Cultivating Companies and Communities

A forum where small businesses can tune in to find out the answers to their concerns, gather insight from experts, and discuss how the current environment impacts our communities. Brought to you by the SBDC at LCCC in association with the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce.

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Growing Your Business with SEO and Social Media Marketing

Building a digital presence is crucial for any business, but just how do we do it? There are so many social media platforms how do you determine which ones are best for your business? In this episode, Tony and Lisa are talking with Lindsay Simms, Predictable Results Marketing, and Chris Shneider, Handshake Digital, on how to optimize your online presence, just which platforms you should be advertising on, and their advice for all businesses both big and small.

To learn more about the work that Lindsay and Chris do visit their websites!

https://handshakedigital.com

https://prmresults.com/

Lisa:
How do I get on the first page of Google?

Tony:
How do I get found when someone searches my business name?

Lisa:
Every business owner wants to know these secrets. Is there a secret?

Tony:
Search engine optimization, or SEO, are buzzwords marketing gurus use?

Lisa:
What does optimizing for search really mean for your business, and how much is it going to cost?

Tony:
Do the same things apply for brick and mortar as they do for e-commerce?

Lisa:
Building a digital presence is crucial for any business in any industry, whether they are on Main Street or online. Search optimization is one of the best ways to gain awareness, credibility, and traction.

Tony:
Should a business owner spend their time and money on optimizing their digital presence?

Lisa:
We will explore search optimization, what it means, its benefits, and why you should consider it as a way to increase a customer base, inspire consumer trust, and build your brand.

Tony:
Hello everybody. This is Tony Gallo from the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce. I'm here with Lisa Hudson from the SBDC at Lorain County Community College. And we are here with another edition of Business Fluent. So we're here to talk to Chris Schneider and Lindsay Sims today. We're going to talk a little bit about?

Lisa:
Search optimization.

Tony:
Yeah. Search engine optimization, and some e-commerce things. With that I'm going to turn it over to Lindsay. She's going to introduce herself and then she can pass the mic over to Chris.

Lindsay:
Well, thank you so much for having me on the podcast. I appreciate it. I am Lindsay Sims and I am the founder and CEO of Predictable Results Marketing. At Predictable Results Marketing we focus on helping small businesses transition from small business to brand through digital marketing education, helping them know what they don't know, so that they can stop paying attention to what's not important in digital marketing for businesses. Okay. Chris it's up to you.

Chris:
All right. My name is Chris Schneider. I run a marketing and advertising agency called Handshake Digital. We specialize in growing online businesses with social media management, digital advertising, and more. We have a team of 15 people scattered across the United States and the UK, but we have our roots here in Elyria. My business partner and I are both Elyria High graduates, and I still live here in Elyria as well. So you can find us on social media at, Hey, it's Handshake, or handshakedigital.com.

Lisa:
Awesome guys. Well, thank you both for being here. So what is SEO? I think that people come in, business owners, and they think, oh my God, I just have to be on the front page of Google, and I got to do this thing called SEO, but they really have no idea what it means. And to be honest, I'm not sure I really know all the everything it means.

Chris:
So SEO is an acronym for a search engine optimization. It's a strategy used by website owners to get more traffic and rank higher in search engines. Right? So everybody wants to be number one on Google. Honestly the first 10 years of our business was building websites for small business owners. That's really all we focused on was brand building and building websites. And the number one thing that people came to us and said was, I want to be number one on Google. The problem is, is they either didn't want to be patient enough for it to happen because it tends to be a little bit of a longer play, or they weren't ready to roll up their sleeves and really dive in because there is, you can scratch the surface and you can do okay at it, or you can really go crazy and you could spend every waking hour of it. I'll let Lindsay talk a little bit about that. She, from my understanding, is the Grow with Google expert here locally. And I would love to hear a little bit from her as well.

Lindsay:
Yeah. So my perspective on SEO is that for me search optimization it really is not just about Google, it's about being found wherever your customer is searching for whatever you need to be found for, for that customer. And that is, outside of Google, there's all sorts of ways to get found, especially because Google does tend to be a highly competitive. And those of us who are small business owners, we don't have time for that. We got jobs, we got stuff we're doing it.

Lisa:
You're right. Small business owners are really busy. And so to that effect, could I, as a small business owner, just write one of you guys are really big check and tell you, go get me a number one on Google?

