Episode 005 Show Notes
- Check out my FREE Facebook group – The Unconventional RD Community
- My 3 online courses – The Unconventional RD Business Bootcamp
Please note that I am an affiliate for some of the following products. If you click my affiliate link and make a purchase, I may earn a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.
Links from this episode:
- Functional Nutrition Answers
- EricaJulson.com (old food blog)
- Functional Nutrition Library
- Amazon Associates
- Moz Bar
- KeySearch (affiliate link – use code KSDISC to save 20%)
- SEMrush (affiliate link + 7-day free trial)
- WP Recipe Maker (affiliate link)
Read the transcript:
Welcome to The Unconventional RD podcast, where we inspire dietitians to think outside of the traditional employment box and create their own unconventional income streams. We'll talk all things online business to help you start, grow and scale your own digital empire.
About this episode
Today I want to talk to you guys about SEO.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. And this is something that I really strongly and passionately believe that all dietitians should understand.
It can be the difference between slaving away at online content and having it be seen by two people, or strategically understanding how to craft content that your ideal client is already searching for. And you can get right in front of them for free.
This has been a game-changer in my own personal business and that of many of my students who have gone through my SEO course. So I wanted to take some time today and do a podcast episode on this topic because I really think it's incredibly valuable. So today I'm going to talk about four key strategies that you can use for getting more visitors to your website.
So we're gonna cover exactly what SEO is, in regular people terms, how SEO can help you grow your brand and your following online, and share four key tactics that you can implement today.
What is SEO?
So what the heck is SEO? Well, as I said, SEO stands for search engine optimization. And basically, they just took the first letter of each of those words and mushed them together for the acronym SEO.
And what are search engines? Well, that's basically where you go to search for things on the internet.
And I would guess that nine out of 10 of you probably think of Google when I talk about searching for things on the internet. Google is far and away the most popularly used search engine out there, by a landslide. They get 40,000 searches per second or 3.5 billion searches per day.
So, as business owners, we should be thinking, “How can we get a slice of that?”
And any time you Google something, it will tell you, kind of right underneath the bar where you made the search, how many results are out there on the internet that Google thinks are even remotely related to whatever you typed in to search for.
And they will pull all of these results up for you in a paginated format, so you can click through different pages of the results, but only 10 results show up on that very first page. Usually they find millions of potentially applicable results, but only the top 10 make it on that first page.
And to be quite honest, most people only ever look at that first page. So the point of SEO is to learn how to get our content and our websites on page one. That is search engine optimization.
Why should you care about SEO?
And why should you care about this? Well, visits to your site from search engines are known as organic search traffic.
“Organic” meaning it's free. It's not paid. So there's organic traffic, which is basically traffic that comes to you for free through search engines. And then there's paid traffic, which would be like if you were paying for ads on Google or any other platform.
So organic traffic is awesome because it's free. Obviously, that's wonderful. Um, and the more of it you can get, the better!
So, you get this organic traffic, typically, by creating really strategic, high-quality content that brings your ideal customer right to you, and it really builds on itself over time. So the best part, one of the best parts, about understanding SEO and learning how to create content like this, is that these pieces of content, if you do them correctly, they're often evergreen. So they'll continue to work for you forever, basically.
So, yes, you might want to go back and revamp them, maybe on an annual basis to keep them fresh and up to date. But those pieces of content that serve your readers, that base of amazing resources you have for people, will only grow on itself over time as you add to it and bring more and more people to you.
Benefits of organic traffic
And more people on your site can mean a lot of wonderful things. It can mean more email sign-ups, which is great, because once you have people on your email list, you can continue to nurture that relationship with them and potentially turn these visitors who were once strangers, into raving fans and customers.
So, of course, more people on your site, also, just from like a numbers game standpoint, means that hopefully, you will make more sales. Usually, people have, once you're in business online for a long enough period of time, you can start to see what your average sort of conversion rate is. So, based on how many people see your stuff, you should have somewhat of an idea of how many people will buy. Online conversion rates are often really low between, like 1% and 3% is pretty common, honestly, for just like cold traffic coming to your website.
So, you know, obviously, if you can get the base number of people viewing your stuff to be higher, that 1 to 3% is gonna add up and lead to a lot more potential customers or clients.
More people on your site also leads to greater brand awareness, greater likelihood for people to share your stuff and maybe even link back to it. And it gives you so much more ability to monetize even through passive things where you're not even selling anything, but you're just trying to monetize maybe with display ads on your site or possibly affiliate links.
