The SEO Podcast for Beginners: An Episode Covering the Basics
April 5, 2022
I’m going to be honest with you from the very beginning: I am a geek for all things SEO.
I love the value it delivers. I love keyword research and the “game” of determining the best keywords and tracking them over time. I love using those keywords as I write my copy and making all the strategic decisions necessary to ensure I’m following SEO best practices.
But not everyone loves SEO as much as I do. And I can understand why — SEO can be difficult to understand at first.
But that doesn’t mean it has to be hard to understand forever!
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and went on to co-found Spry, an award-winning online literary journal.
When Erin’s not helping her clients understand their website data or improve their website copy, you can catch her hosting the Talk Copy to Me podcast and guesting on shows such as Profit is a Choice, The Driven Woman Entrepreneur, Go Pitch Yourself, and Counsel Cast.
Here’s the transcript for the SEO podcast for beginners episode
NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors. Erin Ollila 00:00
Want to know one of the most common questions that I get asked by my clients who hire me to write web copy? It’s this, what do I do now? How do I get people to actually go to my website? And the answer is rather simple, you get people to go to your website with the help of Google SEO. Now, you might be thinking SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. And that is what we are going to be talking about today. And over the next three episodes of this podcast, I’m going to keep today’s episode as short and sweet as I possibly can. Because the last couple episodes were really long, and the next two episodes are also going to be a little lengthier than normal. My hope is if we focus on the SEO basics, in this episode, you will have a better understanding of what we’re talking about. In the next few episodes. We’re planning on covering SEO with content, how to use SEO on your site, and how to use SEO off site for things such as podcast or a YouTube channel. So let’s jump right into the basics. As I mentioned before, S E O stands for Search Engine Optimization. What that means is you are optimizing the web copy or the web content that you’ve written for search engines. And if you’re listening and wondering, Well, why would I want to do that, Aaron, the reason is because we want search engines to send traffic our way without having to pay for any of that traffic. You know, in today’s marketing world, we’re so used to hearing about paid social media advertisements, but there are options to get traffic to your website without having to pay for it. And the strongest option is investing in SEO, whether you are investing money to hire someone like me to do your SEO, research and implementation for you. Or whether you’re investing the time to learn about SEO yourself and implement some of these things that we’ll be talking about today and in future podcast. And here’s another reason why SEO is so important for online business owners. So many of the online business practices that involve marketing are taught with extroverts in mind. For example, film reels and put them on tick tock and Instagram. Pitch new prospects in the DMS, share personal stories in your content, keep your schedule clear for a coffee chats and meet as many people as possible. All of those things take a lot of time and energy to do. And there’s no guarantee that any of them are going to get you leads and convert those leads into paying clients. Those activities may take forever to prepare for and even longer to decompress from. And maybe you just feel like your palms are sweaty and your knees are shaky and putting yourself out there in the public view just isn’t what you expected as a business owner. And that’s fine. Social media does not need to be the driving force of your business’s marketing traffic. One podcast that I’m really enjoying is Meg Castels. Social slowdown and it’s a she interviews many business owners who have either taken their business off social media, or not relied on social media as part of their marketing efforts to showcase that you can have a very successful online business without having to simply perform. And I think that SEO is a huge factor in what makes it possible for online business owners to show up presently in their marketing in a way that makes them feel comfortable. But without having to do all of those things, like I said about attracting people using social media tactics. SEO allows you to attract the right people by meeting them where they’re at, specifically, their levels of readiness, their education and their interest without the need to exert yourself unnaturally. You know, for example, your website is your digital storefront, and every single page and post that is on there is a prime opportunity to attract the right audience to you. And it’s not just your website. SEO is so valuable for podcast and getting people to find your episodes. And let’s not even talk YouTube channels here. Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google, using key phrases helps to move your video content write up in the rankings. So you don’t need to rely on social media blast to share your content. And that same goes for podcasting. You don’t need to rely on paid advertising. You don’t need to rely on social performances. You can simply be mindful about what you’re writing to attract the right audience. And there’s one key thing I want to point out before I get into some of the SEO basics I want to talk to you about today. And that is the fact that SEO actually works for you in the long term, the copy and content you write now can rank well for you immediately. But it can also snowball and begin to rank higher and higher over time. And if you’re writing evergreen content, which I highly recommend you do, and I will explain what that is, in one moment, if you’re writing evergreen content, then not only is it going to snowball over time, but the content that you’re writing is always going to be helpful to your ideal audience, which means content that you invested either your time or energy or finances and do right now to be created can serve you years from now, if you are sharing it with SEO best practices. When you think about SEO, I want you to realize that you can utilize SEO to get organic traffic back to your website without having to pay for ads without having to perform on social media. And that traffic is a long lasting marketing strategy. I really just want to drive home that that endpoint. The value of SEO is that the time and the energy and the finances that you invested into at this moment in time will continue to serve you in the long term. So since we’re talking about the basics, today, I’m going to share some of the key terms that you might hear in the next few episodes about SEO. quick caveat here, this is not an alphabetized order, there is not an order of priority, they are literally just the order of how these things have popped in my head. So first, let’s just talk about evergreen content. Because I mentioned that before. Evergreen content is a great way to utilize the power of SEO. And if you’re not familiar with the term evergreen in the marketing world, what it basically means is content that is not news or time sensitive, that will always be current and valuable to the end reader. So for example, a post about how to bake banana bread will be an evergreen post, because there will never be a major drastic change about how banana bread is made. Whereas a post about the 2022 Grammys would be a news post or a time sensitive posts. And when I mentioned post here, what I’m really meaning is blog post. So the content that can be found on your website that is not behind a paywall, and that is able to be indexed and crawled by a search engine. And blogs are not the only tool on your website that you can use SEO. Your web pages are also places where SEO is very important. Each page should have a purpose and with that purpose should be a keyword phrase that you’re using to attract people right back to your website. I mentioned off site SEO before and in the same way we look at blog content and website pages. We can also consider podcast descriptions on the podcast players and YouTube descriptions as being the areas we want to use keyword phrases to attract more ideal clients to our podcast and our YouTube channel. Alright, let’s move on to some more descriptions. Some things you’ll hear when we talk about keywords or keyword phrases are the terms long tail, short tail, and local. So let me just give you an example of those three short tail keywords are short keyword phrases, they may be made up of one or two or at most three words. And they are usually a lot harder to rank for because there is a lot more competition. An example of a short tail keyword would be wedding florist. Now a local keyword is very obvious a local keyword is a keyword that uses words to describe one particular location, often attached to a short tail keyword. An example here would be Rhode Island wedding florist, a longtail keyword is usually a longer phrase. And when we think about search intent, we know that most people generally ask questions to the search engines. So many longtail keywords could be in the form of a question, but they don’t have to be so a longtail keyword is basically a longer phrase that’s being served using our example of wedding florist. What we might see for longtail keywords is in quotes how to hire a wedding florist and quote Another example could be open quote, what to look for in a wedding florist and quote and I mentioned it didn’t have to be a question. So examples of searches that might include the short tail keyword wedding florists to make it a longer tail keyword would be email to my wedding florist or or wedding florist contract. So basically just to make sure we’re all on the same page here, what we’re doing is we are using these words, whether they are just one or two words to make up a shorter tail keyword, or a combination of multiple words to make up a longer tail keyword, or words that are location specific. We’re using them to put on our website pages to put on our blogs, our podcast and our YouTube descriptions. So that people who are searching for those string of words can find our content. So with a little work upfront, what you’re doing is actually inviting people into your digital world. And the people that you’re inviting in are people that are not in your network, which is the beauty of search engine optimization, there are people out there that may never have found you or your business, but because they are searching for something that you are writing about or have written about, they find you which gives them the potential to hire you when they didn’t even know you existed before that. So yes, I am a lover of SEO if you have not figured that out by this point. Now we’ll talk about this next part in a future episode. So I’m not going to get to details here. But one thing I want you to consider when it comes to choosing the keywords that you use is the search volume and the competition. Those two things will help you make educated decisions to determine which keywords and keyword phrases that you should be using on your site, or for your podcast or YouTube descriptions. Now, you might be wondering what happens after you determine these keywords or keyword phrases? Where do you use them. So I will give