Emily Thompson 0:00
Hello and welcome to being boss episode number 69. This episode is brought to you by fresh books, cloud accounting.
Being boss and work and life is being in it.
Kathleen Shannon 0:16
It's being who we are doing the work, breaking some rules.
Unknown Speaker 0:21
And even though we each
Emily Thompson 0:22
have to do it on our own, being boss is knowing we're in it together.
Kathleen Shannon 0:27
Today, we are so excited to be talking to SEO and content strategist Caitlin Brown. Caitlin also works for us here at being boss and a breed creative and is a wealth of information. And today we're specifically talking about SEO. And it's funny because I kind of thought that SEO was a little bit outdated and nerdy and like, why should I care? But Caitlyn has recently made it so clear to me that SEO can be like really holistic, it doesn't have to be contrived or forced. And it's something that you're sleazy or sleazy, it's something that you can do to really build your online business in a really authentic and powerful way. Hey, guys, I want to take a second to talk about our sponsor fresh books. Fresh books is the easy to use invoicing software designed to help creative entrepreneurs get organized, save time invoicing, and get paid faster. Now I personally use and love fresh books. I first started using fresh books whenever I was a solopreneur. freelancer. I remember I did the free trial which you can try your own free trial by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section. So I started with a free trial. And after 30 days, I had to commit to a plan. And what's really great about freshbooks is that the plan starts at just 995 a month. So I promise you that it is an expense that will pay for itself. Because using software like fresh books will make you more efficient, it will help you get paid faster, and it will just help you be more legit. So stay on top of your business with a clear picture of its financial health. Try fresh books for free today. Just go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and inter being boss, and how did you hear about us section?
Unknown Speaker 2:28
Try your free trial for 30 days. And
Kathleen Shannon 2:30
then after that you can start a plan for just 995 a month. All right back to our show. So welcome to the show, Caitlin.
Unknown Speaker 2:41
Yay. Thanks for having me.
Kathleen Shannon 2:43
It's fun to have you like on the side of things.
Caitlin Brehm 2:45
I know I've been like I practice sometimes in the shower, like not really that I was like, I'm definitely going to be on being boss. But I was like, if I were in being boss, this is how I would talk about SEO.
Kathleen Shannon 3:02
I love it. So um, something that happened recently is Emily, now you relaunch the being boss website. So now it's being boss club. And in Asana, we tasked you with SEO the shit out of it. And so now there's something that we say all the time, like, we're just going to SEO the shit out of this, but again, not in a sleazy way. So why don't you tell us a little bit about why SEO, which for those of you who don't know what that means it's search engine optimization. So maybe we can start there. Tell us what search engine optimization is all about. And why does it matter?
Caitlin Brehm 3:37
Yeah, well, it's a, it's a tough question. Because SEO search engine optimization has changed a lot since search engines became a thing. So there's a lot of old information out there that people are still reading as if it's still relevant today. And there's a lot of misinformation out there. And just a lot of I mean, there's so many moving parts that a lot of people when they start researching SEO, or when they start just trying to figure out how they can get it to work for them. They're only seeing a piece of it, and it might not be the piece that's most helpful for them. So basically what I tell people, especially like family and friends who are like what do you do? That great question that we all love. I say search engine optimization. So basically what I do is I help your website or your online presence get found by the people that you want to get found by so your ideal clients, and that is such a simplified version of what SEO is. But ultimately that's the whole goal is trying to get those eyes and specifically the eyes that you want. Not just all eyes, on your website and on your content.
Emily Thompson 4:49
High five, so good. I could geek out about SEO all day because I hate it but I love it so much. talk about that a little bit. Because there is a lot of misinformation out there about search engine optimization. And as you know, online business owners, like getting your website actually found is why you need it. And why have a website if no one can find it. So let's talk about like, some of the achy or so called acre sides of SEO in terms of and I'm speaking specifically about clients who have come to me in the past, who have hired SEO people and are paying them 500 bucks a month, or whatever to get them in the search engines. And that's bullshit. So let's talk a little bit about how search engine optimization applies to just everyday folks trying to run a website.
Caitlin Brehm 5:44
Yeah, well, that's the thing, actually, in terms of paying someone $500 a month to do your SEO, that's not unreasonable. But you need to really have a handle of that person's SEO philosophy. And like Kathleen said, when she introduced me, I take a more holistic approach. So that means that my version of SEO is heavily focused on creating a good content strategy, and making sure your social media is working for you. And I mean, I've had people want to hire me for SEO because their website wasn't working for them. And I look at their website, and I'm like, hmm, you need a new website design first, like, all of these things are important for SEO first, and those kind of sleazy, I guess people are just going to say, Okay, yeah, I'll work with you. Even if they know that, like, their efforts aren't going to help as much as, say, a new website design or content strategy.
Kathleen Shannon 6:42
And I think specifically, what Emily is talking about is someone that's coming in and updating your tags as you go every month on blog posts, which is, uh, maybe important to SEO? I really don't know. But someone like you, Caitlin, I would gladly pay you $500 a month, and I do. So. Um, so yeah, so yeah,
Emily Thompson 7:04
let me plug in here. Because what I am referring to is the people who do SEO, where you don't know what they're doing, because really what they're doing because SEO is such this like abstract thing to most website owners, that they're really just pulling reports once a month and telling you what's going on, they're not actually diving into your content or really understand your business that well, they're just like researching keywords and then googling them and seeing where you fall and presenting reports. I think, I think that that sort of sleazy side of SEO, and and going in, and there's several sleazy sides of SEO that I certainly want to talk about. But I think that that what you're talking about is the SEO that I enjoy, and it's the one that I find to seriously helpful because, you know, taking your really crappy website and just googling it once a month, and then sending your report is not the kind of SEO that you need to be paying for you can do that yourself. So let's talk about the kinds of SEO that that people do need to be paying for. And let's start with that website. Because that is certainly the part that I dive in the most so start there.