The potential for that and the amount of income that you could earn increases exponentially with the more people you can get on your site.
For example, I have a nutrition blog right now, functionalnutritionanswers.com, that I've just really, really been doing the bare minimum on, honestly, like trying to post once a month. But recently, I haven't even been doing that, and it's still getting over between 15,000 and 20,000 sessions a month right now, and I earn over $200 a month in affiliate income from Amazon.
So if you do the math on that, you know, that's $2,500 to $3,000 a year. That feels like just extra money, because I did the work once. I wrote, I spent the time up front or I outsourced it, to create a really epic, high quality, well-optimized piece of content that does show up on the first page of Google. And then I reap the benefits of that potentially forever. As long as that content continues to rank well, I will continue to get eyeballs on it and purchases through my affiliate links.
So if you do that enough, it really compounds on itself over time and they can become a really solid side stream of income. And I am all about diversification of income. So just something to think about.
My blogging experiences before vs after understanding SEO
So I want to give you some real examples. Before I knew about SEO, (if you listened to the first episode of this podcast, you're probably familiar with this story) I tried to start a food blog. So I was food blogging on ericajulson.com and I was pretty good at creating the content. Like, my photography was pretty top-notch, I had been dabbling in that for a few years, so I'd gotten pretty good at it. I knew my recipes were good and the food was good, but something was missing.
So I was posting stuff and it wasn't really getting a lot of traction. It wasn't getting seen by a lot of people, and at the time, because I didn't know about SEO, I was really perplexed about why this might be. I had this perception that the way to get found on the internet was to create really creative sort of out of the box recipes.
So I had, like, I'm looking at a picture of some of the recipes that I had on my blog back then, and I was posting things like shrimp, tomato pasta with miso dressing. Like, nobody is looking for that. Or, um, chicken breasts with balsamic mushrooms. Sounds pretty yummy and easy, but like also, no one is searching for that. So I was just creating the wrong type of content, so I was doing everything backward.
Like I would go to the farmer's market or wherever, be inspired by the ingredients, be like, oh, this is like a really cool abstract thing I could make and then I would make it and share it, and maybe it would get some traction on social media. But Google itself was not doing anything for me because I wasn't creating content that anyone was searching for. And in order to get found on Google, you know you have to create content that matches up with the things that people are searching for. You will never show up on the first page if there is no search query to match your content to.
So if literally no one is searching for shrimp and tomato pasta with miso dressing, yeah, it doesn't matter how great that recipe is, because if no one searching for it, then there's no reason for Google to display that recipe on the first page of the search results. So that was the missing piece in my food blogging career.
At the time, I actually had over 150 recipes posted on that website, and I was posting them, you know, 1 to 2 times a week for two and 1/2 years. Yes, years. Like I really gave it my all. And I never got more than 2000 visitors per month from Google searches, which, if you do the math on that, that equates to about 13 monthly visitors per recipe. Womp womp.
Like that's so disheartening, right? Like you do all this work and 13 people a month are seeing it. You know you can do better. So, you know, after flopping a little bit with that food blog, I finally wrapped my head around SEO.
At this point, I had sort of given food blogging a pause and actually decided, you know, I still loved blogging and I wanted to keep blogging because it's my favorite form of content creation. I love writing. I could write forever, and pretty much never get tired of it. So I decided to refocus my efforts with blogging and create a nutrition-related blog to go alongside my membership site, Functional Nutrition Library. So I started a public-facing blog about nutrition, where I was going to do long-form nutrition articles about topics that people were searching for.
And I called that Functional Nutrition Answers. And before I did it, I actually spent six months teaching myself about SEO. So search engine optimization. I went all in and basically read and consumed any piece of content that I could about SEO and sort of crafted, along the way, my own framework of what I perceived SEO to be and how it could be beneficial, especially for dietitians and myself, and came up with sort of a game plan on what I was gonna execute on this new blog to do things right this time.
So from the very beginning, from the very first blog post and from the way that I even set up the website from the jump, I was doing everything with an SEO strategy in mind. And as you can imagine, there was a night and day difference.
As I mentioned, I only posted one time a month. So one blog post per month. Yes, they were very in depth, highly researched, you know, well-composed blog posts. Usually a couple 1000 words.
