All right. Welcome to this episode of The joyful scaling podcast, you know, search engine optimization. It’s a powerfully effective tool to grow your reach your visibility and your revenue and do it organically. But the question is, are you using it effectively? If at all, today I’m chatting with an SEO master, she doesn’t call herself that I do. She’s amazing. Okay, she will be sharing SEO strategies, and revealing some important how tos to make sure your efforts are being fully optimized. This is a note taker episode, ladies. So grab, grab, go grab that paper and pen. And let’s go. Let me introduce you to Julia. Oh, kz. She’s an SEO and Pinterest consultant for creative small businesses at her firm Julia Renee consulting. And recently this is so exciting. She became the very first SEO professor at Drexel University that is quite an impressive feat. In her work. Julie’s goal is to make SEO and Pinterest strategies approachable, and easy to implement. So you can reach your ideal clients organically, as in NO paid ads. We love that. She’s a Philly girl like me. Let’s welcome Julia to the show.
Yeah, thanks so much for having me.
Oh, Julie, you’re so welcome. So can we just have a brief kind of backstory on how you came to this SEO expert?
Yeah, so it’s kind of a, you know, one of those winding bumpy entrepreneurial journeys. But I started a travel blog blog actually about I think, six or seven years ago. So I learned a lot of marketing and SEO, Pinterest, everything for my blog. And then I wanted to quit my job to become a freelancer about four and a half years ago. Now, I have no corporate experience with SEO at all, is completely self taught. And when I became a freelancer, I was doing actually a lot of content writing for websites, because journalism is my main background. And I realized that I was optimizing all of this content for the businesses because that’s what I learned how to do for my own site. And I realized that they had no idea what that meant, or like, why they were suddenly ranking higher in Google, or you know, what was going on. So that’s when I kind of pivoted to focus completely on SEO. And I was doing some other marketing at the time, but I dropped Facebook and Instagram, because I did not want to deal with the algorithm changes all the time. So I focused on Pinterest is my only, quote, social media platform. But it’s really actually a search engine as well, which is why I kind of do both of those.
Mm hmm. Wow, that is so good. That is so good. You know, I just mentioned today in my thriver, Thursday live that I was a self taught interior decorator. And that was my first business and I just love it. So I’m a firm believer that you do not need a degree, you do not need some fancy schmancy certification. If you have a passion for something and you dig in and learn, you can be absolutely an expert. So how about this one? Why is SEO so important for small businesses?
Yeah, I love SEO, because a lot of times you’re reaching people when they are ready to purchase something. So you know, if you’re on Instagram, and you have I, you know, have over 1000 followers, and not all of those 1000 followers are ever going to hire me or purchase products or things like that. A lot of them will follow me for my tips or for my photos of my dog. But they’re not necessarily going to turn into customers, some of them will, but definitely not all of them. So a lot of times with SEO when someone is ready to purchase something, you know, think about the last time you’re like searching for a product or if you’re searching for, you know, a website designer specifically for your industry, you’re much more in the mindset to be you know, ready to invest in something. So that’s where SEO is, you know, really valuable for reaching those people who are you know, more ready to invest than maybe someone who follows you on like Instagram or Facebook? Hmm, yeah. And
you know why that’s so good. Because I and I’m always very open about this. I don’t like social I love meeting amazing women like you. But I don’t like the baloney that comes along with it. Like the algorithm changes and trying to please the AI and whatever. So this idea that you put yourself out there, it’s forever available and the right people will find you as opposed to us. You know, there’s there’s too many people out there desperately trying to find clients and I tell my clients, you know, you should be in demand. How do you how do you create demand, use your brain, put great thoughts out there great content and serve a particular segment of the market. And so that’s why I love SEO and especially using Pinterest to be found because, yeah, that’s the way that the right people can find you. I don’t ever want to chase people down I don’t want my clients to either.
It doesn’t feel good, right? Yeah, it’s not fun. And it just takes up so much time and energy.
