Simplify SEO, aka Easy Peasy Search Engine Optimization
You’d never create a piece of content only to bury it in the sand on purpose.
You created it to GET MORE VISIBLE. Establish your expertise & authority. To help your audience!
If no one can find it, writing it was a waste of your time.
This is why being search-able is VITAL, and why being FOUND is an important part of your content strategy.
Whether you’re blogging, podcasting, using YouTube, Pinterest, or any social platform –
If you’re not searchable, no one can find you.
This is a pretty straightforward part of your content strategy:
You optimize your search-ability so your Exact-Right Audience can find you with ease!
But (f you're anything like me), SEO feels…Blech. Gah. Ugggg.
It's "too technical." It feels…hard. Complicated.
You might think, “Bah Humbug. I'm already so far behind with this, so screw it. I can’t catch up. I’ll just keep ignoring it.”
Heh heh - That’s how I felt before interviewing the wonderful Meg Casebolt!
Meg’s the founder of Love At First Search, an agency that has ONE SINGULAR FOCUS:
Helping online businesses GET FOUND in search results (like Google, YouTube & iTunes) & turn those new peeps into leads, subscribers and sales.
Now, this podcast is called Content Creation Made EASY – so of course there was zero chance I was gonna bring you an SEO expert who made it complicated!
Meg is not only a freakin’ delight to listen to, she turns Scary SEO into SIMPLE SEO…
Listen in for realistic, do-able, worthwhile ways you can make SEO part of your content strategy, without feeling like you have a rock on your chest!!
Grab Meg’s free Starter Guide to SEO - https://loveatfirstsearch.com/seo-starter-kit
Listen to her podcast, The Social Slowdown
And find her at loveatfirstsearch.com
**Thank you, as always, for listening! Please leave us a review to let us know what you liked & to help other business owners & experts like you find this podcast!
Listen to her podcast, The Social Slowdown
And find her at https://loveatfirstsearch.com
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Hello, Content Creation Made Easy listener!
I am so glad you're here today - I'm in the middle of a conversation, and I just started to hit record because the conversation is so good.
I'm talking about the Content Creation Made Easy podcast because I was like, I need to write her a fancy, beautiful, zhuzhed up pitch. I'm not kidding, she's been on my please be on my podcast list for at least two years at this point.
I think it was two weeks ago, I was just so fed up with myself, and I got an email from her because I'm on her list, and Megan is an SEO expert. We're going to talk about that, and I got her email, and I was like, Screw it. I need to just ask her. So I sent her this email, and I basically said that, and here she is - two weeks later, she made it happen.
It's just a miracle, so Megan, I am really glad to be talking about SEO, and I'm really specifically glad to be talking about it with you because I think in a 2023 world, if we're not talking about SEO and we're not focusing on SEO, we're swimming upstream and we're exhausting ourselves.
I know this is your zone of genius, so let me hear what you have to say, can you tell us first a little bit about who you are and what your magic is?
But first, I want to say, if there's somebody that you're thinking about reaching out to and you give an impassioned, thoughtful pitch.
It doesn't have to be a perfect pitch, that's like, here's the 12 different things we can talk about with corresponding graphics and poll quotes and testimonials - I don't want to read that. What I want to read is, here's why I want to talk to you and that's what Jen did when she wrote back.
She told me where we'd met, which was great, she told me, here's why I specifically am singling you out as the person to talk about this. Here's why it matters to my audience, and I think to a great extent, that's what our content should be doing. In this case, it was a one-to-one email pitch, but when we talk about content and content that can continue to have value long term, what you did in that pitch is actually quite relevant because we're talking about creating something for one person that they need at a specific moment and being clear about why they need it.
There's my segue.
It's beautiful, I love it.
Hi, I'm Meg Casebolt from Love At First Search, and I run an SEO agency.
We've used that term already a couple of times, SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is about getting your website, your products, your services to show up in search engines like Google or YouTube or Apple podcast or Pinterest, or Amazon.
Amazon SEO is a thing, Etsy SEO is a thing - anywhere that has a search bar, you can put it into your website or your blog, or your podcast, or your marketplace, and you can get your products and services to show up in those search results.
That's all that search engine optimization is. It's using the place... the things that people are already looking for, you want to show up in those search results.
Why is it so scary for people?
Because it sounds more complex than other marketing channels.
A lot of times when people think about search engine optimization, they either think like, Oh, I have to hire somebody to do this very fancy analysis for me and go into the back end of my website and make all these fancy changes, or I have to dive headfirst into spreadsheets and spend the rest of my life in spreadsheets.
I love a spreadsheet, I would spend all day in spreadsheets if I could, but that's not the only way.
