SEO Digital Marketing Search Engine Optimization

An SEO Conversation with AVAWING® Digital Marketing

seo expert Greg Moore with Avawing Marketing

Greg Moore:

If you know what people are searching for, you know how to build your website. You know what to blog about. And that’s one of the things I’ve seen go wrong so many times as people build a website, but they build it for an audience that’s not there.

Nick Armstrong:

Hi, this is Nick Armstrong with the startup Foco podcast. And every week we get to talk to a local business owner who is doing cool and exciting work in our community. Today, we’ve got Greg from Avawing. He is the head geek, as he calls himself. And we’re going to learn about SEO today. So Greg, kick us off. Tell us what we were going to learn.

Greg Moore:

We do SEO and digital marketing for contractors. So when you say digital marketing, that can mean a lot of things. It encompasses so many different fields. It could be email marketing, social media. I even do digital photography at times. But the biggest thing that we concentrate on is SEO. So if you’re a contractor and you’re trying to get found in your community, people typically go to a search engine. They go to a search engine. They type in something like remodeler, Fort Collins or painting companies in Windsor. And they type in things like that. So the first thing we want to know is, well, one is how much traffic are these terms getting? What are people typing in? And two, what we want to do is organize and build a website that is able to get found based on the search that people are doing. So that’s a huge thing that we do. But again, we also do social media and all that stuff as well.

Nick Armstrong:

At what point should a small business start getting concerned about SEO? So is it a year in, is it six months in, is it from day one?

Greg Moore:

Man, good question, Nick. And I run into this all the time. The second you start a business, you should start thinking about SEO. I run into so many websites that I’m like, “Oh gosh, beautiful website. I love it.” Everything’s perfect, the way it looks. But then, it’s kind of a trap that I see a lot of business owners fall into is they launch a website and then they wait by the phone and it’s not ringing. And one of the reasons is the website wasn’t built on SEO fundamentals. So I start day one. That’s the best way to do it. But if you haven’t done that and not the end of the world. We have strategies in place to go back, fix websites, alter images, change everything to get it SEO savvy. So any time you post to your website, anytime you’re thinking about your business online, I really say just have that SEO thought in the back of your head because it’s so unbelievably important. It’s really the difference between somebody who’s going to pay for advertising online versus something that’s going to happen organically. And it’s an investment in your company. You’re investing. That’s your company on the Google page. And if you keep investing in it, you can go up in the rankings as time goes on.

Nick Armstrong:

So as you said, this is an investment. What are we looking at in terms of time? How much effort is required to maintain those SEO rankings? And is there content development that needs to occur concurrently as you were working on your SEO and your website?

Greg Moore:

Good question. Man, you have all the tough questions, Nick. You’ve done this before it sounds like. You can commit as much as you can commit. I recommend if you can get a blog post at least once a month. Can you commit to that as a small business owner? Just one blog post a month, 500 words, and just see if you can maintain that. Of course, it’s going to be better if you could do that once a once a week. And some people that are really, really invested, they’ll blog daily. And then what happens is you really see the results. You see them going up in the ranks. So your investment is in those posts. But the nice thing about that is from those blog posts, you can draw all kinds of information that you put into your social media channels. So that’s kind of our workflow here is blogs. Look at what people are talking about online. What are the circles talking about? What’s the latest news? What are the new developments in your industry? Write about those topics, and then take pieces of that blog and kind of farm those out to all your social media channels. So that’s really one of the things that we do.

Nick Armstrong:

When you are looking at actionable content for a blog or for social media, what role do conversions play versus SEO? So we hear a lot of, in the marketing world, we hear a lot about, “Well, that was mostly written for SEO purposes” or “That was mostly written for conversion.” Is there a way to merge those two interests?