Tony:
I was going to say, I've never met a small business owner that never is going to say no to a, write me a big check.

Chris:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Lindsay:
Write me a big check, and I will do whatever you want me to do, even if it's not the best thing for your business. And so it's what I don't do, you're completely rightly Lisa, there are people who will take your money and they will do something that doesn't cost nearly as much as you're paying them to do. My whole job, as far as I'm concerned, is to help business owners understand what they should and shouldn't be paying for, mostly because you can pay someone to do SEO, and you can pay someone to do it really well, that's not real, absolutely, but that's probably not your best use of time, depending on where you are.

Tony:
I have a quick question. Does your name help you, or hurt you? Depending on how you spell your business name, if you make it difficult for people to find you? Chris, you just came through a new branding for your business. You've been around for a long time and you rebranded it. Does that mean you started from square one again with the new branding?

Chris:
Yeah, kind of. So in 2012 we founded Duo Design & Development. It was very pigeonholed. Right? All we could do in that business name was design work, or development work, but as started to grow and as we started to work with more and more business owners, we realized, I think marketing and digital advertising is so impactful for them. Right? And with the introduction of things like Squarespace and all these website builders, it was harder and harder to talk them into hiring an agency. Right? So what we found is that they still needed so much help, whether it was SEO, paid media, email marketing, any of those things. And so we started offering those services, but people were very confused, right? Because my name didn't match my service. It didn't really line up. We wound up making the change to Handshake Digital.

Chris:
We felt like we're a blue collar, you're going to find us in black t-shirts, and half the time I had on, I dressed up for you guys, even after 2020 and COVID and the power of a handshake, whether it's digitally, or in-person, we wanted that to be known, right? The second that people come in contact with our brand, we want them to have a feeling. We want them to have a feeling of we're going to be casual. We're not that suit and tie, 500 person agency downtown with... We believe in work-life balance. We believe in having fun while we work, and we believe in having a good, real relationship with our clients. So that's why we ultimately made the pivot so that our name aligned better with what we were doing, and I think it is really important to have those things make sense.

Lindsay:
As someone who also went through a brand transition a couple of years ago, I would 100% agree with everything Chris just said. You hit the nail on the head with the idea that is way more important that your name is representative of, A, what you do, and B, what your customers need from you, versus you trying to hold on to some sort of SEO value for your old name. I have conversations with people around that all the time where they're like, oh, I hate my business name, or it doesn't represent what I'm doing anymore, but I don't want to change it because blah, blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, basically everything you just said there is nonsense. If you hate your business name and you want to change it, change it. It's like, don't freak out about the SEO, there's stuff we can do to fix it. Don't worry about it.

Chris:
Anyone that knows what they're doing can help you transition your old domain, your old business name [crosstalk 00:08:15].

Lindsay:
Not lose your traffic and all that. Yeah.

Chris:
... all that stuff. Yeah. Yeah. There's a lot of tools in place to help.

Lisa:
Interesting enough, you guys talked about some core marketing values, like knowing your company values, knowing who your target audience is. And so what we get a lot is people come in and maybe they're a newer business, and they're like, oh my gosh, I need to focus on my SEO, but they haven't even done those marketing basics like who is your target customer? Or you haven't even filled out like your Google listing yet, and you're worried about SEO. Your hours aren't even correct on your Google listing.

Lindsay:
Yes.

Lisa:
What are the steps? At what point should a business be worried about SEO, and what are some of those basics that maybe they need to do first before they focus on that?

Lindsay:
If you want to get started with doing something with your business that's going to help you get found. Number one thing for most small business owners is going to be filling out a Google My Business profile. If you are a location-based business, or if you have a service area for your business, create a profile, fill it out, claim your business, because Google is prioritizing that content. And they are trying very hard to win, Google is trying to win the zero search search. What that means is before you even hit enter, they want to have the answer served up to you in the search bar. And because of that, actually having that Google My Business profile filled out, those of us who have complete profiles are way more likely to get served up in that little initial prompted search in that search bar.

