Hello, and welcome to today’s episode of The Born To Rise Podcast. I’m your host, Cait Scudder. And today, we have a very special guest, the one and only Lauren Taylar. Brand designer, website designer, and SEO strategist for female coaches and creatives, who want to feel confident in their online presence, attract more dream clients, and expand their organic reach in Google. As a former SEO strategist with one of the leading online reputation management firms in the country, Lauren combines her technical background with her passion for design to create visual brand identities, build custom websites and create tailored blogging strategies. Lauren, it is such a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you so much for being here.
Lauren: Thank you so much for having me.
Cait: Who else would I have on the show except for the woman that I’ve trusted to build my website? Shameless plug. Lauren built my brand new site, and I just couldn’t be happier. And I’m so happy that you’re here because I feel like this is gonna be a real strategy packed, juicy episode. As I was saying, before we started recording we’ve never had anyone on the show before to just give us the freakin skinny on what the hell SEO even is. So for anyone who’s secretly googling right now, what does SEO even stand for? Can you just tell us a little bit about this world that you are such an expert in? And what it really means and why online business owners really need to be thinking about it?
Lauren: Yeah, for sure. So SEO stands for search engine optimization. And it’s basically about making your website readable by search engines and making content and technical tweaks to your website to give it the best possible chance of ranking high in search engines. And it can be really impactful for your business because people are actively searching for the services that you have to offer every day in Google. And of course, the goal is to show up on page one. So that’s a really powerful way to get clients on autopilot.
Cait: It’s so true. I feel in this world of online entrepreneurship, coaching, blah, blah, blah we forget that Google is a thing. We Google, where do I buy flowers for my mom for Mother’s Day? But we forget that people are also googling marriage coach or finance coach or virtual CFO or business coach for women are whatever the terms are and that’s how we’ve built up that presence. That side of things has a huge impact on the businesses that we’re growing.
Why You Need To Own Your Own Online Space
I know you work with so many really full-power women, a lot of whom have put all of their eggs in the social media basket. I remember a couple of times last year, I don’t really remember any this year, but I’m sure there have been a couple of times last year when Instagram or Facebook was a little bit glitchy and the internet freaked out. And you’re like, I told you so. But you know we realize, Oh, right, if we’re building our entire empires on social alone that’s pretty risky. So talk to us about some of the things that you’ve seen with women who have just put everything in social media, and why that’s not really sustainable. And what you help women do instead.
Lauren: Yeah, so going off of what you said, that’s definitely one of the reasons why I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram and Facebook is because I have experienced those glitches, especially when you’re trying to get a really important message out and Instagram is deciding to not show it, and you put all that time into getting an Instagram story out. And it’s deleted. So that’s very frustrating, just from a user experience standpoint.
But with social media in general, you don’t own your content. You’re using this borrowed platform. Whereas when you are adding content to your website, you actually own that content and have full control over it. With Instagram, and Facebook they can go down at any moment, just going off of those tech glitches. But even more so, thinking about vine and Periscope, those platforms seem to go down overnight, and people that had spent all that time and energy, putting their content onto those platforms pretty much lost everything unless they were using something else to build their business. With the social media posts they typically last a few hours, maybe a couple of days, depending. With Instagram, if you’re showing up at the top of a hashtag search then people could be finding you pretty commonly. But for the most part, they lost hours. Whereas with blog posts, those can last a year. So you can push out a few blog posts that rank on page one of Google for years. So people are constantly finding you from content that you’ve written years ago.
Cait: So important and I think getting out of that cycle, because you’re so right. That’s happened to me, that’s happened to you, that’s happened to every single business owner that I know, right? We work a ton on a particular post, or we think something’s gonna go really well. Then the wind changes and all of a sudden, whatever our normal story views are, or post reaches, we get a fifth of that. And we’re wondering why the hell did that happen?
I love the other thing that you’re talking about with life cycle and how these more evergreen pieces of content can serve as lead generation tools in an ongoing way. This is very strategy-oriented, but I’m curious if you have had any luck, because I know when you’re speaking about websites, specifically, we’re talking about blogging and having a blog that is a source of content, not changing just for anyone who’s listening, not changing your homepage or about page copy every week, right?
How To Optimize Your Social Content Into Lead Gen A Tool
So with blogs, I’m curious if you found a way or if this is something that people come to you with of how do I leverage all of these hours and hours and hours and pages and pages of social copy to rework in a blog? Is it just as simple as pasting our captions into a blog? Or how would you recommend optimizing a lot of that social content or tweaking it to make it appropriate as a lead generation tool on a website?
