Welcome to your 5 day SEO Challenge! The lessons in this free series are going to teach you SEO basics for beginners that will help build a solid foundation for your SEO strategy.
By the time you walk away from this challenge, you should have a solid grasp on what you need to do to take your website to the next level.
Get ready to make some SEO magic!
About The SEO Challenge
The SEO Challenge was intended to give beginners a sort of crash-course into building their SEO strategy. We’re going kinda fast, so by all means, if there’s something you aren’t clear on, go back and watch the video one more time, or check out the written transcript on my website for notes.
Give Me A Little Shout Out If This Sounds Like You:
You spend a gazillion resources developing, designing, and launching the website for your small business or lifestyle brand.
The design? It’s beautiful. The copy? Written with care.
You watch and you wait, full of hope, for the traffic to roll in.
And at first, it usually does. Most new websites receive at least some form of traffic when they first launch, usually stemming from the owner sharing it on their social media accounts or word of mouth.
But shortly thereafter, the traffic drops off.
You watch and you wait some more.
Before you know it, months and months have gone by and you’re lucky if your website receives something like 5 views per day.
I see this happen all the time. It’s a sad but very real reality for lots of people!
Even if the situation isn’t quite that dire, there’s still usually a lot more that most of us could be doing to boost our website’s presence. Because let’s face it: it’s not enough for a small business to simply have a website. You need to be visible. And if you want the most visibility, you need to jump on the SEO train.
Hold Up. What’s SEO?
SEO stands for a little something we like to call “search engine optimization.”
Backlinko defines it as this: “The art and science of driving targeted website traffic to your website from search engines.”
SEO only deals with unpaid search results, or organic search traffic.
SEO Matters. Consider:
1/6 people use Google.
(And that statistic is from 2015, so it’s probably more by now!)
5.6 billion searches
are made using Google. Every single day.
SEO Can Transform The Way You Run Your Small Business
But! It’s not a “get rich quick” scheme.
There is a time commitment involved with learning SEO basics, and then properly applying what you’ve learned to your website requires time, effort, and hard work. But once you’ve put the initial effort in, you’ll be reaping the benefits for months, and even years, to come.
Meet our case study specimen, Website A.
Website A is a lifestyle publication (basically a blog for a specifically niche), a side project for the website owner. It’s a real life website, but I’m not going to disclose the actual name of it here (don’t want their competition to know what their secret is!).
Website A launched in June 2019 and for the first month, the owner busted their hump, creating content, publishing it, and sharing it on social media, posting multiple times per day to drum up interest to get people to visit the website.
And guess what? It totally worked! Website A was getting lots of traffic rolling in from Instagram and Facebook. (The first two months, 75% of traffic came from social media. It’s how Website A got visitors.)
And then, months later, life happened.
And since Website A was a side project, it was the first thing to take a backseat.
The owner had less time to devote to posting all day, every day, on social media. And, truth be told, they weren’t even adding new content to the website.
You would have expected Website A’s traffic to take a dip, right? Quite the opposite happened, actually: they had their best month to date.
Why? Because Website A had been optimizing for search engines from the beginning.
When you optimize your website, not only do you bring more people to it, you also allow yourself the freedom to relax and take time out from hustling.
SEO Is Like A Snowball
Back to Website A: for its first year, the traffic that came to Website A through a search engine grew at an average rate of slightly over 66%. So, for example, if in October, Website A received 1000 visitors who reached the website via search engine, in November, they received 1660 visitors who reached the website via search engine.
That’s a crazy growth rate, and full disclosure: that growth percentage has dropped somewhat now that the website has matured a bit more. However, it is still seeing large amounts of growth every month and it’s undeniable that optimizing for search engines has had a massive impact on Website A’s success.
And SEO can have just as much of an impact on your business.
I mean…just think what you could do with 66% more traffic per month, every month. A lot, right?
4 Tell-Tale Signs You Need SEO In Your Life
1. You Haven’t Touched Your Website Since It Launched
Whether it’s been one month, one year, or longer, if you haven’t done anything with your website since you initially developed it, you’re leaving opportunity on the table, my friend.
SEO evolves rapidly, so even if you did optimize your website for search engines years ago, chances are, many of those optimization techniques are now outdated.
Take, for example, a practice called “keyword stuffing.” Keyword stuffing is when you take a ton of keywords and unnaturally cram them all into your content. A lot of people like to keyword stuff their titles because at one time, they heard this was a good approach.
Keyword stuffing looks like this:
It makes me cringe every time.
Keyword stuffing might have worked years and years ago when Google and other search engines used algorithms that weren’t so smart. Now, keyword stuffing is a dangerous thing to do.
Not only is it unethical and makes your content difficult for real humans to read, Google may actually count it against you because it interprets it as spam.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of small business owners still engaging in keyword stuffing, along with other outdated techniques that aren’t helping. If this is you, you owe it to yourself to learn some new techniques that are actually effective!