Lindsay:
That's really their game is to try to serve people up that right answer before they even hit enter and hit the search results page. That means that doing little things like having your profile filled out is going to make a huge difference for your business. But then in addition to that, I would say making small changes will actually make you more competitive, but often that's so much further down the line than you realize, there's a lot of other things you can be doing to make yourself more competitive before actually doing what people think SEO is, there's a bunch of other things you can do, like make sure that your social media accounts all have the same name. I literally fight with people about this. I'm like stop calling your business different things on different platforms you very small business. Just name everything the same.

Chris:
Yeah. Yes. Yes.

Lindsay:
Because you can't get found if you're literally calling yourself something different on every single platform. Yeah, little things like that.

Lisa:
Just to clarify, does it cost a business anything to have that Google profile?

Lindsay:
No. 100% answer no. The other thing, if we can just clarify for the audience, Google is not calling you to ask you, to offer you anything, that is not them.

Chris:
No. No.

Lindsay:
They were like Google called me to offer me to set up this, and I'm like, that's not Google. Don't. That's not Google. Google's not calling you [crosstalk 00:11:22].

Tony:
That is an awesome clarification. Awesome clarification.

Chris:
Yeah.

Tony:
And those updated dates, times, all that stuff, I imagine that played even more powerfully during COVID these past 14 months when people were looking for things online and they go to find you and you're not there, or you're working remotely, or whatever the case may be.

Lindsay:
It was such a huge thing that I think that most business owners, a lot of the people who I know have had a lot of success last year, part of that success, and this is going to sound almost horrible, but a huge part of their success was updating their Google My Business profile regularly. So whenever there was any change in the business, they updated the dates and times and hours, they updated their mask requirements. They send new pictures, put pictures on the profile of what's going on. If there's new products, if there's modifications to how the products are delivered, keeping that information updated, because, again, you want to win the no search search. And if you can have all that information just pop up immediately when someone wants to participate in your business, it makes their lives so much easier. There are so much more likely to buy from you.

Lindsay:
It's just that over complication of the page where people are like, oh, I don't want to change it because it's going to change back, but for the three or four days that there were different hours than were on your page, you're losing customers, you're literally losing money because you don't want to take the four minutes it takes to change your hours. It's not that hard.

Lisa:
We've said Google a lot, which is part of SEO. I think when we think SEO, we think Google, right? But we have alluded that there might be some other search options. Can you talk about what maybe some of those other search options and how else a customer might search for a business?

Lindsay:
Yeah. So there are just so many. Voice search is huge. So we all understand that voice search is massive. I think the thing that we don't understand is that all of the voice search systems are being served by different search engines. And so Google is servicing Google's Voice Search, and they're servicing, I think Siri, and that's it. So everything else that you're doing a voice search, every other type of device, it's not Google that's answering your question, it's Microsoft, it's Bing. There are other platforms out there that are actually being used for searching. So we get caught up on this whole being served by Google thing when there's a lot of other options out there. There are search engines like Pinterest, which is a search engine. People don't think of the fact that, that's... But that's literally 95% of what people are doing on Pinterest is searching.

Lindsay:
It's a visual search engine. They're updating their search engine constantly to be more useful for actual image search. That is their game. So if you're a business that can leverage image search, please, you should be on Pinterest because that's a great platform for that. LinkedIn is leveraging information search. So if you are trying to develop expertise, like develop yourself as an expert, LinkedIn is a fantastic platform to be putting out your expertise content, because they are leveraging the heck out of that search opportunity. There's just so many options out there.

Chris:
I was going to say the number two search engine in the world is actually YouTube. When you're thinking about, okay, where should I put my efforts? Where should I put my time? Okay I want to rank well on Google, but I also have a Google My Business page. Well, another way to bolster those, is to use Google's other product called YouTube. I don't know if anyone's heard of it, but it's pretty popular. YouTube is incredible, but so many people are just terrified of video. They're so nervous about it. They feel like they have to have some massive production value. What I can say is we have found a ton of success by pushing people to create YouTube videos and get out of that comfort zone, right? Especially if you're a service based business, think about it.

Chris:
If you install HVAC systems, if you're a mechanic, if you are in any of those blue collar service-based businesses, just go on YouTube and do a quick Google search and see, YouTube search, sorry, and see how many videos come up with those tutorials in them. And so that is automatically making people warmed up to your brand and warmed up to your business if you can get a couple of videos. They also just rolled out YouTube Shorts, which is like TikTok and Reels, but I think it's only 15 seconds right now in beta. So it's really short, but the views that you can get on that are really big and they can also just start to count toward your overall views as a YouTube channel. So don't shy away from it. You're a small business owner because you know a lot about something.

