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I Harnessed the Power of SEO to Grow My Brand. How You Can Do the Same.

When I first launched my website in 2015, I nurtured a great Pinterest following that was, honestly, partly by accident. I had a low-carb, healthy food blog at a time when keto was just taking off. Some of my initial success was being in the right place at the right time.

Don’t get me wrong: I was working on my website 20-30 hours a week on top of a full-time job and a newborn. But I did get a little lucky that my hard work aligned well with the trends at the time.

As my Pinterest-driven pageviews climbed from 600 in February 2016 to 60,000 in May that year, I had a lightbulb moment: Maybe this could actually turn into something! Right around that time, I stumbled across some income reports on another food blogger’s website, and I was blown away that they were making a full-time income. I decided to get serious about my website, and quickly realized that I needed to diversify my marketing efforts to extend beyond Pinterest.

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I Was Ready Before My Pinterest Traffic Plummeted

Predictably, in 2021, Pinterest’s priorities changed. They started prioritizing ads more, and focusing on keeping users on their platform by introducing and pushing Idea Pins, which did not have outbound links, in their algorithm. As a result, Pinterest traffic plummeted for virtually all bloggers. This is one of the reasons that diversifying is so important. Luckily, we had already been working to grow our SEO, email list, and other social platforms.

Back in 2017, a fellow food blogger friend introduced me to the concept of SEO. It was nothing like it is today, but it got me very interested and excited. One key tip she gave me was to target terms that I have a chance at ranking for – rather than huge terms where I don’t stand a chance – and how to identify them. Back then, the terms I could rank for were very small, but I saw results. Over time I was able to build my authority to target larger terms. By 2018, we hit over 1 million pageviews in 1 month, most of it from SEO, and it doubled annually over the next few years.

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Most Entrepreneurs Don’t Know How to Use SEO To Grow Their Business

Most businesses reach an audience through paid ads, and SEO today is 1,000 times more complex than it was in 2017 when I first learned about it. There’s a reason that SEO is a profession in itself these days.

But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost! You just have to be prepared to make the effort – it’s worth it.

3 Things to Keep In Mind if You Want to Use SEO to Grow Your Business:

  • Create Helpful Content

It sounds so cliche because this is exactly what Google says, but it took me years to understand and truly believe what they say. To be candid, search engines don’t care about your website, your business, or your SEO. They care about one thing: Fulfilling the search INTENT of their users — INTENT being the key term there.

The #1 thing you need to rank is content that is better and more helpful to the user’s query than any other website out there for that query. With over 1 billion websites out there, that’s a lot of competition.

That means the content has to be relevant and fully answer what the user is searching for, better than anyone else. But just as important, it needs to be absent of what the user is not searching for. Take the time to identify the difference for each piece of content, in the context of the audience you’re trying to reach.

  • Maximize Your User Experience

This is 10,000 things under one heading. What does this mean? Well, from site speed to layout to aesthetics and many more things, the experience the user has on your website is huge. Look at it from your reader’s perspective, and work hard to make sure they always have a positive experience when visiting your site. If they want to come back, search engines will notice that – plus, you’ll have people coming back directly, too.

  • Develop Your Authority

This one is the most difficult, because a lot of it is out of your control. You can have the best content in the world, but who’s to say that you are a reliable source for what you are saying? Google wants to present content to users that is accurate and trustworthy. They measure this using a variety of signals, but link building is one of the strongest. Look at it this way: If the New York Times or Wikipedia think your website is worth linking to, chances are you know what you’re talking about, and search engines will want to present that content in search results.

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