Jeremy Gray – The Geriatric Entrepreneur
IBGR. Network. The World of Business at Your Fingertips
Is retirement not for you? Me neither! I have always known that retirement did not hold any attraction for me. Those financial product advertisements promising early retirement never resonated.
In season 10 we will look at how to launch your second career, in a time of raising interest rates and a falling stock market. I invite you to join me, as I build my business plan to escape the tyranny of the clock which limits my earnings to the hours I work. Over the next five years I plan to build an income portfolio that will support my family into the future. Please join me as I plan that journey.
Before we get into this week’s topic I promised in last week’s show I would let you know about my progress in preparing my website to be a tool for building an email list using the ideas covered in episodes 5 to 8. I wrote lead magnet on the topic of pricing strategy which I believe will be useful to any entrepreneur in thinking through their approach to pricing. So that is a start. I have also successfully signed up to ConvertKit as my email management program. But then I hit a problem. My website is not ideally set up to utilize the features of ConvertKit and to adopt the ideas I discussed in last week’s show. I will completely rebuild the site over the next week and share my experiences during next week’s show. As well as redesigning my site to be a tool for building an email list I will also focus on improving its search engine optimization with the aim of getting near the top of the Google rankings. That is going to be a challenge as I am competing with some heavy hitters such as Korn Ferry and Monster.com. Ways that may lead to success will be the topic for this week’s show.
Episode 9 SEO – A primer. What is Search Engine Optimization
You have probably heard of search engine optimization and know it is about improving how search engines such as Google find and rank your site. And you likely know that most people do not look beyond the first page listing recommended websites. According to Moz, the first page of Google captures 71% of search traffic clicks and has been reported to be as high as 92% in recent years. Second-page results are far from a close second coming in at below 6% of all website clicks. Moz builds tools for SEO, inbound marketing, link building, and content marketing easy. For a link to their website Ctrl+Click here.
Being the first site listed on Google is prime real estate 25% of folks click through on the first site listed. You will have noticed that I am focusing on Google; aren’t there other search engines out there? Yes there are of course, as the BBC would say “Other Search Engines are available” But Google is the most used search engine in the world. According to Statista.com in January 2022 Google had 85.6% of the market share for search engines. Bing came next but far behind at 7.6%, followed by Yahoo at 2.9% and Baidu with 0.6%. Other search engines did not register. If you are going to optimize your website it makes sense to optimize it for Google.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing a website or webpage to increase the quantity and quality of its traffic from a search engine’s organic results.
The benefits are obvious: free, passive traffic to your website, month after month. But how do you optimize your content for SEO, and what “ranking factors” actually matter?
Google has to discover, crawl, and index your site’s content and this is merely the first part of the puzzle. But you do want to be sure that Google knows your site exists. You can check this by typing Site:your sites URL into Googles search engine.
If you download my show notes you will see a screen shot of results of my search for thegeriatricentrepreneur.com This is just confirmation of what I already knew – Google has found my site
What you cannot see is that Google has also found a post I made on LinkedIn which ranks quite highly in the search. I do not often post on my LinkedIn business page but maybe I should be paying this more attention. I will be working on my social media strategy over the next few weeks and will share what I have learned during the show to be broadcast on August 1st
Search engines also need a way to rank matching results when a user performs a search. This is the job of search engine algorithms.
Each search engine has unique algorithms for ranking web pages.
Google famously has 200+ ranking factors.
Nobody knows what all of these ranking factors are, but the key ones are generally agreed to be:
I will talk more about these in episodes 11 and 12
But to optimize our rankings we first need to understand how search engines work.
Search engines are like libraries for the digital age. Instead of storing copies of books, they store copies of web pages. When you type a query into a search engine, it looks through all the pages in its index and tries to return the most relevant results.
To do this, it uses a computer program called an algorithm. Nobody knows exactly how these algorithms work, but we do have clues, at least from Google.
Here’s what they say on their “How search works” page:
To give you the most useful information, Search algorithms look at many factors, including the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources and your location and settings.
The weight applied to each factor varies depending on the nature of your query – for example, the freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about dictionary definitions.
