I recently got interviewed by Cosmopolitan.com. They reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed for one of a series of articles they were writing and I was like, “hell yeah!” I mean, I said “sure, no biggie.”
The writer had reached out to me through my personal styling and image consulting website, The Shopping Friend.
The first part of the interview was by phone and I got the chance to chat with her for the good part of an hour. She was super cool.
I asked her how she decided to interview me amongst the countless options of personal stylists and image consultants residing in the Los Angeles area. I thought she might say that I just seemed more impressive than everyone else, or my many client testimonials really stood out, or I came highly recommended and she just had to interview me.
Know what she said? Your website has amazing SEO.
“YOUR WEBSITE HAS AMAZING SEO!”
Ha! That really put me in my place. It had nothing to do with me.
But amongst other things, it reminded me that no matter how good you are at anything, if people can’t find you, it won’t make a stitch of difference because no one will ever know about you.
They won’t know to hire you. They won’t know to read about you. They won’t know to learn from you. They won’t know to buy from you. They simply won’t know who you are.
In some ways, trying to get people to find your business in today’s noisy internet world seems hard, but in many ways it’s much, much easier than it’s ever been. You just have to know what you’re doing.
And since SEO has a lot to do with people online finding you, your business, and your website, I thought I’d share some of the SEO tactics I use. These SEO tips, I believe, are part of the reason that The Shopping Friend has been on Google’s first page search results for my keywords for over 8 years.
SEO IS A LONG GAME.
I want to preclude this with the disclaimer that these are the tips and tactics that I use. I can’t promise that they’ll work for anyone else. SEO strategies are constantly changing because search engines’ algorithms are constantly changing.
But I’m pretty sure if you follow some of these tips, especially the obvious ones that have to do with providing valuable content to your readers or creating a great website, just the fact that you’ll be providing value to people is going to lead people to finding you.
Remember to be patient when you do this. You don’t just do SEO once and then you’re done. It’s done over the lifetime of your business.
Expect that when you add content or make changes to your website, search engines won’t notice those changes to your site instantaneously. Could take days, weeks, sometimes even months. You can help them along by requesting that a search engine re-index your content – I know that Google and Bing have search tools that can do that.
Picture SEO as a huge 10,000 piece magic puzzle. You start with zero pieces. It’s up to you to add one puzzle piece at a time. And you have to create each puzzle piece. They’re not all just laying out for you. You have to make them. On top of that, to make your life even harder, sometimes some of those puzzle pieces you created and laid down last year no longer work today in the puzzle. Then you have to figure out new methods of creating puzzle pieces.
If any of that sounds confusing, don’t worry. Just keep reading. It will clear itself up.
So without further ado, here are the top 5 tips I use to enhance my SEO strategy on The Shopping Friend. You can start implementing these into your website right now! Every business owner must know how to do SEO properly.
1. BUILD A GREAT WEBSITE
I read on Quora that “Academic research indicates that 91% of searchers do not go past page one of the search results and over 50% do not go past the first 3 results on page one. Google’s own research supports the finding that the top of page one is where its at placement-wise.”
Right. So we can clearly see where the prime real estate is.
We all want our websites to show up on that first page of search engine search results. You might be thinking that the only way to make that happen is to pay Google, or other search engines, a boat load of ad money to appear on the first page.
Like I said earlier, The Shopping Friend has successfully hit the first page of Google results and stayed there organically for years.
But I don’t rest on my laurels. Remember what I said earlier about having to always create new SEO puzzle pieces? Well, I’m always adding to it. If you don’t, you could very easily lose your ranking in Google, or any other search engine.
Plus, I’m always updating, enhancing, and refreshing my website. I check to make sure that links still work and that there aren’t any dead pages.
Is your website one of the top ten in your industry? Do you research and see what your competitors have? Be honest with yourself. If you, as a consumer, saw your website compared to your competitors, would you choose it? If you are not easily in the top ten, you need to keep working on it.
A well-designed website with valuable, relevant content is a great start for SEO.
2. DISCOVER THE RIGHT KEYWORDS FOR YOUR BUSINESS (AND USE THEM!)
Keywords are the words and phrases that internet users type into the search box of a search engine, like Google or Bing, to find the websites and businesses that match what they are looking for.
Figure out the keywords that your target market is using, and you can use them in your website to attract search engines’ attention.
Using the correct keywords in your website that describe your business and your offer accurately, can increase your website’s visibility to search engines.