Greg Moore:

I always write for humans, at least I try to. And that’s what our company focuses on is there’s people that they keyword stuff and you read these articles and you’re like, “This doesn’t even make any sense.” It was obviously written for a computer. But I think it’s important to write for humans, but at the same time, you can put a few keywords in there. You can have headlines. The title of your article can have a couple of SEO terms in there. But I think people get lost in this realm a little bit when you try to do too much at once. You’re trying to say, “Okay, I need keywords for a landscaper. So in this article, I’m going to put landscapers, landscaping, best landscaping company,” and you try to hit every single term. And it’s like, “No, for this article we’re going to hit one term, but then we’re going to have a story behind that. We’re going to talk about landscaping in Fort Collins, but we’re going to talk about some of the best techniques to get ready for the spring season.”

Nick Armstrong:

So what is a good case study that you’ve seen where your clients have modified their SEO or modified their website or even started off with a really good presence and added in more, if they are adding a customer base or shifting their business focus. What’s a good case study that amplifies the idea that this SEO thing is something that small businesses should pay attention.

Greg Moore:

I would say every time I’ve taken on a client, they’ve jumped, I don’t know, four to five pages up in search for the terms that they want to search for. And this is based on something called citations, just simply listing your business across various channels on the internet that are online directories, just submitting that information to online directories and saying, “Hey, I exist. I’m here,” makes that incredible jump right off the bat. Another thing that it makes a huge jump that I see a lot of business owners don’t do is, is just listing on Google My Business. That’s another huge thing that you can do to just make an instant impression. And then of course, there’s other channels that will help you.

Greg Moore:

If you can list with social media, Facebook, all the big hitters, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest is really underutilized. And then go pick up your BBB listing. It’s free. Of course, they’re going to try to grab you and get you to pay the monthly fee or whatnot, but you can simply get a free listing with the BBB. And what happens is your website will get listed there. And essentially that lets Google know, “Hey, this website, they’re important. They have a listing with the BBB and all these social media channels.” And when I click on the BBB on that website address, it takes me to the website, to your website. So that’s known as a back link and that’s another huge SEO strategy that we incorporate as well.

Greg Moore:

But just starting to go through the motions and don’t do all these at once. There’s literally hundreds of these online directories. But with the blogs, you do that once a month. With these listings say, “Hey, I’m going to do 10 a month.” But at the same time you’re investing in your organization and you’re letting Google know, “Hey, this company is important. I exist.” And literally I’ve seen changes in from as little a month. And sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes it takes six months to a year, depending on how competitive your industry is and your location.

Nick Armstrong:

So you’ve talked a little bit about keywords. We’ve talked about blogging and content marketing. We’ve talked about strategic listings. What else goes into a solid SEO plan that you can incorporate into your overall marketing strategy?

Greg Moore:

Well, there’s two sides to SEO. There’s various sides, tons of sides, but the main side are the two main ones I can think of now are on-page SEO and off-page SEO. So on-page would be your blogs, making sure that you have key words. I would break up my site literally into categories, do my research for keywords, organize those keywords and break those up into pages. There’s other things like having a proper titles and headlines. So that’s all important. But then off-page SEO is like I said, the citations, getting listed in all those social media places, BBB, things like that. But another key element is posting, guest posting. So this, I would say is the hardest one, because what it involves is finding places that have a high domain authority, meaning these sites are important to Google. They have a high ranking on Google, so they’re important and there are blogs. And then these blogs are in your industry. And what these blogs will do is they’ll allow people to guest post and write for their blog. So essentially this person is getting a free article and they have all sorts of demands. It has to be a minimum of a thousand words or so on and so forth. But in turn what you get is a link back to your site.

Greg Moore:

So a couple of things going on here that shows you how unbelievably important it is to blog and two it shows you that people really value someone’s domain authority. So if you’re an important blog, people will start wanting to submit information to you. So if you are a remodeler and you can literally take that space, start writing articles about the remodeling industry and then now you kind of have a say. You have a say in the industry. This is, I call it like the Bob Vila tactic, for the older folks. You may not know who Bob Vila is, Nick.

Nick Armstrong:

This Old House.

