In addition to designing and hand making wedding garters, my passion is helping other creative small business owners get control of the blog for their business. From one business owner to another, it really helps when we can all commiserate and learn from each other. I recently wrote an article for the Rising Tide Society‘s guide on SEO and keywords. I wrote this article especially for those in the creative and wedding industry because we are all so visually motivated. But, when you are designing your website and working on your blog, you need to keep in mind that you have another visitor who needs attention too: the search engine.
Here is the article from June’s Rising Tide Society guide….
SEO + Optimization
If you own a business with a website, chances are good that you’ve heard of the acronym SEO. This stands for search engine optimization, and it refers to art of doing things to your website so that it is crawled or indexed by a search engine, like Google. When your website is properly indexed by a search engine, the chances are better that it will pop up higher when a user types into a search bar looking for the services or products that you offer.
You know that being at the top of a search is crucial because, as a consumer yourself, you’ve probably gone through this when making your own purchases. You know how important it is to be right up front and in front of your potential clients when they are researching and shopping online.
SEO and P.C.O.
But, let’s back up before we even get into SEO and how to implement it onto your website. I want to talk to you about an issue that I see going on in the creative industry and that is the difference between SEO and P.C.O. and why your website needs to have both of these functions. And, why you, the business owner, need to understand and take control of both of these elements on your website.
P.C.O. is an acronym that I’ve made up and it stands for potential client optimization. (So, don’t try to look this acronym up and think that I’m crazy!) It refers to ensuring that your website is appealing to users who come to your website looking for your services. In the creative industry, there is much attention paid to optimizing your website, your social media, and indeed, your brand, for potential clients. There are countless webinars, workshops, experts, downloads and more on branding, design, developing your message and so much more to help your business appeal to your ideal clients.
With this hyper-focus on visual branding, there is little attention paid to optimizing your website for a search engine. But, if a search engine can’t find your site because it isn’t optimized, and thus isn’t showing it to potential clients, what good is the design of your site or the quality of your pictures? What good is defining your ideal client, if that ideal client can’t even find your website to learn more about you, much less purchase your services?
Attracts and Attractive
Your website for your business must be optimized for two different audiences. Even though it is one entity, your website must at the same time speak to search engines (this is SEO), and to a user or a potential client (this is P.C.O.). Too often, businesses in the creative space are focused on one and not the other. Or worse, they don’t know that their website isn’t optimized for one or none of these functions, much less where to start or how to fix it.
What attracts a search engine to find your site and show it to people who are looking for your products or services, and what is attractive to a user making them want buy your products or services are two different techniques. The act of applying these techniques is called “optimizing” your site or making it more appealing to a search engine and a potential client. Both techniques must be done simultaneously. Websites have the capability of doing both – attracting and being attractive – and you, the business owner, need to make sure that both are happening on your website at the same time.
What is attractive to a potential client or a user is a little easier to wrap our heads around. We can see it and understand it. It is often dealt with in the branding process, if you’ve been through that experience with your business. A potential client comes to your site and everything they can see and feel on your site, such as colors, words, fonts, layout, videos, photographs and more, is what makes your product or service attractive to them. It all works together to make them feel a connection with you and want to hire your business. But, what speaks to a search engine is much different. What makes your business pop up on page one of Google when someone types your product or service into that search bar has very little, if anything at all, to do with the visual experience. Quite literally, a potential client is a human and responds to things like colors, sights, and sounds, while a search engine is a robot and does not respond to colors, sights, and sounds.
Consistency and Time
Often, creative business owners, especially if they have a new(ish) website design or have recently gone through the branding process, assume that because their website looks amazing and their photographs are all on-point with their brand, that the SEO is being taken care of. Or worse, that it was taken care of by the person who designed their website. This is rarely the case. Most businesses who offer branding services do not offer SEO services and vice versa. Furthermore, optimizing your website for a search engine is not a one-and-done type of a thing.
SEO is an on-going process and something that you need to continuously work at over time. I’ve been blogging for my business since 2009, and my SEO work is never done, nor will it ever be. Making sure that your business is able to be found on the Internet is an art form and it is an ongoing effort. Why? Because search engines love consistency and time. The more consistent you are with your SEO and the longer you do it, the more effective you will be.
Commit To It
You are going to learn a lot about SEO this month from many people in the Rising Tide Society. Hopefully, you’ll head into the summer with a renewed sense of purpose for your website and a commitment to your business being found on the Internet for the long haul.
Just remember, your website needs to be appealing to both search engines and your potential clients at the same time. Potential clients see and feel, while search engines do not. So, when you are making updates and changes to your website, make sure that every change, update, or optimization is made with the search engine, not just the potential client, in mind.
I hope that you found this explanation helpful and that you are motivated to learn a little more about SEO and get control of your website and blog.
Remember, I just launched my new online course on how to blog for your business, so if you need more help or want to get serious about your online profile, check it out!
For more small business blogging tips and advice, be sure to check out my blog series on the subject. You can sign up for my email newsletter to get more blogging tips and be the first person to know about any blogging workshops that I have coming up.