How SEO works
In simple terms, SEO works by demonstrating to search engines that your content is the best result for the topic at hand. This is because all search engines have the same goal: To show the best, most relevant results to their users.
Google ranks content for relevance. This is where the concept of search intent comes in. Your content will only rank for a keyword if it meets the searchers' needs. In addition, your content must be the best resource out there for the query. After all, why would Google rank your content higher if it provides less value than other content that exists on the web?
Precisely how you do this depends on the search engine you’re optimizing for.
If you want more organic traffic to your web pages, then you need to understand and cater to Google’s algorithm. If you want more video views, then it’s all about YouTube’s algorithm.
Episode 10 Why SEO is important for your business.
If you're looking to create long-term brand awareness, expand your target audiences and earn more revenue, then search engine optimization is crucial. Let's look at 10 significant benefits of SEO for your business, and how you can realize them.
1. It Boosts Your Credibility
A site that ranks high on search engine results pages is typically considered high-quality and trustworthy by search engines, and this, in turn, boosts the credibility of your business. Spend time improving and adding content to your site, increasing your site speed and researching keywords to help your site rank even higher.
2. It Doesn't Have to Cost You Anything
Apart from time if you handle it yourself, SEO does not cost anything like other marketing strategies such as pay-per-click. Search engines crawl your site 24/7, promoting useful content and helping you find new customers organically. To make the most of your SEO efforts, allocate some of your time to reviewing the content on higher ranking sites within your niche, and aim to write content that's better than theirs. Then, share your content on your social platforms.
3. It Supports Content Marketing
Original content and SEO work hand in hand; by creating helpful content for visitors, including text, images and videos, your site will rank better in search results. But SEO can support your content marketing efforts too. Make sure that your content is high quality and optimized for keywords you want to rank for, and since search engines like freshness, update your content regularly.
Unpaid (SEO) and paid marketing strategies (PPC) work fantastically well together. PPC helps your site appear at the top of paid search results, while SEO does the same thing organically. Having both results appear at the top of the search engine results page boosts your brand's credibility and shows that you are not merely throwing money at advertising to be on top. You can use SEO to maximize your PPC campaigns — for example, a high-ranking page may do even better if you use it as part of PPC advertising, especially if the keyword has a low cost-per-click.
5. It Gives You a Competitive Advantage
Your competitors will likely be investing in SEO, which means you should too. Those who invest heavily in SEO often outrank the competition in search engine results and gain market share. If you consider that results on the first page of a Google search, get over 90% of traffic, you cannot afford not to be there, especially if your competitors are. Start by identifying your competitors, analysing their strengths and weaknesses, and creating and managing your online reputation. Then, ensure that your site loads fast and is mobile-friendly, make the best content possible, and focus on providing the best user experience.
6. It Can Help You Reach More People
While many marketing campaigns tend to focus on a defined target audience, SEO can help you attract anyone with intent at a given point in time, no matter what stage of the buying funnel they are in. If you target keywords rather than demographics as you might with PPC or social advertising, you can attract more prospects who may be interested in doing business with you.
Create a list of keywords you would like to rank for. Then, use keyword research tools to expand it. Finally, use competitive research to refine your list by identifying who your competitors are, what keywords they are ranking for and where they have backlinks, and use this information to create a better SEO strategy.
7. It Helps You Rank Better in Local Searches
Local searches such as "plumbers near me" are becoming more common. And nearly 80% of local searches on mobile lead to conversions. Local SEO strategies can help you attract these searchers who are often ready to buy. The first step to getting started with local SEO strategies is creating a Google My Business account. Then, start requesting reviews from your clients. Optimize your listings by ensuring that you have the correct name, address and phone number. Also be sure to optimize your listing for voice search, which means writing rich, compelling content in a conversational tone that answers most common queries and provides solutions to searchers' problems. Some other steps include carefully considering your local keywords and creating listings in local business directories.