Tony:
And even if you have a face for radio like I do, still go on YouTube and do those [crosstalk 00:16:19].

Chris:
Yes.

Tony:
... no matter what. No matter what.

Lindsay:
No matter what. And then, to hit on that whole face for radio, or I hate my, there's an entire section of YouTube that is faceless videos. And so if you want to get into the whole faceless video game, there are plenty of ways to do it where you don't have to have your face on the camera if you don't want to be the visual representative of your business, which a lot of small business owners don't want to be the face of the business. That's cool. You can either hire a spokesperson, hello, businesses do that all the time, or you can do the whole faceless video game, which is totally, totally acceptable way to do YouTube. You just have to do a little bit of thought work to make sure that it's still visually appealing because people are there for the visual. So it does have to have good visuals, but it don't have to have your face.

Chris:
Right? Some of the biggest, most successful YouTube accounts are those point of views, here's my hands [crosstalk 00:17:11].

Lindsay:
Overheads.

Chris:
... it could be unboxing, yeah, the overhead down on your hands and millions of views can come out of that. And it's the weirdest thing, I watch it, and I'm sure, Lindsay, you feel the same way. But when I watch stuff on YouTube, when I see ads or commercials, or marketing campaigns from companies, I think about it so much different. I just stare at it like, what is your strategy here? Why do people pay attention to this? Right?

Lisa:
Once you get over that initial, how does my hair look? It doesn't matter. Sometimes I look at stuff we video and I'm like, oh my God, that's going to be on the internet forever.

Chris:
Yeah.

Tony:
Facebook hair don't care. You know what I mean?

Chris:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. For sure.

Tony:
With a coffee mug with that on it on Etsy. And I'm assuming that what we're talking about applies to brick and mortar stores and businesses, as well as e-commerce. Is there a difference between what those people have to do in order to get somebody knocking for some business?

Chris:
The key is the Google My Business listing needs to make sure you have your hours clearly stated. If you have a brick and mortar store and an online store, what they need to make sure they're doing is just making sure that they list their location details on their site, whether it's in the footer, on a contact page, wherever, and also have that information updated in places like Google My Business listing. Outside of that it's not much different. You still have SEO tactics that you have to do. It's still a very competitive market. You can still take social media approaches. In fact, social media from an e-commerce standpoint has started to become way more e-commerce friendly with all these shop now buttons, you can upload your catalog into Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest especially, if you have an online store and you're not on Pinterest, you are missing the boat.

Chris:
I have a client who they do aftermarket wheels and tires, right? The least Pinterestey thing you can imagine, and they crush it on Pinterest with 750,000 views a month on their boards. Right? The use of hashtags and whatnot still can find a lot of success for you. The key with online, what's nice about it is it's 24/7. What's scary about it is it's 24/7, right? So you need to make sure it's on a platform that can be steady and work really well for you. We are a Shopify partner agency. We definitely suggest using Shopify, but there are other platforms that exist out there too.

Lindsay:
Yeah, I would totally agree. I think that most of us who have either a service-based business that is an in-person service-based business, or a physical location and not really an e-commerce situation, almost feel like it's B2B businesses, a lot of these businesses feel like social media, or SEO is not important because they get so much of their business through word of mouth, or people who are doing walking by, or whatever, foot traffic. And I think, again, if COVID taught us anything, is that, A, I put it like this, you were already missing out, you just didn't know it. And so for all those people who were like, oh, I had to change my business model. I'm like, you mean you were forced to update like everybody else, you should have been in the 21st century already, you weren't. And so now you have to, good.

Lindsay:
And so I'm a little harsh like that, but I'm like, yeah, you just needed to do what you should've been doing before, which was get onto the internet and make the internet work for you, because whether you have physical business to business, in-person shop, all of these tools are useful to all of us, not just e-commerce businesses, not by a long shot, e-commerce has a lot more leverageable assets for digital marketing, but it's just, I wouldn't even say maybe more, it's just different. If you're really good at, if you find the right people, or you find the right information, you can leverage the entire heck out of YouTube, or out of Pinterest, like you said, a tire shop, aftermarket tires. And people don't believe us when we say stuff like that, Chris. And I'm like, I have the same experiences where people who are selling things that are wholesale. They're like, you're on Pinterest selling wholesale products? And I'm like, yep. You can do all sorts of things.

