business. Here are the top five inspirational, business podcasts to get your idea juices flowing

1.) The Tim Ferris Show

I’ve heard so many podcasters name drop Tim Ferris’s name when I first started listening to podcasts. And there’s no doubt why: Tim Ferris successfully build his own brand and even created a new lifestyle category as an industry.

In his podcast episodes, he goes deep into his conversations with many different people, from CEOs (Howard Schultz) to famous celebrities (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in order to learn about their backstory and how they become successful. His podcasts are more than just the business and technical numbers – it’s learning about the personal struggles and life experiences that are behind the success stories.

2.) Don’t Keep Your Day Job

Cathy Heller brings her positive energy and inspiration into every podcast episode. Her motivational words and wisdom are always so insightful and encouraging that would make you feel uplifted and excited to do your thing.

She was a former musician who now turned into a successful Business Coach to teach other people to build their own businesses around helping others. Her purpose is to help people who wants to live a more fulfilling life than a 9 to 5 job. She has honest conversations with successful, creative entrepreneurs and, more importantly, she gives motivational talks in the beginning and end of every episode to you, the listener, so you leave the podcast leaving so inspired and optimistic.

3.) The Goal Digger Podcast

Jenna Kutcher is a successful entrepreneur who shares inspirational stories and provides free, tangible tips that creates real results – all to help build your dream career. Jenna talks like she’s a good friend in her episodes, which makes her episodes incredibly relatable and down-to-earth. She provides simple, strategic tools covering every part of a business, like social media, email lists, website, and branding.

Her Secret Sauce Quiz is one of her most popular freebie to help identify what makes you unique. From her quiz, I found out that I am a “Dreamer” and this was honestly the most subtle but blunt way to tell me that I needed to finally take the right, actionable steps to building my own business. You will learn a lot of valuable business techniques that are specific and you can implement right away. A huge plus is that most of them are free!

4.) The Lavendaire Lifestyle

For the creative entrepreneurs who want to learn how to craft your dream life, this podcast is for you. While the podcast focuses on personal development and lifestyle design, the host Aileen Xu interviews many creatives, including entrepreneurs, and talks to them on their process of building successful brands and businesses. She has a soothing, calm voice that just makes you feel relaxed and cozy when listening to her podcast. She covers a broad range of topics, from astrology to mental health to productivity. As a creative myself, I binged many of her podcast episodes when I first discovered her and I believe you will too.

5.) E-Ficionado Podcast

Delanie Fischer is a comedian turned Simplicity Coach who helps people use a minimalist approach to their business that will increase their revenue, impact and freedom. She shares different strategies to help simplify side hustle businesses and provides tips to handle decision fatigue, criticism, and other challenges you go through when you are starting a business. Her laughter and warm personality is also infectious – I always have a smile on my face whenever I finish listening to her episode.

There you have it! Podcasts can be incredibly valuable when you’re short on time and you need quick tips and guidance to kick-starting your business. Every podcast host teach unique business strategies, so I recommend listening to more than one to learn as many tips and tricks and apply the relevant ones you can use for building your own brand and business. Keep it up, you are on your way there!

Looking from some guidance on how to build your brand?

Grab the free Quick-Start Guide to Building Your Brand right here.