8. It Improves Website Usability
SEO is about making your site search engine-friendly, but it also can improve the experience a customer has when visiting your website. If you put the work in to generate useful and high-quality content, make your site faster and more responsive, add backlinks and enhance every page, you typically get an excellent website in addition to one that's optimized for search engines. Factors that improve usability include a robust site structure and navigation, both of which are factors in how search engines rank a site.
9. You Get Quantifiable Results
With SEO, you can track changes in rankings, conversions and website traffic. Platforms like Google Analytics provide a comprehensive suite of information, allowing you to drill down to an incredibly granular level. For example, you can see every website user's buying journey — including the pages they engaged with, the keywords they used to search and whether they completed specific actions. You can use these insights to adjust and improve your SEO strategy.
10. It Improves User Engagement Rates
An optimized site brings in quality traffic. If you have a site with useful content that matches the searcher's intent, they will likely spend more time browsing, which ultimately can lead to more conversions and increased ROI. Customers who engage longer with a website tend to connect to the brand more — this can lead to customer advocacy and long-term revenue. To improve your user engagement rate, use one of the many online tools to audit your site, and then optimize things like your title and meta tags. Also, ensure that you're providing a safe and mobile-friendly website.
SEO has major benefits for websites and can lead to long-term exponential growth. Brands that invest in SEO can build credibility and trust with audiences, making it a pivotal part of a digital marketing strategy.
Episode11 How to improve your SEO Ranking Part 1
Step 1 – Improve Your Page Loading Speed
Your page loading time is important for a few reasons.
First, if your load speed is too slow, Google will recognize this, and it will harm your ranking.
But a slow website will also impact the way your website visitors engage with your pages.
As a result, those negative interactions will hurt your ranking too.
Website abandonment rates increase rapidly over time. Research shows 40% of visitors will abandon websites if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. By six seconds you have lost all but the most patient of viewers
What’s even more shocking is that 80% of those visitors won’t return to that website.
This is terrible for your SEO ranking because it ultimately kills traffic to your site.
But on the flip side, if your page loads fast, people will keep coming back.
Google’s algorithm will recognize your website’s popularity and adjust your search ranking accordingly.
This makes it extremely important to optimize both your page speed and server response time.
If you want to test the speed of your website, there are online services such as Pingdom available for free. Although they will expect you to sign up for a trial and then start to pay. Of course, Google will do this for free. Go to their page speed insights tool. In my show notes you will find an example of the report for Forbes.com. Not too surprisingly for a highly professional site their loading speeds are well under 3 seconds,
This will allow you to test your website from different locations all over the world.
If you find your loading speeds are slow, take a look at the add-ins you are running on your pages. While it is tempting to gather as much information about your site visitors as possible, doing so will slow down your loading speeds. Maybe you should forgo gathering information in the background but encourage them to give you their email address.
Which can be done by producing high quality content that makes them want to subscribe for more.
How often do you update your website? If you haven’t touched it since the day you built it, you probably don’t have a great SEO ranking right now. I can verify the truth of that statement. I built a website “The Dentists CFO” that did achieve that elusive number one ranking on Google for some search terms. Unfortunately, I had not optimized the keywords as well as I should have, and the site did not attract many visitors and certainly did not generate any business. I have not touched that site for over a year and it has slipped down the rankings now appearing page 3 for some search terms although it does still get a page one ranking for terms more closely associated with the site name. If you want to know more about keywords listen to Season 9 podcasts episodes 29 to 32.
To drive more traffic to your website and increase its popularity, you need to give visitors a reason to keep coming back. Your content needs to be high quality, recent, and relevant. An informative article of 1200 words will keep folks on your site for about six minutes which will improve another ranking factor which is dwell time. Which is a measure of how much time people spend on your website per visit.
If your site has fresh, exciting, or newsworthy information, it will keep visitors on your page longer and improve your dwell time. Websites that provide highly informative content typically have long dwell times.
Optimize Your Images
Pictures and other images are great for your website. Plain text quickly gets boring but ensure your images are optimized to minimize loading times. Generally, you do not need high-definition photo’s for your website, optimize for format JPEG files seem to work well and size.
