Episode 44 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Today, I want to talk to you about a simple approach that will allow your website to get to the top of Google, whether you’re promoting a business or you want to do it for yourself personally, and you want your name to show up at the top. Listen to this episode, and you’re going to learn some incredible secrets that are going to allow you to save a lot of money, a lot of time, and more importantly, a lot of headaches.
This is Titanium Life Radio with your host, peak performance speaker and business coach, Arman Sadeghi.
Hey there, and welcome to another edition of my podcast here today. We want to talk about marketing. You see, in most businesses, if you’ve got good marketing systems that are generating you leads on a consistent basis, you are going to be able to massively grow your business. But when it comes to web marketing, it goes well beyond just marketing a business. You may not even own a business but understanding digital marketing or internet marketing is a critical part of establishing your online presence.
So today what I want to talk to you about is I want to demystify all of the search engine stuff. What is Search Engine Optimization and how do you get your website to rank? Now, there’s all these different things that people talk about. They talk about the white hat SEO techniques, the black hat SEO techniques, the gray hat techniques, and all of these different things. And I want to demystify all of this for you and I want you to understand how search engine optimization works so you can either do it for yourself or you can hire a company to search engine optimization for you, so you can make sure they do it the right way by asking the right kind of questions so you hire the right company to do search engine optimization for you.
And it’s really not that complicated. All you have to do is take a little journey back to the early 1990s. Somewhere around 1993 to 1995 is when search engines really started to become a relevant thing. It was really until the late 90s that search engines started to become commonly used and it wasn’t until after 2000 that they really began to take off, and of course today, we look at search engines and Google is the name that we hear about the most. But Google was not the biggest player in the early to mid-90s. See, we’ve got to understand the history here so you can learn how to optimize your website for Google’s algorithm. Of course, there are other search engines like Bing and everybody else. But if you could optimize your site so that it’s showing up at the top of Google, you’re going to get the results that you want.
But let’s go back and think about why search engines were created. You see, somewhere in the early to mid-90s, there were a few hundred or few thousand or few hundred thousand websites. And so what there needed to be is a way of finding all these different websites, so companies like Yahoo and others started to create these directories where you could go in and you could find various different things, like a Yellow Pages. Well, when you look at a Yellow Pages (and back in the 90s, most of us did) – when you open up a Yellow Pages, everything is in alphabetical order, right? So you can go by alphabet, find the type of business, and quickly find what you’re looking for. Well, on the internet it’s a little different because people can launch random websites fairly quickly.
So whereas the Yellow Pages has the advantage of physical addresses and it can control the listings based on the fact they have a physical address, online that is not the case. There are no physical addresses. So if I want to dominate some business, I could launch a thousand websites or 100,000 websites that are built by essentially robots and instantly I would control many pages in the Yellow Pages. Well, you can’t have that, right?
What they started to do was build these systems that could find websites that had the most relevant answers to peoples’ questions and that right there is the key to everything I’m going to talk to you about today. See, Google is designed to be able to answer people’s questions. In fact, one of the original websites that was used as a search engine was Ask.com or AskJeeves.com, and when you look at that concept, it’s really an amazing concept because it was designed for people to ask a question and get an answer.
So you might say, for example, “How do I start a podcast?” See, if you type that into Google, you are going to get a response from Google on how to start a podcast. Now, it’s Google’s job to make sure that the response that comes up when you type in “How to start a podcast,” or “How do I start a podcast,” or “How does one start a podcast,” or all those variations of that phrase which is called a long-tail keyword – the technical terms here are not important. The point is if you type that into Google, you expect to get some results that show you how to start a podcast.
Now, what if you did that and all you got was websites that were podcasts for people? You know, like you got my podcast and you got a bunch of other podcasts, but none of them explain to you how to start a podcast. See, what you would do is immediately go to Bing.com, or you find another search engine, and that’s what we saw happen in the 90s. See, in the 90s, it wasn’t like it is today. See, there was no term called “googling” it. People didn’t google stuff; people searched for stuff online, right? It became googling when Google made an algorithm that was so good that answered people’s questions so well that people stopped using all the other search engines. So instead of typing things into Ask Jeeves or Yahoo or Alta Vista or a dozen or more other search engines, people started typing things into Google, and eventually, Google dominated the industry.
Well, why did they dominate the industry? See, if you find out why Google began to dominate search, you will understand what Google needs to do today to stay the dominant search engine, and therefore, you will know exactly what to feed Google so that Google will rank you at the top. Do you understand this? Of course, you do. It’s a pretty simple concept but sees; no one’s ever explained it to you this way because if they did, they couldn’t charge you tens of thousands of dollars for this mystical search engine optimization thing that never actually works.