Right, right. Okay, well, I’m embarrassed to ask this next question, because I don’t know what it is. But you sent me this question. And I meant to ask this before. And it says, How does SEO and UX I don’t know what that means can help with client conversions? What the world is UX? Yeah, that’s
okay. UX is abbreviation of user experience. So basically, how user friendly your site is. So yeah, I’ve been focusing a lot more on user experience in my, you know, business and services in the past, like, probably a year and a half, I think, because I’ve seen what a big impact that can have. So this goes, there are lots and lots of different elements of user experience that overlap with SEO. So one thing that I see a lot is site speed. So if your site is really slow, that means that you know, people may leave your site, you know, as soon as they get to it, because it will load or, you know, they might not go to visit as many pages because it takes forever for all of the pages to load. So there are lots and lots of different elements of user experience that also overlap with SEO and also with converting clients.
Mm hmm. Yeah. All right. So let’s get down to the brass tacks here some basic SEO strategies. And like, I know these concepts, and I’ve heard them before, but I’m looking forward to going in like keyword research and tags and meta descriptions, can you kind of lay lay the foundation for us to build our knowledge of SEO that will actually make a difference in the business?
Yeah, so keywords is a big one, it’s kind of a good starting point. But a lot of people kind of like, stop it there. And there’s so much more to SEO. But keyword research is definitely what I recommend starting with, because this is going to show you what you’re able to rank for what people are searching for how competitive keywords are. So if you’re doing keyword research, and you find that actually no one is searching for that particular keyword, then you’re not really going to get traffic for it. Or if you find a keyword that is incredibly, you know, competitive and like Forbes and Wikipedia are ranking for it, like you’re really not gonna be able to rank for it. So it’s not really worth targeting.
Can we can you give an example before we move on? Because I need I know for me, I’d be like, Okay, that makes sense. But like, for example, where do we do this keyword research? Can we start there? Oh, sorry.
Yeah, so the first place you can kind of like get familiar with keyword research is just in Google itself. So you can, you know, type in phrases. And then as you’re typing things in, Google will auto populate with like other suggestions of what other people have searched before, that isn’t going to show you, you know, how many people have searched for it or like what the competition is, but you can kind of get an idea of what people are searching for. And then when you search for something, you can see like if it’s a, you know, major website ranking and the number one spot that you’re not going to be able to beat. So once you want to kind of like start moving into more keyword research tools, there are some free ones. I know one, that’s pretty good to start with is Uber Suggest it’s run by Neil Patel,
is that Uber suggests comment, is that
so? Okay? If you just Google it’ll come up. Yep, yep, um, one that I like to use, that’s pretty low cost is key search. So the like key and then search. So these are going to tell you, you know, the monthly search volume, the competition score, and things like that. If you want to get more advanced, there’s some more kind of like expensive ones, Moz, SEMrush, those are some major ones. Those are going to also give you a lot more data outside of like keyword research. So if you really want to start diving into SEO, and backlinks and everything, those are pretty good investments. But you definitely don’t need to start with a major SEO tool if you’re just getting started with SEO. Okay,
awesome. So, so Uber suggests or key search. Okay, beautiful. That’s good. That helps me to understand and then and then when we look at rankings, can you explain that just a little bit more. So if I put in, for example, Christian women, or Yeah, Christian business coach for women, if I were to put that in, like helped me to visualize, I know, this is a podcast, so it’s hard to do. But you know, like, what will I see? Or what will i What should I be looking for? If I want it to rank for that?