Lisa:
We talk to clients all the time and they're like, well, I have a Facebook page, or I have Instagram. Well, do you do anything with it? Just having it there and maybe putting that you're having a sale once every quarter is not enough. That's not being really having social media, and that's really not helping their SEO, I would assume. They need to have some kind of brand identity and active on these platforms. Right?

Chris:
You could have the world's most amazing shop, right? Your little beautiful store that you have wherever you have it, but if you don't tell people about it, then they're not going to know. And the same goes for social media. If you're not consistently telling people about your business, or yourself, your services that you offer, they're just not going to know. And so as long as it's consistent, that's the only thing that we tell our clients if they won't hire us for social media and they want to run it themselves, all we say is just consistent. That's all we need. As long as your clients and customers and the fans of your business can start to understand your cadence, right? Because then they'll start to expect stuff from you. You'll see this in email marketing a lot too. Every morning, you're going to wake up to 55 emails.

Chris:
They all come somewhere between 6:30 AM and 7:30 AM. And the reason is, is because people wake up and they look at their phones, and that's the first thing they do. Then there's another wave of them that typically comes somewhere between three and 5:00 PM. It's either people are hitting that wall in their work day and they're done. So these are all habits that these companies have built up, and they're leveraging the habits of us as consumers. So you need to start to just have this regular cadence with your social media. I know it's hard. I know it takes a lot more work than you would imagine, but when you start to get consistent over a long period of time is when you will start to eventually see some growth.

Lindsay:
Wait, let's highlight what Chris just said there at the end, consistency over time. I don't care how often you do it, just do it exactly the same every time. It doesn't even matter, be consistent, because both your audience and the platform, all these platforms are run on algorithms. What does an algorithm need? Information. If you're not giving it information, it can't help you.

Tony:
And ultimately all of these things are designed to get a customer to buy from you, conversion rates, right? That's what it boils down to. And I'm assuming whatever you're doing, it all needs to be part of a larger plan, we can't just put all our eggs in one basket and say, this is what I'm doing, and only do that. It has to be part of a bigger rollout. Correct?

Lindsay:
Well, you can put all your eggs in one basket and just do that, but that still needs to be a strategy. So, what you said there, Tony, is that, yeah, there are people who have an Instagram only strategy, that's legit, except for that it also needs to be real. Your customers need to be on there. It needs to be for real, you're not just doing it because you like Instagram a lot, you need to be doing it, because that's what's actually bringing you money, you've already done some tests, you recognize us, we're like already out of all the social media platforms you're on, you're getting 98% of your traffic from Instagram.

Lindsay:
And if that's why, then great. Yeah, sure. Go for it. It matters what your customer wants and where your customer is. And like Lisa's been saying, that whole brand focus, your customer is your brand. And so if you are not where your customers are, then it doesn't matter what you're doing. And your strategy really does need to be focused around being where your customers are, and giving them the information they need in order to make the decision to purchase from you.

Chris:
One of our clients wanted to run a ton of ads on Facebook, that was the primary place. They got really good success from it. That's where they made most of their money. The problem came into play when their Facebook page got pulled down unpublished. This was basically a glitch in the matrix, if you would, but the problem is it lasted for an entire month. So they were doing somewhere around three and a half million dollars a month at the time in overall revenue, and then all of a sudden they were without a Facebook page. And when you don't have a Facebook page, you also cannot run ads on Instagram.

Chris:
So then they all of a sudden were like, okay, we're ready to diversify our social media advertising platforms. I had been telling them to do that for a year. And they saw, they were so focused on the fact that they had these amazing results coming from one platform that they wanted to stay all in on it. And so make sure that you're giving other platforms, throw a bone every once in a while. Right? Your consistency can be less on those platforms, but it still needs to be there.

Tony:
Our preferences change.

Lindsay:
Yes.

Chris:
Yeah. Yeah.

Tony:
One minute it's skinny jeans. The next minute it's mom jeans are back.

Lindsay:
Right. Yeah.

Chris:
Exactly.

