We’ve officially made it to a dozen episodes. This week on the IWantBusiness Podcast, we’re talking about search engine optimization, also known as SEO.
- Our tool of the episode is Nibbler. This free SEO audit will show you the areas where your business website might need to improve.
- In our Deep Dive, we talk demystify search engine optimization, or SEO. We talk about what it is, how it works, and ways to maximize it on your site. You can’t get your website to come up on Google search results without SEO.
- In our trivia round, Craig shows off his spelling skills and David realizes that he needs to pay closer attention to the Olympics.
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And if you’re hearing impaired or just prefer to use your eyes, the entire episode is transcribed below.
Craig: Welcome to IWantBusiness, the Small Business podcast, brought to you by Clarity Creative Group. My name is Craig, I’m joined by David.
Craig: Of course, our producer, Brian Fritz, in the studio (that is, our office). This episode, we’re chatting about the multi-headed monster that is search engine optimization. SEO. The buzziest of the buzzwords when it comes to websites and online marketing.
Before we get into it—and we are gonna get into it—it’s very important that David talks about something he loves to cover each and every episode. Ladies and gentlemen, David’s tool.
David: I’m excited because I get to research tools and get paid to do it!
Craig: Tool research!
David: Tool research.
David: I get to research tools.
Anyway, let’s talk about this episode’s tool. [Both of them cracking up.] This got out of control really quickly. The tool is called Nibbler.
[Both just really losing it. These are silly boys.]
Craig: You know what? It’s Nibbler. Spell it.
David: N-I-B-B-L-E-R. And the website is nibbler.silktide.com—
David: Yeah, it’s on this network of tools from Silktide.com and it’s one that I really like and I think it’s really good for a reference of SEO. But we’ll also include it in our show notes, so if somebody wants to get to it….
Craig: Yeah, because that URL is a little tough.
David: Yeah, it’s a little tough. You could also go to IWantClarity.com/nibbler and it’ll go ahead and redirect, but this isn’t a tool that we created or anything like that. It’s another company.
But what I thought that was really cool is you put in your website—I’m gonna assume that you have a website out there as a small business….
David: And it gives you information about whether or not you are properly…you know, whether or not you have links, whether or not you have social media, whether or not your site is popular, is your content good. So it kinda gives you a little snapshot on whether…you know, is your site worthy? What’s it ranking? Is it good for printability? Have you done some—is the URL format correct? How old is your domain?
Stuff like that, stuff that can help you in your rankings for your search engine optimization. Just kinda gives you some answers as well as what you can do better and it gives you a report with a little score.
So I can pull up a site here, it says, “Oh, it looks like you need better social media, that your social media isn’t tied, I guess, with your website. So that might be something that you can do to help with your rankings.” So it just kinda gives you a little report.
The free version that they have does five pages, at least to…
Craig: Of one website?
David: Of one website.
David: Yeah, so you can run multiple reports for multiple sites. You can even see what your competitors are, to see if maybe they have done really well in terms of their SEO.
Craig: Coming out of left field, why do they call it “Nibbler?”
David: Can’t speak to that. I can message them and find out for ya.
Craig: I would like you to.
David: I’m not behind it. They have some other tools. One that helps with whether or not there’s proper grammar on your website and spelling…you know, is there broken links? So you have other tools that do some other website checks, which is kinda cool.
I find myself doing while working with clients and when clients ask for things, we try to point them in the right direction. I think this is something they can do. It tells them whether or not they’re using good technology, whether or not they’re marketing or have Analytics…all the stuff that a basic SEO audit would look into.
Craig: Okay, so you can kinda liken this to that small audit, the beginning audit. And when we’re talking about an SEO audit—which we’ll probably have our own episode about later on—it’s looking at your website and seeing what’s working and what’s not to get rankings in the search.
So you’re saying Nibbler can do a…maybe a starter version of that?
David: Yeah, so maybe if you called us up and said, “Hey, we’re not ranking for anything and we’re not showing up on any search engines,” I would say you probably want to put your URL into Nibbler, have it run a little report and see what red flags, what do you score really low on. Might be a good starting point, [as it] gives you some more information.