But with just 10 blog posts, I was able to get over 20,000 visitors from Google per month. And if you do the math on that, that's more than 2,000 monthly visitors per post. So in 10 months, I went from, you know, with my old food blog, I was only getting, after two and 1/2 years of posting one or two times a week, I was only getting 13 visitors per post on average. When then, when I, you know, rethought my framework of how I was blogging and why I was blogging, it just completely flipped.
I posted LESS and I got exponentially BETTER results. Once a month blog posts and more than 2,000 visitors per post per month. So 20,000 visitors all together. So that's insane, right? Like I couldn't believe what I was missing out on before and I just pinched myself and like, Oh, I wish I had understood all of this, you know, three years ago when I was working so hard, because if I had just been working a little more smartly…
Because I was working hard, but I wasn't working smart, and that really came to bite me in the butt in terms of not seeing the results that I was really hoping for with that food blog.
Why I am so passionate about SEO
So because of my own experiences, seeing the dramatic difference between the amount of effort you put in and the results you get out of it just by understanding SEO and having a strategy, I feel incredibly passionate about this topic. And I think it's maybe one of my like big life purposes to help spread the word about this to the dietitian community and, you know, health care professionals and everything.
So, you know, because we spent all the time to go to school and get all this training and knowledge around whatever topic that we're an expert in, and then we go out into the world, and of course we want to be found by people but we're never taught this skill set.
And I want to be a resource for people who do want to get found on the internet. To understand how to do that and not fall into the trap that I did, where I was really giving it my all for years and getting no return.
Because clearly, if you just tweak your strategy a bit, the results and the outcome can be astoundingly different.
Ways you can earn money from organic traffic
So why would you want to do this? Like, what is the benefit of getting higher levels of traffic? Well, again, if you've listened to episodes one and two of this podcast, I talked about different ways that you could make money online as a dietitian.
We'll recap them here really quickly, but the 1st 3 are really passive sources. So you're not really doing any active selling, but you can still make really great money.
1. Ad Revenue
So number one is ads. If you have at least 25,000 people a month coming to your website, typically, that means you're eligible to apply to higher end ad networks. One popular one is Mediavine, AdThrive is another popular one. But that one requires, I believe, 100,000 pageviews per month before you're eligible.
But once you're on one of those ad networks, you can expect to earn maybe anywhere between $15 and $30 per 1,000 pageviews. So that's great, right?
So if you were getting 100,000 pageviews, you could expect to make anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 a month, just from ad revenue, with just display ads being shown throughout your blog posts to your visitors.
You don't really have to do anything, and as your traffic rises, your ad revenue income grows as well. And there are actually dietitian bloggers out there making over $10,000 month in ad revenue from their blogs, so it's definitely a real viable business model. It does take a long time, or a longer time, to get to that level of traffic, you know, maybe 1 to 2 years. But then, once you're there, you're kind of golden.
2. Affiliate Income
The second way, which I mentioned, that you can kind of start doing from the beginning is affiliate income. So placing special affiliate links within your blog post and of course, disclosing that you're an affiliate. Basically using links with special tracking code on it, so if any of your blog's readers ever click on that link and go to a product page for something that you are recommending, if they make a purchase within a certain time period, which varies depending on which affiliate program you go through… for Amazon, you get credit for anything they buy within 24 hours of clicking.
So that's what I use on my functional nutrition answers blog. I'm an Amazon Associate, which is the name of their affiliate program. And as I said, like, I'm not even eligible for an ad network yet because I only have, you know, between 15,000 and 20,000 sessions per month, and I need to get to 25,000 to be eligible.
But even without that, I'm still making over $200 a month in affiliate income. I think I'm at, like $250 right now, and there's still almost a week left for this month. So that's amazing, right? And that feels super passive as well.
3. Sponsored Content
Another way is sponsored content. This is really popular, especially for food bloggers, fitness bloggers, things like that, where you can get paid to create content featuring different brand's products. So you make a recipe featuring some brand's pasta and they pay you for that. A flat rate upfront, typically, and that's another great way to monetize and, uh, sort of get some income out of the content you were gonna create anyway.
4. Digital Goods
You can also start to create your own products and sell them to that audience. You could sell digital goods like e-books, or handouts, or templates.
5. Online Courses
You could create an online course that teaches something, and typically courses go for, you know, several $100 to even several $1000. So that's a great way to scale and leverage your expertise and create a whole nother passive income stream for yourself.
