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A podcast where you join me (Colie) as I chat about what it takes to grow a sustainable + profitable business.
CRM Guru, Family Filmmaker, and Host of the Business-First Creatives podcast. I help creative service providers grow and streamline their businesses using Dubsado.
Search Engine Optimization doesn’t come naturally to us all, but it is something that we should be prioritizing as business owners. The best approach is through simple SEO and understanding the basics you need to make sure your website is being crawled by Google. In today’s episode, Erin Ollila joins us to discuss the value of SEO, understanding keyword strategies, and what you should be focusing on in your search engine optimization.
The Business-First Creatives Podcast is brought to you by CRM and Dubsado expert Colie James. Join Colie each week as she discusses how to build a business that brings you joy and a paycheck! From business advice with fellow entrepreneurs to sharing automation tips and tricks, Colie and her guests are sharing industry trends and resources, along with a little bit of sarcasm.
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Conversion copywriter. Copy Coach.Wing Woman. Word slinger. No matter what you call her, Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience.
When she’s not working with big brands and small businesses to marry strategy, storytelling, and SEO, you can find her hosting the Talk Copy to Me podcast or exploring southeastern MA with her family and friends. Erin graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and then co-founded Spry Literary Journal, which celebrates undiscovered and established writers’ concise, experimental, hybrid, modern, vintage or just-plain-vulnerable writing.
Today’s episode is brought to you by my Dubsado Quickstart Guide! In this guide, I’ll walk you through the initial setup of your Dubsado account so you can start bringing in leads tomorrow! Grab this free guide at the link below!
Here are the highlights…
[1:41] Get to Know Erin
[3:43] The Value of SEO & Google
[6:59] Getting Started with SEO on Your Existing Website
[12:19] Understanding Keyword Strategy
[13:55] Using AI to Empower Your Business, But Not Write Your Copy
[15:57] #1 Mistake You’re Making in DIYing Your SEO
[20:01] Search Intent: SEO Strategies for Local vs Global
[29:35] Breadcrumbs & Internal Linking
[29:59] EEAT – Google 2022 Update
[32:42] Does Yoast Help Your SEO?
[44:37] Biggest Fuck Up
Mentioned in this Episode:
Pic-Time – Use code COLIE for 15% off
Connect with Erin:
Her new $9 offer WTFAQs
Review the Transcript:
Colie: Hello, hello, and welcome back to the Business-First Creatives podcast. Today I am interviewing Erin Ollila, the most fabulous host of the talk copy to me podcast. Erin. Good morning. Welcome to my podcast.
Erin: Good morning. Thank you for having me here. I’m thrilled to be here cuz I love to listen to your show.
Colie: I love to listen to your voice, like just in general. I mean, sometimes when I’m in the car and I don’t know what to listen to, I just run to your podcast and
just pick a random ass episode. I love listening to you and it’s mostly because you say amazing things about like all of the things that I care about, websites, copy, s e o, I mean so much guys that we don’t really know what we’re gonna talk about today.
So today is one of those. You get what? You get episodes and you
Erin: and you don’t get upset.
Colie: you don’t get upset. And so it’s gonna be really amazing. I was recently on Erin’s podcast. I’m gonna link it in the show notes, but when we were chatting at the end, I was like, okay, and you’re gonna come on my podcast, right?
Erin: And I was like, yes, yes, I will.
Colie: and I’m like, sly guys. That’s how I get some of my podcast episodes. I’m on theirs and I’m like, ah, are you gonna come on mine? Because I just wanna talk to you forever. So today we’re gonna be talking about seo. So Erin, why don’t you tell the listening audience what you do and what your expertise is before we jump into that conversation.
Erin: Yeah, thank you. So my expertise is really like the intersection of SEO and writing in general. So whether that’s the website copy that you write on, like the main pages of your website or it’s blog content case study, just podcast show notes. Using this show as an example, I. The words that we write in those cases, right?
We want people to read them. And what happens is we put in all of our time and effort into the words, but we have to get people there. And then we also have to like convert them. So like, how do we do that? And it’s really when you use SEOs practices and like conversion driven marketing techniques to kind of like marry them together because.
know, I understand, like I’ve done content creation, whether it’s in writing, audio, video for well over a decade now, actually probably two decades if we can consider writing, and it’s a lot of work. So it’s like, why are we putting in so much effort just to keep our fingers crossed and hope that something good comes from it?
Colie: You know, I feel like there needs to be a drinking game on this podcast, guys. You guys know the word hope is like, I get a little, a little upset about hopeful marketing, you know what I mean? Like I hear it so much and I don’t wanna nag on photographers cause you know, I love photographers. I am a photographer, but I feel like we do a lot of hopeful marketing.
Like we throw our pictures on social media and we’re like, oh, they’re just going to, they’re just going to hire me. And that’s not what happens. And so sometimes I feel like, and I’m not a copywriter, guys, you know, I just play one on the internet when it comes to my own stuff. But I feel like a lot of the time, I’m constantly having to convince photographers, no, you actually have to write words.
Erin: Oh my gosh,
Colie: are not enough to let Google know that they should send people your way. And then of course I get that Yahoo, but like my Instagram is great. Okay, but you don’t own Instagram. And so if Mark Zuckerberg decides to take away your access tomorrow, what will you do?
Erin: Yeah, no, and, and while people definitely love to consume content on Instagram, What still happens, um, and obviously photographers are a wide range of things, but let’s just take the wedding industry as a quick example. There’s a lot of people, a lot of vendors that brides and grooms need to hire and they go to Google and they search in vendor type.