Again, it’s more taking a basic look at your site and says, “Oh, okay, this is what you’re doing well, this is what you’re not.” Example being, like, it gives you a score of whether your site is mobile-friendly or not. You and I know what percent of traffic these days is mobile vs. desktop, being huge….
Craig: Over 50%.
David: Yeah, if you’re getting a low score on mobile, you’re probably not showing up in the rankings now when somebody searches for your website on mobile on Google. So that’s huge, because now you’re losing, possibly, a ton of traffic. So that might be something you need to work on.
So just kinda gives you a little report, scores you, tells you want you can do better, and then gives you some ideas on what you can do to better it. So it gives you a little tidbit. Kinda helpful.
Craig: I like the sound of Nibbler; I like the sound of David’s tool.
So, we’re pivoting: search engine optimization. We’re going deep. But we’re not gonna get crazy, because this topic alone we could probably talk about for days. It’s very in-depth, it has a lot of pieces. So in this episode, we’re kinda doing the overview. We’re giving you some big concept ideas; we’re not gonna go really far into each individual strategy that you can use, but we’re gonna go big picture.
So start with SEO. I said that it was search engine optimization. That’s what the words mean, but that sounds like a whole bunch of nothing. Tell me what it is.
David: Everybody that says that SEO is this magical fairy dust that you sprinkle on your website….
Craig: You just put it right on the keyboard.
David: Just a little bit. I mean, you can purchase it on Amazon with free shipping from Prime. It’s very helpful.
But SEO is so much further than that. SEO is [important] because, in this day and age, search engines want to give you the most relevant and best content. So SEO means that you’re helping Google figure out whether or not your content is rankable.
And that’s really how I want to factor in what we’re talking about today: is the basics of why you’re even gonna get ranked. So why would they rank my website vs. ranking another website?
Craig: Well, exactly. I’m on Google. I’m looking for something. I’ll give you an example; I do a lot of movie research. I like movies. We watch movies. What makes the Wikipedia show up sometimes, whereas IMDB doesn’t? Or, certainly one of the ones that never shows up that you would think would is the actual studio itself.
So, like, Warner Bros. makes a lot of movies we watch, but wb.com/harrypotter does not show up first.
David: Or maybe even Harry Potter‘s website for the movies, right? Those don’t usually show up. But that’s all based on search engine optimization.
So, Wikipedia is very content-driven, which is very helpful. They give a lot of information. And the way Google sees it, they see a ton of value in them putting those pages up there. So when people click on that link, digest the page, maybe even go on the page for a couple minutes, now the search engines know that they sent them to the right location and that what they gave them was good quality stuff.
If you show up first for the Harry Potter movie, and your page is not what they wanted and they immediately click out of it, Google knows not to show that #1 again. They’ll probably take it down or show something else.
And that’s really what SEO is all about. SEO is about putting that effort and time in to make sure that that content is ranking well. So sites like IMDB or Wikipedia could be depending on how much traffic those pages get, how much information is provided on those pages, and which one would be more relevant to that search.
Again, if Google’s doing everything right…when you type in “Harry Potter movie”…they’re trying to figure out…. They’re almost reading your mind.
Craig: They’re trying to, right?
David: What page would be most relevant for it? That’s what SEO is as a whole, is using tools, techniques, and processes to help Google figure out that your website should rank well for something.
An example being…we talked about this in the last episode, we’re Clarity Creative Group, right? We are a company that does website, web design, web marketing. It’s what we do. But we also realized that Clarity—
David: Yeah, I don’t know if you realized that. We do!
So “clarity diamonds” is another term with high search.
David: It would really hurt Google to rank us, a web design firm, high up for “clarity diamonds.”
Craig: I’m willing to sell diamonds.
David: We could. Not well.
Craig: I don’t have many.
David: We don’t. But how does Google figure that out? That’s based on the content we provided, some of the stuff that we do behind the scenes, as well as the content that’s on the website to let Google know that we’re a web design firm and we serve Orlando, we serve the nation…. We don’t do diamonds. So that way, we don’t show up #1 when somebody searches “clarity diamonds.”
Craig: Well, that’s kind of important. I mean, you mentioned relevance, so the fact that the page has what people are searching for, Google got to the level, through the years of their algorithm getting better and better, that they’re trying to give the best search results. That’s part of, like, their mission statement. They want to get the best results for any question that’s asked.