6. Membership Sites
If you don't have a clear outcome that you're trying to offer, that's typically what courses do, like they'll be like “By the end of this course, you will achieve X Y Z” like my SEO course. I'm like, by the end of this course, you will have a solid SEO strategy to take and implement on your own business. But if it's, if it's a different topic, where there's less of an outcome and more just like ongoing support and education, then you could even consider doing something like a membership site where people pay you a monthly or annual recurring fee for access to your exclusive content.
And for those, people will charge anywhere from, like $10 to $100 a month, typically, for access to this type of exclusive content or, you know, a relationship with you.
So those are all great ways to monetize online outside of working with people one on one.
7. 1:1 Client Work
But of course, if you do work with people one on one, you can use this strategy too, because having people come to your website is just a great way to establish yourself as an expert and an authority in your niche and build trust and relationship with them and then at some point, invite them to work with you one on one.
If you don't have an SEO strategy, you're not reaching your full potential.
So long story short, if you don't have an SEO strategy, you're really, truly missing an opportunity. Like, you're not reaching your full potential online if you don't understand this yet.
So again, it's really important. And I'm really passionate about helping us all wrap our heads around this and implement.
So let's get into the tips here. So, as I mentioned, I spent six months kind of going through the world of SEO and figuring out what I needed to know and what I needed to do as a dietitian to improve my website and my content and help me get found better, or more easily.
The Four Pillars of SEO
So I sort of created this framework where there's four pillars of SEO.
1. Keyword Research
Pillar number one is keyword research.
So taking the time, before we write any piece of content, to do the background research first. Figuring out whether we're writing about topics that people are actually searching for, because in order to be found and displayed on page one of the search results, you need to create content that matches what people are typing into the Google search bar.
That's the way it works, right? People are searching for things. Google's job as the search engine is to comb the entire internet and find the best pieces of content that answers their questions.
So our goal is to reverse engineer that and create the content that matches those search queries. That is how it works, and that is what I did not understand for the longest time. But beyond that, you also need to do a little work to see if you have a shot at ranking for the search query you have in mind, because some of them are too competitive.
So if you're a newer blogger and you don't have a lot of authority on your website yet, uh, which in my in my SEO course, I teach you how to figure out what your your domain authority is and whether you have a shot, but you can use a variety of tools to help you figure this out.
I'll talk about that in a second, but basically you just want to make sure that you're looking for topics that are realistically within the difficulty range that you can compete with.
If you are trying to write about a topic and you Google that topic and everybody on page one is like Healthline, WebMD, Medical News Today, Linus Pauling Institute, like, you're just probably not gonna have a shot at getting on that first page when the competition is that steep.
So instead, we're trying to look for kind of, like, niched down topics that are not as widely written about, so that we have a chance to slide in there and take one of those spots on page one.
2. Optimized Content
The second pillar of SEO is optimized content, so creating really high quality content that looks good to Google. So there is sort of a science and an art to crafting content in a way that Google really prefers.
And this is another thing that I did not understand when I was blogging with my food blog. We'll talk about this in a second, but essentially I was doing things so incorrectly and formatting my stuff totally wrong, to the point where Google didn't even know that I had recipes on my website because I didn't format the content properly for them to know that. This is another reason why I was never showing up in the Google search results for my recipes, because Google didn't even know they were recipes! So that's a big one.
The third pillar of SEO is backlinks. So, do you have links from other high ranking sites in your niche? This is how you build authority for your website.
There's a concept called domain authority, which is not a direct ranking factor… So your domain authority is not, it's not like built into Google's search algorithm to figure out whether you're going to rank or not.
It's just an outside tool created by a totally separate company called Moz. They have a tool called Moz Bar that you can install for free and check out what your domain authority is or what the domain authority of other people's websites are.
But essentially the way you build that authority, it's a number value from a scale of 0 to 100 and it's kind of like a logarithmic scale so it's easier to go from 0 to 10 than it is to go from 80 to 90, for example.
You basically get points on that scale based on the websites that are linking back to you. So if you can get really high authority sites to link back to you in your niche, that's going to boost your authority. Because Google's thinking, Oh, if these big sites are linking back to this other person, you know, they must be good. They must be reputable. Um, and then that sort of boost you in their eyes.
It's like a mini popularity contest, kind of. Um so, yeah, getting other people to link back to your stuff is super important. I talk about that in my SEO course, I'll touch on it briefly in this ah, this episode.
