Michael Utley: Hey everybody. Michael and Chris here. Welcome to the Dodgeball Marketing podcast. We're back.
Chris Raines: How you doing? Happy New Year.
Michael Utley: Welcome. Yeah, it's a new year.
Chris Raines: It is.
Michael Utley: Glad to be here making more episodes. We really love doing this. Today we're going to talk about five easy ways to get started with your SEO. Getting started is tough. Chris, one of our topics is just getting oriented. Seeing where you are now. Why don't you tell us about that.
Chris Raines: Yeah, so probably yeah before, sometimes it's hard to get started because it's like oh I just have to make a bunch of blogs. Let's go. But it's helpful you know where you stand. Like if you have a place that you want to go. It's tough to know how to get there until you know where you stand right now.
Michael Utley: Yeah, yeah, see what the score is.
Chris Raines: So [inaudible 00:00:42] where are we ranking? Like we've got keywords that our customers are searching for that they would potentially find us for. Are we even showing up? Are we on page one or page two? What position are we? And this is all basic keyword ranking research.
And you need to find out where you. It's just mainly to know where to put your effort, right? If you've got three or four keywords that you're showing up well for and five or six that you're not, but maybe two of those are really high value like maybe you spend your effort ranking for those, right?
So a couple tools you use. You can hire an agency to do this for you. But you can also use tools like Spyfu or S-E-M rush. All you got to do is put in your website and it'll tell you, with your geographic modifiers, and it'll tell you where you're ranking for terms like that.
So it's a really good way to get a clear lay of the land and say look, who do we serve? What are our products and services? What keywords are related to those? And where are we currently showing up? Just get a picture of where you are.
And then you can look at that and some things will really rise to the service. If you're doing dental implants as a dentist and you're on page two, position 11, you're like oh man, well all we got to do is put a little bit of effort here and get to position 10 and get a lot more visibility and a lot more clicks. It might cause you to put more emphasis on dental implant ranking for instance. Yeah.
Michael Utley: Yeah. And another thing on that is if you're thinking about hiring an agency and you just want to have an orientation call, call us at Dodgeball Marketing and we'll totally for free, we'll pull up your website in these tools so that you don't have to buy an account with the tool and see where you're ranking.
And one of the things that I notice Chris in this getting oriented part of things is it's good to see for a website that hasn't had any intentional SEO. It's generally an up and a down, but an overall flat trajectory.
Chris Raines: Yeah, it trades sideways as we say.
Michael Utley: Yeah, it trends just horizontally yeah. Instead of having like where we have a website where we might have been working with them for a year or two, there's generally and up and to the right pattern. And so just seeing what the pattern looks like and seeing just the whole number of okay, how many keywords do we rank for?
And then something that we can do if you call is and just want to do a free consult is we'll also pull up some other websites, like competitors, and look at them and compare apples to apples. Your site versus a competitor.
Next up, get your most important keywords into your website top nav. Your top nav means navigation. It's your menu on your website.
So most websites now for business have a somewhat predictable pattern. And I don't think this is all bad. Because I think people are tired of overly creative websites for things that they're just trying to get a problem solved or answer a question.
Sometimes the design can get in the way. I feel like in the early days of the internet. I've been doing this for 20 years. A little longer than you, Chris.
But in the early days, I feel like everybody was overthinking layout. There was before Steve Jobs killed off Flash.
Chris Raines: And there were less conventions too.
Michael Utley: Yeah, there were fewer conventions. Now it's really brand identity in the top left. And I'm talking about a desktop experience right now. But brand identity in the top left. A menu across the top. Maybe a hot spot or an actionary on the top right. Like log in button or a phone number or a contact us button or all of those.
And then maybe a hero area with some content. We've really gone toward with mobile first indexing for the last few years, we've gone to a single column layout. So all of these things have really made the top nav a really commonplace, key pillar of website layout.
