Search engine what? Demystifying the big SEO monster

Every time I think about the SEO monster, I can’t help but think about my dad saying “Don’t make a salad of shit!” (Pardon my French). 

SEO, as we know, stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This means: “How can we make Google love us?” or “What can we do, so Google and other search engines can find our website, and rank it at the top of people’s searches?”.

It is a simple concept, but not-so-easy in practice. This brings me to the salad. We see a big problem because we tend to bundle all the s**t together. However, when we break it down, it becomes less of a problem. 

So, let’s have a look at the SEO basics to start understanding and benefitting from them.

Why even learn about SEO?

Well, not taking care of our SEO is a bit like having a shop and not sharing the address in directories or maps. That’s it, I have this beautiful shop that offers so many amazing products, but no one knows where it is.

Imagine that Alice is thinking of buying a gift for a friend and wants a beautiful, unique candle that burns for a long time, plus some other cute little things. She needs these products and would love your shop (since you sell the best candles, and lots and lots of gorgeous items that women love). 

She would spend hours browsing in your online shop, finding mementos for all her friends, and super cute little treasures for herself. It could even become her happy place. 

Alice always asks “George” for help, because he is the best at giving recommendations. “George” gets out and about so much and knows every hidden gem. He never fails. 

Unfortunately, “George” doesn’t know your beautiful shop exists. So, he will recommend other “close matches” to Alice, and just like that, she will miss the opportunity to fall in love with your shop. Sad, right?

SEO is vital to increase the quality and quantity of traffic that visits your website. Therefore, it also helps increase brand awareness, attract local customers and build credibility and trust. Win, Win, Win, for sure.

On top of that, amongst other benefits, we’d like to point out that SEO is a very solid marketing tool. When you invest in it, whether time, money or both, the results tend to last for a long period of time. Once George knows your shop is there, he will be able to tell more and more people about it (although it is good to remind him that you are there from time to time).

Let’s break it down to the SEO basics.

There are 2 parts of SEO: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO.

On-page SEO

Let’s start with On-page SEO, because it’s the one you have more control over. On-page SEO involves optimising your website for search engines to find you.

You can find “how search engines find you” with a simple Google search, so we won’t get into that, but think WORDS, more specifically KEYWORDS. Hold the thought for a moment.

In order to optimise your website you will need to tackle both your content and the technical aspects that run in the background (big words like html source code, meta tags, schema, etc.). Don’t panic, we will only look at the SEO basics, and will give you some tips to get started.

So, coming back to the keywords. Alice will search for words related to the gorgeous candles you sell, such as: beautiful candles, candles Sunshine Coast, most unique candles, etc.

When she searches for those terms, Google sends its battalion of spiders to crawl the web and find those keywords, and other key terms that are relevant to the words she would use to find your shop. 

As you may imagine, if you don’t display those words on your website, “George” (ahem, Google) won’t be able to find you.

So, you need to identify those popular words that your “Alice” (A.K.A. ideal client)  would use to find your products, a set of words closely related to them and another set of words that are close but don’t mention candles. 

(Think of the game, Taboo. The player can’t mention the word, or the forbidden words, e.g. wax, to their team and the others have to guess what it is). Therefore, as an overall rule, use not only keywords but also their synonyms and related words. This helps Google see your content as relevant and comprehensive.

The key with keywords, no pun intended, is to find the sweet spot. If it is too popular the big players will definitely beat you. If it is too niche your audience won’t probably think of them. Take your time doing this research, because it is what will set you up for success. 

Then, you need to make sure that these words populate your website, as much as possible, without sounding like a machine of course.

Tip: Before making any changes, you may want to have a look at your Google Analytics to have a baseline and see how the changes you make affect the traffic that goes to your website.

Every time you write a blogpost, the copy on your pages, product descriptions, etc., remember that that’s the content your audience actually sees, so these are the perfect sports to add the keywords to.

On-page SEO basics - On the outside:
  • Create engaging titles and introductions to hook your audience straight away.
  • Introduce those shiny new keywords often, but without being annoying or sounding like a robot.
  • Show your personality. Keep it witty, interesting, soothing, fun… remember we are people talking to people and, let’s be honest, it's much more interesting to read texts with a ray of personality, than a bunch of big words that only people in your industry will understand. Copywriting is the backbone of your brand personality.
  • Show your audience additional resources by pointing to other relevant pages on your website. Internal links are huge for search engine optimisation.
  • Hook them before they leave. Whether it is by giving them a hint of what’s coming or asking for their opinion, look for engagement.