Lauren: Yeah, so the first thing I’ll say is that it’s all about keyword research. Because you don’t want to just take your captions, and copy and paste them onto your blog. You want to make sure that what you’re actually putting on your website are the words and phrases that people are typing into Google. So that’s where the keyword research comes into play. So basically, you’re just validating the ideas that you want to write about. Because social media is very conversational, it’s really just about finding those keywords that people are using and putting those in your blog post titles, and throughout the blog post content. You can still make your blog posts fun and conversational and write, how will you speak. It doesn’t need to sound robotic. But it’s really about just making those minor tweaks and making sure that you’re using those words and phrases that people are typing into Google.
Where To Start If You’re New To Keyword Research
Cait: I love that so much. I’m so glad you brought up keyword research because this is another phrase that people hear but can feel intimidating. If you don’t really know where to start. What would you say to the clients that you actually work with? I know that you have classes and you’ve got a course on this, but what would you say for somebody who is brand new to this whole idea of SEO and building up their blog as a pipeline and really optimizing their website content? What’s the place that you would recommend starting for someone to even know what the keywords are in their niche or in their industry?
Lauren: Yeah, a really simple tool that I love is called keywords everywhere. And it’s super cheap. So if you’re looking for an affordable option, this is perfect. It’s $10 a month, and you get 100,000 searches. And it will integrate into Chrome. So when you do a search in Google, it will show you the search volume. So the number of people that are typing in that phrase every month in Google, you’ll see that number as well as the search volume for related keywords as well. So that will just give you an idea of what people are actually looking for, this subject or this topic.
If you want to go more in-depth, you’d want to not only look at the search volume, but also the competition or the search difficulty. And for that, I would recommend a tool called Uber suggests because that will give you that data. I believe you get 10 free searches a month inside of there before you have to upgrade, which is $30 a month. So that tool, you know won’t break the bank. But that definitely is a little bit more of an investment compared to keywords everywhere.
Cait: Oh my gosh, I love that so much. Okay, Keywords Everywhere and Uber Suggests. We are going to put both of those in the show notes. Those are such specific tactical pieces of advice. I super appreciate that Lauren. That’s just so so helpful.
So I know this was even something you worked with my team on in the beginning because we obviously have a podcast Hello, we’re talking on the podcast right now. But I think that for a lot of people, there’s a lot of confusion around podcasts and show notes and blog posts and I can imagine that for a lot of entrepreneurs who come to you, maybe they’ve just been doing the social thing.
How To Streamline Your Content To Grow Leads
You’ve just unpacked for us in a really beautiful way of why the dangers of only relying on social media when you know there’s that’s you don’t know your content as you really astutely put it. I’m curious how you support entrepreneurs who are trying to figure out how to strike the balance between leveraging a blog and making that different from the podcast. If they are making their blog and podcast different from their social content, do you have people who just come to you super frustrated about being in all the places at once? I know you don’t necessarily coach them through it. But as a done for you service provider and an educator, you have to support them in their mindset a bit, too, I imagine. So talk to us about how you work with entrepreneurs to take the overwhelm out of being in all the places and really help them just streamline that focus to grow their leads.
Lauren: Yeah, so what I will say is that with social media that can 100% be repurposed into blog posts. So I tell my clients not to look at social media or their other marketing strategies separate from the blog. It should really be an integration. That’s going to be the easiest way to handle it. Because Google can’t read any of your social media captions.
The only content that it can read is YouTube, because Google owns YouTube. YouTube videos are automatically transcribed to Google can read the words that people are speaking. So you want to take a look at the social media posts that you’ve already written, and see how you can make them longer because typically, I would say captions are anywhere between maybe 205 100 words, but 500 might even be pushing it, because of the limit that is on Instagram. So you do have to make them longer.
For blog posts, I would say at least 1000 words is what you want to aim for. We’re really looking at how you can bring or infuse the blogging with the social media strategy that you’re already using. But of course, when you are putting it on your blog, just making sure that again, you’re doing that keyword research, and now you’re setting the blog post up to be successful to rank on Google.
But with the podcast, there are a couple of different ways that you can reuse this content. I recommend ditching the show notes altogether and transcribing the episode. So that all of that content lives on your website. But for people that really want to keep the show notes, then I would recommend, and this is more for solo episodes where you’re focusing more on providing information. But you could transcribe that and turn it into a blog post and put that separately on the blog and give it a different title that’s more optimized for Google. So depending on how much you change the title, it could look a little bit similar to the actual podcast episode, which I know for clients that really want to make sure that they still have those show notes. That’s a way to still use that content in a different format, if that makes sense.