Caitlin Brehm 8:06
Totally. Yeah. So the the sleazy kinds of SEO that people do are going to be they are going to pull those reports. And part of the reason why they do that is because it's like easy proof to show like, hey, things are happening. But things are happening, even if nobody's doing anything right like a main websites are changing. What you want to look out for are people who are offering quick fixes, who are saying that they're going to get you like hundreds of backlinks. That's really spammy and can really hurt your website. And yeah,
Kathleen Shannon 8:37
okay, so I'm gonna talk about this, because at least once a week, I get someone emailing me asking if they can give me $100 their link in one of my websites.
Emily Thompson 8:48
Yep. Right or trade or simply say you put my link on your website? I'll put, and I'm like, no, no.
Kathleen Shannon 8:54
Are you kidding? My face right now? Yeah. I think that a lot of younger bloggers and businesses fall for this. And they're like, Whoa, I can get $100. For this. It's not worth it. So totally.
Caitlin Brehm 9:06
Well, the thing is, like, that's a legitimate strategy, like what backlinking is, for those of you who have never heard that term, it's basically Google. And when I say Google, I mean, all search engines, but I think most of us use Google. So I find myself saying that, but they look at so let's back up a second. When the search engines, crawl your sites, they have these things called spiders. I just wrote a blog post about this, actually, but they crawl your website. And what they're doing is they're looking at all of the written content on your website. So all of the words, they're also looking at all of the tags, which are important, Kathleen, but a lot of times, people put too much emphasis on that, I think so they're looking at those tags. They're looking to see if you have multimedia content. They're looking for all these things and the way they move throughout the internet is by links. So if there's a link on your site, they will follow it. And if you have a lot of links pointing to your website that shows that you are a legitimate source of information and that people want to send other people to your website, presumably, because you're offering good information. Now, if they're spammy links, I mean, the search engine algorithms are so smart and can tell and you will be punished. But if somebody like being boss is linking to your website, and it's like a high authority, you know, like people know about being boss. And if you guys are linking to somebody's site, the search engines, they're gonna be like, Oh, these people are legit. They're getting these like high profile websites linking to them. So that's why people are willing to offer money because they know how important that is. And that is a really sketchy tactic. And it's really hard to get away with that without getting punished. But
Kathleen Shannon 10:52
But on the flip side, does that make it a good case to? Like, is guest blogging still alive? Is that still something that you should be doing? Um, is that something that can help your SEO is like providing content on other people's sites?
Caitlin Brehm 11:05
Yeah, absolutely. And the thing is that you do have to be careful, because people are really sketchy about guest posting, too. And they'll pitch you something and never have read your site and don't even know if like, you're really relevant, like if your audiences match up at all. So um, guest posting is really good if you're doing it in like, a legit and authentic way. And you really are a fan of whoever you're posting on their site, or if you like, even want to just build that relationship. And it's all about, I mean, the thing is, like SEO is really, if you just boil it down, it's really just common sense. Like, it feels icky. It probably is. But if you're writing really good content, if you're sharing that content consistently and everywhere, if you're guest posting, because you actually want to tell that other person's audience something or you really respect that site. It's good for you, as a human, it's good for your human audiences. And it's also good for like your search engine, ness, your SEO.
Emily Thompson 12:09
Well, and I really want to point your out here to that, like SEO certainly has two sides, like there's the quick like, icky way to get to search engine optimization, or there's like an authentic, legit, cool way to do some search engine optimization. And I think I think that's one of the things that that I like about what you do the most is that you understand the difference. And you go for the side that I vote for much more than the side that that I've encountered so much in the past. Because you can just email every website, you come across and say, hey, let's trade links, and then like hope that some of it fits in a way that search engines actually find helpful for you. Or you can authentically guest post in places where your audience, your audiences are shared, and actually have that purposefully and mindfully build your search engine optimization, or search engine ranking. Because there is certainly a difference there. And there's a more more effective way I think of going about it, obviously, guest posting is good thing
Caitlin Brehm 13:08
totally. And that's the thing, too, is that like, that takes so much more effort, you know what I mean? Like people will pay somebody, however many hundreds of dollars a month, who promises some sort of, you know, quick fix, because they don't want to do the work. But if you're not willing to do the work, then
Unknown Speaker 13:27
don't even serve.
Caitlin Brehm 13:29
Don't even think about SEO because you need to do the work in order for it to work for you.
Kathleen Shannon 13:34
So I'm going to talk a little bit about some standard SEO practices that can help and hurt your business things that someone could probably even just DIY themselves. So Caitlin, what was your number one tip for helping your SEO beat when it comes to your website?
