1.1 How to Get the Most Out of This Training Programme
The fact that you’re here reading this content lets me know that I don’t need to convince you about the power of blogging to drive tons of free traffic to your business website.
What you should know though, is this guide is different from traditional ebooks, as it’s designed to be read and acted upon as you go along.
Many ebooks are lengthy and full of theory, but with little practical application.
In short, they’re useless.
The Blog Your Brand Blueprint is different, because as you work your way through you'll find actionable tasks, complementary resources and where relevant, additional informatio.
Before we dive in I want to share some tips on how you can get the most out of the Blog Your Brand Blueprint.
You need to:
- Assign time within your diary to work through this content
Where possible make this a sprint of uninterrupted time. Check out the video below as I share my top tips for getting more done in less time using the Pomodoro technique.
- Make a commitment to take action on each stage of the blueprint
There's little point in taking the time to complete the programme if you don't take action on what you're learning, and the best way to do that is as you go along.
- If you get stuck, don’t stop. Seek an answer to your question, if you can’t find that answer on Google or Youtube, feel free to email me.
Next, I want to clarify three terms you’ll read interchangeably within this training.
- Content marketing - this is the process of creating and promoting content that’s designed to generate an event or action within your business. Content marketing is linked to financial goals.
- Blogging - is the process of creating content designed to be shared online. The content may be written to educate, inform or inspire, but it may not necessarily be linked to your business objective or financial goals.
- SEO - this stands for search engine optimisation, and refers to steps you take both on your website (also offsite) which help make that search engines know what your website is about, so they can send targeted visitors to you.
The Blog Your Brand Blueprint is a way to put your SEO content marketing activities on steroids.
I'll teach you how to keep all of the elements of blogging which make it fun, then, optimise that content so that is it formatted and designed to help your reader take an action that you want.
This could be:
- Join your mailing list
- Visit a product page
- Click an affiliate link
- Purchase a product
Many people ‘blog’ for years without generating any traffic and not a single sale.
The SEO blogging strategy you’re about to learn is designed to generate traffic, email subscribers and sales, so take the time to watch all the videos as this is where we cover the 'how-tos'.
By the time you've completed the course you'll know and be able to do the following:
++ The importance of understanding your ideal customer, and how to find out exactly who she is, so you can create content designed to delight her
++ What SEO is and why it's important for any online business that wants to benefit from free Google traffic
++ What content marketing /blogging is, and how to create SEO optimised content designed to rank in search engines
++ How to choose which keywords you want to rank for, the tools you need to find relevant keywords, and how to use your keywords in your web copy, product descriptions and content
++ How to structure and format content that customers and Google love, and the different types of content and mediums you can use
++ How to promote your content, the different channels available to you, and why some channels are more effective depending on the type of content
++ The importance of tracking and analysing your data, and what data you need to be tracking and why
So be warned, this course is knowledge heavy, and you can't expect to be able to learn and take action on everything you learned in one day, it takes time.
That being said, if you make a commitment to complete the course and take action on what you've learned, by the time you complete the 5th and final chapter you'll have all the knowledge and skills you need to be a SEO content marketing boss.
Okay, so now introductions are over let’s start with one of the most important tasks you’ll do when creating a content marketing strategy for your online business.
Getting crystal clear about WHO, exactly, you're selling to.
1.2 How to Identify Your Ideal Customer
The secret to successful blogging is based on a deep and intimate understanding of your ideal customer.
Who she is, what she wants, what her problems are, and what she’s willing to do, change (or buy) to solve that problem.
That starts with creating your ideal customer profile.
Before we go any further, I can tell you there may be some resistance or confusion around this task.
1.3 How to Research Your Ideal Customer
TOP TIP: When creating your ideal customer profile, it's really important to make sure you don't end up just describing yourself
It’s easier and feels far more authentic to create your ideal customer profile, once you’ve spent some time getting to know who they are and what they want.
Here are my tried and tested ways you can research your ideal customer.
Social media listening
- Facebook groups
- Discussion forums
- In person social events
Spy on your competitors
- Like their social media pages - analyse what they’re doing, what’s working and what’s not. Look for frequency, style, messaging, offers. Use your competitive analysis worksheet
- Read their comments and pay attention to questions, complaints and praise
- Checkout the profiles of their commenters
- Follow their followers + join the communities they're in
- Get on their email mailing list
Friends & Family
- Speak with a sample of suited F+F - not everyone you know is your ideal customer so make sure you’re discerning when choosing people to ask.
- Think about their current shopping habits and price points. I.e Don’t ask for the feedback on your high end swimwear line from someone who only ever buys bathing suits when they’re on sale at Target!
- Send anonymous surveys - having a level of anonymity can help people be a little more forthcoming as they’re not going to be judged for their answers.
- Ask very specific questions + ask for honest feedback
- Do you like this, how much would you pay for it?
- Write down everything you know about the type of customer your business serves. It’s important to make sure you delve deeper than simply describing yourself.
Brainstorm and research your ideal customer, download and complete your customer profile workbook, then print it out and put it somewhere you can see it.