One of the things that keeps coming up for me is I see a lot of “SEO” being that buzzword; it’s everywhere. People are doing SEO for this, you get it for that, we’ll do it in a minute….
David: Basic SEO…
Craig: …We’ll take 10 years, we’ll take 10 minutes. I guess one of the questions that matters the most to a small business owner is: Do they need it and when do they need it? Does that make sense?
David: Yeah, I think so. So, we’ll break it down: Do they need it? That’s a yes or no answer. Yes, they need it….
Craig: If they’re marketing a website.
David: If they want to market what they’re doing. If you want to get leads—and again, we talked about this in the last episode—pay-per-click is about today, SEO is about efforts and energies that you’re probably putting in to helping your business grow—
Craig: Long-term growth.
David: …In the future. So SEO is that long plan. If you need sales today, probably go the pay-per-click route. But if you’re looking for your business to be growing in 6, 12 months, yeah, absolutely.
A business should be thinking about that because you want to be top of mind for people. And SEO is the efforts and energies of ranking for certain keywords for your business for things that people are searching in your area or a service or product that you have and being able to show up.
So if you’re selling or doing any sort of business, I don’t see why not.
Now, I don’t think you necessarily need to do it off the bat. Let’s say if you’re just starting out and trying to get going, I think you could still build a website with little SEO effort to start.
Now, it’s important, I think, in the end, if you’re gonna do it, to really do it right and do it right the first time, but I understand people don’t have the budget, maybe, to hire a company that can do all of this. But getting started with something small and work yourself up? Yeah, absolutely, that works. That was your first question.
Your second question was about…whether or not they…what was it?
Craig: [laughs] I said, “Do they need it and how do they do it?” [Transcriber’s note: Apparently neither of them remembered what Craig said.]
David: How do they do it? They can use a tool….
Craig: Can they use David’s tool?
David: They…. [laughs]
David: I’ll have to ask the wife; it’s not for sale.
Craig: [laughs] Is it for loan? Rent? Lease?
David: No, it’s not…
Craig: You made it sound like you could lease it just then.
David: I thought about it, but I realized I don’t want to do that.
Craig: Lemme get a little more pointed on it. We both agree that every business can benefit from SEO.
Craig: The small business, the upstart, just getting things rolling…. If you have a website, and the website is part of your marketing plan, SEO makes sense. Now, the dollars and cents of SEO seems like, basically, the wild west.
You have companies that are out there with literally signs on the road, “$99/month, we’ll get you to first ranking…” There’s good tactics and bad tactics. And we’ll probably even discuss the newest ones in an upcoming episode. But I just want you to give people an example of, years ago, what was a bad tactic vs. a good tactic for SEO?
David: So there’s definitely things that companies are doing out there, like keyword stuffing. I remember, back in the day, at the bottom of a website, you used to see tons of keywords. So it would be like, let’s say it was an electrician, it would be like, “Orlando electrician, electrician, electrician wire panels, electrician this,” it would be just a….
Craig: Just a whole junked in the bottom….
David: Yeah! And actually, if you asked me if that was a bad idea five years ago, no.
Craig: Because it was working.
David: It worked. It did, because it actually gave a signal to Google at the time that, “Oh! That’s what that page is about.” So it kinda tricked the search engines into ranking you for some of those keywords.
Craig: But Google caught on.
David: Google caught on and they penalized them. There’s penalties that have gone out and that’s probably a whole ‘nother episode, about the penalties that have happened for people that have tried these tactics and how it’s come back to haunt them later on.
Now, it’s switched from just having words to about quality content.
David: It’s become a machine learning, where it actually—
Craig: Whoa, whoa, whoa…. Like The Terminator?
David: No, not “rise up and kill us and take over.”
Craig: They know what I want to buy already.
David: It’s different than that. They can read your text and let you know whether or not it’s grammatically correct. So it knows that, if I typed it, that it’s not grammatically correct—
Craig: You’re saying “machine learning,” I think “End of Days.”
David: No, “machine learning” as in, like….
Craig: I’m just kidding.