So they search in dj, they search in photographer. They’re not going to Instagram only. Now, grant granted. The SEO and Instagram has definitely improved. People are using it in a search platform, but they’re not using it in a conversion-based platform at this point. So they’re not going onto Instagram to try to get a list of photographers to look at and then contact.
They’re doing that from Google still. So if you don’t have a website or if Google can’t direct people to your website, you’re missing out. Right? Like. Nobody’s gonna like, re remarkably find themselves on your Instagram, like by like a, like a wiggle of the nose and like a proof of magic. Like they’re, maybe, maybe if they know someone who you’ve been a photographer for.
here’s the thing, Colie, I am jealous of photographers when it comes to websites. So because of that, I love to pick on them. And I’ve worked with, I’ve, I’ve worked with many photographers, but the key of, of what you said is very important. Photographers rely on photos to do the selling for them, but if Google cannot read words on your website, it cannot bring people to your website.
And that’s just one slice of the pie. The main part is, Your clients or your future clients, your leads need information. Like how do they make decisions? Like I remember looking for a wedding photography, a maternity photography, like all of these things and looking at images and being like, absolutely.
Like, oh my God, this photographer’s so skilled. I don’t know the, when they’re working, I don’t know their pricing structure. I don’t know if it’s like hourly or like package deals. And if I can’t find that out from your website and I have five other options of people who also have pretty pictures, I’m going and I can find it on theirs.
I’m gonna hire them. I’m, I like, we all have decision fatigue. We all have to make a lot of choices all the time. So if you can’t provide the best lead experience on your website, They’re not gonna even bother contacting you.
Colie: That is true, and I feel like we could talk about website experience at nauseum. I mean, like, you know, people get on your website and if you’re landing on a portfolio page with just a bunch of images, like, where do I go next? How do I find out more information? But let’s talk about the SEO and the words that go onto your website.
And then let’s maybe talk about specifically why photographers need to take a slightly different approach to their seo. So if I have a website, which I’ve never considered seo, Erin, which that’s totally not true for me guys, that that’s not me, but if it is someone in the listening audience, what should they do first?
If they’re like, okay, this Erin person sounds really awesome, and she tells me that I should pay attention to this, what’s the first thing that they should do on their website as like, I don’t wanna say the biggest bang for your buck, but where should I start?
Erin: I would start with actually the lowest hanging fruit. So not the biggest bang for ear buck at all, but it’s more like the, gut checking that things are set up, how they should be. And it, this is gonna sound silly cuz now I’m talking about copy, but I mean this from the SEO lens. Like where, what pages do you have?
Like do you have a homepage? Like at minimum, unless you are like a hundred percent brand new and you have a one page website, which is totally 100% fine, I never lecture to get more than you need, but let’s just
Erin: Sure though, like, I mean I get the idea of like we want to like look as good as we can if we’re gonna be a business owner, but the truth of the matter is websites are very expensive.
Even if you DIY them, they can be expensive. So if you’re just starting out, I, I do always tell people, like, do the best you can. Throw one page up there that basically says who you help, who you are, and why they should get in touch with you and call it a day. Then go get clients, right? Like then go take pictures, then build that, um, portfolio and then redo your website.
But let’s just assume the people. That are listening, actually have a website with multiple pages. You a hundred percent need a homepage and about page A services page, and that number three, right? There could technically be multiple pages depending on the amount of different services that you have. A portfolio page.
And a contact page, like that’s your minimum. You don’t need to go crazy and have a ton of other pages, but you really wanna make sure you have all of those. And if you don’t prioritize building out the content for those pages, the best way that I think people understand basic SEO is when I tell them.
The more pages and posts that you have on your website, the more doors people have to enter your business. So if you have that one page website, that is one chance. That Google can introduce you to someone. Right? But if you have, let’s just use our, my past example, a five page website. Those are five different doors that people can find you at.
So even if they, like, let’s say it’s family photography is the keyword word that you are using, They come into the family photography, but they really want maternity great news. You can probably direct them on that services page to where they need to go, but at least they have entered your like world, and if you don’t have enough pages, they can’t do that.
So lowest hanging fruit is checking what you have and making sure that you have. Built out what you don’t have. But the second level to that, again, it’s still with copy. I’m sorry, I promise we’re gonna get this to actual terms and stuff, is to put words on the page. Again, I’m picking on photographers. I love you guys.
I only do it cuz I’m jealous. But you need words on your page. What makes you stand out from the other like 500 photographers in your city? What? And and it’s not just those portfolio pictures, cuz like I said, Photographers don’t put ugly portfolio pictures on their websites, right? Like you’re putting your best pictures.
They all look good. And an searing eye is not gonna know the difference between like a, a slight difference of experience because they’re like, an average consumer is just gonna be like, look at this beautiful wedding. Or like, oh my God, this cute baby. They don’t know the techniques you’ve learned to make sure that baby is safely.
Photographed. You need words, you need to explain these things. Like why do you care about what you’re doing? Like what do you get from your clients? And I know that sounds weird because copywriters lecture all the time to make it about the client and not you.
But when you, when you can answer those questions, you can then make it about the client, right? So if it’s that like, you know, Y wait, let’s pretend it’s, a mother photographer, you know, so when she had her baby, she never got pictures taken, and that’s kind of where she started. It was her own family, and now her kids are older.
But having those images is such a big deal for her that like, not only is she just a good photographer, but she’s like so passionate about getting images for other people, right? There’s your story, like that’s what sets you apart. So. It’s making sure that the words that need to go on the pages are there, and then to get the whole, like, you know, three letters that we wanna talk about.