That's a breath of fresh air.
You can make anything more complicated.
I know, that's so true.
You can take something as simple as Twitter strategy, where you only get a really constrained number of characters, and you can make Twitter really complicated if you want to, or you can keep it simple.
Not everything has to be the most complicated, complex version of itself for it to be successful.
I think that that's where we really need to spend some time because SEO is vital.
It's a noisy marketplace - people are looking for specific things. Our audience is so much more savvy than they used to be, they know exactly what they want, and the cool thing is they have lots of options.
So they're looking for the specifics, and how can we start using SEO to benefit us, even if we've never done it before?
To an extent, the first step in understanding... Let's use Google as our example here because it's the biggest search engine.
Like 95% of search traffic is on Google, so we'll just use that as our primary search engine that we're talking about. Think about the fact that 77% of adults go to Google three or more times a day!
Take a look at your own behavior for a few minutes. What are you googling? What are the things that you're typing in? What types of problems are you looking to solve?
People go to Google because they're missing information and it's up to those search results to fill in the gaps. When you're thinking about what's your website, what's your value proposition on your website, what do you sell, however, you want to say that, what's the information that's missing from people's knowledge about what you do? What's the problem that you're solving on your website?
I have a question for you about that - a lot of my audience and clients, when they come to me, they don't want to talk about people's problems. Because they're so resistant to talking about their people's problems, sometimes they don't know, so they struggle to be like, Oh, I don't want to talk about pain points in my marketing.
But the subtext of what you're saying is if you don't know those pain points, you're really missing out because that's what people are googling for.
People Google because something's wrong.
Or because their eight-year-old is like, Mom, how many teeth does a goblin shark have? And you're like, Oh, my gosh, I don't know. Although in our house, that's much more of a voice search, the name I'm not going to say because she always pops up at the most inopportune times when I talk about her.
There are times that people are just searching for random knowledge but think about things like, I'm hungry, and I don't want to make dinner. What am I going to go search for? I want some place that has really good Thai food in a 10-mile radius. Sometimes searches don't have to be complicated, but the pain is, I'm hungry.
There are things that are happening in your ideal client's lives, and there's a reason right now that they are searching for a solution. So yes, I understand, especially those of us that are compassionate and empathetic people, we don't want to feel like we are pressing on bruises and making people uncomfortable with our copy. A lot of copywriting uses that pain agitation solution formula where you're actually being encouraged to push the bruise and be like, doesn't it suck to be you? But in my experience as a consumer, I want to be acknowledged.
I want somebody to say, hey, you're hungry and there's a really good pod see ew at this place up the street, so why don't you order from there? It doesn't have to be you've never eaten this before in your life.
It doesn't have to be exaggerating - it doesn't have to be manipulating the pain.
Inflammatory. Yeah, it doesn't have to be inflammatory.
It doesn't have to be predatory.
Yes, I love those words.
It can just be an acknowledgment, an empathetic acknowledgment of the fact that people are looking for something.
I call it mirror marketing.
Basically, you're holding up a mirror so they can see themselves because sometimes that's all they know. Sometimes people don't even know there's a solution out there. If you hold up the marketing mirror to them, they can be like, right, I'm hungry, and I want to try some new food today or whatever.
But this is where we start for SEO, and so you have to get comfortable with that.
Jen, I'm actually in the process right now of writing a book.
I do not have a release date yet, but I'll share it with you when it's ready. It's going to be called Search Empathy Optimization. The more I tell people about it, the more I have to actually sit down and write it!
Instead of search engine optimization, it's search empathy because our goal as the business owner, as the person who is trying to be found is to put ourselves in the shoes of the people who need what we want and to recognize what is happening in their lives. Let's take a pretty non-emotional example, if you're looking for a web designer, what is that person going through right now? Are they starting their business from scratch and they're nervous because they don't know if they should choose WordPress or Squarespace, and they don't know if they should do it themselves or hire somebody, and they don't know what the best practices are for the homepage design. There are all these things that they don't know.
Or is it somebody who wants to redesign their website? If so, what's the reason they're redesigning it right now? Is it because it's not converting? Is it because they changed their business? Is it because they just broke up with their business partner, and they're separating? Is it because they're rebranding for some reason? There are so many moments and concerns and knowledge gaps that people are actively searching for, and if our businesses aren't showing up in those search results, someone else's will.
Because there's somebody else who's using SEO, so then if we can get on board with how important this is and know that it needs to be used across our... I think this is a misunderstanding that people have.
SEO is not just for blogs and websites - I heard you say at the beginning of our conversation, everything has an algorithm that is searchable.