David: It’s okay, don’t be scared. “Machine learning” as in, it can learn from your content. Are you keyword stuffing or is that an actual sentence? So it knows whether or not what you’re writing is well-written. That’s a side of things that, 5 years ago, wasn’t even in the picture. Then, you could just put “electrician, electrician, electrician” four times on a page…
Craig: And show up.
David: And it would be like saying “Beetlejuice” and suddenly it would show up.
Craig: Google seems to be really forward-thinking with what they’re doing for their search engine. They got a humongous staff, tens of thousands of employees. They’re generating a lot of money. And they are the biggest in search, so of course, they’ve got a vested interest in providing the best results.
So, as a business owner, even though you don’t have the budget that Google has, you’ve got to think about your business the way they’re thinking about theirs. What is the best way to represent your business? If you’re that electrician, what content can you put out that is gonna get people to find you?
Well, some of the things that people are searching when it comes to an electrician—or really anything—are usually questions that require an answer. Something as simple as “Do I need an electrician to change a light bulb?” or “How do I change a light switch?” Those are questions that are getting Googled a ton of times. And if you, as an electrician, for example, wrote a blog post called, “How to Change a Light Switch” or “How to Change a Light Bulb in Under Two Minutes”…these are the kind of things that can start to trend for you, over time.
David: Right, that’s where content can be a factor, one of the thousand points that the Google algorithm uses to rank your site. So probably having a question is on there. That’s the content side of it, and that’s just one thing that goes into SEO.
Craig: And there are firms that specialize in SEO. There’s whole companies that all they do is SEO. And there’s companies that do web design, web marketing, SEO as well…. SEO is this big challenge, this big….
I said it in the beginning, it’s this multi-headed monster. The Cerberus of web. And it’s important for you, as that small business owner, to understand what it is first. It’s not just a buzzword. It’s something that can, literally, make you a lot of money if wielded properly.
We talked a little bit about content. We mentioned a few things. We’re gonna break that down because, again, we’re trying to pump episodes of “I Want Business” out. We’re making it. We’re in, what? 11 or 12? What are we at? Oh my God, this could be 12.
David: I think it’s 12.
Craig: I forgot to say it in the beginning, didn’t I?
David: Yeah, I think it’s 12.
Craig: The 12th episode. So we’re really gonna hit you with a lot of different SEO strategies through this “I Want Business” journey. So that’s something for you to look forward to, and if there are certain questions that you have, email us at email@example.com. Please don’t forget to review us on iTunes. What is that called, it’s a subscription, right? You subscribe?
Craig: I love it. Subscribe so we can show up in your podcast feed. You can listen to it in your car these days. I mean, just go to work, on your way you listen to me and David, it’s great.
David: It’s like Craig and David are riding in the car with you, I mean…. We could be at work with you, in your headphones.
Craig: We could be with you.
David: We could be with you at work.
Craig: David’s tool can be with you. …No?
Craig: All right….
David: Now we’ve been rated—
Craig: You’ve nibbled. We’ve nibbled.
Here’s the deal: again, we’re gonna talk a lot more about SEO in-depth in some other episodes, but to wrap this one up, we’ve got to do our trivia. We’re closing in on a new format. It’s gonna happen. But we’re not there yet.
So David’s gonna hit me with some questions that may or may not be very difficult. Although some have said—a few emails here and there, some tweets—that David won the trivia from the last episode.
David: Absolutely, that’s what I remember.
Craig: I disavow that. I don’t think it happened. I don’t think Brian remembers that.
Brian: I actually do remember that.
Craig: Nope, nope. He doesn’t. And we’re gonna go into a whole new one: version 12.
Craig: I’m ready.
David: All right, I’m gonna ask you the questions.
David: Bing (the search engine), which we didn’t talk about today….
Craig: [laughs] Who would?
David: …Actually shares the search results with this other search engine.
Craig: What does that mean?
David: Bing’s search results are shared with another search engine. What other search engine uses….
Craig: The same algorithm, you mean?
David: Yeah, they pretty much share their algorithm.
Craig: That’s weird.
David: Well, not so much…yeah. The results.
Craig: I don’t know. But Brian’s face is telling me that he knows…
Brian: I have a guess.
Craig: …So I wanna know.
Brian: I wanna say it’s Ask.com.
Craig: Yeah, I’m gonna go with Yahoo!. That’s my favorite answer, I’m gonna go with Yahoo!.