Then turn to the back-end of your site and check how its guts look like. Those keywords can live in many places, so let’s give them many homes.

Photos, graphics, videos and other visual content are very important. They can have a name, Alt-text, title, caption, description, etc. Fill in the relevant fields (including keywords) to lure Google and other search engines to show it to more people.

In terms of the blog post and other pages with text, a plugin like YOAST SEO will guide you through the process of where these keywords could be added. 

On-page SEO basics - On the inside:
  • Craft your SEO title or title tag (the title that appears in the search engine results). Keep it short preferably and to the point. Include your keyword at the beginning of your title tag.
  • Write a good META description (the description that the search engine result shows under that title). By default this is usually the beginning of your text. 

Change it to a brief and clear description of what the page is about, including your main keyword if possible.

Modify the Slug (the part of the url specific to that page that follows the main domain page, i.e. https://yourbrandcrew.com.au/blogging-for-your-business/). Keep it relevant to the text and include the keywords if possible.

Alt-text and description in images and other graphics should include your keywords or synonym keywords in them.

Add relevant tags and categories to your pages. This will help Google (and other search engines) to find you.

  • Don’t forget to optimise your media to load as fast as possible. Charge speed plays a big part in your SEO. Neither your audience nor Google like slow pages.

By paying attention to these fundamental items, you will see a great improvement on the performance of your website. Keep polishing your SEO by regularly adding and optimising content relevant to your products or services.

Off-page SEO

To improve your Off-page SEO you will have to get out of your site and build the roads that lead to it.

It’s funny how “George” knows everyone, but very few people have been able to actually talk to him directly (he is so busy). So, to build your reputation and be known by him, you have to make your site popular with his friends.

Search engines, like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc… look all around the world for sites their users will love. With the immeasurable amount of content created every minute, there has to be a hierarchy. 

What we mean by that is they will search first amongst the sites that have higher authority, trustworthiness and relevance on the whole wide web and see who they know. 

When one of these websites mentions yours is like a golden star ticket that says “go to see my friend’s shop, they have the most unique, beautiful and aromatic candles on the Sunshine Coast”.

These “mentions” are called backlinks and they are actually a link to your website on a different page. Other types of “mentions” come from local search citations (directories and listings), social media marketing, guest bloggings, brand mentions, influence marketing and other “shout outs”.

Think of off-page SEO as networking. You will need to build relationships with other businesses to have a genuine recommendation from them. 

Maybe you meet a florist that knows that every time a group of girl friends buy flowers for another friend they like to add a few cute items to the gift. If the florist loves what you do, she will take her customers to you in a blink, because it means she will be giving value to them and helping you at the same time.

Off-page SEO basics:
  • Make alliances with sites that are relevant to your industry and can naturally drive their clients to you.
  • Make it personal. When you reach out to another site to ask them whether they could link to your content, don’t copy and paste the email you sent to someone else. Learn something about them, why they are a great alliance and how your content can benefit them. Then write your email accordingly.
  • Invest in visual content. As we showed you in our blog about repurposing content, visual content is such an amazing asset because not only it can be optimised and tagged, but also it will be an attractive piece that can lead traffic to your website and be repurposed in many ways to make your communication stronger.
  • Therefore, promote your content on social media. Websites are somehow static, in the sense of not changing so often. Social media is so much more dynamic, and it will give you many opportunities to link back to your page, therefore attracting new audiences. Plus, search engines already know and highly trust YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., so these backlinks are “golden star ticket” votes for your website.
  • Share your valuable content, both written and visual, on niche platforms, i.e. relevant groups, associations, specific blogs and publications.
  • Develop or improve your Local Search Citations. These are mentions of your business’ name, phone and address in a website that is not your own. Create listings in sites like Google My Business, Bing Maps, Apple Places, Yellow Pages, Yelp and other directories. It is paramount that you keep your name, address and phone (NAP) consistent. Geotagging your images is a bonus to help with local searches.
  • Crafting a short and a long bio of your business will help you with consistency, too. Use them for those citations to solidify what your business is about and build that trust.
The never ending story

As you can see, these are a few SEO basics to get you started, there is so much more to learn. However, these already provide a very solid foundation, and a big chunk of work that you can implement straight away to increase traffic to your website.

