My friend Joanne is a successful virtual assistant. Her clients adore her and consistently send her referrals. She was counting on her website to bring in new clients as well, but her site wasn’t seeing much traffic.
When I asked her what she does for search engine optimization (SEO), Joanne said:
“I have no problems with SEO. I come up first when I google my business name.”
Ding, ding, ding. SEO myth alert!
Unfortunately, this is a common conundrum for solopreneurs. And it requires a different mode of thinking.
Potential new clients don’t search for your business name because they don’t know who you are (yet).
What do they search for?
Think about the last time you were online. It’s a pretty safe bet you googled something (that might even be how you ended up here). And if you googled something, you were most likely looking for a solution to a problem.
People visit websites because they’re looking for solutions. Even when they’re playing Candy Crush, they’re solving a problem, like boredom or procrastination.
Let’s say I’m a single mom who runs a business from home. I’m struggling to get everything done before my kids get home from school. I could really use a hand, but don’t want the financial commitment of hiring an employee.
A virtual assistant would be a solution to my problem. It would help me get everything done without having to hire an official employee.
Since I’ve never heard of Joanne, I’m not going to search specifically for her business. So what would I search for instead?
- virtual assistants in [location]
- hiring a virtual assistant
- what to look for in a virtual assistant
- how to find a virtual assistant
This is where SEO comes in.
SEO is not about showing up first when someone googles your business name. That should happen even if you do nothing to optimize your website for search engines.
SEO is about showing up in google when someone searches for a solution to their problem.
What can Joanne (and you!) do to get found more in Google?
Identify the problems your potential clients are trying to solve. What problems do your side hustle or business solve? Consider what you think they are, and survey current or past clients to find out what they searched for when they found you. Get in the mindset of your ideal client(s) here.
Make a list of phrases they would search for to find solutions to those problems. Based on your own brainstorm as well as survey feedback, construct a list of phrases and keywords that should be strategically used to describe who you are and what you do.
Use those phrases and keywords on your website. Producing great content is the key to pleasing search algorithms, but keyword-stuffing will get you nowhere. Intersperse the phrases and keywords you’ve determined your clients will use strategically, and surround them by valuable, quality content.
By figuring out the problems and solutions her potential clients are searching for, Joanne now has an arsenal of keyword phrases for SEO. She can use those phrases in headlines, sales pages, and blog posts to help potential clients find her online.
Did you fall for this SEO myth as well? Now that you know how people search online, you can fool-proof your website by more effectively optimizing it for search engines.
Latest posts by Julia Sydnor (see all)
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