Transcript: SEO Made Simple: 5 Proven Strategies to Get Found on Google

Susanne Rieker: Let’s face it, most of us have a love-hate relationship with Google. We use it every day and it’s amazing. But trying to figure out what you need to do on your website so that your content gets found on Google? Just a tad overwhelming…

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a science of its own and it can be a bit complex.  But just doing a few simple things can already help you get better results on Google, and that’s what I’m sharing in this episode: 5 Proven Strategies to Get Found on Google

Before we dive in, here’s one thing I never, ever want you to do.

And that is hiring one of the SEO experts who show up in your inbox unrequested. Please, just ignore them!

Every time you receive an unsolicited email sent by a so-called SEO expert from a faraway land promising to unlock the secrets of search engine optimization – beware.

Odds are your helpful-sounding new “friend” is an SEO scammer.

OK, it’s not exactly like the Nigerian prince who emails you in broken English to explain that you can get rich quick by helping him transfer millions of dollars out of his war-torn home country. I always love those emails!

Instead, the SEO scam goes something like this:

An “SEO expert” emails you with news that he or she has analyzed your website and noticed that it is underperforming.

They often mention unspecified “problems” or “errors” that are causing your website to underperform – but don’t worry, there’s good news.

They say they can easily rocket you to the top of Google search results for your most important keywords.

You’re told you’ll gain more traffic and more online customers if you just reply to the guy or gal from Australia (not always, but Australia seems to be a popular fake address because people there are thought of as friendly – hey mate).

Problem is, the vast majority of these unsolicited emails are about as phony as the Nigerian prince and his royal fortune.

What happens is that if you contact the sender to discuss web services or search engine optimization, you will be sold to some other unidentified SEO company that will run a quick analysis of your site, totally automated, and then try to sell you on a short-term contract for half-baked SEO maneuvers that build zero long-term value.

You should never accept any unsolicited website or SEO services. Period.

I get those kinds of emails all the time, too, and I just delete them.

There are of course legit SEO experts out there, but I have to warn you, when they are any good, they normally cost a pretty penny.

And they will never send you an unwanted email out of the blue. They don’t need to do that, when they are good, they will get all their clients through word of mouth.

So, simply delete them.

And instead learn the basics of search engine optimization yourself and put them into action.

Because that’s what you have to do in any case, even if you work with a real SEO expert. They will give you suggestions, but you still have to do the work.

So save your money.

There is no magic SEO fairy who will make you get to page 1 on Google!

Here’s the situation:

Google really only wants to recommend excellent content, otherwise users would switch to another search engine. If you want to rank highly, aim to impress with your stellar content.

We use search engines because they are useful, and we trust them! So in your mind, when you think about SEO, you really want to focus on creating stellar content. That is the foundation of all search engine optimization. Simply creating the best content out there. The more you do that, the better will be your SEO rankings.

Okay, now let’s dive in, here’s what you need to do rock your SEO and get found on Google:

#1 Use Keywords

The smartest way to grow your traffic with SEO is to target specific keywords that you want to rank for.

A keyword is a word or phrase that you use on your page or in your blog post.

Now, what you need to be aware of, is that of course most people do this. So even if you use yoga retreat as a key word all over on your page, it isn’t going to get you on the first page on Google.

That’s because “yoga retreats” is obviously a very competitive key word. There are lots of pages using it.

And Google uses more factors to determine who shows up in the search results. There are things like how old your URL is, the older and more established the better, how many other well-established sites are linking to you, how fast your website is and if it’s optimized for smartphones and many other factors.

Getting a green light in Yoast doesn’t mean that this page will be on the first page on Google. Unfortunately.

So, what do you do when the keywords you come up with are way too popular?

Words like yoga, yoga retreat, yoga holiday, kundalini yoga, meditation, mindfulness, you won’t get anywhere when you optimize your website with these keywords.

Instead, use longer keywords, so called “Long-tail“ keywords.  “Long-tail“ keywords refer to keywords that consist of several words. For example instead of “retreat“ your long-tail keyword could be “luxury yoga retreat in Costa Rica in November“.

So, make a list with long tail keywords that you think your potential customers could be searching for. There are fancy tools to help you find keywords, but you don’t need to invest in them when you’re just getting started. I think it’s mostly common sense, just brainstorm a little bit and imagine you’re a potential customer, what would you be searching for.

Once you select your keywords for a page or post, there are several places where you want to use your keyword in order to pump up your SEO.

The first place is in your post title – ideally in the first few words.

Here’s an example:

The keyword for one of my blog posts on my Happy Yoga Travels blog is “Guide for yoga in Koh Phangan”. If you don’t know Koh Phangan, it’s a little island in Thailand that has some great yoga places.

So my keyword is “guide for yoga in Koh Phangan” and I use this exact phrase in my post title, which is “The Ultimate Guide to Yoga in Koh Phangan”.

Next you want to use your keyword in your post’s URL. Your URL is the internet address that you see when you visit a website.

Don’t use a system where it just shows a number, you always want to use your keyword, or a shorter version of your keyword.

Next put your keyword in your post’s headline and sub-headline.

When you create a blog post or page on your website, the title is normally your H1 headline. H1 is an html term for the main heading.

Google ranks the content in this headline highly as an indicator what the content is about, that’s why it’s so important.

A H2 headline is a sub-headline that’s placed below the title and has less importance. You use it more to structure the text and it tells Google again, hey, this content is exactly what this keyword is about.

Then you also want to use your keyword several times throughout your post

Note that your keyword doesn’t have to be identical when you use it throughout your post. For example, I could use phrases like “Koh Phangan yoga guide” or “guide for yoga in Koh Phangan” as well. Google is smart and will know when it is a variation.