Unknown Speaker 13:52
Unknown Speaker 13:53
Caitlin Brehm 13:55
I have a little bit of tough love to deliver for this one. But I know that you listeners are here because you like tough love. So I'm actually have two pieces of tough love for this. So number one, I've seen this a couple times. And just like online when people will say like, Oh, I'm just not getting because basically when people say they want SEO and they're like okay really need to focus on my SEO now. It's because they're not getting the numbers that they want. They're looking at Google Analytics or whatever analytics and they're not getting the number of traffic per month or whatever on their site. And so they complain about it and are trying to figure that out. And first of all, if I look on these sites sometimes and I had to come like a moment myself too, because like my numbers myself on my own site, I would like them to be much higher and I you know, you get into this mindset of like, oh, like I'm not maybe I'm not as legit as I thought or like those Friday feelings start creeping in. But I realized this week that you know what those four Do you feelings are true? Because I have not been blogging consistently, I have not been sharing my stuff across social media consistently. And yes, I do that for my clients, I do that for you guys. I'm helping you like get your content strategy consistent. We're sharing it all over the place. But I'm not taking myself on as my own client. So this is true for like any creative entrepreneur. Whether you do SEO, or content writing, or social media or design, you need to be your own client, you need to have yourself be a priority on the same level as your client.
Kathleen Shannon 15:36
Preach like hands. Amen.
Caitlin Brehm 15:41
So if you're complaining about your numbers, and you're wondering about SEO, look at your own site first. And first figure out are you actually blogging once a week, every single week, like and not just for like, a couple months at a time, and then you like, take your hiatus, and then you're like, Oh, I'm back in it. But like, are you actually
Kathleen Shannon 15:58
it's not a diet and write business. So here's something that I've been really thinking a lot about lately, Caitlin, that fits right in with this. And it actually is a metaphor that I came up with while I was lifting weights, which, okay, so hang with me here, because I promise that relates. But I've just gotten back into lifting weights, and there's a lot of like, your ego can totally get in the way, whenever you're bicep curling, a 10 pound dumbbell, you're like, Oh my god, this is such a little weight. But recently, my trainer was like, you need to pretend like that 10 to 10 pound dumbbell like, even if it's easy enough, and you think you could go up. But to get proper form, you really need to pretend like that 10 pound dumbbell is 20 pounds, or 30 pounds. And it got me thinking about how whenever we start small, we need to pretend as if we're huge as if we're already huge. So kind of acting the part that we want. I think this relates to sharing content all the time. And so one of the things that Emily and I talked recently about in our Secret Episode that's available to our clubhouse members. And if you want to learn more about that go to being boss club slash club house. So one of the things that we talked about in that Secret Episode is that even if you have a newsletter list that is 10 people, or if you have a blog following that is only 10 people reading, you need to still treat it as if it's 1000, or 10,000, or however many people it is that you eventually one day want to read your blog. So the to bring the metaphor full circle is pretending to live that 10 pound weight as if it's 20 pounds is the same thing as kind of treating yourself as your own client. Like you need to be as serious about this as you want to be like in the future, right? But you have to start today. So I hope that I hope that metaphor doesn't totally suck. But
Emily Thompson 17:54
it was artistically done.
Caitlin Brehm 17:56
No, and I think that totally makes sense. Because it is it is about treating your business and your online presence, like a legit business and a legit online presence. Like that's how you get found online. Because even though like confidence isn't something that you can measure is from an SEO perspective, it shows and if you have confidence behind what you do, like that is some sort of magic juice. I don't I don't even know like how to like, I can't measure it in terms of SEO but I know that it makes a difference you know what I mean?
Kathleen Shannon 18:28
I love that word.
Emily Thompson 18:31
Ah da measure confidence in in that consistent blog posts, backlinks and smart usage of keywords because you know what the hell you're talking
Caitlin Brehm 18:41
about? Yeah, and not being afraid to promote your stuff like this is going back to Laura routers episode about Meet Edgar like you need to like, I've seen so many people write these wonderful blog posts, and they'll share it once on their newsletter. They'll tweet it once they'll share an Instagram image about it and maybe they'll share it on Facebook and then it and I mean part of our strategy with being boss and with braid is it's connected with me Edgar. So we are posting those things all the time. Like First of all, we're posting it multiple times throughout the week of published so we're saying like, hey, new content, like read this, read this read this. And we're not losing followers for you guys. Like people want to consume your content. That's why they're following you. So it's okay. You are allowed to promote it and that is how you're going to get found and get those numbers back on your website.
Emily Thompson 19:38
So that was was that both of your tough love pieces? Oh, no, that
Unknown Speaker 19:42
was tough. Love number one, so
Emily Thompson 19:43
please toughen them. Tough Love number two.
Caitlin Brehm 19:45
Okay, so tough love number one is pretty much all about content strategy, like make sure your content is there. Make sure you're sharing it,
Emily Thompson 19:52
get your shit done. Yes.
Caitlin Brehm 19:53
teraflop number two,
Unknown Speaker 19:56
Caitlin Brehm 19:57
So when people ask What is like one thing I can do for SEO? I liken it a lot to kind of, like weight loss, or like getting the perfect body image. Not even like we're body positive here, but like so you see your friend and they like, it's summertime. And you're like, they are looking on point. So you go up to them and you say, What is your secret? What do you do? And what you want them to say is, oh, I did this three day cabbage soup diet. And overnight, I lost 20 pounds. But the answer is that they spent the time they cleaned up their diet, they nourish their body, they worked out consistently. And it took time It took months, maybe even years for them to get to where they are. And that's the only answer. There's no way they
Kathleen Shannon 20:50
attended, like their 10 pound weights were 20 pounds.
Unknown Speaker 20:53
Emily Thompson 20:54
there you go.
Kathleen Shannon 20:57
Thank you, Caitlin. Full Circle. This is why their content strategy.