David: It’s Yahoo!.
Craig: Sweet. So basically, I just destroyed Brian on that one.
Brian: You’re supposed to be the expert, too.
Craig: That’s David, actually, I’m really just the mouthpiece.
David: Yeah, so Yahoo! and Bing have kinda teamed up in hopes of—
Craig: In failure. Because Google is destroying them.
David: Yeah, I mean, they’ve made some headway in terms of their search.
Craig: Didn’t Yahoo! just get purchased or something or merged?
David: Yeah, Verizon just bought them out.
Craig: Ugh, never good.
David: But they’re sharing their search algorithms together to help in terms of having better search rankings. That was kinda the plan.
Craig: Because when you say the rankings—this ties into what we were saying—best results win. Why do people use Google and not Bing? Sometimes you bing something and it isn’t what you wrote. The results aren’t as good.
David: Well, that’s why people go to Google.
Craig: That’s right.
David: That’s where they’ve done so well over the years and that’s what good SEO is all about.
Craig: Yeah, they sacrificed the right amount of goats to do what they need to do to get the best results.
David: Goats. Goats is what it is.
Craig: That’s the algorithm.
David: All right, moving on.
Craig: Goat sacrifice.
David: Question #2: What is the name of the first search engine ever created?
David: Do you need multiple choice?
Craig: First ever created? That would have been back in the day, in the mid-nineties, right?
David: Ooh, I believe in the ’80s, maybe even the sss—
David: Yeah, probably would have been the ’80s.
Craig: Then definitely multiple choice.
David: Betty, Reggie, or Archie? Which is the name of the first search engine?
Craig: Archie. I don’t know.
David: That’s correct.
Craig: Yeah. I did that off your inflection. You kinda gave it to me before you said it.
David: Did I? Oh shoot.
David: I like that we have a new format coming up, because I’m just giving these away.
Craig: The first one I got by guess. I went Yahoo! like, two episodes ago and I was wrong. I’m gonna always go Yahoo! if it’s a not-Google answer. Two for two!
David: All right, name me the two Google founders.
Craig: Oh, I actually know that. Larry Page, Sergey Brin.
David: Can you spell them?
Craig: Yeah. Larry, L-A-R-R-Y. P-A-G-E, page. Sergey, S-E-R-G-E-Y. Brin, B-R-I-N.
Craig: I heard they live in Palo Alto.
David: That’s a nice area.
Craig: I saw that, right?
David: I’ve never been.
Craig: That was a softball, I appreciate that. But for those keeping count, I win 3-for-3.
So, I’ve got SEO-related questions as well. I’m gonna go with people, though. People. So first question: according to Business Insider, who got this data from Google, who was the most-searched individual of 2016? The most Google searches of the entire year?
David: It’s between two people, for 2016.
Craig: You’d think so.
David: So it’s either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Craig: One of them’s #1, one of them’s #2.
David: Yeah…it’s gotta be Donald Trump.
Craig: That is correct. Nicely done. That should feel good.
You were there, too. Brian was there, too.
Craig: For sure.
David: An extra half-point, though, for…. He gave a smile, which made me feel good that I was on the right path. Because I think we were both there.
Craig: So as a follow-up to that, I will warn you, it is much more difficult, but it is of the same subject matter. On that Top 10 list, #1 & 2 were Donald and Hillary. That’s true. You had that; you nailed it. Third on the list is an athlete. What athlete was the highest-searched athlete of 2016?
And this is tricky, but I helped. You know it’s an athlete, I didn’t just give you “person.”
Craig: The year is very important for this, so that’s another hint.
Brian: So in other words, it’s somebody from the Olympics.
Craig: Uh-oh, he just gave it to you!
David: Oh, I love it!
Craig: He just gave it away, Brian Fritz is a genius-man.
David: Oh my gosh…summer Olympics.
Craig: I would hope so, they didn’t do a winter.
David: Wish I probably watched more Olympics….
Craig: Yeah, it’s not your thing. Not your thing.
David: Michael Phelps.
Craig: That is correct.
Craig: Now, without you saying Olympics, I don’t think….
David: I would’ve went, like, LeBron James, I’ll be honest.