And in my opinion, this is one of the biggest bang for the buck opportunities for keywords and keyword placement. And a lot of what I see people doing is often trying to be clever or cute with a top nav item and having something that just doesn't have any keywords their audience is using.
And so to use an example, like I'll just say for a dermatology practice. A dermatology practice could have a services drop down menu that says look your best. Nobody's really doing a search for look my best.
Chris Raines: Yeah, that's a really general search.
Michael Utley: Yeah, what they're looking for is a little bit more specific. It's a little bit more like-
Chris Raines: Mole removal.
Michael Utley: Yeah, a suspicious mole. Or acne. Professional acne treatment or an acne dermatologist.
Chris Raines: Skin cancer screening.
Michael Utley: Skin cancer screening, yeah. And so you really need to think, when you're speaking to someone, yes you want to have a certain vibe to your website. But you also just need to be practical. And so thinking about the items in that top nav.
And I'm not saying you have to take a brutalist approach and just use whatever is being used most often. I'm saying meet the audience halfway by understanding what keywords are most common in search engines and have something that's functionally correct that you're not uncomfortable with but says what you do. Dermatology services. Dermatology services or skin care services. That would be a very keyword rich way to say something that gets a little bit more to the point than look your best.
Which people understand if they have the context of knowing where they are which they don't always have that when they're on the website. But search engines struggle with the vague. Vague is not good.
Chris Raines: Sure, yeah. That dovetails into point number three here for getting started is develop standalone pages for your most important products and services. So if you are a dermatologist, every service you offer. Every cosmetic service you offer. Every surgical service should have its own dedicated landing page.
Most people don't search in terms of your overall business category. They search in terms of their own need and what their own problems and issues are.
Michael Utley: Yeah, their pain points.
Chris Raines: Yeah, they come to Google because they want to solve a problem and they're thinking in terms of their own problems a lot of times. Sometimes they'll search. So to give you another example would be like construction companies.
If I'm sick of my kitchen and how it looks. I hate the linoleum floor. I hate these stupid cabinets. I just need my kitchen remodeled. I may not search for construction companies in Nashville, but I might search for kitchen remodelers in Nashville.
Michael Utley: Yes.
Chris Raines: So that's again, like thinking in terms of your own problem. So because your users, future customers are searching in terms of their own problems and issues. You should present them content and pages on your website that are related to that.
So again every product that you offer, every service that you deliver should be presented as its own product page on your website.
Michael Utley: Yeah I, just to add on to that, I think in terms of how search engines work now changing the way that we need to think about websites. I think most people come to us when they want to talk about a website. They think that every user is coming to the home page and drilling down. And that's not necessarily the case.
If you have a local construction contractor and they have a standalone page for Nashville kitchen remodelers or Nashville kitchen remodeling, that is now for the purposes of the user who goes to Google and does a search and that page comes up, that's now the front page of your website for them.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: If they're hitting that sub-services page or that services page first, it needs to have a 360-degree overview of the company. Make a strong handshake and a value proposition along with that service. But that's a really different way of thinking.
And so having those standalone services pages just puts a lot more front doors to your building out on the internet.
Chris Raines: Yeah, more front doors.
Michael Utley: Yeah, more front-
Chris Raines: Little side doors.
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: But they're a front door to the person.
Michael Utley: More yeah. To the person, they're walking in and they're getting somebody who says they can help them with their problem.
Chris Raines: Yeah.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Next up. Think of all the places you control and make sure your full correct URL is included. Okay by places there we mean other pages, profiles, accounts on websites that are not yours. An example would be YouTube. If you have a YouTube channel, one of the things that's often overlooked is making sure that all of your information about the channel itself is populated with full and complete, correct information.
So going out and thinking about all the places that you appear. This means your video channel on YouTube. Your social channels. Oh my goodness. Your Google My Business page which everybody should have a handle on, but this is why we're talking about this stuff is to make sure you've got those bases covered.
Chris Raines: Local directories, chamber of commerce.