It’s looking at the words that we’ve chosen, the message that we’ve chosen to share on each page, the services that we’ve chosen to share and, and doing keyword research to find out. The best type of keywords that we can make sure we’re using and targeting in that copy. So it’s, it’s not just like a door that’s closed and someone has to like open on their own, like keep opening doors until they find what they want.
So it’s a door that, like you have a, like a butler, like Google’s, Google’s like, hello, let me introduce you to Erin’s pink door. Right? That’s what you want. You want Google to kind of like act as your wingman to kind of get you into like the right people. Meeting each other, and that’s gonna be through seo.
Colie: I mean, so let’s just take me for an example. I’m very near Boulder, Colorado. Why shouldn’t I just optimize my entire site for Boulder, Colorado Family photographer? Like, why can’t I just slap that as my key word on every single page enough times and call it a day?
Erin: Oh, I mean, that’s a great question. When you first started talking, I’m like, well, of course you can do that. But, but the more specific you got in what you said made me understand that, you know, it’s, we can’t use the same keyword. We have to use variations. Similarly, I’m gonna switch this to talk about my website for a quick second because, because photography’s kind of the same thing.
One of my services pages is website copy, right? That is the, that is the URL slug. That is what’s happening on the page. If all of a sudden I started to just put like location website copy, like Massachusetts website copy, Massachusetts website copy, Massachusetts website copy. It’s. For the average website viewer, they’re gonna be like, what the absolutely hell is this girl doing right now?
Like, this sounds so awkward. Right? So we actually want to use natural variations of the keywords in our copy because. Especially with Google’s helpful content update in 2022, like Google is getting smarter every single day. And you know, I mean, especially with ai, right? Like we’re, we’re the dumb ones here, right?
So it’s like Google’s like, Hey Erin, I know what you’re doing. Like. This is not gonna work for you. So each individual page needs to have its own targeted keyword, and then the copy on those individual pages need variations of that keyword so that it is natural and enjoyable to read. And it doesn’t sound like a robots like actually doing the copy, which is why we shouldn’t have AI write our entire websites. ding, ding, ding.
Colie: cut me off, Erin. That’s exactly what I was gonna say. I was gonna say, I think right now I’m having fun looking at people’s Instagram captions and looking when people are posting their websites for like copy help inside of Facebook groups. And I’m like, I can tell that was written by like, chat, chat G P T, like
I like you’re gonna add something, you’re gonna add some personality to that.
Right. And I know that there’s lots of people that are talking about, you know, If you give the AI examples of your previous writing so that it can get your tone and you know, voice and all of that, and I’m just like, no, I did that. And it’s still, oh gosh, Erin, you will appreciate this. I was testing it for the purpose of a podcast episode, not because I would literally send these out, but I gave it my sales page and I said, okay, I want you to write me five sales emails.
Like, you know, I did something. And it spit it out and I was like, there’s not a single cuss word. I was like, can you please add some cuss words? Aaron,
Erin: Oh, I wish you sent this to
Colie: you know what, I’m gonna send it to you. It was
Erin: Please do.
Colie: And I was like, okay. In some of these they really used like motherfucker in a completely appropriate manner, but I was like, in others, like, this is too much. So then I was like, okay, well maybe I need to go back and like ask it to only enter three cuss words.
Like, do you know what I mean? But. I mean, I do think that AI is going to help a lot of people who are
struggling with copy in general, because that’s what I hear from all the photographers. Yeah. But I don’t know what to say about my services. I’m like, if I asked you what you did, what would you say? And then when they start talking, I hit record.
And then when they’re done, I’m like, that’s what you need to put on your page. Like what you would tell someone in person is what you put as the copy on your website with some tweaks. Some s e o rich keywords that will help Google find you. Um, what’s the number one mistake that you see people make when they try to DIY their SEO?
Erin: Number one, I’m, I’m gonna, I’m sorry. I am not salty. Like if anyone knows me, I’m not really that much of a salty person, but like the things that I feel really like salty about, I am like damn salty. There’s not one. There’s like 500 million mistakes people make with seo. And I will say though, I really do believe people can take a.
First effort DIY with your SEO, like a hundred percent. I do not think you need to have someone right out of the back kind of like do your SEO for you. It’s not my favorite tool, but I always suggest the Uber suggests they have free and paid plans and their paid plans are like super cheap for a lifetime deal.
And you can just go on those tools, use their keyword searchers to like search in things that you think people are searching. There’s tons of tips and tricks like using your, Google Chrome, like URL area to like search and see what the other like searches could be within what you’re looking for.
Use those terms. They’re gonna spit out even more keyword ideas for you. So that’s the easy way to approach it. But what happens is, SEO is so nuanced and it affects so many different things, and it’s kind of hard to explain every single one of those things to the average. Business owner, right? Because like think of photographers, like you’re skills in a creative field.
So that’s why I think you struggle with writing too, because that’s just not your creative forte. So now all of a sudden you’re asked to be like a a data analyst, which a lot of SEO is straight up data analysis. And then strategy. So it’s like, this is a lot of an ask if you’re asking me. But what I think is, it’s like some of my clients will see when we first start working together, how in one way we will approach something and then in a for something else, we’ll do the opposite.
And I’ll get a lot of questions like, wait, you just said. We wanna do this. So why are we doing it different here? And a lot of that’s because we can’t have, it’s not templated, right? Copy can be templated. I can tell you like a, a very quick and dirty homepage. Like, follow this section and you’re done.