Yeah, so you want to look for it’s called the monthly search volume. So that’s a number between like, you know, zero and probably a couple million. So those are the number of searches, you know, per month. So, you know, for something huge like business, you know, that probably gets millions of searches every month. Something that’s much more specific, like you know, Christian business coach that probably gets off the top of my head probably least a couple dozen to maybe a couple 100? Don’t, you know, take this with a grain of salt on that looking at the data, right? I guess. Yeah. So you don’t typically if you’re a smaller business, you don’t need to be targeting keywords that have, you know, millions of searches, especially because those are much more likely to be more competitive anyway. But just think about how many people you are actually able to serve. If you you know, all of a sudden got 5 million people to your website and one day are small, your website might crash if it’s not built for that. But you’re also not going to be able to serve, you know, even half of those people, most likely, depending on what your businesses. So I recommend, you know, anywhere from like, even, you know, 20 to 500 searches per month is a good place to start. Again, it depends on your industry, if you’re selling products like that might be a little bit too low, depending on how many products you’re trying to sell and the price point of those everything. So that’s the monthly search volume. And then the competition score is you know, what the competition is that it’s ranking for it, how likely you know, you’ll be able to beat that competition. Most keyword research tools will show you what the top ranking websites are. So then you can see if it’s like something, you know, major, like Forbes, Business Insider, you know, whatever those websites are, or if it’s a lot of more like smaller business websites that maybe you do have the potential of you know, competing with. So the competition score is from zero, though I’ve never seen zero, up to like 100. So anything above 50, I don’t recommend targeting, unless you are a huge website, and you are able to be that competitive. But if you’re just getting started with SEO, that’s gonna be really competitive. Anything below 30 is really good to target 30 to 40 is pretty good. And then like 40 to 50 starts getting you know, more competitive, and most keyword research tools will kind of like have a color code. So typically from like 20 to 30 is like, quote, green. So it’s like, you know, that’s good. 50 and above is reds, and that’s, you know, really hard. So they kind of make it try to make it easy for you to kind of like figure out how, you know, competitive things are. Okay,
and let’s, let’s break it down into practice. And I so appreciate you meet you allowing me to interrupt you so that because I’m thinking, this helps us to, I think fully make sure we’re on the same target because we don’t know what you know. So, okay, so the keyword research is important in terms of if we’re writing a blog post or for me the podcasting to know, kind of what title to put, or what words to put in the descriptor, the description.
Yeah, so it’s important for, you know, everything with your website. So your website, pages, definitely blog post any other content that you’re putting on your website, your products, that kind of thing. So once you have a good, you know, keyword in mind, so if it’s, you know, Christian business coach for women, or you know, whatever variation you find is good, then I recommend you know, something for that, that’s likely going to be for your website pages, because that describes, you know, who you are, and what your services are, if it’s something like, you know, business tips for Christian women that, you know, kind of sounds more like a blog post kind of keyword. So for your website pages, and for blog posts, you want to make sure that you are incorporating the keyword, it’s in your title tag and meta description. So these are the things that are going to show on Google when you’re searching for something. So no matter what you search, for, you’ll see like the title of the website, and then you’ll see like, you know, couple sentences below, that’s the meta description. And then, you know, that’s the title tag. So those are important, because the title tag is a ranking factor for Google. So Google will take what you write into the title tag, as you know, as a ranking factor, the meta description actually isn’t a ranking factor. But it is important because if you use you know, your keyword, or at least part of the keyword in the meta description, and someone searches for that, those words will be bolded in the meta description. Also, the meta description is where you really get to stand out from the competition, you know, trying to sell who you are trying to get, you know, people to click on your website, if you just leave it blank or really boring, like, read my blog post, like that doesn’t compel anyone to you know, want to click on your website. So use your keyword in the title tag and meta description. And then also, once you know, depending on it’s a website, website page, or your blog post, usually within your website copy and your blog post content. Typically a good thing to target is one to 5% of the words in that content is what you use your
keyword with. Okay, your dog’s excited about this.
Always news when I’m on video, and she has
to come say hi. Okay, good. So, so that gives us a great overview. So Let’s talk about this. Um, at what point? Do we need to optimize the website? Like, like, right from the get go, we need to make sure we’re set up, or what are your thoughts on that?