you the quickest rundown ever, on what type of things you’re going to be doing with the SEO keyword phrases. And because we will talk about this in the next few episodes. But basically, in regards to your website copy, you’re going to be using your SEO phrases in the URL slug, the page title tag and the meta description. Now when we consider things like blog content, we’re also going to want to make sure that we’re using these this specific focus keyword in our headings or subheadings, the text and any calls to action that we’re using in our blog content. For our podcast or YouTube descriptions, it’s going to also be done. Similarly, you’re going to pick a focus keyword phrase, use that in your podcast title, your description. You’ll also use that in the URL slug for any of the show notes that you have, and potentially any keyword opportunities that you have for hashtags like on YouTube. But there is another thing to consider is the keyword opportunities or synonyms that you have. So for example, I think one of the longer tail keywords that I shared with you before was how do I hire a wedding florist. So an example of a synonym could be hiring a florist or something similar keyword synonyms are awesome because they allow us to speak or technically I should say they allow us to write in a way that sounds natural and sounds interesting to the end reader. Because the one thing you do not want to do when you are attempting to put in an investment into SEO is to stuff keywords. And you really need to write to the person who is reading, you’re not writing to a robot. So if you just had sentence after sentence that said hiring a wedding florist hiring a wedding florist hiring a wedding florist, people would definitely tune out. So if you’re using phrases that are very similar to the point of the article and to the keyword phrase that you’re using, you’re going to keep their attention, keep them occupied, and entertained and educated with the content that you’re sharing. And still follow the SEO best practices that get the attention of those search engines and get more eyes on your page. Now, I don’t want to go too far into keyword research here. But basically, when we’re trying to determine what keywords we use, we want to consider the amount that they are searched, which is search volume in addition to the competition that that keyword phrase has. We also want to consider the general audience needs, right? What are they trying to find? What’s their intent in searching for these? And how can we use that information to then create content that is valid for them? Alright, so we’ve got to the part where we start talking about creating content. Now let’s think about what does the search engines want from us. The great news is they all have their own types of rules for what they’re looking for. And I can tell you from straight from Google’s data documentation tools that they are pretty easy and straightforward. Basically, they want us to be descriptive. And make sure that each and every page or post or page title is described in a way that is clear and easy to understand. So for example, in my previous post on how to bake banana bread, if the title was how to bake banana bread, and then you clicked on that article, and instead of instructions on how to do this, it was maybe an explanation about the history of banana bread, or all of the types of ways that you can jazz up banana bread with different ingredients, or why the particular author loves banana bread. Well, that would be misleading, right, because the title of the article is supposed to be clear. So that way, the the person who’s using the internet can decide if it is something that they want to read, okay, be descriptive, Easy enough, right? Then we also want to be topical. So we want to make sure that the content that we’re sharing relates back to our site. Now, you might not know this about me, but I am actually an expert, banana bread Baker. However, if I shared a post on how to bake banana bread on my website, it’s not topical. My website is about copywriting websites themselves, SEO, bread messaging, those types of topics. If I’m sharing food search engines are going to be confused. So don’t confuse them. Just keep the topics on your website related to the overall main point of your website. Google also wants the content that it’s that you’re sharing to be complete. So you want to make it easy to understand what you offer. You also need to keep your site up to date, and make sure the information on your website is relevant. That’s why those evergreen posts are helpful. You know, if you only have news specific posts on your site, let’s say you wrote a blog regularly about things that were happening in 2019. And then you stopped writing over the course of the pandemic, let’s just say, Well, Google is going to say, oh, that person is not publishing anymore. So let’s not send traffic their way. And we don’t want that to happen, right. If we’re going to put our time into SEO, we want as much traffic as we can get. Additionally, Google wants your site to use text. That isn’t to say you can’t use images, of course you can. And SEO side note, if you are going to use images, make sure to use the things that you have like your image titles and your image descriptions, and your alt text to describe the images that helps with screen readers. And also helps with SEO if it’s being done correctly. But back to the text. While pictures are wonderful, Google and in all of these search engines, I always default Google but what I when I say that I mean any search engine, they cannot crawl images. So once again, we mentioned crawling before crawling means that that like real robot, like Google is scanning through the words to find connections. And it