Caitlin Brehm 21:01
But yeah, so it's the same thing with your, with your SEO, like you need to put the work in, you need to know that there's nobody who's gonna give you get you to number one in Google search, which isn't even a promise that anyone can make you by the way, if anybody says that runaway wish you could see this wagging is amazing. Don't even, um, but yeah, so if there's nobody who's going to get you there in a couple days or a couple of weeks, and if, by some miracle they do, you're probably going to get punished by the search engines, or it just won't last. So you have to do the work to build up that really amazing content, what I suggest, so I do SEO and content strategy. And to me they're very much intertwined. Like you cannot separate them. Search Engine algorithms, when they're measuring, indexing a website and figuring out which search queries to match it to whenever somebody Google's something. They, it's always changing, and they're moving more and more toward the user experience. So they're looking for kind of more of the overall picture. And they're looking at it more from a human perspective now. So the best thing you can do for your site, in terms of SEO, is really get your content focused in on the topic that you want to be an authority of. So and that can be multiple topics. I mean, I do SEO and content strategy. And even though to me, they're the same thing. They really are two different things. But for example, I mean, as with most people, my blog has gone through so many phases. And I blogged about travel and I blogged about food recipes. And I was blogging about wedding planning when I was getting married. And all of those things are so not related to SEO or content strategy. So I really had to take a look and say, okay, like these things are not serving this topic of authority that I want to be known for and found four. So that's just kind of luck that I need to take out. But if you name like even your website categories and your blog categories by these topics, and then use that as the framework to plug in all of your content. I mean, do that consistently. And you're there like that's all you have to do.
Kathleen Shannon 23:19
I'm having a crisis right now.
Unknown Speaker 23:21
Unknown Speaker 23:24
Emily Thompson 23:26
Okay, I told her to raise three quarters of her.
Kathleen Shannon 23:31
That's exactly what happened. Okay. So here's the deal. I've got braid creative. And I feel like I recently hired you, Caitlin, even though you are actually our assistant at braid and not being boss. But we've also hired you independently of those duties and tasks. And maybe I shouldn't even say that on this podcast, because you were not an assistant for hire. But we've also hired you for SEO on both braid creative, right?
Caitlin Brehm 23:58
We are using brain I've been doing some SEO work for brain, but we can talk about that later. Okay.
Kathleen Shannon 24:05
Anyway, I know that you we've hired you for being boss to do some SEO work. And so anyway, um, what I was going to what got me, sorry, Cory, edit some of this stuff out. I'm so sorry. Okay, so here's what got me freaking out whenever you're saying this is that I've got braid creative. And I feel like we've got a pretty good handle on SEO and what we want to be known for. And even since the beginning with that has been it could probably use a little bit of cleanup, but I feel good. Being boss. We recently had a wonderful opportunity of hiring you upon launch so that we can have a strategy in place from the get go, which I think is really super helpful. And I want to talk a little bit about some of the tactics that you've like some of the questions that you've asked us as we've gotten set up to help us figure out what it is that we want to be known for. But then wait got me freaking out whenever you were just talking about this is my old personal blog and cat Lean. So it's in Kathleen calm. That's basically how I started my entire creative career. And I'm talking everything from wedding invitations. So I actually had Martha Stewart weddings contact me recently wanting to feature some of my wedding invitations. And I was like, I don't do that anymore. I've got a Everest trek or my trek to Mount Everest in Nepal from a few years ago, I will never take that down. I've got a bunch of adventures and travels my whole, I recounted my entire, like pregnancy story. So my question, I guess, is what I want to be known for now has become, even though I still very much have a personal brand, I'm not sharing as much of that stuff in online content that I would want to be like search engine optimized, like I'm more than happy to share that stuff on Periscope or even on this podcast. But whenever it comes to what I want to be known for, I want to be known for a boss who is an expert in personal branding, and branding, and then the podcast, right? So basically, here's the thing, do I need to get rid of like all my content?
Caitlin Brehm 26:04
Whoa, no. So and that's the thing too, is like, you are going to change in your online presence. Like, even now, like, looking back a year from now, being boss is not going to look the same. It's just something I mean, for everybody. And SEO advice from personal blog to business blog is very different, because there are different goals. So an airplane is definitely a personal blog. And it started out as a personal blog. And yes, you kind of built your expertise and your business from it. But it evolved along with that. And then you created another website, you created breed creative, to really hone in on that expertise, and kind of kept and Kathleen more of a personal sort of blog too. So for people who don't want to create a totally separate website, which was me, by the way, I mean, I still have blog posts up on my site about my trip to Spain, hiking the Camino de Santiago, and I'm never gonna take that down, because it was so meaningful to me. And it's not helping me in terms of SEO for my topics of authority, but it is helping me be a human, for my human audience who wants to relate to me. So those posts, for example, are not something that I'm really like, trying to promote super hard or trying to, you know, write all those meta tags to really like, tell the search engines like, Oh, I want to be ranking on the top page for Camino de Santiago or whatever. But um, I think it's really okay to keep those things in there. And I think it's really, I'm glad you brought this up. Because people sort of get a little freaked out, if they're too focused on SEO, they lose that storytelling aspect of writing content. And that is so hugely important. And the search engines are going to reward you for content that gets people staying on that page, because that means they're reading it, and they're interacting with it. And they're engaging with it. And they're clicking around to read more of it. So even if it's not totally related to your topic of authority, like have the your topics of authority be the main bread and butter of your website. But I mean, absolutely, like throwing a fun post here and there like that human connection with your audience is so important, and will ultimately help you get those numbers to because people want to know you on a human level.