2. You’re Relying On Social Media To Keep Your Business Afloat
A few years ago, I constantly saw people who primarily ran their business on Facebook.
Some of them didn’t even have their own website–it was just their Facebook business page.
Now, things have shifted a bit. Instead of Facebook, I see small business owners who are primarily relying on Instagram to build and maintain their business.
(Sound familiar? I see it A LOT!)
Although social media is certainly an important part of your digital strategy, relying on it to keep you afloat puts you in such a dangerous position.
Think of it this way: you have absolutely no control over social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. They can, and they have, changed their algorithm at the drop of a hat. These algorithm changes always seem to have a negative impact on small business owners getting their content seen. They always seem to become less visible than they were before.
Clearly, this is a major problem if you’re solely relying on this platform for your livelihood!
If this sounds like you, you definitely want to consider refocusing your time and spending more of it on your SEO strategy. I’m not saying dump social media altogether, just don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
3. Your Website Isn’t Getting Any Organic Search Traffic
If you’re tracking the traffic your website is receiving–and you should be–with Google Analytics, go into the “Acquisition” section and see what type of traffic you’re receiving.
Here are 4 of the most common types of traffic you’ll see:
- Direct traffic: when someone types your website’s URL directly into their browser’s search bar and hits “enter,” their visit is considered “direct traffic”
- Referral traffic: when someone clicks a link to your website from another website.
- Social traffic: like referral traffic, only with social media websites.
- Organic traffic: when someone finds and clicks into your website via an unpaid search result (in other words, they found you through a search engine like Google)
(You may also see email, display, and paid search as traffic acquisition channels.)
Google gives you a nice little pie chart so you can see the break down of where your traffic is coming from.
Ideally, your traffic should be diverse. It should be coming in nicely from all of these sources. But, oftentimes that’s not the case!
(Note: if your website is super new, it’s normal to not have a lot of organic search traffic yet…even if you have been optimizing, because it takes a bit for Google to pick your site up.)
If the allotment for your organic traffic is particularly small or virtually non-existent, putting in the work and optimizing your website for search engines can pay off big time!
4. You’ve Been Putting Off Learning SEO Because It’s Too Intimidating
I get it. SEO sounds super technical and complicated and scary.
Google has confirmed they use over 200 factors to determine which results show up where on their search engine results page. (That’s a lot!)
There are also tons of terms and acronyms that get thrown around in the world of SEO.
With all of that considered…how can SEO not be scary?!
A lot of y’all think that SEO can only be done by some magical nerdy tech wiz. That is absolutely, positively, not true.
You have the power to impact your SEO strategy, all by yourself.
In fact, I’d like to argue that you can have more of an impact than a nerdy magical tech wiz because no one knows your biz better than you do.
Yes, there is certainly some new terminology and concepts to learn, but once you’ve got that down, SEO isn’t that scary at all.
(In fact, only a fraction of SEO work is technical in nature. The rest is less technical stuff, like creating valuable content and properly structuring it.)
Overall, SEO is just another part of running a small business. So rip that fear bandaid off and dive right in! SEO is as much for beginners as those who are more advanced.
But SEO May Not Be For You If…
- You’re looking for quick results: Remember how I said that SEO is kinda like a snowball rolling down a hill? It takes some effort to make that initial snowball, but it’s small at first. It only becomes bigger once you send it rolling down the hill. As time goes on, it becomes bigger and its impact becomes greater. The same is true for your SEO strategy. Putting the time in NOW is the first step, but you may not start seeing results for months to come.
- You can’t commit to working hard: Like any investment, you get the best results only when you’re diligent about putting in hard work. Creating quality content is a major part of getting SEO to work for you, and doing that takes time. So if you can’t commit to creating more than 2-3 pages on your website, SEO probably isn’t the best fit.
- You offer a product or service that no one is looking for: I’d like to assume your product or service totally rocks, and it probably does! However, if it’s something no one is searching for, you’re going to run into problems. People can’t find what they’re not looking for, right? So if you have a totally obscure product or service, like you’re better off spending your time trying to bring awareness to your website in other ways, like via social media or more traditional advertising.
Do You Need SEO Help?
If all this SEO stuff sounds like something you’d like to learn, I invite you to stick with me for the next 4 days of the SEO Challenge.
Each day of the challenge includes a video that introduces you to concepts that can have a big influence on your business if you apply them to your website.
(And if you prefer the written word, each day also has a transcript that goes along with the video.)
SEO Basics For Beginners And Advanced!
This SEO Challenge is for beginners as well as anyone who feels like they’re missing the mark with their current approach to SEO. If you’ve dabbled in SEO before, you may be familiar with some of these concepts, but the refresher may help you get unstuck with your current strategy.
All of the concepts we cover are quite practical when it comes down to it, and we break it all down along the way. So if you’re a complete beginner, you’ll still be able to follow along.
Tomorrow, we’ll be diving into some technical SEO and I’ll be showing you some helpful tools you can use to help boost your SEO strategy. I’ll see you then!