Lindsay:
I completely agree. I think that when I say you can go all in, I don't mean that you should go, when I say all in I don't mean you're ignoring everything else, because I think that's massively to the detriment of your business. And as you pointed out Anthony, it is literally from one week to the next, or one month to the next. Different platforms rise to the top and people will say, oh my God, Facebook is dead, fill in the blank platform, or whatever, or people still use Pinterest? And I'm like, my 19 year old stepdaughter uses Pinterest all the time.

Lindsay:
And so for everybody who's like, oh, that's a thing, I'm like, shut up. It's a thing. People sell you a sweater. Uh-huh (affirmative). Yeah. They do. Just because you don't use a thing, doesn't mean the thing went away. So they are all still there, and people are still on them like every single platform, even Snapchat still has people on it, using it. And so we can't just ignore these platforms because from one period of time to the next, they all ebb and flow. And if you are running a successful small business, you need to ebb and flow with your audience, not with the platform, but with the audience. So if your audience becomes super heavily focused on YouTube for a period of time, you need to get your butt on YouTube. You need to be where your audience is. And that's just that.

Lisa:
And I think sometimes being a person of a certain age, I might be resistant of new new platforms. Like I was like, I'm never going to be on TikTok. Oh my God, I love TikTok. It is so fun. Talk about a rabbit hole.

Chris:
Yeah.

Lindsay:
Yeah. It is.

Lisa:
Oh my God. How can I promote the SBDC on TikTok? Because I'm so excited about it, because I love it. So I think don't necessarily poo poo a platform just because you don't think it's going to be a lot of fun, or fun isn't even your targeted outcome that you're not going to be able to reach your audience on it.

Tony:
One more question, I'm just curious about backlinks. Like if you belong to the chamber, you belong to the SBDC, and we have you listed, your company is listed with us, does that help drive? Is there a way to measure that? Is that a benefit to businesses to have your websites and those types of things to go back to you?

Chris:
It is. And so it's a piece of the bigger puzzle of SEO in general, the key is you've got to make sure that whatever the company is, okay, so if it's a chamber, or a SBDC and your website link is on there, you hope that that website gets good consistent traffic, because otherwise it's not going to do a whole lot for you. Right? It's the same idea of, okay, you have this business, but you don't have a road to get to the business. So no one's going to find it. So as long as you have that, that is a good thing.

Lindsay:
Yeah. Backlinks are important, but they're also, if you're going to rank importance of things that you should be doing, I'll give you guys an insider tip. Content on your own website, most of the time, that's where we need to spend way more of our time is actually making the content on our website way more customer-focused and less about us, because nobody cares about you, they only care about themselves. And so if you aren't making your content about them, then you lose. And then in addition that the true inside baseball, is that the more you can link inside of your site to other things in your site, that is one of those low hanging fruit things that people don't do. People, when someone comes to your website, you should give them 80 million opportunities to go other places inside of your website. That is one of the things that we're just not good at.

Lindsay:
And not saying we're not good at, I think we're just not focused on it, but it is becoming, as far as the kajillion criteria that Google has for listing someone, because there's almost a kajillion, internal linkage is high, it's a high priority. And so if you can actually make sure that your own website has both internal links and external links. So you're talking about backlinks, Google also wants to make sure that you're not trying to trap people on your website. So what are the links that you can send people to so that there's literally traffic flowing in and out of your website, and active website period is better than a website that's getting a bunch of semi dead links from the chamber of commerce coming into them. Like, no, one's actually clicking on that link ever.

Chris:
Send it back over to [crosstalk 00:30:48].

Lindsay:
Right.

Tony:
That's great advice. I really wasn't sure where that was going to go. That's great advice. Thank you.

Lisa:
Yeah. And one other thing that I think we should mention since we're talking about SEO, is I hear people all the time saying, well, I got to buy all the keywords. Do I have to buy keywords for my SEO, or should I buy keywords?

Chris:
When you get to a certain point, sure. But what you need to do, if you're talking about buying keywords, to me you need to look at that list of keywords that clearly you have created that you feel that you should rank for, and you need to go through your website and you need to make sure that you're using those keywords and phrases [crosstalk 00:31:29].

Lindsay:
In your website.

Chris:
... everywhere.

Lindsay:
Yes.

Chris:
Everywhere.

Lindsay:
Yes.