Emily Thompson 28:36
Get them? You have a follow up to that?
Kathleen Shannon 28:39
I do. I mean, kind of. Well, I just had a question about so we know that SEO and content strategy goes hand in hand. But what about we've touched on this a little bit, but how does social media fit into the overall SEO and content strategy?
Caitlin Brehm 28:55
Yeah, well, so social media, your website, the content you have in your website is your home base. your social media is how you reach out to other people and get discovered by other people. And I actually did a periscope about this a couple months ago, but social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, like those are all also search engines, people search them to find information just like you would in Google. So you do want to appeal to those things, too. You do want to be posting your links to your stuff on there. And you do want to be posting like status updates and whatever that had to do with your topics of authority because people can find you through those channels. So I think, I mean, they definitely do play into SEO, they help you get your content out there and pull people into your site. And that's always what you should be doing. And actually earlier. So here's another plug for the being boss clubhouse. Every month, there is a q&a call.
Emily Thompson 30:01
Caitlin Brehm 30:02
today's recording was with Amy kreski, who is wonderful, and I love her so much. And she has been doing a lot of periscopes. And she mentioned, she was talking about her periscope strategy. And we have a lot of the same periscope strategy because we talk about it a lot. And she did get some of those tips for me because I was trying to figure out I noticed when I was on Periscope, for example, and a lot of people do this with all social media platforms, they'll direct you to or even just in conversations like, hey, look me up on Instagram, instead of, Hey, this is my website, go to my website. But especially for Periscope, people will say, hey, catch the replay on catch.me. And you're directing people away from your website to view your content, social media should always be directing people to your website to be your view your content. So, um, what Amy does. And what I do too, is we download our replays and then put them up on our websites as blog posts. So not only can you say, hey, catch the replay on my website, or you know, link to within your content, if it's related content, like, Hey, I did a periscope about this link here. And it's internal link to your websites, you're getting people to move throughout your website. But for example, if I do a periscope about SEO keywords, I can title that blog post SEO keywords. So it's in the title of the blog post, that means it's in the URL that's on my website, I have that multimedia content video embedded, which the search engines like because it gets people more engaged. And then I also write little show notes for each of my periscopes. So that similar to on the being boss website, where you have your bullet points of resources mentioned and topics discussed. You can also because search engines can't read video content, they can see Oh, her one bullet point was SEO keywords for blog posts, and you know, things like that and see the link content that I had. So it's all helping me in terms of SEO, it's getting that content on my website, and then I look more legit, because I can direct people to my website. And then once they finish the video, they can say, Oh, she's so cool. I'm going to sign up for her newsletter or I want to check out more stuff. Um, so yeah, that was kind of a roundabout answer. But um, social media helps promote your stuff, but you need to use it in a smart way to direct people to your website. And that can also be like embedding your Instagrams in your post, if you don't like blogging, like social media is a really great way to get your voice out there without actually writing, you just need to make sure that you're bringing that content, always back to your website.
Kathleen Shannon 33:00
That's so smart. And it's something that you know, I've been periscoping and my periscopes are a little bit more like the equivalent of my personal blog, I would say I do talk some business, but I feel like I would have to get some serious strategy going about like, okay, on this Periscope, I'm only going to talk about these things that I'm an expert at. And maybe pepper in some personal stuff, but like not go off on a tirade about not getting sleep or whatever it might be that day. Um, okay, then my question is, what will hurt your SEO? Like, what are things that people might be doing inadvertently, that they aren't really thinking about? Like, for example, telling people to go catch their periscopes on catch instead of putting it putting it on their own website? Is there anything else that we could be doing that is accidentally hurting our SEO?
Caitlin Brehm 33:47
Well, the thing is, is that if you're just a normal person, which all listeners are, you're not going to be hurting your SEO, you might not be helping it but like, unless you're like actually doing these sketchy practices we mentioned earlier, where you're like, paying people to put your link on sites and like all those like sketchy things like you're not going to hurt your SEO. You might be doing things like you might be sharing content, and you might be putting content in your website that isn't helping your SEO. And a lot of ways, I guess the most common way I see is if you are you post a blog post, for example, and it's like a creative fun title that isn't necessarily really descriptive of like your main point. So if I were writing about like SEO keywords, but I like use a fun story as an anecdote, which I do. And then my title had more to do with that anecdote than actually having SEO keywords in the title. Like it makes it a little bit more difficult for the search engines to know that actually this post is about SEO keywords and not like a hunky firemen who showed up at my door. Um, so it's just kind of being, um, be mindful of how people are searching for you. I don't want people to get too obsessive about it. So never do it in an unnatural way. But just think about just being more aware of like, I think people just don't really think about these things before. They're like, Oh, I need to like research, SEO and learn all about it. Like, just make sure you're doing everything consistently. You're blogging consistently, you're talking about the things that your business is on the topics of authority that you want to be on. But in terms of like hurting your SEO, I mean, you can't hurt your SEO, just always send people to your website. Yeah, don't send them really, other places. Make sure everything's pointing back to you, and where like your money making stuff is.
Kathleen Shannon 36:01
What about duplicate content. So this is actually something that recently I decided to migrate some posts over from an Kathleen to read creative, because I felt like they really supported my expertise there and needed some blog content. So, um, what about duplicate content?