Greg Moore:

But that’s a thing. You’re an authority now. Now you have a say. Now people are coming to you and wanting to post on your blog and share information and comment and things like that. So it really is a whole bunch of elements put into one, but those are the nuts and bolts bolts of it.

Greg Moore:

There’s also other more advanced techniques like schema coding and all that. I don’t really want to get into that now, but that’s real egg head stuff. But just having a website that Google sees, because it is, it’s just just code. Your website’s just a code and someone’s holding that code like GoDaddy or SiteGround or somebody like that. They’re holding all those files. And Google’s scanning those files. So the better that that code is, the better it is for your website. And if Google can understand it and it’s laid out properly and Google knows, “Oh, wow, this page is about bathroom remodeling.” Or “This page is all about kitchens. All the images are about kitchens. There’s a video about kitchens. There’s several key words. And then there’s also a geographic terms, Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, kitchens in those communities.”

Nick Armstrong:

When It comes to video and photos and maybe even audio, what role do those types of content play when it comes to SEO?

Greg Moore:

Well, all that type of content is known as rich media. And for SEO, you’ve got to have pictures at least. But Google, they own YouTube. So if you have an embedded YouTube video in addition to pictures, and then all of those, your images are SEOd themselves, meaning that they’re named properly, they have an alt something known as an alt tag, and then they’re also the appropriate size, it’s going to benefit you in your SEO. It’s going to help your rankings. It’s going to help push you to the top. So, it’s a good question, Nick. Nobody knows the Google algorithm. Nobody knows Bing’s. I don’t know if people care about Bings. But the thing is we can make our best guess. We can analyze. We can look at a bunch of sites, see how they rank and look at what they’re doing. And these practices that I’m talking about are exactly that. And it’s discussed all the time in SEO circles, but having images and rich media is super important. So I would include that in every blog post. I would have images. I mean, it’s kind of tough to make a video for every single blog post, but if you can, it’s only going to help. And then it’s also going to further add exposure on YouTube as well.

Nick Armstrong:

Break it down for us. What is the number one, if somebody was coming to you fresh, no SEO experience, starting a brand new business. What is the very first and most important thing you would tell them?

Greg Moore:

Oh, wow. Well, it depends on if they have a website or not. If they don’t have website, the first number one thing I would do is talk to them about keywords. So a website, a blog, everything, it’s all built of words, obviously, words. But keywords or something a little bit different. That’s when we start thinking about what people are typing into Google. What does your business do? I would want to know every thing your business does. And when people want to find you, what do they type into Google? They go to a search engine, they’re typing in something. What are those terms? Now, there’s a lot of ways you can look at these terms. Google ads has a really nice planner. It’s called the keyword planner inside Google ads. And that’s what I use in part of my workflow to find out key words. It’ll give you related keywords. But once you start looking at these key words, group them up. And then now when they’re in groups, I can start building blogs and web pages based on those key words.

Greg Moore:

But the most important thing is understanding your audience. If you know what people are searching for, you know how to build your website. You know what to blog about. And that’s one of the things I see done wrong so many times as people build a website, but they build it for an audience that’s not there. You want to know, where’s the traffic? I’m here in Fort Collins. I’m going to do a search on Google ads to find key words that people in this community are looking for for the said business. And it’s really funny because I’ll ask a business owner this. We’ll come up with a list, like a preliminary list. And they missed half the key words or some of the things they told me, there’s zero traffic. Nobody’s looking for that. Nobody cares about that. So I don’t think we should spend a heck of a lot of effort on building a webpage or a website for traffic that’s not there. So that would be my piece of advice there, nick is just to know your audience and what they’re searching for.

Nick Armstrong:

Wonderful advice. Where can we find out more about Avawing and your work in particular?

Greg Moore:

Go to my website, Avawing.com A-V-Awing.com. It’s easy to spot. I don’t know the number. I never call it.

Nick Armstrong:

We can Google it. Well, Greg, it’s wonderful talking to you today. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us and for more great, small business advice and expert opinions, visit startupfoco.com.

Greg Moore with Avawing SEO

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