Which, ultimately, increases your website’s visibility to your target market – the people you want to eventually buy from you.
There are some great tools online to find the keywords that people are using and some that tell you how many users are searching for a given keyword. Some keywords have hundreds of thousands of searches a day and some have a couple hundred. Just depending on your niche and what you’re selling, you could still generate a lot of sales with smaller-volume keywords.
I use the Google Keyword Research tool, as well as software called FreshKey, for my keyword research. But there are plenty of keyword tools you could use. Some tools are free that come with more functionality when you pay. These tools can give you great insight on the words and phrases your potential customers are using so I would definitely recommend taking some time to do your keyword research.
3. START AND CONSISTENTLY MAINTAIN A BLOG
Search engines love a good blog. A blog that puts out fresh, relevant, structured content. The more new content you post on your website, the more Google loves you. Why? Because blogging means you’re updating your site frequently, which communicates to search engines that your site is active.
It can’t be any old information though. Create valuable and unique content and then use social media to build awareness for your new blog posts and drive traffic to them.
Use links in your blog posts from trusted, authority sites. Good links can help build good SEO. Also use keywords as your anchor text when adding to links to your site or posts. Putting a hyper-link for the text “Click Here” won’t do you any good. But linking to the services page on The Shopping Friend with the text “personal styling services” will help with SEO.
Don’t forget to use those keywords in your blog posts. But make sure you use them naturally and for humans. You don’t want to stuff keywords into your post like a kid stuffing his face with candy. Search engine algorithms have caught on to that now and may think you’re spammy, which could be a strike against you. Make sure you write for your audience and not for search engines. And add in keywords only when they make sense. Keep your content easy to read.
Be aware that search engines are continuously changing their algorithms because they care about delivering perfect results to their users. They want to direct their users to the exact content that the user is looking for. So, to show up in Google results now, you need to have that ‘perfect’ content on your website, not just keywords.
Search engines tend to prioritize blog post titles, page titles, site titles, and headings which appear in browser tabs and search results. This is why you want to write them so they are human-friendly as well as bot-friendly.
Here’s how you can write them to be SEO friendly:
- Use SEO-friendly URLs and titles for your blog post pages and other pages on your website. Use hyphens as spaces. Don’t go overboard though. Just a keyword here or there. For example, http://www.theshoppingfriend.com/blog/personal-stylist-denver-is-a-personal-stylist-right-for-you. I’ve got the keyword ‘personal stylist’ in there as well as the keyword ‘denver’ detailing one of our locations. Looking back, I probably would have been fine without the first ‘personal-stylist’ in that URL.
- Make sure to use tags and categories in your blog posts along with H1 and H2 tags to label your content.
- Name your images using relevant keywords.
- Use alt text with your images. Alt text is the text that viewers can see when they hover over an image. Search engines use alt text to identify the content of a page, since bots can only read text and not images. When you add alt text to your images you are letting search engines understand what the image is about so they can include the image in relevant searches. Make sure to use short terms that describe your image and relates to your overall content on your site.
Adding a Blog Page and updating it regularly with relevant content will not only benefit your SEO but will help you build your brand as well.
4. YOUR BUSINESS’S PHYSICAL LOCATION CAN HELP WITH SEO IN YOUR AREA
Most personal stylists, personal shoppers, fashion stylists, fashion entrepreneurs, designers, even fashion bloggers (but not all) operate their businesses from a physical location.
If that’s you, make sure you list your address on your website. This will help potential visitors find you in location-based services and when they type your city or state into the search engine.
You can also sign up for Google’s My Business service which can help with your local search ranking. Visit Google’s Resources page for more info on that.
5. USE SHORT NAVIGATION TITLES AND KEYWORD PAGE TITLES
Every page in your site has a Navigation Title and Page Title. The Navigation Titles are the titles on the top of your website that navigates people to different pages on your site – the navigation menu.
I title my Navigation Titles really short names, like “About” or “Contact”. But then I’ll name the Page Title something like “About the personal stylists”. Why? Because Page Titles are indexed by search engines and appear in search results and browser tabs. So I use my Page Titles to promote keywords for search engines.
And you should too.
There are definitely more SEO tactics you will want to research and potentially put into play in your business, but start off with these.
I say it all the time and I’ll say it again: if you want to succeed as a personal stylist, you must focus on the business and marketing side of your business just as much as the fashion and the art.
Oh, and if you want to read the 12 Things You Should Know About Becoming a Personal Shopper article in Cosmo, CLICK HERE TO READ.