Craig: Right, and he didn’t even make top 10. Kevin Durant was in the Top 10, because of the big move.
David: Well, but when you said, “year,” I went, “Okay, what happened?” I was thinking “World Cup” is actually what my mind was going into
Craig: So for funzie, I’ll just give you the other ones…
David: Yeah, why not?
Craig: I just think it’s interesting. Bernie Sanders was 4th. Stephen Avery, the Making a Murderer Netflix person…
David: Oh, such a great….
Craig: …Was 5th. Ryan Lochte, 6th, a lot of buzz about him. Simone Biles…
David: Also Olympics.
Craig: Yeah. Cam Newton, 8th. Usain Bolt, 9th. And Kevin Durant, 10th.
David: I’m surprised.
Craig: The most popular searches. That’s crazy.
David: Over, like, Steph Curry. Interesting. Some of them, you would never—
Craig: To me, the Durant one makes sense, because he’s the one that moved the teams.
David: The trade, yeah.
Craig: Absolutely. So, third and final question, you are 2-for-2. Although I feel like we have to put some kind of caveat. There was a major assist from….
Brian: He gave you the multiple choice, though.
Craig: Yeah, you’re right. Okay. Yeah. Fair. All right. We need you Brian, this is why.
Okay. So. There is a quarterback that is closing in on being the only one ever to throw 300 touchdowns with less than 100 interceptions. Who is he?
David: Aaron Rodgers.
Craig: Are you sure?
Craig: How sure?
Craig: How many interceptions does he have in his career?
David: I don’t have that number off the top of my head.
Craig: Why not?
David: But I know he’s gonna get there.
Craig: He is three touchdowns away from 300 and he has a staggering rate of touchdown interception, unparalleled in history. Give me a guess, for the career. Within 10, for interceptions.
Craig: I mean, that’s aggressive, you like him a lot. You reverse those….
Brian: Yeah, I was gonna say around 70.
Craig: He’s got exactly 72. So as long as he doesn’t start the season in Ryan Fitzpatrick style, he will do it.
Brian: I was gonna say Brett Favre style, keeping with the Packers.
Craig: [laughing] Throwing a lot of picks.
David: More picks than touchdowns.
Craig: Aaron is less of a gunslinger and more of a sharp shooter, I think, is the way to go.
Brian: He is.
Craig: 3-for-3, we tied again. I think what you’ll see in the next episode is the unveiling of our new format. Our Producer Extraordinaire, Brian Fritz, will be more of a…what is the…”provider of the questions?”
Brian: Emcee? Game show host?
Craig: Yeah, there’s, like, a word for it and I don’t know it. It’s not just “trivia host,” it’s like…purveyor? But that’s not it. It’s a synonym.
David: We’ll make sure that it’s introduced next time.
Craig: By next episode, we will have that verbiage for you and the game will change. I am ahead roughly 11-1 of the first twelve.
Brian: I think it’d be kinda tough because you lost last week and you tied this week.
Brian: And I believe the week before that, you tied, too.
David: I’ve stopped counting.
Craig: [laughing] So, 10 and 2…
Craig: Close. You don’t think so? Brian thinks we have close to 10 and 2 but I’m willing to concede—
David: Ugh, not even….
Craig: …9, 2, and 1.
David: We have audio history of it.
Craig: 9, 2 and 1!
Brian: It would have to be at least 9, 1, and 2.
Craig: 8, 2, and 2.
David: At least lie about things that we can’t go back and check.
Craig: David, I think it’s clear that I have 8 wins, 2 losses, 2 draws, with 7 knockouts.
Thanks for listening today. To keep up with all of our future episodes, make sure you subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or whatever the heck you use to listen to these newfangled podcast-y things. To stay up-to-date, get on the interwebs and leave us reviews, email us, we want to know what you want to hear: podcast@IWantClarity.com.
Our Producer, Brian Fritz, who is going to become the trivia host, per se. We’re gonna figure out…there’s a better title there, I think. PodcastingDoneRight.com. Check out his website, if you want to hear…. Hear. If you wanna hear good…[laughing] get a hearing aid, but if you wanna sound your best when putting together a podcast, there is no one that does it better. PodcastingDoneRight.com. We will see you in the next episode.
I will win trivia.