Your homepage is done. You fill in the blanks, but SEO’s not. So a quick example using podcast show notes is when you write the meta description for like, what is it about? You don’t want to use the same meta all the time. It, it’s only like 150 characters. So you might say something like, curious about SEO and the content you create for your business.
Listen in to this episode.
Colie: thanks for writing that, Erin.
Erin: you’re welcome. But here’s the thing, you don’t wanna say that exact same like formula for the next one. And one of my clients when we were working on this recently, she was like, well, do we even wanna tell them to listen in? Because if they’re searching Google, they might be like, Oh, it’s just show notes.
Like there’s not gonna be any content from me. I’m not gonna click over. But the truth of the matter is search intent is one of the biggest. Like things you have to understand when you are attracting someone to your site, you need to make sure that those words you’re using are actually what you are delivering.
Cuz you will not rank or you will like drop in the rankings from Google if you’re not actually delivering on what you promise. So that’s why I do like to say things like, It’s a podcast episode in, in the meta description. So for the people who are adamant, like, I never wanna listen to audio a day in my life, cool.
Don’t bring them there. Like they’re gonna be dissatisfied if it is a podcast. Right? And for the people who like don’t care, like maybe they’re not big podcast listeners, but they’re willing to take a risk. When they move over the page, there’s still words there. So they make the choice like that’s on them.
You are giving them options at this point, which is a great thing. They can consume the content how they’d like. So to circle back to your question, I think maybe the biggest mistake, if I can say two things, would be not delivering on the intent of the search and not cons. Not knowing the 500 million things you need to actually do with those SEO keywords and terms.
Colie: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know that I’ve done, I mean, I, I’ve talked about this previous on the podcast, but I will say it again because you are new to my audience. I used to have, I used to spend a lot of energy on my SEO for my photography business, and, you know, page one for Google, all the good stuff, any keywords that I wanted.
And then when I became a system strategist, it’s like I forgot what I was doing. Like I just barely, my new website for this business is less than a year old, but I was doing the work for a full year without its own website, which I still can’t believe, but like, so I’m just now starting to like, oh. I remember what I did with my photography website like 10 years ago.
Let’s do this again for this new service. And I do think that like keyword searching and all of those things are a little bit different now than they were back then. And plus, as you’ve already mentioned, when I did my keyword search for photography, I was doing a lot of location based work because I wanna make sure that I’m ranking If someone looks in Boulder or Denver or Castle Rock or Eerie, all of the.
All of the places around me right now, but for my system services, like I don’t need all that bullshit. Like I, I want people from across the world to hire me for their Dubsado setups. So it is a very different thing for me to think about what key words I need to enrich my SEO now than I did, even though, I mean the decade.
Things, you know, a lot of things changed, but also they are like two completely different types of businesses that do require a completely different type of SEO strategy.
Erin: . Yeah, and I think in some ways photographers are luckier here, right? Because if you are serving a l a local client base, I, I’m not gonna remember all of the locations you just said, but think about how many opportunities that is for seo, right? So it’s like you’re about page, it could be like, I think you said, Erie was Erie one of the ones?
And so it could be like Erie photographer. Your homepage could be like Denver photographer, right? So it’s like you are still getting that location based. Obviously you wanna make sure you’re talking about like the eerie location, but then the other way to approach it, Not necessarily my favorite, but it’s not bad is especially loc um, local seo.
You wanna write out like local areas on things like your footer, so like proudly serving the Denver area, including, and all of those names, right? So,
Colie: that on mine. Yes.
Erin: Yeah, right. So, and I mean, like, I don’t have that opportunity, like, I’m gonna be completely honest with you. Like, I don’t really want to meet with anyone in my, I mean, I’d love a Massachusetts client, but I don’t wanna like, meet in person for things.
That’s not the business I built. So local SEO doesn’t do me much. What I will tell people though, when it comes to like global businesses, is it is a decent idea to use a local keyword for your contact page because, you know, Google my business, kind of runs the whole like near me option when it comes to searching, and that really does drive search results for people, especially when it comes to things like service providers, businesses that sell things like products, restaurants.
So, You are kind of losing that opportunity, right? Like if you’re not actually saying where the hell you are from on your website and the contact page, everyone’s like, well, what do I say on this? Nothing. There’s, there’s tricks to the contact page friends to make it awesome. But you, you might wanna put, like, Erin Ollila is a Massachusetts copywriter serving clients globally.
You know, please fill out this form and she will respond to you in two business days. Here’s my little trick. This is my, one of my new favorite things include a frequently asked question on your contact page, even if it’s nested, meaning like you have to click on each, question to get the answer.
Erin: Google still reads that content, like as it reads the rest of the copy on your webpage. It didn’t previously, I mean, a long time ago it didn’t. And then when it. Did start, it didn’t even claim that it was doing it. People like in the SEO world be like, did you read nested comments? And Google would be like, I’m not really sure about that, until they were like, okay, fine.
We read the nested comments, but think about how many keywords you can get into a frequently asked question is photographer example. What are the locations that you work with your photography clients? Our photography clients come from. And you name those areas, right? Like we provide Denver Photography, um, whatever the other place find, again, my brain’s not working for your locations at all, right?
But you can just keep using those keywords naturally. Because you were explaining those locations now service or or product-based businesses that are global and not lo local specific can also have that same benefit. So even if in like the header of the page you mentioned again, like Massachusetts copywriter down below in the frequently asked questions, maybe the A, um, the question is like, do you only work with clients in Massachusetts?