Caitlin Brehm 36:19
Yeah, that was actually something I wanted to mention. So duplicate content, it's tricky. Um, it used to be an just as most things in SEO, it's something that's been changing. So for a while, it was like very black and white, like, do not post any duplicate content, you will be punished. And a lot of people freak out about that, especially when it comes to like if they post something on their website, and then they want to post that same thing on like, medium, for example. Personally, I don't really think that's a good idea. Because again, you're like putting your content on someone else's platform, and not people directing people back to your website. But there's, um, that stuff isn't really going to impact you as negatively as a lot of people will have you think it's not the best thing to do, but it's not really going to hurt you. Um, so what does hurt you is if you're like, stealing people's blog posts, and like, actually, like, maliciously copying stuff, the search engines contract that and will punish you. But in terms of like our strategy for moving stuff from and Kathleen to braid, what we did to sort of counteract that is, first of all, those posts that we moved, were pretty old. And they were like a year, maybe two years old. So wouldn't have been a big deal if we just directly copied them over and left them on both platforms. But what we did is we updated them, copy them over, and then created a 301 redirect from the old post on your site to the new one, so that if anybody tries to go to the old post, they'll automatically get turned back to the new one on braid. And that is actually, I said that you can't hurt yourself. But that is actually something that can hurt you is if you're just deleting things and leaving, like 404 error, not found pages all over the internet. The search engines will see that and say like, Oh, this site is all sorts of broken and you can't find content. Like always make sure that you're using your 301 redirects properly. So even if I said earlier that I took down a lot of irrelevant content from my blog, I redirected all of that back to just my main blog page, so that I kind of closed up those holes, and made sure there wasn't any 404 pages. So
Emily Thompson 38:48
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Kathleen Shannon 40:00
Then Google with a wit.
Emily Thompson 40:05
So we talked about some things that would cause it to happen. But like, explain that, like, I feel like that's a little like, they're probably people like Kathleen, thinking that Google's coming after you with,
Caitlin Brehm 40:14
yeah. Um, in most cases, that's not something you have to worry about Google again, like their, their algorithm is so smart. And they're changing it so much like they're not trying to punish like, bloggers who are like trying to do the right thing, but just don't really understand. But if you do get punished by Google whipped by Google, you don't get like a notice or anything, you're going to see that you're going to see your rankings slowly dip, and you might notice that your traffic starts to slowly decline. And so a lot of people don't really even know that that's what happened. Because there's so many things that could cause that to happen, especially if you like, aren't blogging consistently or anything like that. Um, but I have worked actually with a couple sites in past jobs, past SEO jobs, where they had been punished by Google because they had hired a sketchy SEO person who did all these bad things. And basically, what we found, I mean, there are a couple things you can do. If you think you're punished by Google, you probably do want to hire a professional to help you out. What we did is we did a full site audit, and we looked at all of the backlinks. So again, these are people who are linking to this website. And we found that they were a bunch of those, like super spammy, like porn slash, like different languages, sites that like aren't even I don't know. And so we were like, okay, somebody submitted you to a bunch of directories, because they promised that it would help you. But Google doesn't like that. And so like, that's why your website isn't doing well. So it's kind of a lot of work, because we had to go through and manually remove all of those links. So contact all of those websites first. And then if that didn't work, then we had to submit a request to Google and say, like, Hey, this is what we've done so far, like we're trying here, you kind of have to make your case. So it's pretty extreme. And it doesn't it. I don't want any listeners to freak out about it. Because like, the likelihood that you're being punished by Google is next to nothing. Alright, so
Emily Thompson 42:27
we've talked about, like content, so the content that goes on your website and social media and pointing people back to your website, and just sort of having good practices and things like that. But as a website person, I want to go back to talking about websites, because websites really are like, the foundation of good search engine optimization, even you said a minute ago, like if someone hires you, and they go have a really shitty website, then like, that's the first step. So talk about that a little bit. How does your website need to be built? In order to give you that firm foundation for great Seo?
Caitlin Brehm 43:02
Yes. So as with most things in SEO, look at it from your human perspective, build your website so that it's really easy to navigate, especially that main like navigation menu, you should be able to clearly see within seconds of being on your website, what you're like what you're all about, like people should be able to know what you offer or who you are. And then they should clearly be able to say, oh, if I want to learn more, there's the about page and the navigation menu. And there's the blog page. And there's the hire me page, which is a lot of common sense. But I mean, maybe Emily, you wouldn't be surprised, but you'd be surprised at how many people just have like, really confusing websites where like even a human, let alone a search spider would like go to your site and not know even where to go. So make sure that your website is really cleanly laid out and easy to navigate. And that's not just in that main navigation menu, but like have sidebars to where it makes sense and put links within your text. Like always be pushing people to different places throughout your website that relate to the content you're talking about. And then also just keep it simple and keep it clean. The search engines are getting better with this but all of that like really complicated. Animation websites like search engines have a really hard time figuring out what that is they can't read it as well. And it's probably
Kathleen Shannon 44:39
search engines are like my grandma. They're like little spiders are really particular like I
don't know how to do
Emily Thompson 44:51
Caitlin Brehm 46:37
Yes. And all of those tags too. I mean, you're the search engine spiders have to go through all of the code. So if you like if you go to your website, and right click on it, and do view source code, that is what the search engine spiders see. And it's kind of a mess of Gag, gobbly goop for human to look at. But those are all the things that say like, this is where this element of the website goes. And this is where this element of the website goes. And if it's coded cleanly, the spider can quickly scan through that and say, okay, okay, okay, okay, awesome. And then go to the your title tag and read the text in that title tag, which is the title of your page, or blog post. And that's, they say, okay, title, that's very important. So like the words in this thing, those are important. And then you get to your meta meta description tag. And that's, again, another important thing, and they look at the body text next. And all of that is, I mean, the text that we see on the page. So they're going to scan all of those words and say, okay, like, based on the words that are in here, this is what this article is about. So they are looking at all of those, like they do read all of the text, but they're looking at, like Emily said, Those some of those key pieces of code, so the heading code, and even not so much anymore, but to some some degree, some of that those that formatted text, so anything that might be bold, or italicize, like those are indicators that those things are important. So the search spiders take note, and all of that kind of goes into the index sort of information of your website.