Next, download your competitive analysis workbook and research your competitors who sell similar products to the same audience you want to attract.
Remember, success leaves clues, so look for trends and standout content that you can duplicate.
Use your workbook to find lots of questions and prompts to help you create your ideal customer profile
DOWNLOAD: your free competitive analysis workbook
Use this workbook to capture all the data and information you uncover about your competitors, it has two sheets.
1.4 Google Keyword Research basics + free SEO tools For Content Creators
Ecommerce websites have a lot less written text than your average blog or business website.
That’s why it’s very important to have a clear understanding of the keywords you want your online boutique to rank for, so that you can make sure you optimise your pages and images for those keywords.
However, the approach you take with SEO when it comes to your content is a little different, as you’ll see shortly.
There are a many ways to do keyword research and often these include subscriptions to expensive SEO tools.
While these tools are definitely beneficial - especially as you become a more experienced content marketer - there are other ways to do less in-depth keyword research for free.
Check out the video above for different free tools you can try for yourself.
To make sure this information is actionable for all levels and budgets, we’ll focus on doing keyword research using free tools and methods.
We’ll approach this keyword research in two phases
In phase one you’ll learn how to identify the keywords you want your store to rank for.
- The keywords you want your products and online boutique to rank for: root keywords
And in phase two, you’ll learn how to identify the long tail keywords you want your content to rank for, and how these two (root/longtail) SEO strategies work together.
- The keywords you want your content to rank for - driving traffic to your online boutique: long tail keywords
Both your root and long tail keywords will be descriptive phrases which describe what you’re selling.
Top Tip: when selecting which keywords to create content for first, don't go for the most popular keywords as these will also be the hardest to rank for
Watch the video above and select your prefered keyword research tool and sign up for your free account or install it within your browser.
Next, download your free keyword research spreadsheet as you'll need it for the next chapter.
1.5 SEO Basics - long and short tail keywords
Part of the strength of the BYB blueprint is that it tackles both long-tail and short-tail keywords.
Short-tail keywords contain 1-2 words in a phrase, and these short string keyword phrases are notoriously difficult to rank for.
These are the keywords you will use as your page titles on your product pages and within your product descriptions.
Long tail keywords on the other hand, contain three words or above. Check out the difference between the two.
Long tail keywords are great for blog post, as these keywords will be used within your headlines and in other key places within your content - but more on that later.
Below you’ll find an example of keywords you might want to rank for if you're a women's fashion brand who specialises is selling casual, comfy, yet stylish dresses.
To make these keywords even more expansive and long-tail, you can add fabric and colour, should that be relevant to you.
Long-tail keyword examples:
As you can see adding colour and fabric make these keyword phrases slightly longer.
But what's truly magical about this is that, not only does it make it even easier for Google to know exactly what's on your page.
You'll also find that long-tail, descriptive, keyword rich searches, are often made by those people with the strongest levels of buyer intent.
Another great source of inspiration and ideas for how people are searching for these terms, is by looking at Google's predictive results/search terms as you type in a keyword phrase.
Below you’ll find two ways to use Google to get a better insight into the exact keyword phrases people are using to find what you’re selling, or uncover information related to it.
How to Find Keywords Using a Google Search
As you go through this research process your goal is to build up a list of potential keywords you can use for your product pages, static web pages, and also your blog. You'll find a link to a free spreadsheet you can use to keep a record in the action task section.
How to Discover Related Keywords Using Google
Top Tip: Look at the predicitive search terms Google suggests when typing in a search, also look at the bottom of each page of search results to see other relevant keyword phrases.
Next, you want to find out how many global monthly searches these keywords are getting.
To do this you can use Google’s free keyword planner tool, or any of the other free tools you discovered in the video in the previous chapter.
Didn't watch that video? No worries, go back and do that now.
If you plan to use Googles free adwords planner tool, I'd encourage you to watch the video below as it will give you some guidance on how to use it, and insights into just how powerful this tool is.
SIDE NOTE: The presenter speaks a lot about ads groups, which may be confusing. However, all this means if that you can use these same keywords to do paid advertising with Google.
As you're doing your keyword research, don't forget to keep a record of keywords you’re interested in alongside the amount of global searches and competition.
How to do Extended Google Keyword Research
I’m mindful that this guide is about blogging, but there also needs to be a connection between the customer you're targeting on your product sales pages, and the content you create designed to drive people to those sales pages.
This is especially true when trying to rank for competitive keywords, as you won’t naturally rank for them using product page SEO only.
The trick is: to drive a lot of traffic back to those pages - sending positive signals to Google which will improve it’s organic ranking.
I call this sending sideways traffic to your blog.
Check out these short examples of what I mean, as we look at researching a keyword phrase which features the root keyword, red lace dress, extended to create a content asset: How to Style Red Lace Dress.
How to Find Closely Related Content Creation Ideas Using Google
By using our root keyword phrase (the keyword phrase of the product you want to sell) then incorporating it into a content idea, you’ll also find this helps you find even more closely related keyword relevant, content ideas.
Click to watch the video below as I'll show you the connection between the two.