And I can say I may be a Massachusetts copywriter, but. No. In fact, I’ve only had one Massachusetts client in the past seven years of my business, and they lived on the opposite side of the state. I usually work with clients from all over. I can manage time zones, all those things, right? So frequently asked questions for days on your contact page because there’s nothing else to say on a contact page.
And so I will recommend that if you’re not a local Bayes business, it’s a way to kind of sneak that localness in without making a big deal of it.
Colie: I mean, I was listening to you say all that, and I was like, I don’t even care about putting the location in that frequently asked question. Like I’m a big fan. I constantly tell people you need frequently asked questions on your proposals. Like on your quotes, and I tell them that because you don’t want to make the offer and have someone think of a question that you haven’t answered.
And so as much as you can like, you know, figure out how to answer those on your proposal, but that is bloody brilliant to put it on your contact page because like, okay, for example, One of the most frequently searched questions in relation to newborn photography is when should I schedule my newborn photography session?
Like that has nothing to do with the location, but it is a question that I tell a lot of my, like coaching students. You should have a blog post that answers that. You should have a blog post that answers that, cuz number one, it’s what your clients are gonna ask you, and then you can send them to this blog post that gives them all of these beautiful images where they can see the baby at a week.
Or six weeks or two months or whatever it is that your span is. But if you ask that question on your contact page, Google is gonna think that you’re very authoritative because you’ve answered the question.
Colie: But everybody seems to be Googling Erin. That’s
Erin: And then you move up to those searchlight boxes, like, you know, when we search and there’s like, you know, commonly asked questions. Those are some types of the boxes. And there’s other ones that the number one response is like, I, I actually make that for one of the website terms on my site multiple times, but it’s like, what is a copywriting coach?
Here’s the trick, friends. Okay. Google is gonna pick what it wants to pick no matter what you actually say. So my response to that, like my answer to what a copywriting coach is, I was, I’m like, Google, that doesn’t even make sense. Like the answer doesn’t make sense. You have to click over and then you can understand what the heck I do.
But if you ask actual questions on your website, specifically content, and you immediately follow it with like an answer, that’s like a definition. That’s what Google wants. So it will absolutely put you in that spotlight. Why are we not doing that right? Like that is absolutely what we all need to work on, on our, websites.
And when we have you, you know, you mentioned putting it in the frequently asked questions, adding it to proposals, um, interlinking throughout your own website is very important to build that authority for Google. So if it, if you’re a family photographer and you do newborns, maternity, all these other, you know, first birthday cake smashes, all these other things, I mean, Google is smart enough, but like, if you think about it, those are three different things that I just mentioned.
Right? Like so you are technically telling Google that you wanna be known for all of those things. Well, how can you, you use the pages and you link them together by having like a hyperlink on one page that sends them to the next page.
Erin: The reason why I’m always promoting blogs so much is not only because it gives us a chance to really explain things and show our expertise in ways that we can’t on our website pages, cuz those pages, friends, they’re not a diary, they’re not your memoirs, like they are literally just there to present information.
In regard to making a sale. But your blog post, like write your memoir if you want, like this is your storytelling chance. Like get on that stage, grab that mic, share your information, and that’s where people kind of like really start to trust you and get excited about working with you. So, The more blogs that you have, the more authority you’re building.
The, and we actually, I think we talked about this on the episode that you were on on my show, you, we don’t want to actually have to be like selling on discovery calls. So if you have like great quality blog content, you’re giving it to people in, um, the experience and the navigation that they need to receive this.
If they get on a discovery call with you without just booking, they’re gonna be so much easier to kind of like quote unquote sell to. And I say that because you’re not selling, you’re just kind of like making sure you’re a fit. They have the information before they contacted you. Yeah. I, I’m, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
Colie: I, you know, I like soap boxes. I like when my guests are like, yeah, I mean, especially when we agree on all of the things. And I just wanna say, I mean, it’s like a random ass question, Erin. Do they still call those breadcrumbs? Because like,
Erin: Yes. Yeah,
Colie: okay, so when you’re leading people from one blog post to another one in a very specific way, I just wondered if they still called it breadcrumbs.
Erin: do. But uh, every time I say it out loud, people are like, what? Like, like the fairytale, like they’re leaving breadcrumbs in a
Colie: Yes. Pretty much.
Erin: I mean technically, but they don’t like, it’s not as easy I think to remember. That’s why I call it interlinking because a lot of outgoing links, which is also very important with Google’s content update in 2022, they actually want to make sure part of the.
I don’t know if you’ve heard the acronym, it’s E E A T for like what they’re looking for. I’m obviously gonna mentally blank on what all of those stand for, but A is for authoritative and the way that they’re seeing that you are authoritative is actually by you sharing links out to other sites. So like when you pull in a stat, let’s say, it’s a stat, like a marketing stat and you like link out to HubSpot, which is a great website with quality content.
They’re giving you that check mark there. You’re not linking out to like jojo’s marketing 1 0 1 website, right? Like, so it’s tr you’re building that trust by linking to other sites with high domain authority. If you’re doing anything like the coaching field or the health field and you link out to like psych journals or um, physical health scientific journals.
You’re building your authority because Google knows you’re giving trustworthy information to their audience. They’re gonna pick you to share over someone who’s not linking out. So the breadcrumbs you share in your own site as well as the links that you share out of your site are becoming very important in 2023.
Colie: So let me ask you a question cuz I can’t remember who it was that said this to me and I just kind of rolled my eyes and like walked on. But someone said recently that like doing your SEO using the Yost plugin is not as effective as it used to be. And I’m like, I live and die by Yoast. I mean I literally made a video one time for my coaching students where I was sitting there.