Next you need to put your keyword in the file names of your images and in your image title and alt-tags. This is what many people miss but it really makes a difference and it’s worth the extra minute to do this.

#2: Improve Your Titles and Descriptions

When your website shows up on the results page on Google, do your page title and description invite people to click and visit your page?

Improving your titles and descriptions will not only help you get more clicks directly; it will also improve your Google ranking.

That’s because Google ranks websites higher that have a better click-through-rate on Google search results. So, if more people who see your page on the results page actually click on your link, you will not only get those clicks, you also might rank better in the future. Double win!

So how do you do this:

There are some very specific things you can do to optimize your title and descriptions.

Use a short, concise title that includes your keyword. Your description should also include your keyword.

Then, sometimes it can make sense to include the current month or year in your title, because people are always looking for the most up-to-date information. For example, if you’re offering a yoga retreat, add the month and year when it is happening to your title.

So for example “Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica in February 2020”

Here’s another tip: Titles using phrases like “step-by-step” or “how-to” usually have greater appeal than the mere mention of how to do something.

So, edit your title and description and really spend time optimizing them so they are enticing people to click when they see it in the Google search results.

#3: Create Internal Links

Internal links are links within your website. So you’re linking from one blog post or page on your site to another one. They are super useful because not only do they allow your website visitors to navigate your content, but they’ll also add link juice (Google ranking power).

You should include links that are helpful to your readers and that fit in naturally within your content.

For example, when you’re writing a blog post about yin yoga, you could add a link to an older post with a yin yoga play list. When a reader sees an informative link like this that truly matches the context of the content, they are likely to click on that link. This provides real value and improves your user engagement.

But don’t overwhelm yourself. You don’t need tons of links in your internal content; simply add as many as you have that would be beneficial to your reader.

Of course, it really helps if you have lots of content that you can link to. If you only have about 5 pages on your website, this will be challenging. This is one of the reasons why I strongly recommend adding a blog to your yoga website.

#4 Fix Broken Links

Broken links are links that aren’t working, instead you get an 404 error message when you click on it, and they signal Google two things: your site is poorly maintained and Google’s users are more likely to bump into broken pages.

As a result, Google assumes your website is simply not being maintained to a high standard, and users would be better served by another site which has high quality content. Oups!

Thankfully broken links are easily fixed, so such problems should be avoided.

Outdated links you can simply correct. When you have outdated content that you want to delete, for example for a yoga retreat that’s expired, implement a redirect that will make sure that all search traffic that comes for the old page gets redirected to your new page.

This could be the next year yoga retreat or the retreat category page. I use the free plugin “Redirection” on my WordPress to manage redirections, keep track of broken links, and generally tidy up any loose ends.

You can also run a free analysis on SEM Rush: https://www.semrush.com/  – I’ll add the link to the show notes.

And finally, if you haven’t done so yet, sign up for the Google Webmaster Tools right now too. Google Webmaster Tools is a free toolset provided by Google that helps you understand what’s going on with your website.

You’ll get an overview of everything from what keywords you are ranking for to how much traffic you are getting from Google. In addition, you’ll see if the Google bot is experiencing any errors when going through your website, the number of sites linking to yours, and how many pages Google has indexed.

Signing up is free and I’ll include the link in the shownotes, or simply google Google Webmaster Tools.

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home

#5 Be consistent in your topics

Search engines want to recommend content from people who know what they are talking about, so they’ll look for content on your site about similar topics.

Staying consistent and in your niche is important for a lot of reasons, but it’s especially helpful for boosting your SEO.

If you have a clear niche, you’re going to write about similar topics over and over again, and that’s going to help you stand out and improve your ranking on Google.

For example, if you are known for pre-natal yoga, don’t blog about vegan recipes but choose topics related to that niche.

This way you get the chance to stand out as an expert in YOUR topic and become the go-to site for information on this topic.

Here are some examples for yoga niches:

Yoga sequences and videos, tutorials and tips especially for beginners….

Meditation guides and tips for stressed out millennials…

The spiritual side of yoga explained for the modern world…

The yoga of food: yoga diet, recipes, health tips…

I strongly recommend starting a blog, and here’s why.

Because make no mistake, a blog can take a lot of time and effort, but it’s the best free tool to grow your business.

First, it will help you build a relationship with your existing clients. Through your blog you give your students a chance to learn more about yoga and get to know you a bit more.

Next, each blog post will help to drive traffic to your website. Every blog post is a chance for people to find you on Google and through social sharing.

Then, now that you have traffic coming to your website through your blog, you have an opportunity to convert that traffic into new clients.

A blog also helps establish authority: If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it’ll help establish you as an authority in their eyes and build trust.

And finally, a blog drives long-term results. Each blog post can continue to generate new traffic for days, weeks, months, and years to come.

So, there you have it, these are 5 things you can do to improve your Google ranking.

#1 Use Keywords

#2 Improve Your Titles and Descriptions

#3 Create Internal Links

#4 Fix Broken Links

#5 Be consistent in your topics

If you want to learn more, I’m offering a workshop especially for yoga teachers where I teach you how to improve your SEO and get more traffic on your website on February 26th! I’ll share all the strategies that I use and that have helped me grow my traffic to over 300 visitors a day that I get from Google. I also get traffic from social media and directly, but Google is my main traffic driver and I’ll teach you how to get there as well, without using any complicated or expensive tools.

You can learn more and sign up for the workshop if you go to https://www.susannerieker.com/seo. I’ll also add the link in the shownotes.

I hope to see you there! Thanks for listening in and if you haven’t yet subscribed to this podcast, do so because I don’t want you to miss any of my upcoming episodes. So no matter where you listen, hit that subscribe button, and you won’t miss a thing.

I’ll see you here next week. Bye for now, have a great day.