Michael Utley: Local directories. Something that's gold that's often overlooked is chamber of commerce. If you're a member, you're paying for it, you may not have thought to go in and make sure that you've got every field that they offer populated with complete information.
And then what I recommend is getting into the habit and some of these are going to force a certain format. But I would recommend including http:// or https, you're probably secure now. Https:// and www, I would include all that and have a very consistent format across every property that you control.
If you don't know what all you have or if you don't know about unclaimed business directory profiles out there that you could claim and manage, do a search in quotes on Google for your brand name. And just start working through all the places that you appear.
You may find, for example, your YouTube listing, your YouTube channel comes up even if it doesn't have your correct URL so just check everything.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: And so this is one of those things that people overlook and it's one of the things that we do as part of our SEO services. So if you're working with us, this is the kind of a thing that we'll do for you. But if you're listening to this to understand gosh, what is SEO? Or should I hire these people?
Or you want to DIY some stuff. This is a really missed opportunity because those inbound links, they're all signals to search engines that say this target website is worthy of being linked to. And so those links that are out on the internet, they're all pointed to your site.
And I don't know a lot. I know there's a lot of focus on consistent address and hours of operation. And that's a whole other subject. But the same principles apply.
But I've always just intuitively thought that a consistent format for the URL was good. And some companies have more than one URL. So in that case, I recommend pick the one that is the website. Even if you have a legacy URL that resolves to a new one. Or you have something that you've moved to as a corporation, but maybe your email's still on the old one. Decide what your marketing front door is and get all those URLs pointed to that same full link in the same way.
Chris Raines: Yeah, consistency, yeah. Lastly, understand your Google My Business ranking and complete your profile. So completing your profile is fairly straightforward. Everything that can be filled out should be filled out. All of your categories, your hours, description, all that stuff. You can even build a little mini website in there.
But understanding your ranking is also important. Google My Business is a little bit different in that it's very location dependent. So if I did we're in a different part of town here in Nashville than where I live. But if I searched for coffee shops in Nashville, I probably wouldn't get the coffee shop that's a mile from my house because I'm several miles from my house right now.
So a good tool to use to figure out where you're showing up for given keywords is Local Viking. You can pick up an account. It's like 20 bucks a month. And it'll give you a map overlay. So you just feed it keywords and it'll show you in quadrants. It's like little square quadrants. It'll show you where you're showing up for certain keywords.
So it's a really good way to ... It's like your SEM rush, Spyfu for Google My Business. I don't exactly know how it accomplishes this. But that'll give you a sense of where you're struggling with certain keywords, certain services. If might inform you if you have a certain service that you're ranking really low for across the map, you might have forgotten to include that as a sub-service in your profile. So you're like oh, it might uncover a problem like that.
Michael Utley: Yeah and there's a ton of that in Google My Business. Your services, your area of focus, yeah.
Chris Raines: Yeah, you can do area focus. And you can list lots of different services. So if you can think back to our example of dermatologists, it might be you can list your main focus, but then the separate services you provide. Same thing with a construction company. Kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, et cetera, decks, whatever it is.
And so it might reveal some gaps for you. So that's a good tool to use. So understanding where you're ranking that's a good tool to have. And then yeah, just complete your profile. We've done whole episodes on Google My Business.
But it's essentially, it boils down to something really simple which is if there's a field there. Depending on what industry you're in, you're going to have different fields. So you're not going to have reserve a table if you're a construction company.
Michael Utley: Right.
Chris Raines: But if there's a field there and if there's any way you can fill it out, fill it out. That's pretty simple. So fill it out and then see where you're ranking. And then the most important part for Google is just keeping it updated and generating reviews and respond to reviews which we've done other episodes on but yeah.
Michael Utley: Yeah, that's a good one. Yeah, Google My Business is very key. Great. Thanks, Chris. This has been a great episode. Five easy ways to get started with your SEO. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn to receive alerts for new episodes. And drop your comments below. Please subscribe and we'll see you on the next one. Thanks, everybody.