See, search engine optimization is time-consuming, and it is expensive if you’re trying to get to the top of Google for very, very highly competitive keywords. But it’s something that you can do, or if you’re hiring a company to do it for you, you can very easily make sure they’re doing the right things. And all you have to say is, “Am I putting content out there that will help Google keep users and even get new users?” If you answer that question and the answer is yes, then guess what? You’re on your way to the top of Google. It’s just a matter of time.
Now the question is how much of that content can you create? Can you create so much content within your industry that no matter what question someone asks about your industry, Google gives you as the answer? Now, keep in mind that search engines don’t always have people go in and type a question, although sometimes people do. I do it all the time, like “How do you start a podcast?” But it’s not always people typing in questions. Sometimes what it is is people are going into Google and just typing in a quick phrase, like “Podcasts” or “starting a podcast,” and you can rank for those as well without the question words in there.
But it doesn’t change the fact that when people are going into Google, they are essentially almost always asking a question, and that question is simply either, “How do I do (something),” “Where do I do (something),” “When do I do (something),” or, “Hey, I want to buy this thing. Where do I buy it?” And so they’re looking for some relevant results, and all you have to do is say, “Hey, I want to help Google.” Pretend like you’re a shareholder in Google and you want Google to do extremely well. Forget about yourself, forget about your business, stop being so selfish.
Instead say, “What can I do to help Google?” Because you see, here’s the thing: we all use Google. I mean, if you’re listening to this podcast by the way and you don’t use Google, you’re somehow using some other search engine, I’d be a little surprised (although some people still do). If you’re using another search engine (by the way, Bing would be the most popular one, and Bing is doing everything it can to keep up with Google) but if you go and type questions or type things into Bing and Google, in most cases you will see as I have discovered that you get more relevant results and you get better results from Google than you do from Bing. It’s simply because their algorithm is better and it gives better answers.
Now, I’m not here to promote one website over the other, but let’s just talk about Google specifically because that’s where most of the searches are happening. So if you imagine that you own stock in Google and you want to help Google, now what I want you to do is take your industry, whatever it is. Let’s say you own a dry cleaner business, right? You have to say, “Hey, how do I help Google be a better search engine for dry cleaner related stuff?”
Because if someone, for example, goes into Google and types “dry cleaners near me,” you want your website to show up and you want your website to help that person find you. So you have to create a page on your website that associates your dry cleaners with the neighborhood that that person lives in. Now, that seems like a pretty simple concept. You launch a page, and it’s all about dry cleaning, and it’s about the city. And by the way, that’s a great way of launching a page. If you talk about the city that you’re in and if you talk about the services that you provide like dry cleaning services, then you’re going to be able to answer that question.
Now, what if someone goes into Google and instead of asking for “dry cleaners near me,” they instead say, “Should white shirts be laundered?” or, “laundering white shirts.” By the way, I want you to notice that dry cleaning and laundering are two completely different words. Now in many industries, you have many, many different ways of saying the exact same thing, so people are going to go into Google and type things in a thousand different ways. Your job is to make sure that you have enough relevant content on your website that no matter someone types in, Google can look at the web pages on your site and identify that your website is talking about those things.
How does Google know that your website’s talking about those things? Well, the words appear on your page. See, Google can’t actually read your pictures except for this little thing called an Alt tag, which is a description of your picture. (But we’re not going to get into those more technical things.) All you want to do is you want to make sure that you are answering questions and you’re putting content out there that Google is going to be able to display. If you’re doing that on your website, I guarantee you your website is going to start ranking, and it’ll first start ranking for long-tail keywords. That means sentences or phrases that have four, five, six, seven different words in them. Now, they’re not searched as often, so if you just put “dry cleaners,” it’s very unlikely that the website for your small dry cleaners is going to rank immediately.
However, if someone is searching for “the best dry cleaners in Florida,” hey, you can rank for that keyword, believe it or not. And some of these keywords like, “the best,” “the top,” things like that are actually fairly easy keywords to rank for because they are long-tail and not many websites are going after them. So what you’re going to do then is you’re going to try to answer people’s questions. Within your industry, think of a hundred different questions that people might ask and create web pages – simple web pages – just content. You don’t have to get fancy. Most people are focused on their websites being fancy, but then when they themselves are using the web, I’ll ask you a question: do you actually look for fancy websites?