How to Find Closely Related Content Creation Ideas Using Google
Okay, so now you have an overview into how keywords work, why they matter, and what type of keywords you’re looking for.
Let's take a stepback and brainstorm a list of potential content ideas, quickly and easily.
Once you’ve done this you’ll have a list of product based keywords to focus on. And you'll also have a list of related content ideas that will contain the root keywords, or/or a long tail keyword phrase that creates a natural path to what you want to sell.
In the next sub-chapter, you’ll find a video where I talk you through my process of brainstorming content creation ideas using a free mind mapping process & online tool.
Top Tip: When searching for keywords make sure you're clear whether you're researching global monthly searches or local monthly searches, as these will give remarkably different results.
Watch all the videos within this module, then do this SEO research and brainstorm a list of great keywords that are relevant to your own brand.
Use the SEO keyword research spreadsheet to recall all your data and findings, so you can select which keywords you want to focus on first.
1.6 How to Brainstorm SEO Optimised Content Ideas
Now you have a list of your root keywords, and know tactics that will help you discover new ways customers are searching for what you sell.
In the video below, I’ll share with you how to take your ‘root keywords’, extending further still, so we can find popular content creation ideas that are focused around your root keywords.
I think you're really going to love this mini tutorial, as you're about to see how I brainstorm hundreds of content ideas in next to know time, and how you can too.
Once you've watched the video and understand my mind mapping process, follow the steps for your own brand.
Come up with your own content creation ideas ( try to come up with at least 20 post ideas) then download your free content marketing spreadsheet and fill it in.
1.7 How to Master Ecommerce On-page SEO Essentials
Contrary to popular belief, it's not necessary to hire an expensive SEO consultant in order to get great rankings from Google.
However, you do need to have an understanding of what Google and other search engines are looking for in order to optimise your content.
In this chapter, I'm going to cover the main areas you need to focus on optimising if you want your online boutique to rank.
- Keyword density
Your keyword density is dependant on how many words your article is.
I try to keep my KW density at 7-10 instances for every 1000 word article. And 2-3 for every 200 word product description.
That being said, I don't write with density in mind. I write with readers in mind then, optimise for keyword density once the article is written, as I've found this approach helps make the article more authentic and readable.
Top Tip: Keyword density (the amount of times your kw appears) is very important. I recommend 7-10 for every 1000 words.
- Headers and subheadings
You'll often hear people speaking about optimising your H1 - header and h/2/3/4 - which refers to your sub headings. These are headings that you use to make your content easily skimmable for readers.
Consequently, they're also really helpful to let Google know exactly what's on your page so they can show it to the most relevant people.
Top Tip: Your primary keyword must appear in your headlines and at least 1 (more is better) of your subheadings;
- Meta data and alt tags
In recent years Google have stated they don't pay as much attention to your meta data as in yesteryear.
As you'll see below, your meta data is what shows up under your post within search engine results, so it's always important to make sure you have your keywords within your meta description.
This is an example of meta data below
Alt tags are what Google show to readers in the event that your images don't render properly. This lets viewers know what would have been there had the image rendered correctly.
When uploading images to your website, it's critically important that you name your image with keyword optimised names. You also need to make sure that you name your images the right way on your desktop before you upload them
- EG: 43842342438.jpeg (incorrect)
- black_long_sleeved_cotton_dress (correct)
You also need to optimise your image size, as large heavy image sizes will slow your website down and increase your bounce rate
Top Tip: Make sure you change you image file names on your hard drive BEFORE uploading them to Shopify. Use Tinypng to reduce your images sizes before uploading, as heavy images will slow down your site load time.
- LSI keywords
Otherwise known as Latent Semantic Keywords - or, more simply put synonyms - are other phrases a prospective customer may use to search for what you're selling or writing about.
SEO doesn't have to be this complicated mythical thing, which everyone else knows and understands except you. The basics are actually fairly simple once you get the hang of it.
And while what we've covered here is only the tip of the iceberg for what's possible when it comes to search engine optimisation.
I can assure you that if you make sure you follow these optimisation steps methodically every time you add a new page or publish a new blog post to your website. You'll be doing far better than most when it comes to optimisation - especially the little vendors.
Top tip: Every time you publish a new page or post, get into the habit of running it through your on-page optimisation checklist to make sure you're nailing the basics each and every time.
Once you've read this chapter and watched the videos, click to download the checklist. This way you can run your pages, posts and product descriptions through your SEO optimisation checklist.
Key takeaways from Chapter #1
Understanding the keywords you want to rank for and creating a strategy for how you will optimise your product pages and your content pages, is the key to driving free traffic from Google.
I encourage you to go through this chapter as a many times as you need to make sure you fully understand how this works, and how to make it work for your online boutique.
Ready to start your blog ?
Well Done, You Just Completed Chapter #1
This is one of the most dense chapters in this BYB course, so if you're here reading this I applaud you. I highly encourage you to watch all the instructional how-to videos as they help explain everything.
It's important to remember the success of your content marketing efforts heavily depends on the efficacy of your keyword research so don't take short cuts, do the work, so you can get the results. See you in chapter two.