Kathleen Shannon 48:17
And okay, so like, I'm kind of checking out here, because it's actually important, I come from a graphic design background, if you are designing a website to understand this stuff. So even thinking about recently designing the beam boss site, like I need to actually double check all of our header codes and how they match up with the design to make sure that things are jiving from design to search engine optimization. Okay, one other thing I want to talk about a little bit whenever it comes to search engine optimization, and bringing it kind of more back to that human level, which is what I love about this conversation is listening to your audience. So using things like surveys and Facebook groups, and even looking at your own analytics to see what are people searching for? What is your ideal client call themselves and really figuring out the exact language that people are using so that you can reflect it back at reflected back at them so that whenever they're searching for it, they can find you or whenever they're already reading content that already exists. They're like, Oh, yes, this is for me. So can you talk about that a little bit Caitlyn?
Caitlin Brehm 49:27
Yeah, totally. And actually one of my favorite examples of this was from I think the live in New Orleans episode. You Kathleen had had a conversation with somebody and you like call them out on the episode not by name, but like, they were a coach of some kind, but they hated the word coach. So they and that's like, totally fine. Like you can make your creative title for yourself. But people aren't searching for that creative title. Like Think of how if you're ideal clients had a problem that you solve, where they were looking for the solution that you offer, but they didn't know that you exist. How would they find you? Like, how would they Google for that? And so you, you told her like, Okay, great, you have like this title that you want. But like, people know the word coach, like they use the word coach. So you need to use the word coach, like, sorry about it. But if I'm searching for a life coach, I'm gonna search life coach. And if you don't show up, I'm going with whoever did show up.
Kathleen Shannon 50:32
Like, I'm not searching for Happiness Engineer.
Caitlin Brehm 50:34
Right, exactly. So and that's actually something that we sort of realized somewhat recently for being bonded is that we've been using the term creative entrepreneur for all of you out there. And that's like, the tagline in the being boss podcast is being bas podcast for creative entrepreneurs, which is great, because when you hear the term creative entrepreneur, like, you know what that means we can all identify with it. But I actually jumped in the Facebook group the other week, and I said, hey, how do you self identify, like, don't even like, think of your profession? But like, what do you consider yourself, and most people actually said, like, I shy away from the term entrepreneur, like, I consider myself more business owner or freelancer, or, you know, they were using all these other words. So that's really good information for us to know. Because then as we are creating our content, we can speak to those terms that our listeners are actually using to describe themselves. And that's what you should be doing, whatever your business is.
Emily Thompson 51:40
Oh, so I want to talk about this, then, because you just touched on something that I want to talk about. And that's like, if some people stress out really bad about using keywords in their content. And I even want to give you like, this is one of the reasons why I hate SEO in like the traditional achy sense. There was a very short period, early in my like online career that I did some travel writing, I was hired by a company and I don't even think Kathleen knows this, if I told you about this, I don't think so I did some I did some travel writing. And I was really excited about getting this job doing some travel writing, they asked me where I had been. And I was like, Yes, I'm gonna get to write about like, you know, macaroons in Paris or something ridiculous like that. And then they said, Give me my first assignment. And it has, I think it was from like, it was like Macau, which is in China. So I don't even know what I was going to get there. I did not even know anything about the first assignment I got. They sent me my assignment, a list of keywords, and some instructions in terms of character count, and where those keywords go. So I was supposed to do some research and fill out, like my keyword count, putting keywords where they go, so that it would be optimized for nothing other than search engines. And that was the easiest thing I had ever done. And I never did it again.
Kathleen Shannon 53:03
So you actually write the post?
Emily Thompson 53:06
Or did I it was a series of posts around about Macau, and like casinos, and things like that. And I sent it in and I got my next assignment never did it.