And I was basically typing my title. I was typing my body, and the minute that I got two greens, I just stopped. And they’re like, why did you stop? I said, I got my two greens. I said, don’t get me wrong. I should probably finish my sentence. I was like, but literally guys, this is how I make my blog content.
Like I think about what I wanna say, I think about my keywords, but I am just going until yos tells me that I have done enough. And then I stop. And some of the things that you’ve mentioned, um, are part of like the yos checklist. Like do you have internal links? Do you have outbound links? What is the key word that you wanna rank for on this page?
Have you used that key word before? Which I think a lot of people are like, oh, but that’s like my key word. And they ignore it. And I’m like, no guys. If you’re using that same keyword on five pages, Google does not know which of those five pages is most important for the person who’s Googling to see. And so if they can’t make that decision, I mean, maybe they don’t show any of your pages.
Maybe they don’t. Yeah. So I mean, it’s Yoast on its way out. I feel like that’s one of the benefits of having a WordPress blog instead of Squarespace. I always feel sorry for the Squarespace users cuz they
Erin: I mean, I so silly. But when I moved from a PC to a Mac like 500 years ago, I asked all my Mac user friends like, why, why do you love it? And they’re like, I just do. It’s the best. And that’s really the whole word spit. WordPress versus any other site like platform it, WordPress is the best. Like they’re, you can be on those other sites.
We will not shame you, but the cool kids use WordPress. So to answer your question, It’s a tricky answer. You’re gonna be happy to know Yoast is not on the way out, but you might not be happy with the rest of my answer because technically Yoast does. Let’s, let’s pretend we’re talking about free Yoast right now.
Premium is slightly different, but to be completely honest with you, I never recommend people pay for the premium and it’s not worth it. So that’s why I’m like, ah, let’s just ignore that.
Erin: Okay, so Yoast does zero for you in regard to seo. Like absolutely zero except four. Give you the tools to know that you’re at least doing the right best
Colie: Oh, correct. Yes.
Erin: Yeah, but a
Colie: scared me for a
Erin: No, no. A lot of people don’t know that though. A lot of people think that like if they use the Yoast plugin, Yoast is like tapping Google on the back and being like, oh, here’s the keyword. Come check this out. I hear this like, I hear this probably 90% of the times where I’ll, like, I’ll tell people Yost is just there as a tool for you to kind of like share the way of how to approach things.
But it’s not gonna do anything for you with the slight. Difference of it does help with meta descriptions cuz ideally you want to create your own meta description. And what Yos does as a platform is it’s putting in the like code on the page that you don’t see like as the end user. Like so it’s actually title titling it like the meta section.
Right. Back to what I said about the whole like, , spotlight page and copywriting coach. For the most part, Google will like, Take what you have as the meta description and use it, but, but they don’t follow their own rules. They’re like, oh, no, no, Erin, I don’t wanna put that as my meta description. Here’s, I’m gonna put this random sentence you have on the page that makes like no sense.
You’re talking about like your love of banana bread, and that’s gonna be on your like website, coffee page. I’m, I’m not telling you Google makes its own rules when it comes to these, but, but it does help in that case, it also helps in the case of making, um, a site map if you don’t know how to make your own site maps for your website.
So using Google search console. You need to, upload a, a site map and then every time you make some major changes to your site and major changes could be something as small as like writing a bunch of blog posts or, and then publishing them. Not necessarily like a huge business change. You’ll want to like remove your site map and put up a new one, and Yoast can create a site map for you completely on its own, on the free plan.
So that’s helpful in those two things. As for the reds and the greens, I tell people not to look at that if it helps you. Cool. And here’s the thing, guys. I love to compete against myself. So if you open my WordPress dashboard right now, I will tell you I have five oranges or yellows going on from my seo.
I know that because I’m competing against myself to get the green, so I get where you’re coming from, but. What? What it is, is it’s just a tool. So think of like AI and how we talk about like, we have to ignore this or we have to ignore that. Like it is looking at the amount of words you have on the page and then doing formulas to say, okay, well this is a 2000 word blog post and here is a five word long tail keyword.
We wanna make sure this is said X number of times. But I can’t tell you how many random, random things I’ve seen in there where they’re like, you need to use this 36 more times. No. Do you remember what we talked about before about using variations? This is where Yost isn’t super helpful, cuz Yost is looking for the exact string of words in the exact order that you’ve given it to them.
So especially for long tail keywords like, One of the episodes I did on my show was Rachel Cook talking about how she created like, I don’t know if it was like 60 TikTok videos, but pre-recorded in a video shoot. So the long tail keyword of that show notes was how to become a.
TikTok content creator or something along like that. I’m not gonna say that. Like, especially with a question, kind of like, I’m not gonna say it over and over and over
Colie: You don’t wanna say it over and over. Oh, come on
Erin: like, are you wondering how to become a TikTok content creator? You know, like if your friends ask, are you wondering if you wanna be a TikTok content creator?
Like, it sounds ridiculous. And that’s where variation is super helpful. So variation on that could be like something tiny, like creating content for TikTok. TikTok content. X, Y, z. We don’t need to talk about that forever. But as an example, you can take a longer tail keyword, which is great cuz you want that niche audience and break it down with variation.
And Yost is not gonna recognize any of that hard work that you’re doing, which is better cuz it sounds more natural. Um, so as much as I get the thrill of having as many greens as you can have, I always tell people like, look at it and decide. Like yourself, how you’re going to move forward. Um, before you asked me about mistakes that people make, I think the easiest mistake to make, and I can say this because I do it myself all the time, is kind of taking the half ass approach to SEO because.