Chris:
Page, titles, heading tags, content, content, content, like Lindsay said, structured content. That makes sense, that flows nicely. Do those things. Then you will start to gain more traffic because search engines will be able to go through your site. And it makes sense. And they'll start to rank it properly.

Lindsay:
Be prepared to have a good budget for it and not expect for it to happen overnight, because that's the other thing people do. They're like, I'm going to spend on the money and it's going to happen immediately. No, it's not. But also, everything Chris said about making sure that you have all those keywords that you think you want to rank for. Basically, great strategy to think of it this way, however many keywords you would have on your website in a legit non-keyword stuffing, regular fashion, is about the amount of words you should do advertising for on keywords, and what I find people doing, because I'm also a Google partner and have done a lot of ads for people, is that I find people trying to rank for keywords using advertising that they're not using on their website at all, that are only tangentially relevant to what it is that they do.

Lindsay:
And fortunately for us as consumers, Google understands that. So they won't serve those ads up, but it makes it a massive waste of time and a potentially huge waste of money for you as a business owner if you are trying to be competitive in the space that you're not actually meant to be competing in, you want to go in with a strategy because if you don't go in with a strategy that is actually supported by a good website, none of this matters, it's just a massive waste of time and money.

Chris:
One of the things that we do whenever we sign new ad clients, and it doesn't matter if they're running on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, YouTube, it doesn't matter what platform they're on, the very first thing we do, in fact, we're hopefully signing one soon, and the very first thing we're doing for the first three weeks is going through their website, making sure it makes sense, making sure that the calls to actions are there, making sure that all the tracking codes are in place. All of those things are going to get done before we ever spend a penny [crosstalk 00:33:33].

Lindsay:
Before we spend a penny. Yeah.

Chris:
... on the ad side of things, because we want to make sure that, okay, we could have the best ad strategy in the world, and then you can have an awful product that they land on. And then it's not going to convert, right? An e-commerce store converts at one to 2%. So you need a lot of traffic to start to convert to make money for your business. If your online store is terrible, or it's bad to use, or it's hard to use, or people can't check out, then that conversion rate is going to be even lower. So making sure that your website is buttoned up and ready, you can use services like Fiverr and Upwork to find content writers that know what they're doing. If you feel like you get a hold of agencies locally, you feel like you get a hold of people locally and it's outside of your budget, there are still options that exist out there. Don't let your website content be in bad shape because you want that to speak to whoever your target audience is.

Lisa:
That's great. Thank you. What we've learned from this is that as a business owner, you don't necessarily have to spend a lot of money, if any money, to start improving how you're found online, that there's some really core basics you can do. Once you get all those basics buttoned up, then you can go and look at spending money in the most effective way. So a lot of times business owners, because maybe they don't understand the whole digital platform, digital marketing piece, they get taken by maybe some unscrupulous companies that make promises, and that owner doesn't really know how to investigate the ROI, and they don't understand the language. So it's easy. So if a business owner hasn't done those three things, those basic things, please reach out to the SBDC, or to your chamber, and let us help you do some of those basic things. And then we can guide you to when you're ready to spend some money that you're spending it in the most way possible.

Tony:
The last thing we want to see is a really good business that has a really good product, or offers a really good service, go out of business because they didn't do things correctly to drive business to them. And I loved the way basically you guys said, take care of your own house first, make sure that the content on your website and what you are saying is correct, and will drive business there. And then the next step is to do some other things to help continue to drive that business, and to drive more business there.

Lindsay:
This was a great conversation. And thank you guys for such insightful questions, because I think, again, for those of us who both teach and do this stuff for a living, we run into people who just don't know what they don't know. And I hope that this conversation helped to eliminate some of these topics for people who are like, I don't know what SEO is. Well, now you have an idea and you can stop panicking because whatever you thought you needed to do, you probably don't.

Chris:
Yeah. 100%.

Tony:
Coming up in the next few weeks, we'll be looking at topics such as human resources and our changing workforce, how to understand the numbers, and what they mean for you. And we'll have a conversation with a group of entrepreneurs.

Lisa:
Don't forget to subscribe so that you never miss an episode. And let us know how we're doing by leaving us a rating and review. Business Fluid is a production of Evergreen podcast in association with the SBDC at Lorain County Community College and the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce.

Tony:
Special thanks to our team at Evergreen for making this possible.

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