Google may be the largest search engine on the planet, the second largest is YouTube.
I go to YouTube all the time because I'm like, I forgot how to start my snowblower. Every year, I forget how to start my snowblower, and I have to go to YouTube and look up. You and I live in upstate New York, this is an important thing to know. We get a lot... Well, not this year, normally, we get a lot of snow every year. I'm like, Oh, which one's the start button? And how do I do the choke? I have to watch the YouTube video every year, and every year I go in, and I figure out what the model is, and I type in whatever the brand it is, snowblower start. And I watch it every year because I'm in the moment of standing in my driveway with my gloves on and being really mad that it's not working. There's my empathy.
Thank you, search engine optimization, for making it easy for me. So then, what do people do, once they're on board, where do they start? I've heard of key words, but where do we start?
My favorite place to start is go to the source, go to the well, go to Google, and type in what is the term that you think people would search for if they wanted you.
Then before you hit Enter, look at that autocomplete. If you're a copywriter, it's like you just write in copywriter, and you might see the autocomplete might go to a copywriter near me, or copywriter salary, or copywriter job description, or copywriter rates, or copywriter what is.
There is so much information just right there about what are the types of questions that people have about the term that you're using. Sometimes what that autocomplete tells you is, well, that's not actually the term that I want to rank for.
I'm so glad you said that.
Sometimes it's like, how do I get a job as a copywriter?
Not like, how do I hire one?
Next place to look, once you actually click through, is scroll down a little bit. Every search engine result page is a little different, but most of them have a section called People Also Ask.
The People Also Ask section is the review for what other questions often show up in this case. Those can give you really good ideas like, if somebody's asking about that term that I use as what's called a seed keyword, what are the other things that often come up for them?
Are there other ways that people use to describe the same thing or other words for it, like amusement park and other words for what an amusement park would be? Is it just different? Is it like synonyms, or are they similar words?
That section on the page is called Related Search Terms, that's all the way down at the bottom.
People also ask, if you were to do amusement parks, it would be like, what's the biggest amusement park? What's the tallest roller coaster? What was the oldest roller coaster? How many roller coasters are made of wood versus metal?
It will give you those short, what are called snippets of information in the People Also Ask section, and then the cool thing is if you go into a People Also Ask about roller coaster history, it will ask more questions and load it up to the bottom about roller coaster history.
To an extent, when Google added this feature onto the search engine results page, it decreased the amount of traffic going to those pages because they didn't have to click through. But when people go into the people also ask sections and get those questions, they know where to go deeper because it's linked in there. It shows you as an authority there, I'm not going to talk about click-through rates, but look at those types of related questions and ways that people are digging deeper on these topics.
Even as somebody who specializes in search, when I go to Google, that's the place where I'm getting my answers is, the people also ask because I realized that there were questions I didn't know I had about that topic until I saw the people also ask.
Yes, I love this.
The thing that I think is interesting about what you're saying is we see Google so much. I think we become desensitized to what's on there - it's like the landscape of that page, we gloss over the things that are there.
I love that we can dive deeper into all of these pieces and parts, but I certainly haven't realized how much is just on a Google search page that I could particularly use as a content creator. It's just like a Google page has just... It's like that picture on your wall that you see all the time that you don't notice anymore. I love this piece of gold that you're giving us, there's so much there it's not even like we necessarily have to pay for a search engine software.
A lot of what we can do is right there on Google, is what I'm hearing you say.
And even in the tabs within Google, not just the straight here's the web search results tab, but if you go into Google image search, usually, depending on your keywords, some of them do, and some of them don't, but usually along the top, there's little bubbles, like Pinterest has too, where it gives you filters.
I'm going to use an example of a product because sometimes it's a little bit easier. If you Google gold necklace, then you might see those little image bubbles say, like gold and top hat or 14-carat gold or rose gold or gold pendant necklace, and having that information can help you realize, oh, people aren't just looking for gold necklaces. They're looking for a gold dangle pendant 14-carat necklace and when you get that information, that can give you a much stronger idea of how much detail you can put into your website copy, your product pages, your blog posts.
It can give you an idea of much tighter ideas of what potential things people might want.
I think I'm jumping ahead here, but you're giving me ideas about how you can repurpose.
So say you wrote blogs about gold jewelry, or you wrote blogs about rose gold jewelry, and you could also write maybe a similar blog about 24-carat gold jewelry. My thing is you can probably repurpose the bones of what you created by thinking about how to make it specific for whatever the search engine is showing you and how to optimize it for those keywords.