Think of it as a never ending story, but in a good way. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so learn to love the journey and cruise through it. Keep in your mind “I’m giving extra value to my Alices and showing George how many people I can help too”

If you want to learn more, we found a very comprehensive beginner course. Remember, if you feel overwhelmed don’t get trapped in the “salad of sh*t”, break it down to make it easier.

We hope we helped make this big SEO monster a bit less scary with our SEO basics. We would be happy to give you a hand with any of that, if you need it, just leave us a comment below.

Lost for words? 5 ideas to start blogging to propel your business

First, I must admit that I’m a big introvert. However, give me a topic that I’m interested in (like blogging for your business) and I will talk nineteen to the dozen (or “speak through the elbows” as we, crazy Spaniards, say). A bit like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Once I turn, I chew your ear off.

So, with my best Mr Hyde impression, we better get going.

Second, I have to give this some structure because I shouldn’t start mumbling (there is so much to say about blogging though!). Shhh… Patricia, you’re at it already, stay on track! 

There are so many interesting topics to write about to help your business grow, from attracting traffic to your website, to building your brand and ultimately converting more sales. To make it easy, let’s look at five main categories of blog posts that will propel your business.

Hang on… before starting, I just want to remind you of the importance of giving, giving and giving value to your audience. 

Write like a real person and don’t stuff your blog post with keywords just for Google to love you. Choose only one keyword and use it along the way, only when and where it makes sense. Be yourself and talk like a human.

Now, back to the five types of blog posts that you should be writing frequently.

Power posts

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. It’s so demanding to create thorough and well-researched content, but it turns out that it is the type of content that adds more benefit to your audience.

A “power post” is an insanely valuable post, with a great deal of research behind it, like this one, that will make your readers go WOW! It’s a cornerstone piece of content with plenty of really useful information that will quickly position you as an expert on the topic. 

It’s very important, especially for this type of post, due to the vast amount of information, to create a good structure and display it with a clean, attractive design. 

No one wants to get lost in a river of words.

Story and Branding posts

Now it is time to shine and most importantly to show yourself. Don’t hold back!

These types of blogs carry your message, show what you and your business stand for and humanise your brand. Check out Krissy’s super-lively post about the value of your marketing plan.

They could be case studies, telling great stories about the people you have helped, the story of your business, behind the scenes, one day in your life (to satisfy everyone’s inner voyeur),  books, podcasts or other resources that have influenced you, or even something as mundane as a rant (to show what you truly believe in and what clashes completely with your values).

Industry and community news

“Educating your audience” may not sound very exciting at first, because, let’s admit it, nobody likes to be a know-it-all. However, you’d be surprised at how little some people may know about your business or your industry. 

Most of the time, they don’t ask, but it’s not because of a lack of interest. Rather, they don’t have a clue about what happens on your side of the fence. (Or maybe they just don’t want to unleash your inner Mr. Hyde).

Also, talk about how recent events are shaping our reality (like how covid 19 has made the world more digital than ever and live streaming is a priceless opportunity to reach anyone anywhere in real-time). Even, to talk about how they’re affecting your industry, the impact of local initiatives and innovations that are interesting in your field of expertise. 

Use simple language and make it understandable. That way your audience will know what they can talk to you about at the next networking event. DON’T FORGET to pop your own opinion on the topic, it will tie back to your branding and what your business stands for.

Reference posts

Have you ever found yourself repeating the same concept/idea over and over again when people ask you “What is such and such?” or “Is audio really that important?”.

A reference post is a simple post about a concept, fact or opinion that you often find yourself referring to when you are trying to explain some other thing. These posts are fantastic because they help you build your internal links and keep more people on your page. 

Also, they are incredibly useful and rewarding for your audience since they can quickly understand what you are talking about and have a better experience with your brand. Low effort, big reward!

Conversion posts

Intentionally left as the last of the pack, conversion posts are necessary, but they may be overwhelming if the language is sales-y or pushy.

Avoid writing only promotional posts, or even write more than 10% of your posts as pure promotional posts. Instead, use these posts strategically. 

You may write a tutorial about how to use a product that you sell, a step by step guide to maximise its use, and a great story on what your audience can do to make their brand look a 1000 times cooler.

You can also write a case study post on how your unique solution helped a client, how to prepare for your upcoming service, new product announcement or updates that will benefit them and some exclusive promotion that you will launch.  