Kathleen Shannon 53:17
Is your name still attached to that? Is that what my key? No, no, I
Emily Thompson 53:21
really, I'm pretty sure there was. I'm pretty sure there was no byline. It was just content that I was writing. And it really was, it was just for us. It was a site that was just there for search engines and selling ads. And it was one of the most inauthentic things I've ever, ever done in my entire life. And
Kathleen Shannon 53:42
I just want to make this clear for you know, creative entrepreneurs, or freelancers or small business owners, whatever you call yourself that are younger in their online business. And once you start getting your site recognized, you're going to get so many requests for writing blog posts for certain companies for no compensation, you're going to get requests for putting links in your post for like, $100 you guys just don't do it. And here's the thing, like Emily, you can feel really flattered and excited about these opportunities. But they're not legit. Like they are not opportunities with integrity. So I just will in warning,
Emily Thompson 54:22
write that. And that's a really good warning, because we definitely get that get that a lot. But this was different. Like I was being hired by a website to write content and I get paid for it. And so you get paid. I really don't even remember I have no idea. But that was my first real experience with search engine optimization and like understanding what the game was. And the game was to take content and words or take paragraphs and word counts and specific words and mush them together so that they kind of sound okay, but what was most important was where those words were and um that's not how the internet really works so he's not in there was like i don't know 10 years ago or something it was a long time ago i
Kathleen Shannon 55:06
love it's a great point like even coming back to the beginning of our conversation i think that for me growing an online business in a really authentic way where i didn't care about the metrics and i didn't care about the seo really served me well but now i'm ready to level it up and level it up in a really smart way and a way that still has integrity which again is what i love about you caitlin i feel like you've made seo so accessible and more about the content and less about the right this many words and have this many links like it's not about hard fast rules
Caitlin Brehm 55:40
yeah totally well that's that's what's gonna hurt you is that's like an outdated mindset basically is not having this mentality i have so emily i have like done writing assignments that are similar to what you're describing and the thing is is like that used to work like 10 years ago that used to work but it doesn't anymore because again those search engine algorithms are always changing because they realize like oh people are writing this really growth content and people don't like and like on paper it looks good but it's not actually good so like that's things that those are things that businesses like big businesses still kind of pay people to do because they just don't have the time to like i don't want to say they don't have the time to like care about their content but when you are a small business owner or a solopreneur like you have no excuse but to like really put your heart in your content and like yes it takes time but that's what's going to get you your clients they can see that heart in your content and like writing those listicles about like i don't know like top 10 instagram filters because like you're selling a product about instagram filters like you can tell like you guys have read those posts you know when somebody writes something and you're like this was not like this was just so you could post something today you don't even care about what you just wrote so um that is definitely on its way out which is the good news and if you are right now like on top of your game in terms of like really putting heart in your content and it doesn't have to be written content like i said if you're not a strong writer like you can have strong audio content or strong visual content but as long as you're being really intentional about the content you share and making sure like not getting yeah not getting obsessed with those keywords but just using them as kind of like a guideline of like okay this is generally what this should be about now i'm going to forget about that keyword and write this thing that's about that and that's that's what's going to help you with your rankings or just by getting found like don't even worry about rankings just worry about connecting with your audience
Emily Thompson 57:56
sounds fantastic so basically everyone should really stop stressing out about putting keywords in content because if you're being authentic about what you're writing then they're going to come through and that's absolutely what i've learned over the past couple of years because i super shied away from lots of seo things after that experience and in building my own business it was something where i was almost like rebelliously not doing seo because i could do it without it and i did like i've absolutely done it without having having a super focus on it but as i've grown i've also realized the place where it belongs and it belongs in and it belongs in what you do in this holistic view of search engine optimization that is not just about writing targeted articles with these specific keywords it's about writing real content for real humans it's about having a website that's built smartly and it's about using social media and a way to promote what you do because if you put all of those things together then that is search engine optimization and it's doing it in a legit authentic way
Caitlin Brehm 59:04
totally and that's not to say that like don't hire seo professionals
Kathleen Shannon 59:08
Caitlin Brehm 59:10
i won but i'm like an seo professional isn't going to like wave a magic wand and fix everything but they'll help you a good seo professional will help you create all these strategies and then they can also take a look at your website and really like dig into that coding and say like okay these links are broken here are my suggestions here like here's some things we can do to clean up and now moving forward but implement the strategy so you're really connecting with your message and your topic of authority so you can reach your people
Emily Thompson 59:43
absolutely i certainly see that there is like just working with you since we've started working with you huge changes i've learned a ton and it is really important i think i think something else i really want to share here is that when an online business is different. It's different from what most of us think about in terms of running a business, we're not opening a brick and mortar store, we have a website, and to have a website that's going to function in a way that's going to help you build an actual business, you have to know these things. You know, my past without travel writing, taught me a lot of things. And even though I shied away from doing things that way, which is a good thing, because that's a nasty way to do it. It taught me a lot about keywords and where they should be placed and how people search for things. So search engine optimization is huge for for having an online business. And if it's not something that you're focusing on, put a little focus on to it. And if you don't want to focus on it, hire someone to do it for you. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 1:00:49
Kathleen Shannon 1:00:52
All right, thank you so much, Caitlin, for joining us, where can our listeners find you?
Caitlin Brehm 1:00:56
You can find me online at Caitlin brain.com. That's ca itinbr.com. And then Twitter is my favorite online place to hang out. So that's at Caitlin brain. I'm also going to be periscoping more consistently, I need to like stick to my own content strategy that I've set for myself. So I like to periscope about SEO and content strategy. So you can follow me at Kaitlyn bream there too.
Kathleen Shannon 1:01:28
Thanks for joining us.
Emily Thompson 1:01:30
Thank you, ma'am.
Unknown Speaker 1:01:31
Thanks for having me.
Kathleen Shannon 1:01:35
Thank you for listening to being boss. Please be sure to visit our website at being boss club where you can find Show Notes for this episode. Listen to past episodes and discover more of our content that will help you be boss in work and life. Did you like this episode, please share it with a friend and show some love by leaving a rating and review on iTunes.
Emily Thompson 1:01:55
And if you're looking for a community of bosses to help take your creative business to the next level. Be sure to check out our exclusive community at being boss clubs slash clubhouse, where you get access to our closed and very vibrant slack group monthly q&a calls with Kathleen and myself a book club and more. cultivate your tribe and find your Wolf Pack at being boss dot club slash clubhouse. Do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.
Hello and welcome to being boss episode number 69 This episode is this episode is brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting. I gotta do that over. Do not laugh at me. Yeah, mute. Okay, we're ready. This is gonna make a really great I can't just just do it right