Cait: Totally. I think that’s really helpful. I think for a lot of people, yeah, who feel like oh, my God, it’s just so complicated. What you’re describing is just simplify, simplify, simplify and make what you’re actually spending the time to do, or having your team do, actually work for you and move you forward.
How To Implement SEO Strategy Onto Your Website
I’ve seen a lot of your stories and know that you have done this for other clients and have done this for yourself. You’ve actually gotten to the place where you’re first in Google for a specific keyword search. Talk to us a little bit about the mindset around that because I can imagine that there are a lot of people who feel like, oh my God, that’s just never gonna happen for me, or this thing is too competitive. And yet, it’s something that I see you achieving over and over? How have you? Tell us your tips on that you can include strategy.
But I’m really curious how you went from needing to figure it out to now being able to become first in a search term. What you would say to somebody who’s just starting to SEO their website, or who has just finished a site and hasn’t even thought about SEO? Do they need to now go back and delete everything?How can we integrate SEO without feeling we have to burn everything we’ve already done?
Lauren: Well, that’s a loaded question. The first thing that I’ll say in terms of the mindset is that you really have to have patience. So if you’re starting from scratch with blogging, it can take three to six months to actually start seeing results. And I would say that it’s all about again being strategic with the keywords and making sure that every blog post is intentional in providing information and advice that people are looking for when they go to Google, but it really is a slow process.
That’s why I say to integrate it with your current marketing strategy because you can continue to use Instagram and Facebook and then build your blog up on the back end. Although it might take some time to really start seeing results, once you start to rank higher in Google, you’re going to start to see more leads and more clients, I would say that I’m getting more and more as time passes. I’m getting more leads from Google.
Also, the more that you blog over time, the easier your blog post will rank because Google sees you as an authority. So it’s almost a snowball effect where it feels really slow in the beginning, but then it picks up over time. So it’s really about having that patience. And holding that mindset that everything is going to work out in the end.
If you have finished a website and you didn’t think about SEO, I would say the most important thing would be to go back and optimize your images, because that can really slow down your website, like if you are uploading full images from your brand photographer. So typically, those images are anywhere between 5 and 15 megabytes. You want to make sure that you’re compressing them down so that the website loads fast. So that’s the number one tip that I would give for anyone that has just finished their website because a lot of business owners don’t even think about this. But that is a part of SEO because PageSpeed is a Google ranking factor.
Cait: Oh my gosh, so helpful. I really love that piece that you shared as well about not dumping all of your other social strategies and not going from one extreme to the other of having zero anything other than social media to completely burning social media and just relying on your blog. But really using social as the amazing tool that it is for that quick turnaround, getting content out, etc, etc, while building out a more long term strategy.
I love that you’ve been able to see after months and years of consistency with your blog that now you are getting most of your leads from Google. I think it’s not popular in this industry where we love to see overnight results and instant success to hear, just keep going and it’ll work for you. But I hear that that’s really the key here with SEO? Is that right?
Lauren: Yeah, definitely. I would say that. It’s best to be blogging at least once a week or every other week to start seeing those results. After three months.
The Biggest SEO Strategy Mistakes
Cait: I love that. Okay, blogging, did you hear that? Take notes! Blogging every week or every other week and give it at least three months. On that note, I’m curious what are some of the biggest mistakes are you see with people who are blogging or who are trying to incorporate SEO into their strategy?
I imagine that’s probably what gets people to stop before that three month mark, and then they lose out on the benefit of having done it at all. So what are some of those biggest mistakes you see women making and how we can start to overcome them?
Lauren: So we already talked about the first one a little bit, which is not doing keyword research. I think when business owners think of a blog, they don’t even think about SEO. There’s also some knowledge gap with that, that you have to make sure that you’re using those words and phrases.
Cait: Hey, I just want to ask a really clarifying question. Does that mean topics, blog titles would include keywords, or just make sure that those keywords come up in the articles?
Lauren: No, you want to use those keywords inside of your blog post title. So for a business coach, it could be how to find clients online. You’d want to have that keyword inside of the blog post title, and then inside of the blog post content itself. Because you can definitely assume what your audience wants to hear. But again, to make every piece of content count, you want to make sure that you’re using those keywords for every single blog post title. So that’s number one.