Yeah, so this is a little tricky. I would say, it kind of depends on where you are in your business, you do need to, I definitely recommend having the basic setup. So like connecting Google Analytics and Google Search Console, which I’m sure we’ll get into later, all the data, so that we can track that information. No matter where you are, in business, it’s important to have that data, if you are kind of just like, you know, just getting your feet wet in business, you’ll probably change your services in like six months, but you’re just kind of testing things out. You really don’t need like a, you know, giant website with you know, you know, targeting different keywords and things like that, because that could change in six months. So you don’t want to like you know, do a bunch of work, and then like, completely change your business and target different keywords. My first year in business, I completely change what I was doing. So you know, it happens to a lot of people. Yeah, if you are, you know, more established in your business, or you know, for sure, 100%, this is what you’re doing, I definitely think it’s a good idea to optimize your website, especially if you are like investing in website design, or copywriter or mix of those, you want to make sure you’re definitely getting the most bang for your buck. So you’re, you know, making a big investment in your business, you want to make sure that not only do you have a really pretty website, but you’re also getting clients to come to that website, and you know, see your work and everything.
Mm hmm. Okay, that’s awesome. Okay, so let’s get back to this data. How do we track the data, to see how whatever our site is, whether it’s a blog or the website itself, to see how it’s actually performing? Yeah,
so there are two tools that I recommend. They’re totally free Google Analytics and Google Search Console. You can I have blog posts on both of these I know, it’s kind of like hard to visualize data that you’ve maybe never seen. So if you need visuals, I do have blog posts that cover these. Google Analytics tracks, absolutely everything on your website, they track where people are coming from, no matter if that is Google, Facebook, your email list, they’ll tell you how long people are staying on your site, how many pages they’re visiting, which city or country they’re coming from, which pages they go to. So just tons and tons and tons of data. And it’s totally free, which is amazing. So this is really important to show you, you know, maybe people are only staying on your site for like 10 seconds. That might mean that your site maybe is really slow. Or maybe you know, if a bunch of people are coming from Google, maybe what you’re targeting isn’t matching what they’re actually searching for. Or, you know, if you’re getting a bunch of people from like Facebook, and they’re only staying on your site for 10 seconds. And maybe like, Facebook isn’t the best way to be promoting your business. And maybe you need to try another platform. So there are lots of, you know, data on Google analytics to help you make a variety of decisions in your business. It’s not all about SEO. And then Google Search Console is just basically SEO. It’s similar to Google Analytics, but it only tracks data for people coming from Google. So it’s just like a much more pared down version of Google Analytics. It’s going to show you how many people are coming from Google, which keywords brought them to your site, which is very valuable. So you can see this is where you can track to see you know which keywords you’re targeting and how they’re performing. You can check to see how your rankings are improving for each keyword, like every week, every month, you can also see how many people are seeing your site ranking on Google but aren’t clicking through. Those are called impressions. If you’re seeing, I’ve seen someone once she had like 16,000 impressions per one click. So that meant that what people were searching for was not matching what her website was about. So Google is pretty smart. But sometimes they’re not, you know, the smartest and like, there are some, you know, words and phrases like if you think of Apple, it could mean like an a physical apple that you’d be or it could be the company Apple. So sometimes Google isn’t the smartest with, like, you know, understanding what the searcher is intending behind their search. So if you’re seeing a big you know, difference in that it could mean that you’re not targeting the right keyword to match what people are searching for. So you know, you may need to reevaluate that.
Okay, wow, that is so good. Ah, a weird thought just came up. Oh, by the way, before we get off of that, I will have the link in the show notes to all of these things that Julie is talking about all these places. So you know, if you’re like, What did she say? Don’t worry, just check the show notes. including the links to your blog, I’d love for you to send me those. That’d be great. So I had a thought we talked about blogs, and the web copy. I assume the same thing applies for your YouTube, like, like the same things we’ve been talking about are very important when we’re doing our description for our videos on YouTube, right?
Yeah, so YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. And it’s owned by Google. So there is a lot of overlap with, you know, finding keywords and things like that. I will say, I’m not a YouTube SEO expert. So I don’t really know of any like keyword research tool, specifically for SEO or for YouTube. But yeah, it’s definitely very important for you know, getting your videos to rank and everything.