Note it used to a common practice to use pictures to cram in additional keywords. Google has got smarter and will quickly detect examples of keyword cramming and will punish you in your sites ranking if you do this
Break Up Your Content with Header Tags
Headings are another way to help improve the user experience on your website. They break up the content and make it easier to read or skim. Plus, headers make everything look more appealing, which is always beneficial. If your website is just a wall of text, it’s going to discourage people from spending a long time on it. When planning your headers keep your users in mind, what promise are you making to them, how will you help them achieve what their goals.
Note WordPress makes it easy to add pictures and headings. I use Canva as my image source, I have signed up to their professional version to gain access to a wider range of pictures. I can usually find a photo that is relevant to the topic I am discussing. Often their suggestions include a photograph that makes you stop and think. For example, when I search loyalty for a piece on customer loyalty programs one suggestion was a photo of a dog with its lead in its mouth. That is the sort of image that will make viewers wonder what the article is about and click through out of curiosity.
Blogging is great for your business. It’s an outstanding tool for lead generation and helps you engage with visitors to your website. A blog brings that fresh interesting content to your site that attracts visitors. A regular blog will encourage visitors to come back to your site frequently and maybe attract them enough that they will subscribe. Regular visitors and subscribers will do wonders for your search engine rankings.
Websites are so much more than text. I have mentioned the importance of photographs for visual appeal, but you can do so much more. Videos, audio files, infographics can increase the appeal of your site. User engagement is greater with videos, an informative five-minute video can keep folks on your site for that length of time. And imagine what a series of videos might do for your dwell time and drive your site up through the rankings.
Infographics have the potential to improve your SEO rankings, but keep in mind the underlying content your infographic is attempting to convey must be valuable. A pretty infographic that provides little information is not going to encourage folks to return to your site. Google may not index the text within your infographic so consider providing a long form of the information alongside the infographic, a minimum of 1000 words is usually recommended, with longer articles being better.
If you are up to it consider adding animation to your graphic. The human eye is sensitive to movement by adding movement to your graphic it will attract the viewers’ attention.
Consider the readability of your site. A piece of advice I read researching for this show is that you should not sound like a doctor, lawyer even if you are one. To this list I will add do not write like a CFO. Keep your content easy for most folks to read and understand. And that means avoiding complicated words when simpler ones will do. Sentences should be short. Think Hemmingway, think Harry Potter. To be understood by 85% of Americans your writing should be 8th grade level or lower. I tested the readability of some of this script on Readable.com, it scored about 10th grade. I need to think about that. Although I am sure my audience and readers are a bit smarter than the average joe, but I also want to be accessible to the entrepreneur for who English maybe their second language.
Episode 12 How to improve your SEO Ranking Part 2
Step 4 – Optimize Your Site for Mobile Devices
As I’m sure you know, mobile use is on the rise. According to Statisa.com 63% of search engine requests came from mobile devices. In some Asian countries the percentages are even higher. In Indonesia 88% of all purchases were made via an App. Obviously, Google recognizes this and ranks sites accordingly.
Fortunately, webpage services such as WordPress also recognise this and will ensure your site is mobile friendly.
If you’re not sure what the status of your mobile experience is, you can also use Google’s Mobile-friendly test to determine the status of your site and uncover resources for improving mobile usability. It is easy to run the test. To access the Google test Ctrl+Click here
Here is screen shot of the results for thegeriatricentrepreneur.
If you find your site is not mobile friendly, again Google is here to help. Google provides extensive advice to webmasters including how to make your site mobile friendly.
Consider a Mobile App
You probably think I’m crazy but it is clear that creating a mobile app can help bolster your SEO. Google is indexing apps on Google search. Of course, Apps are costly. According to Cleveroad in a recent post (July 2022) the cost of producing an App starts at $40,000 and goes up from there. To learn more and to read their article Ctrl+Click here.
That is beyond my budget but if you are planning to build a 7-figure income it would be investment. I did find an ad for a company that claims it will build an App for you for $5,000 in two weeks. I would imagine for that you get very limited functionality, but if you want to say that you have an App, take a look.
