Understanding how to improve SEO is one of the key factors that will affect the overall success of your site over time. Take the time to listen in to this episode to get a better grasp of how you can improve your SEO.
IE 154: How to Improve SEO with Ty Kilgore
If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you have heard me talk many times about the Everything Food Conference.
I love this conference and have spoken at it twice in the past, so I am especially thrilled to have Ty Kilgore here today.
About a year and a half ago, Ty was working a 9 – 5 job in the digital marketing space.
After the Everything Food Conference that year, he and Kami sent out a post-conference survey and asked their attendees “What is some information you would like to know more about?”
Over 200 people filled out the survey and nearly all of them responded that they wanted to know more about SEO. It became a great opportunity because of Ty’s 12-year background in the SEO industry.
Stay Calm and Level Up
Ty has a t-shirt with a great mantra that is really relevant to the algorithm changes that we see on Google and across social media.
The mantra is “Stay Calm and Level Up.” After this latest Google algorithm change, Ty’s inbox was exploding with people freaking out and wanting to know what to do.
When an algorithm update hits, it decreases your traffic.
Many food bloggers are in a position where 10 to 15 of their posts on their site bring in 90% of their organic traffic. If one of those posts decline in rankings, it can be a significant drop, especially if it’s for a term that gets a high amount of search volume.
These updates and changes are to be expected.
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Whether you are affected positively or negatively, you have to stay calm.
The position you find yourself in is not the position you are now stuck in permanently. It is just an opportunity to figure out what to do next.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Most food bloggers don’t start out with a background in SEO; they start out having personally used Facebook, Instagram, etc.
But with social media, it is important that you publish content constantly in order to be relevant.
Social media is just a giant roller coaster of putting out content that stays relevant for a day or two… and then having to release new content, and so on.
SEO is the gift that keeps on giving.
Once you publish those posts and receive high rankings or traffic, because of the search volume, based on your keyword targeting, you will be able to receive consistent page views.
Instead of having to post all the time, you can see residual effects compound month over month, if you’re willing to do your research and create content that both your audience and Google loves.
Getting The Biggest Return on Investment
As a man, Ty isn’t using Pinterest. He doesn’t even have an account.
He is using Google, though, 25-50 times a day. The demographic that you can pull from in SEO is so much larger than you can reach on any other social media site or search engine.
SEO is so important because it’s the well you can get the biggest return from.
This is not to say that you should never use Pinterest or Instagram.
Your ideal audience might use Pinterest multiple times a day. But you cannot ignore Google. It transcends all of the social networks.
Performing Your Research
There are 3 main areas that you can work on to improve your SEO:
- Figure out your persona and your target audience. There is a blog for every 9 people on this earth. That means that content is being produced at an alarming rate. If you want traffic from search engines, you have to be niched down to a certain demographic.
- Perform keyword research and understand searcher intent. If you are performing keyword research well, your posts will essentially write themselves. Don’t assume that you know what your readers want. So many of you are experts in your field, and you talk at a higher level as if you’re speaking to peers. But you are speaking to beginners, coming from a search engine. Think about what questions these people would have.
- Perform research on who is ranking ahead of you. There’s a misconception in the blogging industry that if a top blogger is doing something, you should also do it. That’s a great opportunity for you to always be ranking as #2. You want to be ranking for your unique point of view. Know who is ranking ahead of you so that you can create something better than what they are creating.
If you aren’t addressing the questions and concerns your readers have, they will go to someone else who is answering those questions. This is why research is so important.
Providing people with what they want, and not what you think they need, is the key to improving your SEO.
How To Keyword Effectively
So many food bloggers want to write an apple pie recipe, but don’t have the authority to rank using those terms.
They title their posts “Apple Pie Recipe,” they write content like “This apple pie recipe is… This apple pie recipe is… etc….” And they think these posts are optimized for SEO.
Google has gotten smart enough to recognize semantic search. You can speak like a normal human being, and not like a robot, in order to get your keywords into your posts.
In Google, each keyword is given a search volume. There are a variety of tools that allow you to see how many times a keyword is searched monthly on Google.
Let’s say “apple pie recipe” gets searched 30,000 times per month. There are additional keywords that are related to this. “Best apple pie recipe.” “Easy apple pie recipe.”
The mistake that food bloggers make is that they target a term they cannot rank for yet. Instead of using “apple pie recipe,” you should use “the easiest apple pie recipe.”
Ranking At a Higher Level
There are tools, like Google Search Console, which will tell you what queries are driving people to your posts.
Once you start to gain authority, Google will notice that and share your posts for different combinations of your keywords.
If people are gaining the information they want from your posts, the snowball effect will take place, and you will start to bring in more queries for one blog post.
This is the beauty of the “level up” concept.
Once you start ranking well at a lower level, you will be able to begin ranking at a higher level.
Understanding Your Keyword Level
If you want to target a higher ranking term, you have to know your keyword level. Follow these steps to get that information:
- Go to your Google Search Console.
- Look at a year’s worth of data.
- Click on your top 25-50 queries that bring in traffic to your website.
- Figure out what your positions are for those queries.
- Take those 25 and put them in tools to give you search volume.
Take away any outliers to get a true average. That average is your keyword level.
Operate at 5,000 below and 5,000 above that keyword level.
As your range is moving, you can keep moving up with that number. The rules change as you grow.
The more authority you have, the better you will be ranked.
You guys, Ty shared so many amazing, detailed explanations for keyword research and SEO that we simply didn’t have room to include in this post, so I strongly encourage you to listen to the full episode to get all the great information he shared.
And we also have a freebie for you.
A lot of people want the perfectly written SEO post, and so he has put together a checklist to make sure you are checking all the boxes for that perfect post. Make sure you grab it!