Q&A on SEO Editorial Calendar Tips with Milly Welsh at Zebralove Web Solutions
You’ve planned your editorial calendar, gotten disciplined about updating your blog, and are waiting for the leads to roll in. Why isn’t anything happening? You might need some SEO love. Zebra love, to be exact. PlanITPDQ sat down with SEO expert Milly Welsh of Zebralove Web Solutions to learn SEO editorial calendar tips and hints for small business. Spoiler: it’s not as hard as you think. Read on to optimize!
Let’s start with the basics – do you have a definition for SEO that you like to share with small businesses and solopreneurs? Terms that can help everyone get on the same page?
Search Engine Optimization is getting as close to the first listing as possible on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I’m talking about natural, organic listings – paid ads will always be at the top of search results. But SEO is all about getting to the top of organic results.
Most entrepreneurs and small business professionals I talk with find SEO completely daunting. There are a million dos and don’ts. What are the top SEO editorial calendar tips that you recommend that people can and should tackle?
There are four main things.
- Look up your key words – don’t assume that you know what they should be. You probably use all sorts of professional or insider terms, but regular people don’t use them. One example I talked about in a recent presentation is “optometrist” vs. “eye doctor” – way more people search for “eye doctor”. You can certainly figure out niche keywords that define areas where you want to specialize, but step number one is to make sure your keywords are ones that your prospects actually use.
- Have good content on your website that delivers answers to searchers’ questions.
- Incorporate the word or phrase you want to be searched on in your text – use it in the headline, the subhead, the body of the text, and in the SEO title. Also use it on the alt text of an image you share on the page. You want the search engine to see that keyword or phrase throughout your page.
- Link back to your website as much as possible. Link to another post or page where it makes sense within the text of your content. And definitely link back to your website when you share a post or page via your social media accounts. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest – they all let you include links. Instagram does not, but you should make sure to link on all of your other social channels.
Finding the right key words and key phrases is a big hang up for small marketing teams. There are a lot of tools, and some of them are pricey. Are any worth paying for?
I do SEO for a living and I don’t pay for tools! I use the free Google tools. They are great. And most of the paid tools use the Google API, so you’re paying when you can get the same information for free.
You need to create a Google AdWords account to use Google’s Keyword Planner but once you have it set up you can use it for free. [Note: you will need to enter your credit card to create an AdWords account, and you might even have to create a Google Ad to actually start the account. Just “pause” the ad as soon as you create it and you won’t get charged.]
Another way is to type words into the Google search box. You’ll see a couple of phrases that will autofill. Assume that any of those have a good keyword volume.
Look up your terms in Google Trends. You can compare keywords and see how they perform over time, including the peak times of year. I use Google Keyword Planner to find terms, and then check Google Trends to find the right times of year to promote certain words and terms.
When should businesses start seeing improvement in the quality and quantity of their traffic after implementing these SEO tips?
It takes at least six months, and possibly a year depending on how competitive a keyword is. Sometimes we don’t get to the top of the list, especially if it is a super competitive keyword, or a national search.
But sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised. Last summer I did a SEO campaign for a spa company. They did it in tandem with radio ads and other non-digital marketing. In one month they were optimized for top of page. Every once in a while you get lucky and hit the jackpot, but it’s typically 6-12 months. It does take time.
Is SEO a set-it-and-forget-it thing, or do you have to constantly fiddle?
I generally go in and fiddle if a page is underperforming. I’ll make sure there are a couple more blog posts on that keyword, and use social to link them back to it in the site. But most of my tweaks are to the meta tags – the headline and description copy that display in search results really impact the click-through rate. If I’m working on a WordPress website, I use a tool like Yoast SEO to write that text. For other sites, I use their internal tools or fiddle with the code.
Do you have any other SEO editorial calendar tips you want to share?
People need to know that 70 percent of SEO is common sense. Sometimes that’s all you need to get on the first page. Don’t feel you can’t try just because you’re not an expert.
Being consistent is also important. I’m the worst at posting to my own social media accounts – my brother can’t stand it sometimes and will post for me. I’m really trying to do better. You need to work it into your schedule. If you do it, you’re going to improve your rankings enough so that it will be worth your time.
Thanks for your help, Milly. If you need help with that extra 30%, contact Milly at ZebraLove Web Solutions to learn more SEO editorial calendar tips. Or hit her up on Twitter @zebraloveweb and make her respond!