Another common mistake is that business owners will write really short blog posts. So again thinking about if you take content from Instagram and copy and paste it onto your website, and it’s 300 words, there’s a high chance that Google will never rank that blog post because Google wants to showcase more in-depth, high-quality pieces of content on page one. That’s why I always recommend at least 1000 words, upwards of 3000 words depending on how much you can write about that topic and depending on maybe how competitive it is to actually rank for that keyword.
Another mistake is that because they don’t fully understand SEO, people will end up doing spammy or blackhat SEO, which is something that you definitely don’t want to be doing.
Cait: I remember going to a workshop in Bali once and the woman was presenting about whitehat SEO and blackhat SEO and I’m like, Am I at a black and white party? What even is this? So what is a black hat, white hat? ? What are those terms even mean?
Breaking Down Blackhat Vs. Whitehate SEO
Lauren: Yeah, so whitehat SEO just means that you’re doing everything by Google standards. And blackhat SEO, or spammy SEO is basically you trying to trick Google into ranking your website. So typically, how this ends up coming to light is that business owners will do keyword stuffing on their website. So if they want to rank for something like, life coach, they’ll include it in every single sentence, or puts variations of that term in their footer.
Basically, if you were to read someone’s website copy or look through a blog post, and it sounds a robot, then that’s how you know or can pretty much tell whether or not your content sounds, or looks spammy. I see this most of the time with photographers, but I have seen it with business owners. So that’s why it’s important to yes, incorporate the keywords that you want to rank for on your website in the copy itself, for your main pages, and also for the blog content. But you don’t want to overdo it. Typically, I would say that for every 100 words, you’re including the keyword 1, 2, 3 times. Maybe with the third mention, read out loud. If it sounds weird, then it’s probably spammy.
Cait: That is such a good tip. And I’ve totally seen that I am a life coach for blah, blah, blah, my life coaching services for blah, blah, blah, and you’re Okay, I got it the first time.
Lauren: Exactly. That’s exactly how it is.
Cait: This workshop that this lady did, it’s coming back to me, she said that also choosing a font and making it the same color as the background and literally having words on there that no one can see, or they’re just browsing user can’t see. But they’re literally just random words all over the website.
Lauren: Yes. So that’s another example of blackhat. SEO, because the user can’t see it, but Google can still read it. That’s something that you definitely do not want to be doing. I think Google is smart enough now to know about that because I think that was more of a strategy 10 years ago. Maybe some people are still trying to do that. But if they are, then that’s not good.
The Risk Of Using Blackhat Strategies
Cait: For all my rebels who are like, I don’t care if I’m doing it in a way Google wants, are there any negative repercussions if Google or if somebody finds out that you’re doing blackhat? Do you then get punished? Or what’s the risk of doing it in the black hat way?
Lauren: Yeah, you can definitely get penalized. Many people they just want that quick win. You can in the beginning, probably trick Google, but then Google will catch on to what you’re doing. And it can penalize you. So it’s really not worth it. Because you just want to start with a solid foundation and do everything the right way. So that long term, you’re setting yourself up for success instead of doing blackhat for a year, and then realizing, Oh crap, I now need to go back and change everything. Wasting all that time and energy fixing things when you could have been set it up the right way.
Cait: Preach. I am loving that you’re sharing this because honestly, this is why we went with you to do the rebrand for our website. I can’t tell you how many times I hear that a business owner sayingm, I built this site and it’s really pretty, but there’s all of these issues, whether it’s SEO or other sorts of things, speed, security, and the site gets compromised, and then you’re back to building things out.
The Real Cost Of Building A Cheap Website
I know you and I have jammed on this a little, but cheap is never cheap. I think you’ve created a post about that. But tell us your perspective on that. You’ve been in this industry a long time you’ve built a lot of websites, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of gnarly back ends of other women’s websites when they come to you. But what’s the cost of trying to do a project on your website or your SEO and just patch it together? Instead of having this real true CEO, I’m going to invest in a super solid system here. What’s the cost of doing it cheap?
Lauren: Yeah, I would say you’re trying to do it on your own just by googling things, that might work for a little bit. But typically, I would say that a lot of my clients, when they come to me, they all have something that needs to be redone. For instance, all of their title tags and meta descriptions have to be rewritten. And a title tag is just the piece of information that shows up towards the browser window next to the favicon. So that’s one piece. And then the meta descriptions are, the little one sentence that shows up in Google. When you are searching on Google, before you go to click on a search result, that little snippet that will show up below the result. So even something that I’ve seen a lot of my clients try and do that themselves, but it’s wrong. So I just naturally added that into my package, because I saw that all my clients were doing it wrong, because they had tried to DIY it.
