SEO basics with Amy Will, Founder of Girl Gang the Label
Posted on June 25 2019
My journey with SEO
My first internship was at National Lampoon working on link building campaigns for their videos. I fell in love with the combination of creativity and strategy so I decided to pursuit a career in marketing with an emphasis on SEO. This landed me my first job as Marketing Director at Tower Paddle Boards. We landed a deal on Shark Tank with Mark Cuban, who saw huge potential in the brand due to its impressive organic ranking on search engines.
Now I’ve built 3 brands based solely on SEO strategies. I put in time for strategy and execution, $0 on ads, and work only with inbound requests. This means no sales team, low overhead, and achievable organic growth. Want to learn the first steps to setup your SEO strategy based on what has worked (and not worked) for me over the last 10 years? Read below.
What is SEO?
Formal definition: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.
What this means: SEO is how people find you when they search for you. By educating yourself and putting together an intentional strategy, you can increase sales by having a presence in a place where people WANT to find what you are selling/providing.
How important is SEO to my marketing strategy?
This doesn't have to be the number one priority for your business. In my experience, it helps to have a goal with SEO and this varies in importance depending on what you're offering. I have two basic categories when building out a marketing strategy. Discovery and Search. Identifying where each of these lies in your marketing strategy can help you prioritize your time.
Discovery and Search
Discovery can be broken down into physical and digital. This is someone discovering your brand. This can be doing a popup, having an influencer post about your brand, word-of-mouth, etc. Search is someone searching for you online. Depending on what you provide, this varies in importance.
For example, if you are a hair dresser in Santa Barbara that specializes in weddings search should be a huge priority. There is a lot of opportunity to capture potential clients who are searching online for the specific service you provide.
Real life example from one of my brands I run with my husband (shoutout Cory Will). We started a company called Color Me Book which turns photos into coloring book images. We focus heavily on SEO because we have a specific product and clientele. There were a handful of keywords we could focus on and shifted completely to B2B (business to business) because of the number of inbound requests we received from companies wanting to "Bulk Order Custom Coloring Books" (one of the main terms we focused on having on our site).
Real life example of a discover first and search second brand - One of close friends owns the brand Sintillia. Sintillia started off by making statement sunglass straps. At the time she launched she was one of the first to market using a revamp in design for the classic accessory. She focused first on discovery - how are my potentials customers going to find me? By focusing on influencer marketing, photoshoots, and popups she was able to grow sales and launch in over 100+ retailers including Free People. By the time her brand had a strong customer base and she was able to outsource some help, she could spend time building out an SEO strategy to capture people now searching for "Statement Sunglass Straps" and other keywords. If no one is searching for the product or service you are offering yet, spend your time on discovery. Once you have more brand awareness or there is a demand for what you are providing, you can always start to build out an SEO strategy.
Step 1 - Make sure you build your website on a platform that provides strong SEO value.
What to look for - quick load time, easy theme options (you don't want customers clicking out of your site right away because they don't know where to find what they're looking for), an easy place to access writing what each page is about (meta descriptions, will go over in glossary at the bottom of the page).
My favorite platforms are Shopify for e-commerce and Squarespace for everything else.
Step 2 - Who is your target customer and what can you provide them along with your product/service you are currently offering?
For Girl Gang, we prioritized 1. Community 2. Content 3. Merchandise. The merchandise is the main revenue source of the business so how can we offer the other two categories and intertwine them with SEO? By creating content that targets who we want to reach to build a community with (ambitious women in creative fields) we can start to capture people who join our community and potentially convert those community members into paying customers.
How this article about SEO helps our SEO! - If we want someone who is building their first website for either their portfolio, product, or services, they are going to want to learn about the basics of SEO. By creating this article we are letting the google-verse and the universe know "Hey! You over there wanting to learn about SEO... come over here I'd love to help! While you're here, I hope you like the other things we make."
Step 3 - Start writing... everywhere! Every place you can write is an opportunity to strengthen your website. First, you are going to see what keywords you should be using. I recommend combing popular ones and very focused ones that have smaller reach. You can use a variety of keyword tool searches to identify what to focus on (I love the service google provides). Now dive in and organically place these search terms in any place you can write. Product descriptions, articles, about page, FAQ page, everything.
Step 4 - Save all of your photos with keywords that describe what the photo actually is instead of IDGAF.jpg. Upload them to your website and now when google is crawling your site it picks up on those images as well.
Step 5 - Utilize social media. Pinterest, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, everything. When you are posting a photo instead of just putting a clever emoji take a second to hit keywords if it feels right without overdoing it. For example, when I promote this post on our social platforms I'll make sure to include "Basics of SEO" "Shopify" and "How to setup a website" throughout them when writing out my captions. Google can't read your mind and know what you are offering, you HAVE to tell it. Explain it clearly but make sure to sound like yourself (aka a human not a machine) so you're not marked for spam. The internet is smart, if you just throw in photographer hundreds of times throughout posts that don't make sense you won't be rewarded.
Step 5 - I practice what I preach! Google Girl Gang and see where it comes up :).
Now you have hopefully a basic knowledge of SEO! Let me know what you want to learn more of by emailing me firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to hear inspiring stories from female creatives around the world? Listen to Girl Gang the Podcast on iTunes and Spotify.