It's not like you constantly have to create all new content, but if you had the bones of something and you made it specific for rose gold, and then you had the bones of something, and you tweaked it for 24-carat gold, you're getting a lot more mileage, and your audience is going to be much more interested because they found you by that specific search.
Does that make sense?
Yeah, you can definitely use the framework of content that you've already created and then optimize to a specific keyword or a specific intention. I don't even like to think of individual keywords anymore, that's an outdated practice of Yoast SEO is like, here, you have to use this keyword in these 10 places or you don't get a green light.
I just think that that's a little too formulaic, a little too like, the robot says you do this, but it sounds awkward as hell when you write it. I like to think instead about what's the goal? What's the intention of whomever this... 14-carat gold versus gold 14 carat?
It's the same idea.
If I say gold 14-carat or carat 14 gold, who cares what order it goes in if the thing that somebody is looking for is the same? And I think sometimes we can get a little caught up in this Lord of the Rings, one ring to rule them all situations where it's like, what is the right keyword for this page? And what we know from... I mean, I love Google search console as a tool because it will tell you every single keyword that you rank for, whether or not people are clicking through, if you show up in the search results in the top 100 search results, it will tell you exactly what those people are typing.
But one of the things that you can very clearly see if you go look at your own keywords for your website is that you can have one page of your website that ranks for thousands of different phrases. So it's not like you have to choose the keyword and then write a different page of your... One page for gold 14 carats, and one for 14-carat gold.
It's the same thing.
This is sounding like it's a lot easier than it has been made out to be a lot less complicated.
So once you do some research and you figure out what some keywords are right for you, what are the next steps?
I'm hearing you talk about Yoast, which is a plug-in for WordPress, right?
I don't think that's necessarily the next step, though. I think the goal, the next step that I would do, well, first you do the research, and you go, what are the types of things people need? Then take those types of ideas of what people might need and map them to specific pages of your website.
You don't have to get every single keyword that you could possibly rank for shoved into your homepage copy and then shoved into your about page copy. Your homepage, tell the story of your business and there will be keywords that show up.
My homepage is like, one of my keywords is SEO agency or SEO for women. It can be a little bit generic there and then I have very specific blog posts and videos that answer super specific questions that are like, should I do a podcast transcript for SEO?
That's not going to show up on my homepage because it's way too specific but I have a blog post that I've shoved... Not shoved, I've mapped all of those podcast transcript keywords and gone, here's what I'm going to talk about in this blog post.
There's a relief in hearing from you that your search engine optimization doesn't have to do the heavy lift on one piece of content, but all of your content working together synergistically does the heavy lift, SEO wise.
I'm even going to make it less painful than that, which is not every page of your website has to show up in search results.
People are going to be jumping from limb to limb, right?
The goal of search engine optimization is to get people there. Then it's your website's job to keep them there to tell them how to work with you.
You only need to have them find you one time.
Every page of your website can potentially be the on ramp to people learning about you and getting to know you. But not every page of your website has to bring in the exact... If you have 10 pages of your website, they're not all going to bring in exactly 10%. Probably one of them will bring in 80% if you haven't done search engine optimization, it's probably your homepage because that has the highest domain authority.
Definitely not going to nerd out about domain authority, but 80% of your traffic is probably going to 20% of your pages because that's how the world works.
That's the way it works.
That's the Pareto principle in SEO terms, but you don't need to optimize every single page.
You need to have a couple of pages that are very simple onramps for the questions people are asking and then it's up to your website to be like, Oh, my example I gave a minute ago, should I write a transcript for my podcast? Then I have them link to a whole blog post about podcast SEO, and then I have them link to here's how you can hire me to help you with your podcast SEO.
I don't need them to look at every page of my website. I need them to find the one onramp that then guides them to learn how they can work with me. They can download the podcast SEO checklist that's specific to that particular style of my website. Those people don't care about you, too, so I'm not going to show my YouTube content.
This is so relieving.
That's just the word I keep coming back to because I feel like SEO can be very overwhelming. Also, it's sometimes confusing what the keywords should be, and I've taken some training on SEO - I actually bought your course.
Highly recommend Meg's online course if you are looking for somebody to teach you this stuff step by step in a way, you can just tell from her she's relaxed about it and she's not like, militant. That's what I think I love about your approach is that there's nothing militant about it. I have definitely taken some SEO training where it's been like, it's this, and it's this, and it's this, and nothing ever operates that way in my life.
I'm so glad we're having this conversation because I think you're probably making my listeners feel like, Oh, this isn't as time-sucking and confusing and overwhelming and scary as it's been made out to be.
Yeah, you can definitely tell that I have ADHD when I start to teach people because I'm like, what's the way that it's going to get done? Do that way.