Let’s imagine you’re writing a blog post. You have that like WordPress backend up. You have a title, you have your introduction, some headings, a call to action. You fill out that Yoast area with like the SEO title, meta-description, and the keyword that you wanna target. But you’re not thinking of all the other things you need to do.
Like every image that you upload should have an alt text. And, and while I love to talk about it for SEO purposes, I, I really like people to remember the alt text is there for accessibility, not for seo. It is never been built for seo. Yes, Google looks at it, but you want to make sure you’re following these best practices so that people who are using screen readers.
Are able to read the content that you’re putting on the page, and what they are doing is reading the image. So of course you can use keywords in there if you’re doing it creatively enough, or if you’re ex like actually doing accessibility first and then keyword. But that’s one. The other thing is titles of the images.
Like people upload images to their, um, websites all the time that it’s like, especially photographers, you guys like, it’s like X Y Z W N Y B, capital X and 44, 500 dash 99.
Colie: Photography. Meet James number one. No, I shouldn’t be doing that, Erin. Okay.
Erin: No, that’s not, that’s actually not that bad. You’re at least having your brand name as your keyword, right?
Colie: good when all of the images
have my brand.
Erin: one, dash two dash three. Um, so we can definitely use those for SEO help. So I, we talk about like the mistake though. It’s cuz people are lazy. Like nobody wants to make sure that they like look at that checklist for each and every single blog post, each and every single page.
So I know for a fact those like random five or six. You know, non-green yo, things that I have are, because I never did my images on the page are because what are the other areas I get sometimes? Alt text, image titles, all these little things or sizing. Sizing is important. I don’t, I’m not the biggest pro in any tech.
SEO, my real, like strategic brain revolves around how it relates to content. But if your site doesn’t load fast enough, People are not going to look at it. So you can use something like GT metrics in order to like determine how viewers can see your website. Meaning what, what images take forever to load, how long It does take forever to load.
Google has Google page speed insights, I think it is, which does the very same thing, and that is both on desktop and mobile. So, Sometimes it’s as tiny as going into your pages, making sure they’re actually mobilely responsive and that you’re like decreasing the size of the image. So all of those images you’re uploading, you can’t have them be like five.
I don’t know. I don’t know how you are The photographer, like, what is it? Megapixels? I don’t
Colie: shouldn’t, they shouldn’t be nine megabyte
Erin: megabytes. Yeah. Thank you.
Colie: I will also say though, cuz every once in a while I have photographers that come to me with those metrics and they’re like, well, Colie, like, how can I make my website load faster? And sometimes they don’t like my answer.
My answer is you just get it as good as you can and then you have to bless and release because especially with us like.
All of those speed. Yes. We’re so picture heavy and a lot of those metrics were written for people more like you who are gonna have a better balance of images and copy on your website.
But when it
Erin: But that’s why photographers need copy, though. Like, I mean, yes, you are right, but that’s be right. Now, none of you guys have damn copy on your
Colie: I have copy all over my website. You’re a liar.
Erin: one of my, most recent photography clients, that’s probably over a year now, but like the last client that I had, I did research in their local area for photographers.
I was on like the 21st competitor I could find until I found a website that had actual copy and it was horrible copy. And I was like, well, you’re gonna just win the day. Like you are now gonna get like the king crown, the queen crown, like you are the photographer of the state because you’re gonna be the only photographer with damn copy on your website.
So people will actually find you first. So sorry for the interruption, but you are right. I in one sense, because you have a massive amount of photos on your website, it does weigh your site down. There, there are a few things to consider. If you are doing your own website or tell your website designer, you never really want your images to be in full.
You know, when you do the sizing and you upload them, you know, I, I think it’s like, what is it? Thumbnail, medium, large, and then full is the option. Full is not a good one when it comes to SEO because, forever for that, like largest content. Painful or whatever the, my brain is not working right now, but it takes forever to load.
It’s, it’s not gonna be shown as easily as something else. So that’s one tiny little thing that you can look at to see if that’s gonna help. The other thing is potentially housing your portfolio off your main site, yet using like the tools built into like WordPress or Squarespace or whatever to make your navigation bar.
Look like it’s still part of your website so that the main menu on the top of your website home about portfolio, right? What I’m saying there is when they click portfolio, they actually get sent offsite, but they’re not leaving your website. So that helps. But it’s not perfect. I mean, ideally, I would say keep people on your website if possible, but you know, there are little things you can do like that.
Colie: I mean, I feel like this is the first interview I’ve ever done with a non photographer where I get to talk about photography tools like this. So guys, what Erin just mentioned, if you are a Pic-Time user, I don’t know if you’re using their portfolio option, but you can actually go into your galleries and like make portfolios and make a portfolio page and embed that on your website.
So that when people are clicking, you are not uploading the images to your website. They are loading directly from pick time, which that’s not a feature that I’ve used in a really long time. But initially I used it a lot because I wanted to show off more photos. Erin, I feel like I could talk to you forever and I feel like I have gotten such good value out of this entire conversation thus far, and I have to make sure for my listening audience that I don’t forget to ask you the one question that I ask everyone.
So, Hey Erin, what’s the biggest fuck up in your business? What did you learn from
it, and How did you
Erin: time? How much time do we have?
Colie: That’s why I’m cutting you off so that I
Erin: of recording. Okay. So the biggest fuck up that I’ve had in my business, I, one thing I’m very proud of myself is I can a hundred percent always call myself out. And I’m working on seven years of business this year in August, so I’ve been around for a while.
