Why should you take SEO seriously?
Because SEO generates sales.
If you want to grow your business, close deals, and put money in your bank account, then SEO is probably your best option.
The best part about SEO is that it works for you over time. I’ve written articles years ago that continue to generate sales for me today.
I will teach you the step by step breakdown you can use to SEO your website and generate sales for your business.
First, Let’s Understand Why SEO Works
When someone goes to Google and types in “restaurant near me”, what do you think it is they are looking for?
This isn’t a trick question.
You guessed it, they are looking for a restaurant near them. The intent of the searcher is known and understood by the nature of their search query. If you understand search, then you understand intent.
It is this one feature that makes SEO such a powerful marketing tool.
With SEO, you’ve already earned the attention of your potential customer. You don’t need to create videos or tweets or selfies to help you “stand out from the crowd.” The user has already given you their attention by default. They want what it is that you’re offering and you know that because they have searched for exactly what it is they are looking for.
Let me give you another example.
Imagine someone goes to Google and searches for “Plumber in Nashville.” When they hit enter, they are served a list of local plumbers in Nashville. The search result at the top position has the highest probability of getting the click.
So the user performs their search and clicks on the first link. Through their click, they land on a website that belongs to a local plumber who serves the city of Nashville.
What are the odds that the person who searched for this query is going to call the phone number on the website and do business with that plumber?
The odds are very high.
Why do we know that? Because the intent of the searcher has pre qualified him or her to be a great lead for the business. We already know they are in need of a plumber.
I realize this is comes across as common sense, but you would be amazed at how few people take advantage of this simple yet extremally powerful connection.
All the business owner has to do is align their products or services with the problem they are solving. By ranking number 1 for this one keyword “plumber in Nashville”, it’s likely that the business owner never has to spend a dollar in advertising again. The revenue generated from this one search query will be life changing.
So how do you go about SEOing your website to generate more sales?
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You Need to Get Specific
Google likes websites that focus on a specific topic, niche, or industry.
If you focus on a particular industry, you have a better opportunity to own the search traffic for that industry.
Let me show you some examples.
Stodzy Internet Marketing
How much traffic do you think my agency site gets every day? You may be surprised to learn that my site only generates around 40 hits a day.
So how does my site continue to drive so many leads and clients for my company?
This is all possible because of the specificity of my website and the keywords I am going after. I only target marketing professionals who work for behavioral healthcare centers. As such, I only rank for a few yet important set of keywords.
Below is a list of keywords and the current ranking positions for my keywords.
In full transparency, I’ve taken my eye off the ball with the SEO for Stodzy, so these rankings are far worse than they have been historically. But even with these important keywords ranking from position 2 – 5 on Google, the leads still come and the contracts still get closed.
This business is in one of the most competitive industries there is. The entire field of “online marketing” is filled with amazing websites and some of the most talented SEOs on the planet.
That’s why over the last 3 years, I have worked to transform Copyblogger into an education business that specifically focuses on teaching people to become better writers.
Copyblogger is not a full scale “internet marketing” brand, but rather we are brand that helps people perfect their writing skills so that they can become better marketers and better entrepreneurs.
As such, my email list has grown and the automations continue to effectively sell my products. In addition, I have completely transformed the products to focus on writing, copywriting, email marketing, and freelance writing.
The only reason people go to Copyblogger is to improve their writing skills. Because of this, the sales continue to generate themselves.
Don’t take my word for it, watch the video below.
The Mistake Most People Make
A lot of people go into SEO thinking that they need to produce endless amounts of content and rank for as many keywords as possible.
That’s not the case. If your approach is to write as much as you possibly can, then you will become commoditized and you will find yourself competing against websites such as The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed.
You will see much greater business results if you have an intention and a purpose behind every article you write. It’s better to write an article that gets 10 hits a month but generates a phone call than it is to write an article that get 10,000 hits a month but doesn’t generate any business at all.
In fact, those types of articles are detrimental to your business, because they cost you time, energy and server space while never adding to your bottom line.
They are worse than worthless.
If you are going to spend time marketing your website and your business, you want to see a return form it.
In that case, you need to discipline yourself to only write and publish content that will generate traffic that can lead to a sale.
Avoid the nagging voice in your head that tells you to “write whatever feels right.”
You can start a creative blog on the side to fulfil your creative calling. This is business, and when your bank account is full of money, you will be happy you made this choice.
How to Write Content to Rank in the Search Engines
If you notice, I haven’t yet written about the tactics or strategies that will help you gain the skill of SEO. You’re probably reading this article and thinking “ok Tim, that’s great, but HOW do I SEO my website?”
The truth is, SEO gurus love to talk about SEO as though it’s some kind of hacker science that can’t be understood by regular folks. That’s not the case at all.
SEO is very simple. You can get very far by following a few basic guidelines.
Guideline #1 – Write Great Content
Google is a problem solving machine. The only reason anyone goes to Google is because they have a problem to solve.
If Google stopped sending people to the pages that quickly solved their problems, then people would stop going to Google.
So Google is incentivized to send people to the pages and the websites that most quickly solve the problem of the user. There is a lot of power in that statement, because with that understanding, you realize that the absolute best thing you can do to grow your search traffic is to create informative and helpful content that solves the users problem.
