In between checking wedding tasks off my to do list for the big day on 4 April, I was able to virtually catch up with Shae Baxter, SEO Expert to ask all the tough questions – this interview is jam packed with goodness. You’ll discover Shae’s story, and how she felt the pull to understand SEO better and help others, plus loads of tips and hints to help you get started on your SEO journey.
1. Tell me a little bit about Shae and your business?
Well, I started blogging over 5 years ago – just started a WordPress.com site and was blogging about my musings and thoughts about life in general. I really enjoyed blogging and I fell more in love with this online world. At the time I was searching. I had not long come out of a relationship and the breakup was devastating to me. I was also very unhappy in my job and I wanted to learn some online skills because my day job didn’t allow me the opportunity to utilise any of those skills.
Then my friend at the time asked me to write some web copy for her. She was a budding entrepreneur back then and she suggested I just go and register a business name and start a business, writing copy for other people’s websites. So that’s what I did. I started a business and about a year and a half later sassywebwords.com was born.
So I started out as a copywriter. I did this on the side because I was still working full time. I decided I wanted to become an expert on teaching people how to write for the web – not only the copy but usability and functionality as well. Along with my own blogging and some copywriting clients, I soon discovered that writing for the web has 2 audiences – search engines and people. And then began my love affair with SEO.
I enrolled in B School in 2012, and after doing the first module, which was all about discovering who your ideal client really is and your sweet spot, I realised I didn’t want to be a copywriter. I like writing but only for myself but I really enjoyed SEO. B School also made me realise that I was trying to be all things to all people. I was blogging about copywriting, then SEO, then scan ability and usability then back to copywriting and so on. I made the decision focus on SEO – especially to help female entrepreneurs because it was and still is such a mystery for them. Also, there was a ton of SEO courses and training etc but they were mainly focused around affiliate and niche marketing and not blogging. So I’ve now scrapped sassywebwords and I’m building my personal brand ShaeBaxter.com – Get Your Blog Read By Millions and helping female entrepreneurs make Google fall in love with them.
I work with clients and offer one to one coaching services to help people understand and implement SEO into their business. I also provide keyword report packages called the Fast Track to Fame Blogging Solution, whereby I handpick relevant keywords and then I curate those keywords into blog headlines.
2. What is SEO? Why is it important?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it’s the process of optimising your website so your web pages or blog content appear for the keywords you’d like to rank for.
It gets you found by the people who need you.
Most online experiences begin with a search engine query. In fact, 68 percent of consumers begin their decision making while searching for a keyword and search continues to grow with six billion queries per day just on Google.
All major search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing have such results, where web pages and other content such as videos and posts are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.
Let me walk you through an example:
We use search engines probably on a daily basis to figure out answers to some of our questions – be it personal or for business.
- Say I want to change my diet and want to start eating raw food.
- But I’ve got no idea how to start or what raw food really is. I’ve got lots of questions.
- I could type into Google: how to start a raw food diet or what is raw food?
- Google then returns what it considers to be the 10 best answers to my question.
- Google is trying to direct me to the best web pages or blog content that exist for people typing in “how to start a raw food diet.”
- So what I’ve entered “how to start a raw food diet” is commonly referred to as a search query or a search phrase, which is made up of keywords. For example, “raw food diet.”
- And all of these search results are trying to be an answer for my question.
Google’s intention is to return the most relevant results to a question or query.
3. What are the basic principles, which businesses with an online platform need to be aware of?
Keywords are the MOST important part of SEO. Without knowing what keywords you want to rank for and for the search engines to send your site traffic, you simply don’t have a SEO strategy.
It’s about choosing the right keywords that have some search demand, is low in competition and is relevant to your business. Depending on which keywords you choose, sometimes that will be enough for the search engines to send you traffic with relative ease. Other keywords may be more popular and more competitive, which means Google may already be ranking other content for the same keywords and you might need to put in more effort in order to rank for those keywords. So with some keywords you will need to attract or build backlinks to your website.
4. How can they apply this to their website?
There are a number of tools that you can use to find your own keywords and this is something that I teach in my live one to one coaching program. The key to finding keywords is to find keywords that other don’t see and dig around for. That’s the critical part here and most people don’t do this.
You can’t rely only on one tool to do all your research. It starts with you and having a great understanding of who your ideal client is, what their problem and pain points are, the features and benefits of your offers and services and insights into your business. Talk to your customers, send out a survey. Free tools that you can use are the Google Keyword Planner Tool, keyword.io, ubersuggest and Google itself. These are great places to find good keywords.
Once you found a specific keyword to target for a blog post or page, then you need to strategically and naturally use that keyword in your copy and in certain areas on your website.
5. Are there any apps that might help?
No apps as such but a great plugin you should use is the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
//Note: We use this for Thread Marketing and love it!
6. What is the single most practical SEO related piece of advice you can give to a small or start up business?
Google is now looking for you to become a brand. The bad news is that most people don’t set themselves up this way. They don’t create the RIGHT type of content to position themselves as a trusted brand in the eyes of Google and ultimately their potential customers.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, you can’t be doing what everyone else is doing. Think about the content you’re creating and putting out there. The problem we have now is that there are masses of content online and it’s hard to break through that. So don’t be writing an article on something that has already been covered many times before. You will not win doing that. Instead you need to focus on creating some content that is customer-focussed and for the people in your industry or related industries that have the ability to share and link to your content. This sounds counter intuitive but it’s not your customers and ideal clients that will be the ones spreading and linking to your content. So I encourage everyone to focus on creating what’s called a Power Page, which is a piece of content designed to purposefully attract links and shares. The good news is that anyone, even a one-man or women show and regardless of what size business they are in ANY niche, can position themselves as a trusted brand and be seen in exactly the same way as any other big and trusted brand similar to the likes of Amazon, eBay, Udemy and even Oprah.
And it doesn’t matter whether you’re an existing business that’s been around for years or if you’re about to launch tomorrow.
7. What is the biggest SEO myth you’ve come across that we can bust here today?
That Google needs fresh, updated content. I’ve busted that myth. My organic search traffic has recently increased by over 32 percent and I haven’t published a blog post in over four months (since early December 2014).
8. Are there any free resources on the subject you would recommend?
9. How can people access more information and resources from Shae Baxter?
Go to my website at www.ShaeBaxter.com. I have a free resource that I give away called How To Create Google-Friendly Blog Posts (Your Readers Will Love) In Under 5 Minutes if you sign up.
Also, check out my resource pages and blog content.
10. What is on the cards for Shae Baxter for 2015?
I will be doing videos and I will also be creating and launching an e-course based on a proven system called the 3-Step Content Cut-Through system. Stay tuned for that.