This workshop was part of the Virtual PoleCon 2020 event held on October 17, 2020.…
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization or SEO is how people find your business using a search engine like Google.
There are several ways to improve how people find your business. Some of them are technical and some require no technical expertise at all. The rules about SEO change all the time, so please keep reviewing recommendations and updating your web presence as needed.
Generally, all these tips are ways to increase your ranking on search engines. Many people don’t go past the first page or two of a website to find answers to their questions, so it’s important that you optimize your SEO to be as close to the first search result as possible. Doing so will drive the most traffic to your website where that web traffic can turn into revenue for your pole business!
Basic technical SEO tips
First, sign up for Google Analytics. This is a free service that will allow you to see information about your web traffic. At a glance, you’ll be able to see who is coming to your website and how they got there, such as through an organic search, clicking on a social media post, or through a link from someone else’s website. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll need to install the code they give you on your website. For WordPress-based websites, use a free plugin. If you’re not using WordPress, follow the directions here to add the code.
Web “crawlers” from Google and other search engines are constantly checking the entire internet to find broken links and confirm information is still accessible. Make sure to fix any broken or outdated links on your website or your website will decrease in ranking. You can do this for WordPress-based websites with a free plugin, like Broken Link Checker, or a bit more manually with Google Analytics.
Sign up for Google Search Console, which is another free service, and follow the steps to submit a sitemap to Google. This is another critical step in communicating effectively with the web crawlers.
Content-based SEO tips
Google and other search engine crawlers are reading your content to present the best information to people conducting searches.
You can optimize your “On-page SEO” by creating content that people want to find. To do this, you first must know what people are searching for.
Sign up for Google My Business, yet another free Google tool. This will provide insight into what words people search for to find your business. You can also see what words people are using to search for your competitor’s business and get a peek into their analytics using a free tool called SE Ranking. Review information available in your Google Analytics and in your Google My Business to see which of your pages are generating the most traffic—these are pages that you want to emulate across your entire site.
Now that you have this information, create blog posts or update existing pages with terms that resonate with people so they can find your business. Do this in your titles and in your content. Don’t just use key words like “pole dance” but a “long-tail” search such as “how to pole dance.” You can take this one step further and create a quantitative long-tail search title such as “top 5 tips for beginner pole dancers.” Long-tail queries send about 70% traffic to websites and blogs.
If you don’t already have a blog, start one. It can have a huge impact on your SEO ranking! It also makes your website update regularly, which is a positive for the web crawlers.
Then, install a free WordPress-based plugin like Yoast SEO that will help you update the metadata information on each page or post on your website. This information isn’t seen by the public, but the web crawlers will see it, and it can help to increase the rank of your site.
Other SEO tips
Leverage social media and other distribution channels. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world: “With 3 billion searches per month, YouTube’s search volume is larger than that of Bing, Yahoo, AOL and Ask.com combined.” If you don’t have a YouTube channel, start.
After reviewing your Google Analytics to see how much traffic is coming from your social media channels, consider spending more time or less time on the channels that provide the most traffic. Maybe you think Facebook isn’t relevant anymore but if the data says otherwise, don’t trash it!
Also, having other sites link back to your site improves your ranking, too. Link sharing could be part of a strategy with partners or ambassadors, or it could be more public relations-based if you have articles or interviews written about you, your pole business, or your pole studio that link back to your website.
Remember that all search now is inherently local. Setting up Google My Business will help with this. If people search for “pole dance classes,” Google will default to add “near me” and pull up businesses that are in the local area based on that person’s location. Other organizations like Yelp and Yahoo Local will automatically create a profile for your business. Make sure to claim those profiles and update them.
What should you do now?
There are lots and lots (AND LOTS) of ways to improve your SEO and not all of them are covered in this post (some that are missing include but are not limited to: website speed, mobile optimization, and paid search). These tips are just a start and while they can be overwhelming, start with a few, such as these:
- Set up all the Google tools (Analytics, Search Console and Google My Business) as these are things you only need to set up once.
- Claim your free Yelp profile
- Start on a content creation plan outside of places like Instagram or Facebook that you control that also makes sense for your business (think blog or YouTube). It can be hard to manage “all the things,” so start small. Even if you don’t do any analysis of key words, you can still start writing about things relevant to your business by answering questions your customers already ask you.