Updated: Nov 3, 2022
I create lots of content
I create lots of content to tell brand stories
I create lots of content to tell brand stories, which wasn't getting enough traffic so ...
I Got Smarter about Content Creation with SEO
When I started MarketAPeel, I promoted my services through social media and by networking in the real world. Both avenues brought me clients to create content for and a small following of people who liked what I had to say. When I began to focus my business on digital publishing, I wasn’t getting the traffic I needed to be successful.
When only 2000 people see an issue of APeeling Digital Magazine, it began to feel like a pointless exercise. I had to improve my site traffic, which meant diving back into SEO.
Search engine optimisation is a tough nut to crack because there are 200 factors in Google's algorithm, which it keeps secret, and you are constantly competing with other websites, many of which have teams of hundreds of people. How was I, one person, going to be able to rank for keywords potential customers?
This is a problem all solopreneurs face in every aspect of their business.
The answer is niche, focus, and persistence.
Is SEO the Answer to Brand Awareness in a Busy Marketplace?
According to marketers, interactive content accounts for 88% of viewer interest and is the way to differentiate yourself as a brand. The ongoing challenge of creating engaging content to attract prospective customers is a constant concern for many. CEOs, leaders, entrepreneurs, and businesses are constantly looking for ways to increase their ideal leads resulting in ongoing growth and success.
Should social media be the outlet? Entrepreneurs and businesses relying on social media are struggling to get the reach needed to impact revenue because algorithms are changing in favor of veteran content creators. According to Tamika Carlton, there is a way to solve this problem, and it is a content strategy for those making $0 or those making upwards of $10 million in revenue.
"Search engines like Google, Bing, and Safari provide free value to you. When your ideal audience is searching for a need related to your service, product, or business, you should show up," said Tamika Carlton, SEO Expert and Founder of Tamika Carlton Collective, a digital marketing agency.
Having worked with startups, coaches, e-commerce brands, nonprofits, and political clients, Tamika has delivered results, resulting in an influx of ideal clients and quality leads.
"The world is shifting. We need more small businesses to be impactful. Far too often, those with the most to invest have been able to take over the market, even though what they represent is trash. I'm about giving more visibility, reach, and revenue to those delivering a service or product that will enhance the world."
There was a time when you could get noticed on social media and you could build a community but then the market began to get crowded and the players wanted to profit off of every little thing they could.
When I look at the traffic coming to my site, it is the traffic from Google organic that stays the longest and reads the most pages. That is the traffic I want because the other traffic is like junk food - looks really good until you eat it and then feel the affects of it on your body. Big traffic numbers are a Vanity metric.
Learning about SEO to Rank for Brand Storytelling
To know what to write about, you need to know which words people are typing into the search engines and that takes research. I started studying SEO back in 2005 by taking the Moz courses and following Rand Fishkin. Over the years, I'd dip a toe back into the SEO waters to learn how Google changed the rules to improve searchers experiences and to penalise those who tried to game the system. With every major update two things consistently remained of top importance – Keywords and Backlinks.
Sitting here in my bubble overlooking downtown Vancouver, I couldn’t even start to guess which words people were typing to find people who created content to tell brand stories, let alone if anyone was searching. Which words would bring me the traffic I needed to obtain clients who wanted their own digital magazines and readers for those magazines?
The Answer is Keyword Research.
Back in 2005, Moz.com was the only game in town when it came to understanding SEO and which keywords mattered to people. Now there are lots of different sites providing limited research results for zero dollars and in-depth results for a monthly SaaS fee. Each system has its own strengths, ranking systems, and features.
Here are some of my favourite SEO & Keyword research sites with free tools:
Like most small business owners, I do a lot of different things and to create enough content to rank for each service I provide will take years. So, the first thing I did was choose two things I wanted to be known for and gain traffic: Brand Storytelling and Digital Magazines. In writing about these two keywords, I’d naturally incorporate other keywords about how I tell brand stories by publishing digital magazines.
