SEO for CEOs: What You Must Know To Win The Web
When you started your business – especially your first business – you were more than likely a one-man-show (or a one-woman-show). You were responsible for everything that went on, including the marketing. But SEO was probably the last thing on your mind.
But if you’re like most business owners, marketing was a necessary evil, not a core capability. You did it because you had to, and you kept it low tech. Maybe you called all your contacts and let them know you were going into business; maybe you mailed out some letters or shot out a mass email. But a website? You only built a website if you had plenty of money and access to a web wizard who spoke the cryptic languages of the Internet. And your first one was probably terrible.
It happens to all of us.
Even with all the available tools that make it simple for even a novice to build a nice-looking website, it’s still one of those areas entrepreneurs approach with anxiety. So in this article, I want to give you a couple of simple tips for navigating web marketing and optimizing your web presence to rank high in search engines (thus, search engine optimization).
It’s like the old web joke I’ve shared before:
Q: Where do you hide a dead body?
A: On page 2 of Google search results.
Don’t Waste Your Time With SEO
That might sound shocking (and it’s meant to) but the principle is this: SEO is a deep enough rabbit hole that you are better off hiring an expert. You hire a lawyer and an accountant for their expertise; you should hire an SEO expert.
Gone are the days when you could get yourself listed on page 1 of Google’s search results with a blog stuffed with keywords. SEO has become incredibly complex and nuanced, so it’s not enough to be familiar with the terminology. It requires strategy. Plus, Google changes the rules from time to time (just like the IRS), so it’s important to keep an expert around who keeps tabs on the constant updates.
If you’ve been following the blog for any length of time, you know my philosophy of entrepreneurship starts with “the who, now the how.” You’re almost always better off surrounding yourself with people who are talented in their core competency, so you can focus on yours. You didn’t start your business so you could track Google Analytics all day; hire an expert.
What You Must Know About SEO
All that said, you do need a baseline of knowledge so that you can hire well. You should at least be able to tell who knows what they are talking about and who doesn’t. So, he’s a quick primer.
The Real Endgame
The ultimate aim of SEO is to make sure people can easily find your website through search, which is free, as opposed to paying for ads. When you have tons of money flowing in, you can pay for ads if you want (I know a couple of tricks for maximizing that, too). You want Google to push your website to the top of their search results for free (e.g., “organically”), so you have to give Google what they are looking for. That means your website needs to feature the words people are searching for in some very specific ways.
Google looks at Headers, Subheaders, and (to a lesser extent) the rest of the words on each page. They are indexing the important parts of your website to identify the key terms people search for. This means that you need to have a good idea of how you want to be found. If you want people to look up “Chicago Area Chiropractors,” then that phrase needs to appear on your website in specific places. It can’t just be everywhere – Google actually punishes websites that throw keywords around indiscriminately. If you know that people will be looking for “chiropractors who do kinesiology,” then that phrase should be featured throughout your site. An experienced SEO strategist will know where.
Google Makes It Easier
Google Analytics is a powerful free tool that you can use to improve your search results and better understand what your web visitors are interested in. You will discover very quickly which pages get the most traffic and which ones people ignore entirely. That information will help you to optimize your visitors’ experience by eliminating things they don’t need and emphasizing the things they care about.
A Quick Case Study: Nancy
I have a client named Nancy who owns a cleaning company with several locations. She had been around for a long time, but nobody could find her website. She had no search results, so she was missing out on a large potential audience. We stepped in to help her change that. First, we ran an audit to identify her benchmark, then we started making changes.
We identified which search terms she wanted to rank for. At that point, we were able to tear apart her website, her emails, YouTube, podcasts, Facebook, and all these other content pieces with her name on them. We looked for all the places she could potentially be found, and made sure that how she represented herself made her the most visible according to Google’s rules.
Results Came Fast
With some fine tuning and tweaking, we went from 100 unique visitors the first month to over 1,000 unique visitors the second month. That’s when we really started dialing in the content on her site and targeting it to her ideal customer. Within another month, we were over 3,000 hits a WEEK. This is how it works.
Even at that, it can take anywhere from six to twelve weeks to see real results. You need to be prepared to be patient with the process. I have some tactics that I use to speed that process up, but we’re talking in terms of moving up your ranking over the course of a month, not minutes.
There’s no sense in detailing all the tactics we used, because they might not apply to your business. I also have several other articles where you can go deeper if you want to.
The Choice Is Yours In SEO
Ultimately, I want to come back around to my first point. In the next three months, you can teach yourself the terminology of effective SEO, and maybe learn a couple of tricks for boosting your site. Or, for less than you would pay for a GED-level receptionist, you can hire an SEO expert who can take you to 4,000 new visitors a week. The choice is yours. But this is a significant entrepreneur mindset issue.
Where Are You Now?
They first key to effective marketing is to determine where you are. You can’t build a go-forward strategy until you have first located yourself on the map. I do a free “fit call” for the people who listen to my weekly podcast. We are also discussing this very topic on the podcast this week (in fact, I go into more detail there). Visit venturestudio.com and get yourself on my calendar. If we feel we can help with your business marketing strategy, we’ll schedule a full diagnostic. That’s when we’ll identify some places you can see quick results. Then we can decide how comprehensive of a “7 Pillars” analysis we want to do together.
If you’re ready for something more immediate, attend one of our upcoming “Unchained Entrepreneur” events, where you will have an entire day face-to-face with a team of experts.
I look forward to meeting you.