Guys seen a lot, done a lot. I’ve consistently held myself back though, from what I didn’t recognize at the time was fear and perfection. So, for example, I might wanna launch a program and I have like this fabulous idea. I have a, a background in education, so I, I know how to build a course curriculum. Like I am a great teacher.
I know how to present material, but yet I’m like, what’s the title? Like, what do I say on the sales page? Everyone does this. I know, but for me it was a real big. Real big problem, you know, like doing client work first because it was easy to like, you know, build, get the money, spend the money. But then my own business was kind of traded as like, you know, the Cinderella.
Like, you know, if I could, she’d get a little attention, but most of it when I can really analyze. Truly what was happening. It’s easy for all of us to say things like, oh, I don’t have time for my business, or, I have so much client work to do, but we have to kind of like really check ourself why like, did your business won’t survive if you don’t actually like invest into it.
And I don’t mean just financially, I just, everything. A mindset investment. Time investment. So looking back, I think my key thing was that. I struggle with things like analysis paralysis and things like fear and perfectionism and just the anxiety of doing, and I found that once I finally forced myself to do things, I was like, oh shit, this is so much easier than I made it.
Right? Like I’m like, Or even like, I tend to either be like totally fine to halfass things or like ultra perfection. Like there’s, there’s those two sides that I swing on. But then I was like, well, if I’m fine to halfass this shit, like why can’t I just halfass ask this? Right? Like, and then I would do it, put the workout and I’d be like, that’s actually pretty good.
Like that, that right. So I think, I mean, if I’m answering this correctly, the problem is that I held myself back and I didn’t really treat my business. As a client like I should have, and how I’ve moved past that. What I’ve learned is really, like sometimes you just have to do things in a b plus way or a half-ass way.
And I think that the more you do, the more you prove to yourself that you can. I don’t necessarily suffer from insecurity and thinking I can’t do things, but I still think that, like proof of concept that I’m. That I am achieving, that I am doing is the motivation to, and the excitement to keep going with it.
Colie: Yeah. I mean, guys, she basically just said, in a nutshell, done is better than perfect. I’m just gonna summarize that I know. Well, it’s because it’s a phrase that I use quite often and I use it a lot with the people that I work with. I’m like, guys, I literally do not care what decision you make, but you have to make a decision because that’s the only way that you’re gonna put it out into the world and test it in order to make it better.
If you are stuck in the indecision and you never put it out there, you never know what works and what doesn’t work. And I’m also gonna put a plug in here for a previous podcast episode, guys, I can’t remember the number, but it’s the Working weekend episode with Sabrina Gephart, and I’m gonna put a pitch in here for you guys to go back and listen to that one.
Because literally that is what Sabrina and I do to get over what Erin just said, like, and we’ve done it together, which is what that episode is about, but we’ve also done it separately. I will schedule myself, Erin, a weekend at an Airbnb where no one asks me what’s for dinner. There’s no client work to be done, and I am just sitting in the Okay.
I need to improve this course. What do I need to do in order to get this done? And it’s just, it’s amazing what you can do when you wake up in a house where you are not responsible for anything. And anyone and DoorDash will bring you food. Guys, you won’t starve. So,
Erin: Absolutely. And I think that’s kind of key though, especially for the, the woman and the mothers who are listening for me. Like I can po I can point out that exactly is why I, how I approach things, but I have to give myself grace to remember that. Like I had two babies th throughout having a business that were home with me full-time with zero childcare for seven years.
Meaning I was, I mean I have a husband and he is an excellent dad. No gender stereotypes here of him, like half-assing it as a parent, like he does a huge amount of the work here. Yeah, I’m still the primary parent. I’m the one that like kids wanna cuddle with that when they’re sick. I have to be up all night every night.
So I try to remind myself like, okay, the reason you were in this mindset or that you are struggling is you’re learning how to run a business. You’re learning how to pivot your business and you have so many decisions and. Things that are on your brain, like that mental load, how could you possibly make any decisions?
Right? So I say that as kind of like a little bit of a boost if anyone’s going through that, because in truth we have to look at our bandwidth. I don’t know how to do that, which makes me think that I could like have like 500 courses. And 600 clients because I have that like excitement to do it. But I do have to check myself really to be like, well, what stage of life am I in?
What stage of business am I, am I in? And how much of me can I give to other people? So keep that in mind. And if it’s giving yourself grace that now’s not the season, then do that. And if you are out of the season, then you know, go all in and stop holding yourself back.
Colie: Ah, that’s it. Erin, stop holding yourself back. I am gonna cut you off because we could
talk forever, but guys, I mean, yeah. Erin, tell the listening audience where they can find you if they wanna hear more of you. Your amazing podcast and about your website copy and SEO offers.
Erin: Sure. Um, just come on over to my podcast. You’re in a podcast player right now. So my podcast is called Talk Copy to me. It is a marketing show that. Really talks about this copywriting and seo. And then if you wanna find me, just Google Erin Ollilia. And this is my like silly plug. I kind of have to stop saying it at this point cause I’ve said it so many times.
But I have great seo, so Google knows me, right? Like we, he Google in, whether it’s a he or she is actually my wingman. So you can spell that crazy last name of mine completely wrong. And Google will be like, oh Erin, you want Erin? Okay, here she is. So like, make up how you spell my last name and you’ll still find me on the internet.
Colie: That’s impressive ERIN. All right guys. That’s it for this episode. See you next time,