The aim is to teach people everything they need to know to become your client, which will ultimately lead to more sales.

In conclusion, blogging is an amazing asset to drive traffic to your website, get social shares, build your brand and your audience, gain credibility, be found (not only by Google but also by your audience) and ultimately increase your conversion.

And just before turning back into Dr Jekyll, let me reiterate: 

  • Give more, more and more VALUE.
  • Be yourself, show your personality.
  • Don’t stuff your blogs with keywords.
  • Use uncomplicated language and add your opinion to the mix.
  • And what we think is a given, but may have slipped your mind: BE CONSISTENT. 

After all: “Success isn't about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” Dwayne Johnson

So, go on, start blogging! And keep an eye on “your news” for a future post on how to write killer blogs. Join our newsletter to be in the know.

We are curious to know: what type of blog post will you write first? Comment below 👇

PS: Dr. Patricia Jekyll is signing off.

Reuse and repurpose content to master the social media game

Life is busy enough. Spending tons of time creating content for your brand is time consuming, however, interesting and attractive content is also key for your socials. Creating it sounds daunting, we know. The answer? Repurposing content. (It will help you regain your life.)

Why repurpose content? Well, the benefits. 

First and foremost: TIME.

Creating original, valuable content is certainly very time-consuming, however, doing it in a batch can be a massive time-saver.

Secondly: CONSISTENCY.

It’s not only a matter of sitting in front of the keyboard and spitting out content. It has to be valuable, and on-brand for your existing fans and be a show-stopper for those who don't know you just yet. Repurposing content will help you maintain the high quality your audience is used to. 

Thirdly:

Bear in mind that not everybody is on every one of your communication channels. Depending on our personality, we may feel more drawn to one platform than another. Some people like reading, others absorb their information by watching videos, and for others audio is king. Therefore, repurposing content will help you reach them on every front. Think about it this way, you can take highlights from your most recent blog and share that on LinkedIn. This way, you can reach two audiences.

Last but definitely not least

have you ever heard a really interesting piece of information for the first time, moved on with your life and remembered it vividly the following week or month? Probably not. Memory is a highly complex process and our brain needs to receive the same information, from different sources, in different formats multiple times to click and make the connection. Which means, by repurposing content you are able to make sure the information you are sharing will stay top of mind for your audience.

How to repurpose? 

After spending so much time thinking, researching and creating, you end up with a great piece of content to publish on your socials for only a small percentage of people to see it. In one day (actually, in a few minutes) that awesome content will disappear in the mass of information that surrounds us. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and have a look at what we could do.

The most important factor to take into account is to create a strong content pillar. What is that you ask? Well, it’s a carefully crafted content topic that provides a great deal of value to your audience. 

Taking into account your voice and your audience preferences, the first masterpiece would probably be a video for the highly visual communicators, a blog post for the hyper structured avid readers, or a podcast for the extremely efficient talkers.

Now think of the COMPOUND effect. Let’s multiply each content pillar:

  • “Elementary my dear Watson”

Yes, it is elementary, but it still deserves a mention. Share your pieces of content on more than one platform and entice the audience to find out more by visiting your other social media channels.

Pro-tip: Don’t do it with every piece. When sharing exactly the same piece of content, do it sparingly and link it to the preferences of its audience.

  • Interconnected communications

Even though we are focusing on social media, the effort of creating content is a 360º for your whole brand. Every time you film a video, record a podcast, write a blog post think: could this be a feature page on my website?

Is there a PR opportunity here? Should this be included in my newsletters? Could this become a series and be sold as a digital product? Etc…Pro-tip: revisit your marketing plan to see how much more value you can add to one single piece of content to enhance your comms.

  • Mould it to different audiences

Did you create a blog post? Great! Now you have the structure to create a compelling video. Done? Extract the audio and turn it into a podcast. 

Bringing your information to life through different mediums will attract broader audiences and allow you to be on multiple platforms. 

Pro-tip: don’t just copy and paste. With a little extra effort, you can adapt the information to the energy of the delivery method. Don’t just read a script, but deliver a podcast or perform a video. Add your personality to each piece.