Even with focusing on these two main services, would I be able to rank on the first page when my competitors were trying to do the same thing, many of whom had scores of employees, contractors, and freelancers helping them out? I wouldn’t be able to if I continued to ignore SEO. I’d already wasted years by ignoring its importance in favour of social media, which was noisy and fleeting. The value of a post lasts seconds and the amount of content one needs to get noticed, organically or paid, is increasing exponentially. SEO is different because each blog post, each page, adds a brick in the road to my site from Google’s Freeway of knowledge seekers.
Free SEO Tools for Research and Results
To measure results and gain ideas on topics to write about, I use various free versions developed by the above companies.
Moz developed Domain Authority which I go to to check how I'm doing each month. This is the only free tool I use as the other ones are very limited and the subscription is expensive. The Moz Domain Authority Ranking is provided on other SEO research tools like Ubersuggest
SEM Rush provides me with deep insights into my traffic and keyword ideas to help me decide what to write next about Brand Storytelling. Here is a list of some of their free tools to help DIY people like me. – They give you 3-10 free searches a day depending on the tool.
Ubersuggest is SEO Expert Neil Patel’s SEO research tool, which gives you 3 free searches a day. The monthly fee is under $30 per month and affordable for a small business to subscribe for the time they are working on improving their site's ranking.
The following are drop down lists of features of the different SEO tools available
List of Moz Free SEO Tools
Keyword Explorer to discover the best keywords to use for your site
Link Explorer to find link opportunities and see where your competitors are
My Online Presence to analyse your local SEO search efforts
Moz Cast watches the patterns on Google to let you know what is trending
List of SEM Rush Free SEO Tools
Domain Overview for a complete analysis of your website’s SEO health. Traffic Analysis to analyse how your competitors are getting traffic Organic Research to find the keywords your competitors use Keyword Gap to compare your keywords directly with your competitors Backlink Gap to compare your backlinks directly with your competitors Keyword overview to run an analysis of all your keywords Position Tracking to notify you when a Keyword you rank for changes rank Organic Traffic Insights provides you with keywords used on Google Backlink Analytics to find backlinks to your site and about the site they are on Backlink Audit Tool to notify you of toxicity score and track process to remove bad links Link Building Tool to help you find sites to link to and map your progress Bulk Backlink Analysis to analyse your competitors backlinks Site Audit to show you where there are SEO errors on your site SEO Content Template to analyse what your competitors write about On Page SEO Checker for ideas to improve your organic search performance Log File Analyzer is a new tool to see how search engines are interacting with your site
Topic Research to analyse what your competitors are writing about SEO Content Template to give you ideas about what to write about SEO writing Assistant to analyse your writing and optimise it for engagement and SEO Brand Monitoring to let you know who is talking about you and where Post Tracking to track the performance of an article / blog post Content Audit to discover how visitors engage with your content or don’t
List of Ubersuggest Free SEO Tools
Rank Tracking to stay notified when keywords change rank Site Audit to know which keywords your ranking for and your site’s SEO health Keyword Overview to discover the profitability of keywords to go after Keyword Ideas to help you figure out what to write about next Keywords by Traffic to know the traffic volume of your keywords Competing Domains to analysis the keywords your competition is using Content Ideas to find the content that is generating the most traffic for keywords Keyword Lists to organise your keywords Traffic Overview to analyse how visitors are getting to you Top Pages by Traffic to discover which pages are getting traffic Backlink Overview to see who is linking back to you Backlink Opportunity to see where your competitors are getting backlinks
ahref provides those of us with one site free access to its SEO tools to run reports and check where our backlinks are. The free version does not enable deep keyword research.
Wordstream's free keyword research tool is helpful, though keep in mind the focus of the keyword research for pay per click adwords for digital marketers. The difficulty may be different on Wordstream than it is on another SEO rank checker and keyword research site.
Alexa, Amazon's SEO research too