Just cut through all the bullshit. I want to speak a little bit about you're really committed to not making socials the center of your life. I know that you've been on and off socials, I know you have your own podcast, but tell me about the freedom that comes from moving into SEO and leaning on it and moving away from socials.
Oh, my gosh.
Where do I start?
So I accidentally left social media for an entire summer several years ago. My father was sick with cancer, and I was like, I do not have either the time or the mental bandwidth or the energy. It takes a lot of work to show up big on social media, and my y heart was not thinking like, Oh, what can I do on Instagram today?
I was not in a place where I could do that, and so I took the summer off because I was with him.
I didn't mean to - I just couldn't do it, I just couldn't do it for mental health reasons, and at the end of the summer, I looked at my sales, I looked at my intakes, and I was like, well, didn't really make that big of a difference.
And when you know your marketing metrics, I'd set up my analytics, and I knew where my leads were coming from. That made a big difference for me - I did end up going back because I missed it.
Yeah, I remember when you said that in an email, but it was a choice, not a have to.
I think that social media does have a place for people who want to use it in that it can be a really great place to keep in touch with people, to stay top of mind, to share recent updates. If that's something that you want to do, if that's a choice that you want to make, then by all means, go ahead.
But I think that as a digital entrepreneur community, because social media is technically monetarily free and because there is already an audience hanging out there, we feel like if we aren't there, then we are letting ourselves down, or we are not engaging with our audience the way that we should, without recognizing the fact that just because you're not paying for it doesn't mean that there isn't a cost.
You pay with your time and your energy.
It was the energetic drainage of needing to show up regularly. And even if I was batching and blah, blah, blah, then I would still have to sit down every Monday and do my batching. And guess what? It's gone by next Monday. It is gone.
Yeah, sure - people can scroll through my old posts, but nobody does that.
I know. I know.
If you have the choice, I'm going to invest in something that depreciates over time that I have to constantly be investing in, or I'm going to invest... I'm trying to think of a metaphor for right now. I know compound interest works for our appreciation and value option, and I'm trying right now off the top of my head to be like, What's depreciating?
You know what it's like when you have an old car that has a lot of miles on it, and you're like, Oh, I don't want to buy a new car because I like not having a car payment. But every month, I'm paying $2,000 to $300 to my guy to fix something on this car.
It can feel like that.
It totally can as opposed to, like, I'm going to take the money and do the upfront cost of getting a new car, but I'm also not needing to sit on the side of the road and wait for Triple A to come pick me up all the time.
Right, I love this!
This is such a great conversation - I want to encourage people, if they haven't heard of you before, to go listen to your podcast because you talk so much about this topic, but also about... I think your podcast is called The Social Slowdown, right?
If you are looking to do more of this, please go follow Meg. She is the expert on this, and I love it, her stuff is so good.
Meg, how else can people get into your orbit besides listening to the social slowdown?
So I want to really quickly clarify that I'm not going to tell you to stop being on social media in the same way that I'm not going to tell you exactly how you should set up your website. I am not a person who is like, this is the way to do things.
That's why I love it. That's why I love your stuff.
Because I think anytime somebody says this is the only framework that you can follow to success, I question that person's ability to innovate.
In everything that I do, I'm like, let's explore what works for you, let's look at your marketing, let's look at your metrics, let's look at your lifestyle, let's look at your goals, and then let's make a determination of what the best use of your time, your money, your energy, your resources are.
That's something that we're exploring on the Social Slowdown podcast. If you want to come listen to that, it's not just about social media. That's really just my on ramp to say, what is your digital marketing doing for you? And how are you investing your time and your resources?
If you want to think about investing your time and your resources into taking the content that you're learning about from Jen and making it something that can continue to be found on search engines, then come over and get my SEO starter kit at loveatfirstsearch.com
That's the really great place to get on my email list, and we'll tell you all about how to get started with your search engine optimization.
I love all of Meg's stuff - if you can't get can't tell, I'm a huge fan of her stuff.
I just want to say thank you for coming on and easing all of our pain around SEO and hopefully encouraging that listener who's like, I'm so tired of the churn. I'm putting good stuff out there - I want to make it work better for me.
Meg has really realistic strategies to make it work better for you, and that's not my expertise, so I'm really glad to have you talking about your expertise.
It was absolutely my pleasure.
Thank you so much for the opportunity, Jen.
Thank you, Meg.
I'll see you next week, listener - thank you so much for choosing to listen to this particular podcast because there's a lot of podcasts out there. And if you would give a rating and some feedback, I would be so grateful because I'm really trying to help more people find how to make content creation easier in 2023. Talk to you soon.
See you next week, bye!