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  • From Macro to Micro 

If you are wondering how to repurpose content like a boss, just have a look at Gary Vee. He is a master of the CONTENT PYRAMID formula. Basically, from each content pillar, you would be able to create many pieces of micro-content (video snippets for fast-paced social platforms, social posts for each platform, highlights, quotes, articles, memes, stories, mashups, gifs, remixes, teasers, engaging questions, etc…)

Pro-tip: get some templates for your most used pieces of content to ensure the consistency of your brand image, or engage a professional to turn your masterpiece into lots of micro pieces of engaging on-brand content.

  • Think laterally

We often forget to go back to a topic that we have spoken about to broaden its scope. It is not exactly repurposing content, but it is a head start to produce fresh content that keeps adding value to the audience. For instance, on a content pillar about healthy nutrition, you mention that increasing your antioxidant intake is a great tactic. From there, you can create smaller pieces of content about each of the antioxidant sources. However, if you think laterally, you could also come up with a topic like “Are organic blueberries more nutrient-dense than non-organic ones?” or “are juices healthy?” (one of the issues of juicing may be that the amount of antioxidants is affected).

Pro-tip: go crazy in the brainstorming. You are an expert on your craft, so dive deep, form connections, and think about how to tie together topics that look like polar opposites. You never know what new ideas could be sparked.

Don't let your effort go to waste

Let’s be honest, nobody likes content that has been copied and pasted, but when done beautifully, repurposing content is a golden weapon, not only to keep attracting new audiences but also to engage and help them digest the information so that your business is front of mind when they need a professional.

Don’t be shy by posting your photo once. Give it new life, place it in a different context, wrap it up with some new words and bam! There you have it: content multiplied and ready to keep supporting your credibility.

Do you have a great example of repurposing content? Comment below. We can’t wait to hear it.

How to generate strong leads, so they can do the heavy lifting for your brand

How to generate strong leads, so they can do the heavy lifting for your brand

Lead generation is essential to a successful marketing strategy. You constantly need to monitor what works and what needs changing if you want to stay ahead of the game. Don’t fall asleep just yet, it’s not that complicated.

Use the Correct Data

Your customers should be your top priority, always. It’s paramount that you have their correct data. The more data you have, the more you have to work with, and can personalise your strategy to suit your target demographic. It’s crucial that you know how to communicate with your customers with the right tone, so that they pay attention to your brand and what services you offer. Essentially, data is your friend but you regularly need to maintain it. Here’s an exercise for you, go and check your database in your CRM system and your social audience on your platforms, and have a look at how many of those people interact with your content. If there’s crickets then it’s time for a resuscitation. 

Tracking Leads

Knowing how to track leads is another essential component in delivering a successful lead generation strategy. You can do this by using social media, email or your website. Using Google Analytics can be a great place to start which can help you figure out which pages of your website are receiving the most traffic. You can also use CRM (customer relationship management) software to keep track of the relationships that you are building with customers. This is the time-consuming stuff, you will need snacks and lots of patience.

Monitor Your Competition

For your lead generation strategy to be a success, make sure to also check out competitors in your industry. You can get an idea of the products, services and type of content they post on their website, helping you to work out what to do next to stay ahead of the game. You don’t have to fully reinvent the wheel, just make sure that you adapt and personalise the winning formula exactly to your brand and audience. Use the information you gather wisely, and make sure that your strategy is eye-catching and engaging to convert your audiences sitting on the sidelines.

Use Email Marketing

Email marketing can be a fantastic and cost-effective method to generate new leads for your business. Make sure to use an opt-in strategy that allows subscribers to make the choice on whether they are happy to receive your emails. Always ensure you insert an unsubscribe link too. With only 10% of those in the marketing industry believing that their lead generation campaigns are effective, knowing the right tips is essential for delivering a strategy that is powerful and engaging to viewers. Avoid the daily spam but try to be regular on a weekly basis. Monthly newsletters delivered in a Word template might as well come with a serve of prune juice.

Enlist Expert Help

When it all gets too much and hits the level of Overwhelming on the Market-O-Meter why not give us a call? At Your Brand Crew we will invest time and effort to discover what your business is all about which will ultimately help drive you more leads, opportunities and revenue. 

Do you have a question about leads? Drop a comment or question below.

Quality Over Quantity

It’s better to focus on the quality of the content you deliver rather than the number of channels and pieces of content, which will ensure you do not waste any time on unqualified leads. Ensure you conduct thorough research, so you can warm up and target leads who have a higher chance of becoming your customers. When speaking the same language and offering the exact solution to their problems even those coldest, antarctic leads will warm up towards you and your brand.