It's a Blast: SEO - Why small companies need to be invested in their SEO strategy.
We recently chatted with Cody Jenson from Searchbloom, who runs a specialist SEO and Google advertising agency. In this session, you can hear why SEO is important for your business and matters to your overall success.
Why is SEO so important to all businesses?
SEO is like building or buying a house, where you make mortgage payments every month and build equity in your house over time. Similarly, with SEO, you put in work every month or week to build equity, which can eventually provide returns and dividends. Unlike other forms of advertising and marketing, SEO is a slow and steady process. It's not a quick fix for immediate results. Just like real estate, SEO is a proven investment over time, and your efforts can lead to a good return.
What are the basics of SEO?
On the whole, SEO is about getting your website to rank on the first page of Google for the keywords your customers are searching. For instance, if you sell T-shirts on your e-commerce website, you would want to rank number one for "T-shirts." There are three aspects of SEO to achieve top rankings in Google.
The first aspect is technical SEO, which pertains to your website's speed, load times, core web vitals, mobile responsiveness, resolution sizes, information architecture, URL structure, internal linking, and more.
The second aspect is on-page optimization, which involves various variables, such as keyword density, optimization of titles, headings, descriptions, and so on.
The last aspect is off-page optimization, which is all about other websites linking to your website. This is like getting votes for your website's authority. However, not all links are created equal. You need strong links from reputable websites that get traffic from Google. It's a slow and time-consuming process, but over time, as you get more high-quality links, your chances of ranking higher in Google increase.
Why can’t I just do this myself and why do I need specialist support?
In my opinion, while some professionals like software developers may be able to build a website that meets Google's technical requirements, they may struggle with writing content and acquiring links. While some people can do portions of SEO, the question is whether you should be doing it yourself. If you're running a startup or a business, do you really have the time and experience to do it properly? SEO is a fluid process that takes a lot of time and effort. It's not just a matter of setting up your website with a title, description, and H1 tag. It requires ongoing attention, similar to landscaping a yard. If you don't have the resources to do it all at once, you'll need to do it bit by bit. There are a lot of opinions and mistakes that can happen early on due to ignorance, and it's important to partner with an agency with experience and a track record of success. SEO is not a one-size-fits-all approach, so it's important to get the right guidance to avoid costly mistakes.
How early should you get an SEO agency involved?
Well, I think it's critical to revisit your content, but you should also consider the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. If you have a blog post that was written 7 years ago and it's not getting any clicks or impressions, it's probably not worth spending your time on. But if you have a post that's getting a lot of clicks but is ranking low, you've found a golden nugget that you should optimize further. Rewrite, add to, take away from, or update it. Google looks at the last updated date on each page and updates rankings accordingly. So revisiting your content should be a huge part of your SEO strategy. But you also have to keep forward-thinking in mind. For example, if you create a blog post about leveraging AI for SEO in 2023, you probably wouldn't want to include the year in the URL or slug. That way, you can update the post next year without it appearing outdated to Google and users. You want to make your content and strategy evergreen.
Can AI help with my SEO Strategy?
Well, it's very loud right now, isn't it? AI has come a long way. I've been in this industry for over 15 years, and to imagine today, 15 years ago, I don't know that I could. But my goodness, AI has made major leaps and bounds. As far as SEO goes, that's probably where it's the noisiest. People use AI all the time for SEO in many different ways, but it really depends on the practitioner's experience in using AI. Going back to experience and training, you really have to know how to prompt an AI to get what you want out of it.
I also think that asking ChatGPT to write a blog article about XYZ is all well and good, but it's probably not going to do you much good. It still needs a human component, a human touch. It needs edits. It doesn't get facts right all the time, even if you're using OpenAI's GPT-3.5, which is the newest model. It still needs a lot of human touch. And just to get to the point where you have something workable, you really have to understand how to prompt the bot. So yeah, there's still a lot of work there for sure.
You have started multiple businesses over the years. What are some of the key learnings that you've had just from starting companies yourself?
I think what a lot of people do is have a light bulb moment where they're like, "Oh, I should do that. I'm going to do that." And they go all in, and I think that's great. But maybe, before you put all of your cards on the table, do a little bit of research, and make sure there is demand for this. I've seen people build products where there is no demand, and therefore they have to generate demand for something that doesn't exist, which is extremely expensive. So I would use math and probably look at the market research and demand for that particular solution first.
Then, once you have data that suggests there is a market for this, go all in and stop procrastinating or waiting. Just do it, because whether or not you succeed or fail, it's going to be positive. Even if you fail hard and you fall on your face, that's great. You just learned probably a hundred things while failing. And on your next opportunity that comes up, you're going to know from the learnings previously what to do, what not to do. So stop wishing and start doing.
What do you think is the future of tech start-ups in 2023?
It's difficult to predict the future, but I believe there will be significant and continuous growth in the field of artificial intelligence. There are many untapped opportunities for AI and we are just scratching the surface. Even though it has been around for several years, it has only recently become more accessible to mainstream consumers. As a result, AI is evolving rapidly and I expect to see a lot of new startups focusing on AI-specific industries or applications. These startups will identify gaps in the market where AI tools can be leveraged to make our lives more efficient and effective. Ultimately, the possibilities are endless and we will continue to see advancements in AI technology that will impact our lives in significant ways.