I guarantee you not only do you not look for fancy websites. I can guarantee you that you actually look for quite the opposite. See, when we’re looking at our own website, we want it to have glitz and glamour and be beautiful and all this stuff. Yet when we’re looking for something online that we want to buy or something we want to do, what do we look for? We look for very simple, easy to read, easy to follow, content-based sites. If you don’t believe me, when you’re done listening to this podcast, get on your computer and go search for something you’re looking for. Make sure it’s something you’re truly looking for right now, not something that you would want in theory.
So if you’re looking for a new school to put your kids in, if you’re looking for a new shirt, if you’re looking for a new pair of basketball shoes, just type that in and I want you to see what attracts your attention. I guarantee you it will not be the sites that are all beautiful and animated and all this stuff. It’ll be the simple sites that have text – regular text and some pictures, of course – that give you the answer you’re looking for. It’s no wonder that some of the most popular websites in the world are some of the simplest.
Look at the simplest examples: Google itself. Look at Google’s website. There’s like one box in the middle and not much more. Because Google says, “Okay, you want to search stuff? Here you go,” Right? if you look at Craigslist, one of the most popular websites in the U.S. and in the world, and if you look at it, it’s incredible! It’s just this ugly text-based website, but it works. Look at Wikipedia. Wikipedia ranks for just about every friggin’ keyword you can think of and when you look at it, notice that Wikipedia is a very, very, simple text-based website with some images, and the text is broken apart into pieces.
Ah – see, that’s the key. If you’re trying to create content, you want to create content that answers questions, and it’s organized real nice on a web page with some images and things like this. Now, I could get into a lot more specifics, but I don’t want to! I want to keep it simple for you. All of this, what I’ve just explained to you, if you know the terms that go along with this, all of this is called on-page optimization. This is on your website the things you can do.
Now, there’s this other aspect to search engine optimization called off-page optimization, and that is what happens off of your website. And in a different episode a couple of episodes from now, I’m going to talk to you about this. But for now, I want you to go and focus on these on-page optimization techniques, which if you have a simple website, you’re going to be able to do yourself.
If you know what WordPress is and your website is built in WordPress, you yourself without any technical knowledge can get in there and start creating content. And if you don’t know how to do it, find someone to help you, but it’s not extremely expensive. However, you do have to spend time creating good quality content that answers people’s questions. Build a website that answers hundreds or even thousands of questions, and I guarantee you you will have a website that generates tons and tons of traffic.
I own multiple different businesses, and in just about every one of my businesses, we dominate the web. And when you look at why we dominate the web, it’s not because we are constantly trying to sell people. My websites become a place where people can go and get their questions answered. In fact, we answer a lot of questions that are things not even related directly to our own business. But they’re ancillary things and we don’t care if we don’t offer those services; we still try to answer people’s questions. Answer people’s questions, help provide high-quality content that Google can show users, and you will see your rankings increase and you will see yourself get to the top of Google.
And by the way, if you start ranking for certain keywords related to your industry, Google will reward you by having you rank higher for other keywords that maybe you have not done such a great job of optimizing for, and that’s the beauty of all this. Google wants high-quality websites. You create a high-quality website and Google will trust you. Once Google trusts you, when people ask for anything online like, “Where do I go buy _____?” – this thing that you offer, Google will show your website.
Hey, get out there, focus on adding value online, and creating content that the search engines are going to love. We talked a lot about Google but all of this applies to every search engine. But get out there, add value online to people. Make your website a portal where people can go for solid information, including by the way, information on how to get your services and products. Don’t just leave it at just plain information. You can sell stuff on your website, no question. But make sure you start with adding value and providing good information.
Have a good time doing this stuff. I love you guys all. I love doing this search engine optimization and digital marketing stuff because it’s a way of getting this information out there. And by the way, if you google “Why entrepreneurs fail,” you will see that my article is one of the top five ranking articles. Why is that? Because it’s a high-quality article that I put out there. It’s content on my website and it actually outranks many things, like from Forbes Magazine, from Inc. Magazine, and other important things. My article actually outranks them. Now, depending on the time of day and where you do it from, it may be in fifth place, fourth place, sixth place – who knows. But it’s high up there for the keywords “why entrepreneurs fail.” So if you want to check something out, check that, search for it, go click on it and read the article! If you’ve already listened to the episode, that’s cool. Go check it out anyways. It’s good information.
Hey, you guys have an amazing, amazing time out there, enjoy these podcasts, and as always, please lead with your heart.
Thanks for listening to Titanium Life Radio with Arman Sadeghi, here on the Apollo Podcast Network. For more information or to subscribe to this podcast, visit titaniumsuccess.com/podcast.