It’s that simple.
Here is a roadmap.
- Create a list of questions that you think people would be asking and searching if they were interested in what it is that your business sells.
- Write articles and guides that help people answer those questions and subsequently, solve their problems.
- Use Yoast SEO to properly format your content for best practices.
Note* – Instead of writing an entire new section on how to format your content with Yoast SEO, I put together a 25 minute lesson plan for you to see exactly how I do it on my own websites.
There are so many resources to help you learn the technical skills of SEO. I would recommend reading the SEMRush blog, the Moz Blog and also Matt Giovanisci’s blog.
But before you get into the technicalities, you need to have the right mindset. The mindset is to solve the problems of the person searching by writing the best content possible.
Guideline #2 – Promote Great Site Structure
Google discovers new pages through links. If you create a page, but there are no other pages linking to that page, then Google has no way of “seeing” the new page you created.
Discoverability is critical because the harder you make it for Google to find your content, the less likely it is that Google will rank your page.
Now, I don’t need to get into an hour long webinar session about silos, page networking, and interior linking. There are many different schools of thought on site structure and navigation, but you don’t need to get into that now. To get started, I recommend the following steps.
Step 1 – Create Cornerstone Pages
Your cornerstone pages are the group of 5 – 10 pages that lay the foundation for the rest of your site. Maybe your cornerstone pages are your services or they might be a group of long form guides that give people the baseline for what your brand is about.
The question is, “if I wanted to explain my brand and my business to someone is 3 minutes or less, what would I tell them?”
Those are your cornerstone pages.
The next step is to link those cornerstone pages in your navigation bar.
Using the same two examples, you can see that I have done this with Stodzy …
and also with Copyblogger …
These cornerstone pages are the foundation for the rest of your site. Think of them as categories that you can base your content around. Cornerstone pages serve two purposes.
First, they make it so that your hardest and most competitive keywords are linked through the navigation bar. This shows Google that these pages are important and you will get a slight bump for these pages.
Second, they give you a mental framework about what your site is about so you can continuously stay on target.
Step 2 – Write The Rest of Your Content Through Your Blog
WordPress is my favorite CMS, because the entire structure of WordPress is already formatted to make it easy for Google to find and index your pages and posts.
I’ve also heard great things about Webflow, but I don’t have any experience with that platform.
Once your cornerstone pages are written, you don’t have to worry about site structure anymore. Simply write great blog posts, and when you write new blog posts, be sure to link to other posts you’ve written and also to your cornerstone pages when appropriate.
Guideline #3 – Earn Relevant and High Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are links on other websites that link through to your website.
Think of them as citations of credibility. If someone writes an article to publish on their website, and in that article, they source information they found on my website, then they will link to the page where they found the information as a way to source the information.
Google sees these links as signals of credibility. If people are linking to your site, then your site must be good enough that people chose to link to it. Links are the internets version of “sourcing your work.”
The question becomes, “how do you get backlinks?”
There are entire businesses built around trying to generate backlinks. This is an industry of spammers, link farms, and endless “dear madam / sir” emails that pop in your inbox from people asking for guest posts.
Outreach is a complicated industry and there are good ways and bad ways to get backlinks on other websites.
All you need to know is that the best way to get backlinks is to interact with other people, network with other brands, and find opportunities.
Most of the links I’ve earned for TimStodz.com are from show notes of podcasts. That’s how I got a link on Seth Godin’s website.
It’s also how I got a backlink on the SwagUp website.
If you want to get a link on someone’s website, you first need to serve them and then you need to ask.
If I am ever invited to be on someone’s podcast, I always ask for a backlink.
If someone ever DM’s me on Twitter asking to use one of my articles in a newsletter or a guide, I always ask them for a backlink.
In addition, I generate backlinks simply because the content I write is so good, that people want to source my content and link to my content in their own articles. This is how I recently got a backlink on Corey Wilks’ website.
Ultimately, the best way to get backlinks is to write content worth linking to and then be intentional and ethical about your desire to get links on other websites.
Summary: Social Media Grows Awareness, SEO Grows Your Bank Account
By now, I hope I’ve drilled the concept of “intent” into your head.
SEO is such an effective sales tool because if you do it right, you can position your website and your business directly in line with the people who are searching for exactly what it is that you offer.
It’s not hard to imagine how how this strategy can generate so many sales.
Here’s what I want you to do.
Get out a piece of paper and write down 20 questions that people would search in Google if they were interested in hiring you or buying your products. For example, if you are a personal trainer in Philadelphia, one of the questions might be “what are the best personal trainers in Philadelphia?”
Then write one article a week that answers the question and solves the problem of your prospect. So using this example, maybe your article will be a list post of the 10 best trainers in Philadelphia.
After you’ve finished writing your article, be sure to go back and add calls to action within your content. You want to direct the people reading your article to become a customer. If you don’t actively promote your business within your content, than you are missing out on opportunities to generate sales.
Add a phone number to the top of your website and create a design that can be placed within your article that says something like “Want to hire a personal trainer? Call me a 555-555-555.”
Do this for a year and I promise you will grow your business and most likely, be more profitable than you ever imagined.