You definitely can attempt it on your own. But I would say that unless you take a course or invest in someone, you’re probably not going to end up doing it correctly. And then with going cheap, typically I’ve heard of stories of people going on Upwork and paying someone $50 to do all this SEO work. This person goes into the backend of their website, and does all of this stuff that the person has no idea what it is, and then it ends up being basically a shit show. And then they end up having to hire someone to undo everything that that person did.
So I definitely think that if you’re going to hire someone, you should have knowledge. If they are going to go into the backend of your website what are they actually going to be doing? Just focusing on quality over trying to find someone cheap, because SEO is basically what’s going on in the backend behind your website. If you don’t already know it, and you hire someone to do stuff in the back end, then there’s a chance that you’re just not going to know how to undo it yourself. So yeah, it’s hidden, so it’s not like, Oh, I paid someone $300 to design my website, but I don’t how it visually looks. SEO is going on underneath all of that. So that’s why it’s really important to have that awareness.
Cait: I think it’s so true, and what you’re describing of working with people and seeing shortcuts and how it ends up really biting you in the butt in the long term. I think about all of the different ways that we figure it out, we make mistakes, we make bad decisions, we dust ourselves off, we think better decisions, we keep moving forward.
Finding The Silver Lining In Hardships
I’m curious if in your whether it’s building up your skillset in SEO and I know you come from the background of doing that or just even in entrepreneurship, one of the questions that I love to ask on this show is just about a time in your entrepreneurial journey that it’s been challenging for you that you’ve either fallen down or made a mistake or a bunch of mistakes and how you’ve moved through that how you’ve risen up through that and how you’ve been able to come out the other side as the incredible entrepreneur that you are now.
Lauren: Yeah, I would say I’ve had quite a few moments where things didn’t seem like they’re going home. I feel business, in general, is challenging, because you’re always doing something that you’ve never done before. So I know in the beginning I found it really difficult to find clients and learning how to write captivating social media captions. Even recently I’ve had a few hiccups, but I think it’s all about understanding that this is part of the journey and trying to make it not mean anything and trying to find more of the silver lining in that.
So times where you don’t get the number of clients that I wanted in a certain month, that gave me extra time to focus on back end things I had been putting off for months on end, because I was so busy with client work. So I feel even though there’s been quite a few things that have arisen it’s definitely given me time and space to figure out other things that I need to do. Just keeping that mindset that everything is gonna work out. This is just a season that I’m in and I’m gonna be able to move past it. I just can’t sit in this low energy. There’s got to be some way to come out of it. So just really focusing on the positive aspects of whatever I’m moving through.
Cait: I love that. Focusing on what you’re moving towards. I think that’s such a great reminder for so many people. I love that theme, whether it’s giving your strategy time to actually work for you, or just being able to be with yourself through these inevitable seasons of expansion and contraction, which is something that I’m just so interested in right now. Understanding the cyclical nature and the cycles and seasons of being a business owner. I think that’s really really powerfully said, of just giving yourself space and time to move through them and continuing to focus on the positive aspects and where you’re going. I think that’s so, so true and so powerful. Lauren, if you could give our listeners one piece of advice from all of your wisdom, in getting themselves visible, taking out a lot of the hustle of social and just setting themselves up for sustainable success, what would it be?
Lauren: I would say, to get support in this area, whether it is investing in a course, or investing in an SEO strategist, or could be a content writer or bringing a virtual assistant on board to help you upload your blog posts to the backend of your website. I feel blogging can feel very heavy when you’re going at it alone. That’s the number one piece of advice is to definitely invest in support so that everything doesn’t fall on you because it can feel a lot all at once.
Cait: So true. Oh my God. Amen. Just support all of the way every day. It’s so key. Lauren, thank you so much for all of this wisdom. It was so freaking helpful. I’m sure everybody’s googling SEO right now. But can you just tell us where can we find you and stay connected to your amazing work? I know you offer a lot of this SEO service, you have a really affordable course. Tell us about where we can find all the things.
Lauren: Yeah, my website is LaurenTaylar.com. I’m over on Instagram at Lauren_Taylar. I’ve got a few different digital products and also one on one services for website design and SEO.
Cait: Oh my god. So good. Lauren, thank you so much for coming on the show. You’re amazing. You’re such a source of inspiration and knowledge about all of this stuff that I feel nobody really knows about. So I’m so glad that you came on the show. Thank you so much for being here.
Lauren: Thanks so much for having me.