Format Your Page
Take your time when you’re coming up with a layout for your website. It needs to be neat, clear, organized, and uncluttered. Consider things like your font size and typography. Use coloured text, bold font, and italics sparingly. Things such as bullet points and checklists make it easy for visitors to scan through your content. If your website is cluttered with too many pictures, colours, and blocks of text, it can appear untrustworthy.
Should you accept adverts for ancillary services on your site? For me this is a resounding no. Your website should reflect your professional persona, not a marketplace. Certainly, place affiliate links, with the proper disclosure that your will receive a commission. Generating affiliate income should be one of your planned income streams. If you decide to accept advertisement on your site, then be selective and sparing on the types and number of ads you agree to post.
Provide Appropriate Contact Information
It almost goes without saying but all your contact information should be clear and in plain sight for people to find. You have created a website to attract clients so make it easy for them to contact you. If viewers cannot find contact information they may begin to lose trust in your site. Do not give them a reason not to come back
Step 6 – Encourage Sharing on Social Media
Every business and website needs to be active on social media. That’s pretty much common knowledge. But what’s not as well known is that you can get your SEO ranking improved if people share links to your website on social media.
One of the best ways to do this is by including social sharing icons on all your content. You should also share links on your social media pages. When the information on your site resonates with your readers, all it takes is just one click for them to share it.
Consider producing content that is targeted on encouraging folks to share with their contacts. A particularly helpful infographic that deals with an issue you know much of your targeted audience faced.
Use Keywords Appropriately
Despite rumours to the contrary keywords are still an important part of Googles ranking algorithm. I spoke extensively on this topic in Season 9 Episodes 30 and 31. So I will not go too deeply in this subject today but in summary
You want to include words people will search for throughout your content. But do it sparingly. If you go overboard saturating your website with keywords, Google will pick up on this, and it will have an adverse effect on your ranking. Keywords should fit naturally into sentences.
Particularly if you are in a saturated field or competing with internet giants such as Forbes or the Mayo Clinic use long-tail keywords, which are three or four word phrases that could be found in a search.
For example, someone probably won’t just search for the word “phone” when they’re looking for something. But they may type in the phrase “best phone for texting” as an alternative. If your keywords match their search, your website will have a greater chance of getting ranked higher.
Write Click-Worthy Titles and Descriptions
When it comes to writing titles for search engines, the first thing you have to know is this…you only have 65 characters to write your headline. You could write the greatest headline, but if it’s over 65 characters, it will get cut off.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind when creating click-worthy titles:
Front-load your titles with keywords – You should front-load all of your keywords in your titles. People will typically only scan the first two words of a title.
Keep your promise – Your title should click-through to a page that meets the expectations you have created in the mind of the user.
Clear – The reader should know what your webpage is about in 65 characters or fewer.
Make it emotional – Dan Shure wrote a great guide to writing titles, and one of his most important lessons is to make your titles emotional. His view is that all things being equal there are 7 ingredients to an ideal title:
Dan comments in his article although the article got over 100 likes, it also got a number of dislikes, so even a great headline writer like Dan did not meet the expectations of some of his readers.
To read Dan Shure’s full article Ctrl+Click here
Write a Great Meta Description
I’ll confess that until recently I did not pay much if any attention to my meta-descriptions. The name along seemed too technical for me. But it turns out a meta-description is just the snippet of information below the blue link of a search result. Its purpose is to describe the contents of the page to the searcher.
So, in future I will spend more time to optimize each article’s meta-description. Because I use WordPress and its SEO optimization tools my articles have had meta-descriptions. But maybe they were not optimal.
As always Google has made this easy by giving you tips on how to create good descriptions. Here are the two most important:
Make them descriptive – If you want a guide consider using “Who? What? Why? When? Where? How?” That’s a formula journalists use to report. It works equally well when writing descriptions.
Make them unique – Each meta description should be different from other pages’ descriptions.
Make them short – Google limits meta descriptions to 160 characters or fewer.
While meta description is not as important your heading is when it comes to getting clicks because people don’t seem to pay nearly as much attention to the description, it is still important from an SEO ranking perspective. So don’t ignore it!
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