The Secrets Behind Search Engine Optimization
If you have a question you need answered, where do you turn? Gone are the days of hauling out our dictionaries, encyclopedias, and directories in order to find what we’re looking for. With the world at our fingertips—we simply turn to the internet. As people grow to rely more and more on Google or other search engines for answering their immediate questions, discoverability becomes that much more important for businesses like ours who want to service those needs. This is where SEO or Search Engine Optimization comes in.
Search Engine Optimization is exactly that, a way to optimize or enhance your searchability. Essentially, this is an attempt to get Google to notice you, which then determines the likelihood that a potential client will stumble upon your business or website when surfing the web. SEO is becoming much more prominent online, so as business owners, you need to stay on the up and up with your SEO in order to maintain a searchable status and help potential clients find your salon. SEO expert Joey Donovan Guido has a few tips and tricks for getting found.
Joey owns his own online marketing business, Cuppa SEO, in which he helps businesses improve their searchability. He uses SEO to drive traffic to their websites, making it that much easier to turn visitors into customers. Joey offers his best advice for enhancing SEO in-house, so that you can get on Google’s “nice” list too.
Meet Your Matchmaker
How often do you search through even the second or third page of suggestions or “hits” Google computes for you? Most of us don’t even scroll all the way to the bottom of the first page.
Perhaps a potential client is searching for a specific product recommendation or seeking out a stylish salon in their area—their first instinct is to pull out their phones for a quick answer. They’ll sift through the first few hits until they land on a product or service that fits their needs. SEO helps ensure than your business is among those top hits.
Let’s go back to the online-dating analogy from our blog on the benefits of in-house branding—there are millions of people registered on dating sites, but only a few will actually make successful matches. SEO is comparable to using keywords to leverage your profile. These keywords are used to promote your best attributes and values, making it easier for potential matches to find you when searching through the site.
Similarly, when someone is searching for a new salon for their cut and color services, a lot goes in to finding the right match. They might leverage specifics like price, or products, maybe they really value that luxury experience, or they might have super curly hair and are hoping to find a place that specializes in catering to their hair-type and texture. Whatever it may be, the goal is always to find a perfect match, one that fits their most basic needs, and in this scenario Google plays matchmaker.
Carefully Craft Your Website Content
As business owners, most of us strive to have clean, beautiful and easy-to-navigate websites, but have you considered how the content on your site influences your searchability?
Joey suggests reinventing your web content first, simply because it’s the easiest place to begin. Your web content refers to everything on your website that potential clients and visitors actually see, read, and interact with—otherwise known as your copy. Joey highlights the importance of writing rich, relevant copy in order to attract people who will fully benefit from the products and services you offer.
Joey recommends filtering all of your copy through three important questions before uploading it onto your website:
1. What is this for?
It might sound silly, but seriously, you need to think about what each word on your website is for. Is your copy informative? Does it have a purpose?
2. What does it do?
Now it’s time to think about verbiage and what each word is actively doing on your site. Are you using calls to action? Are you prompting potential clients to actually interact with your page? With your brand?
3. How does it help me?
Finally, you should consider the actual influence these words have over your business. Your calls to action could prompt people to book appointments, follow your business on social, and sign up for email lists or membership services, all of which can boost your business and bring in extra revenue.
With rich, relevant copy your website can be both sophisticated and totally searchable.
The Key Is Finding Useful Keywords
The trick is to figure out which keywords and phrases your potential clients are using when searching for services online. When people turn to Google for answers they rarely type out their entire question, instead they use a few keywords that they assume will help them filter some of the results to match their specific needs.
Let’s say a potential client with super curly hair is looking to find a salon in her hometown of Madison, Wisconsin that specializes in curly cuts and gets good reviews. She’s probably not going to type all of that into Google—instead it might read something like “Curly hair salon Madison, WI”. Well, if you specialize in curly hair and you know that you make a great fit for this potential client, you would want to make sure that your salon is the first suggestion on the list.
So, how do you let Google know that you deserve that spot? Simple, use keywords. Keywords can be written into just about every aspect of your salon website and social media.
Quick Tip: The best way to figure out which keywords are the most relevant to your business is to ask! Joey says it can be as simple as asking friends, family, and customers about how they found your website. What did they search for? And why?
Do you have pictures on your website? Picture titles have uses far beyond locating them in your folders. Although they’re invisible to the eye once they’re embedded into your webpage, you can use SEO in the titles to improve your searchability.
Instead of titling your headshot “Kati Whitledge Headshot” you should use keywords like, “Kati-Whitledge-Beyond-The-Technique-Podcast-Madison-WI-Beauty-Industry-Blog”. It’s the perfect way to embed some keywords into your site without word-vomiting all over your webpage. The same can be said for posts on social media—and never doubt the power of hashtags!
To learn more about SEO and searchability, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 152. Be sure to also check out Cuppa SEO’s websitefor an in-depth look at the many benefits of SEO and digital marketing—while you’re there, see if you can infer what keywords Joey’s using to get Google’s attention.