CommCorner guest 009: Wendy Goodwin
Wendy Goodwin is multi-talented. Ambi-capable. A crazy-talented musician and master of code, Wendy's life is equally well-orchestrated and well-composed. Outdoorsy and adventurous with an unwavering can-do attitude, Wendy's the one you're going to call when you need your website to work right and fast and for everyone on Google to be able to find it, nearly instantaneously.
People recommend Wendy with a series of phrases you normally don't hear so flatteringly strung together, yet when you meet her, they're resoundingly true. Her work through Starcatcher Creative is thorough and her attention to detail, no doubt hardwired through the decades spent on the strings of her violin, is unparalleled. Wendy got her start working on the websites of her fellow musicians, but has grown her business to support the needs of Portlandian businesses and beyond as they grow their own businesses and followings.
SEO: the Botox of Online Marketing
by Wendy Goodwin
Something’s different but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Suddenly, she looks a little more alert . . . youthful and vibrant. Is it the green smoothies she's been drinking? Has she taken a restful vacation? Did she discover the fountain of youth? Or . . .is it Botox?
Botox is used to treat certain muscular conditions and is also used cosmetically to remove wrinkles (thank you Google Dictionary). What you may not know is that it’s made from the bacterial toxin Botulinum, the most acutely lethal toxin known.
Why am I, your guest SEO specialist, waxing eloquent about Botox on the Duchesne Communications blog? Like Botox, many people want the end result of SEO, a.k.a. “being more attractive on Google search,” but are scared to death of the procedure. I am here today to unlock Search Engine Optimization’s mysteries and help you decide, “Is SEO right for me?”
What is SEO Made Of?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means getting visibility on the web. There are many different ways to approach SEO. Some of them are bad—such as getting a bunch of spammy backlinks to your website. Think of these options as getting cheap Botox in a dark alleyway; it might work for awhile but it could be dangerous. A quality SEO implementation, however, can do wonders to make you look amazing online.
Here are five Examples of SEO That the Good Guys Use:
1. Do Your Keyword Research
Spend time learning what your potential customers are actually searching for. Are they Googling “Best Tacos Portland,” or “Taco Stands Portland?” You want your website content to be optimized for the search phrases your customers are specifically using.
2. Get Your Website Technically
Optimized for SEO
There are tons of technical things that one can do to a website to make sure it performs at its best. Adjustments range from solid mobile response design to properly labeled images to the correct use of header tags and much more. Some content management systems (CMS) provide a level of optimization out of the box but keep in mind that if your competitors are using the same CMS, they’re getting the same service; therefore, you’re not getting that much of a bump from built-in SEO.
3. Blog those key words!
When I owned a small business before becoming an SEO ninja, I would spend time diligently blogging, but I didn’t understand that there is a majorly right and extremely wrong way to blog. To blog in a way that increases web traffic and hopefully entices customers, think of your blog as an opportunity to thoroughly answer a question that your ideal customer has about the type of services/products you offer. Remember to hit on those key words as naturally as possible!
4. Establish Links to your website
to increase the visibility of your
Scoring a link from a highly respected website such as The New York Times or Harvard would be fantastic. However, links from valid websites that are more closely tied to your particular type of product or service can be equally powerful (and perhaps easier to obtain). For example, my alter ego as a professional violinist afforded me the opportunity to perform for an amazing wedding on Maui a few years ago. The event was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings later that year and they linked to my website.
While Martha Stewart Weddings doesn’t have the same prestige as Harvard, it is a lot more relevant to the wedding industry and thus provided a very nice boost to the search results for my musical group, Effesenden Music. Remember, search engines are always trying to serve people the content they “think” is most authoritative for the search query. This principle should govern much of what you pursue when it comes to building links.
5. Plug in the juice on analytics.
If you do not already have your website connected to Google Analytics and Google Search console, don't walk, run (virtually) to get on it. Knowledge (or data metrics) is power and what you think is great about your website may not be what your site visitors find attractive. Here’s a sad fact: the most frequent action a person takes on your website is to leave it. Once you get Google Analytics set up, an interesting data point is the Bounce Rate — the percentage of users who visit your site and do not click on any other pages. Ideally you want that number to be as low as possible.
Is it Only for Supermodels or Can Small Businesses Benefit From SEO?
Botox, I mean SEO, is not just for supermodels or huge businesses. In fact, a great SEO implementation can allow the little guy to beat out the multi-national conglomerates if handled effectively. Google’s current algorithm favors local results. Here’s an example: if you need to find a new dentist, unless you are the aforementioned supermodel, you are less concerned with the “top dentist” in the whole world and more interested in someone relatively close by who can polish your teeth. Those savvy Google robots understand this and aim to please by providing you with a dental professional in your neighborhood. Large businesses can benefit from this knowledge as well by avoiding keyword combos that simply will not win. For example, under the current Google algorithm, Taco Bell will likely never score a #1 ranking for “Best Tacos Portland.” It pays to choose your battles.
How Frequently Should I Get SEO?
Search Engine Optimization encompasses many different actions. These actions are intended to bring people to your website who will become clients and customers. If your website plays any role in the success of your business, then ongoing SEO is a smart and worthwhile component of your marketing strategy. The real question becomes not whether SEO is worth the investment but how much do you want your business to grow?
Professional Search Engine Optimization specialists generally recommend an initial optimization and then a minimum of six months of ongoing SEO. This monthly work tackles things like increasing links, addressing Google’s algorithmic changes, tracking and modifying keyword implementations and more. Benefit from your investment of time and resources by continuing to climb or if you’ve already arrived at a top search result, think big—how can you keep growing?
Wow, You Have a Nice Face: Do You Do Botox?
You probably don’t assume when you see a gorgeous face that it’s the result of someone paying to have mankind’s most deadly toxin administered on a regular basis. So it is with SEO. When done right, your website ranks high. It converts site visitors to customers. Your business grows. No one questions how you got to the top because you do such great work that you deserve to be there. You made this all happen by believing enough in your business to invest in professional Search Engine Optimization. And the best part? It’s completely toxin free.
Wendy Goodwin is a Search Engine Optimization Specialist and the owner of Starcatcher Creative ( https://starcatchercreative.com ), an SEO and Web Design agency based in Portland, Oregon. She adores music, people, coffee and does not currently follow a Botox regimen, but "Never, say never!"