cannot scan through a picture because a picture needs to be described. So use text on your site. And if you have a lot of images, make sure that you’re using text to describe those images. Finally, Google really wants you to get referrals and give referrals. So that means you want to get links from other websites to your blog or your website. It’s kind of like tapping Google on the back and being like, okay, this person is relevant. As a side note, I write a lot of content for big brands. So when I do that, often, I will get a link back to my own website. So for example, if Hills pet or Oracle is sharing my content I’ve written for them. And they’re linking to my business website. They’re big brands. And they’re giving Google that nod to say, like, I trust her, you should trust her too. So when people give you links to your site that is helpful, and it makes Google recognize that you should be paid attention to. But the same goes in regard to sharing traffic with other sites. Now, you definitely do not want to do a one to one share all of the time. This isn’t to say like, you know, you would only share content and links to someone who has shared it with you. But you want to be able to link out to relevant sources that also teaches Google that not only are you an expert on whatever topic it is that you’re generally writing about, but you’re also using other sources to back that expertise up. So that’s how do we keep our search engines happy? Again, it’s really just sharing great content, doing it in a way that is very clear for the end result reader to understand and absorb and and basically not using any tricky methods to stuff seo keywords into our content. And then to follow that up, it’s the only other thing we have to consider is actually creating the content and creating not just one piece, not just two, but a decent amount of content. You know, you could have a website that maybe has five main pages, and you’re using very strong keywords. But what that means is you’re giving Google the opportunity to introduce people to you at five points of contact. Now, let’s pretend that you have a blog, and you share a blog blog every week for two years to your website, that ends up being 104 blogs over the course of two years. So if you have those five pages on your site that you know, share your services and information about you. And you add that to the 104 blogs that you have. That is 109 opportunities for Google to introduce you to the right people. When you look at it that way, why wouldn’t you create content for your site, right? And content doesn’t have to be as scary as it might seem. Think about content in a way that you have buckets, just like you would have categories. So for example, if I were writing about website copy, that could be a true category of my blog. But it could also be a content bucket, maybe I have a few pillar posts on, you know, the importance of website, copy and everything that goes into it. And then maybe I have 1015 other posts about specific things related to website copy, I could break that down and maybe write a few blog posts just about the pages, which is actually what I did in the past few episodes for this podcast, right? I talked about the homepage, the about page, the Services page, and all the additional pages. So that’s four different topics that fall under the umbrella of website copy. And again, I’m sharing this just as an example of my own site. But I really invite you to think about your business and the content that you’re going to create in that very same way. How many services do you offer, let’s pretend you have, you know, two different offerings for your business, then take those two as your biggest umbrellas and consider what comes underneath them. Let’s pretend you’re a coach, and you work with leadership teams. Maybe the topics that you talk about is how to lead a team. Or another topic you talk about is how to rise into a leadership position. Now I guarantee that you can come up with at least a handful of topics for both of those two big umbrellas, because this is your job. This is what you do all of the time. So don’t necessarily overthink content, but definitely try to create as much content as you can. So you’re giving yourself as many ins as possible for people to be introduced to your business. So friends, I think that is it for today I am thinking about like 12 more things that I can say at this point. But we’re already past the 20 minute mark. And I really want to keep this nice and short. I think I’ve given you a pretty quick overview of SEO and I’m really excited for the next two episodes. Next week, we’re going to have Meg case bolt from Lovett first search on to talk about not snoozing on SEO and definitely using it for your content. And the week following we will have Akilah Tompkins Robinson of girl get visible. And she’ll be talking to us about off site SEO like specifically podcast and YouTube things that you can do to utilize the power of SEO and drive traffic back to your site. So really, it’s just giving yourself more and more and more opportunity for people to find you. And then we’ll finish this up again with one more solo episode talking about SEO that is specific for website copy. So I’m going to try to dive a little deeper into how to make the decisions of what keywords to choose and how to use them on your website pages. But while you’re waiting, if you want, you can head over to Erin ollila.com/seo website checklist and sign up for a guide that you can use now and well into the future that will help you keep your SEO strategy working for you working smarter, not harder. And just really a simple way to keep your SEO stuff organized. See you next week friends
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