Right, right. Okay. Here’s another crazy question. I’m sorry to go off script. But I’m thinking like, like when I do when my team or I, whoever does it uploads my podcast episodes to Libsyn. And then that gets sent all over the world, all these different podcast platforms and things. Is SEO? Does it show up there? I assume it does. Yeah. So
Podcasts can definitely rank on Google. So yeah, having things like your shown in Show Notes filled out is really important. If you want them to be ranking on Google, I’ll say it won’t necessarily benefit your website to have like your podcast rank or something like that. So I recommend if you’re able to, to repurpose your podcast content on your website in some form, so that way, you’re putting that content specifically on your website, you’re giving, you know, Google new content to index and you know, rank that content. You can target new keywords, things like that. So if you prefer podcasts to blogging, which I know a lot of people hate blogging, but you can definitely like, you know, get the transcript of your podcast and kind of transformed that into a blog. So you don’t have to be, you know, writing blogs from scratch.
That’s so good. I love to write. But for some reason, I just find it easier to just talk. So yes, I definitely prefer podcasting, writing. I don’t know why. But this is so good. Alright. So how can we check our site for technical errors, like issues in the background that we may not even know about that could be affecting our rankings?
Wow. All right. So before we get to this amazing freebie that you’re offering my listeners, is there anything in this whole SEO world that we didn’t get to that you think’s important to mention now before we wrap up? So when a lot already, you know, I know, five minutes, but I just wanted to see what else we may have missed.
Yeah, I know, it’s an SEO, I mean, this isn’t even just like all of us do. One thing I’ll say, for user experience, so you know, back to like things like site speed are really important. But I also want to emphasize making sure that your site is accessible and really easy to navigate. So I see that I’ve been seeing this more and more the past year where it looks, you know, really pretty to have like really small font. But that is really hard, even for someone like average, like me. So your font should be at least like 1516 pixels at the minimum, mobile can, you can get away with like a little bit smaller, but like 10 pixels on a desktop is like, way too small. So that’s hard enough for you know, someone like me, but anyone who may have visual impairments, that’s like me or for them,
So it’s about accessibility. But also, like, if I can’t read something, I’m not gonna like, hunt for things on your website are really trying really hard, I’m just gonna leave your website because I can’t read it. So also make sure that things in your menu are clear. And also the font is big enough, that says something else I’m seeing where menus have really small font for some reason, but if someone has to search for what they want to find, and they can’t find it very easily, you know, that could impact them going to visit more pages. So all of this kind of goes back to like making sure you’re not only reaching the right people, but once they’re on your website, make sure you’re able to convert them. Because if they have a really hard time, you know, reading things navigating your website, you’re likely not going to convert them very easily. Also, things like making sure that you have clear calls to action, like, you know, physical buttons on your website, don’t just like hyperlink some small text, because that’s not gonna, you know, no one’s going to click on that. So, you know, you can lead people around to like, contact you to, you know, visit your services, pages, things like that, you know, try to think of the journey that you want to take them on in order for them to, you know, want to connect with you want to reach out for your services, or, you know, if you sell products, make sure you’re you know, you have things like suggested products on your homepage, or like on a product page have like related products. So that way if what they’re looking at isn’t quite what they want, but you have something that they might be interested in, you know, they can find it very easily.
Oh, so good. Oh, my goodness, this is so good. Thank you so much, Julia. Well tell our listeners about this amazing opt in about client conversion.
Yeah. So if you are interested in more of the user experience, you know, getting more people to convert on your website. I have a freebie on how to reach and convert clients using SEO. It also has includes videos with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. So if you are not, you don’t aren’t familiar with this data at all. And that just sounds like really complicated. I promise. It’s not that hard. So I have videos walking you through the data that you should be checking and what everything means.
Wow. That’s amazing. Julia, thank you so much. This has been so so good. And I know I’m gonna listen back again. Times. Definitely getting your opt in. Thank you so much for being here and sharing your knowledge so much for having me. Sure thing. Ladies. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode. And if you have Would you please pause even right now and take a moment and leave a rating and review it means so much and it helps us in the rankings and helps to push this podcast out to the women like you who need to hear it. So once again, thank you for listening and we will see you next time.