4. Having a High Quality Website
And then the final pillar is having a good, high-quality website. So we want it to be fast, because how quickly your website loads is a direct ranking factor in Google.
So if you have a horrifically slow site, then it could hurt you in the rankings. Um, so it's important to do your best to make sure you're at least not in the super slow range, and we want it to be mobile-friendly. So we want it to load well on phones, because Google is now doing mobile-first indexing, which means they're basically ranking the mobile version of your website over the desktop version. So they are first prioritizing how your site looks on mobile when they decide where to put it in the rankings. So that's very important.
We want it to be secure. So in my course, I also show you how to figure out whether your website is fully secure, and if it's not, some tips on probably how to fix that.
I also show you how to speed up your website, which is very helpful. And then we want to make sure that we're providing a good user experience so that our website makes sense and is easy to navigate and is a pleasant place to be for our readers.
Diving Deep into Keyword Research
So for today, I really want to focus mostly on keyword research, because I think it's probably the least understood concept for new bloggers and also the most important.
So again, keyword research is taking the time BEFORE we write anything to make sure that we are writing about a topic that people are searching for and that we also have a shot to rank for.
So the main point here is we don't want to GUESS what to write about. We want to do the keyword research. We want to find topics that lots of people search for every month, but that haven't been written about by tons of authoritative sites.
What are keywords?
And just to recap here, what I'm talking about when I say keywords…. A keyword or keyword phrase is just literally verbatim what someone is typing into the Google search bar.
So, for example, if someone is looking for a recipe, maybe they'll type in something like “Turkey Meatloaf recipe” or “what is the best multivitamin”, or “what to eat before running?”
Typically, you know, it's a topic or a question that someone has that they want to learn more about. And then when someone types in something into the Google search bar, Google's job is to try to understand what that person means and what they're looking for.
Then they have to search their index of all of the content on the entire internet, which is an incredible job, and then they have to select the content that best matches that searchers' user intent.
So what were they looking for? And what content can Google pull up that they think best satisfies that person's search query?
And then they will display in order from one to a 1,000,000,000, the search results, in order from most relevant (in their opinion), to, you know, less relevant as it goes down.
And again, our goal is to be definitely on page one for the search query, but the higher up on page one that we can get the better.
Choosing the right keyword
And when we're thinking about keywords or keyword phrases to try to target and write content around, we want to avoid really broad or non-specific keywords. Those are really difficult to rank for, and the issue is because we can't really tell what the person is looking for.
Like, if someone types into the Google search bar, “nutrition” or “vitamins” or “fish oil” or “meatloaf”. I mean, what are they really looking for? Google doesn't really know, so they're going to be hedging their bets and displaying a whole bunch of stuff.
And we don't really know. So how can we write content to satisfy that search term when we don't really know what they're looking for?
Like if they type in meatloaf I mean, probably they're looking for a meatloaf recipe, so that's probably going to be up there at the top of the search results.
But Google's probably also going to be like, Oh, maybe they want to eat meatloaf out. And so maybe they'll put a list of local restaurant that serve meatloaf with a map, that's gonna take up one of the spots, so that's already cutting into your chances. Maybe they're like, Oh, maybe they want to know about Meatloaf the singer.
So they'll put a couple of results about meatloaf, the singer. Maybe there'll be some some ads off to the side about buying meatloaf pans. Like, it's just really a hodgepodge and not ideal.
So since they're showing such a wide variety and smattering of results for such a broad search query, only the highest authority sites are really gonna slide in there. Cause the availability is very limited.
So those types of broad terms do get searched a lot, but it's difficult to rank for. There's more competition, and there's just no clear user intent.
The value of long-tail keywords
So what we are looking for are longer, more specific keywords or keyword phrases. Those are good. Those are called long tail keywords, and those are gold for us because it's very easy to tell the user intent when someone types in more words and gets more specific.
So examples of long tail keywords could be like “accredited online nutrition courses” Well hey, we know exactly what they're looking for.
Or “what are the health benefits of vitamin K” or “what is the best fish oil supplement” or “best turkey meatloaf recipe”.
These search terms will be searched a fewer number of times per month, but there's less competition, and they're more targeted, so they're typically easier to rank for.
So again, keywords are what people are typing into the Google search bar. Those tell you what people are looking for, and you want to be the one to create the content that answers their questions the best.
Clarifying your goals first
So how do we pick out the best keywords to write about? Well, first, I think it's helpful to get clear on your goals.
Like, what are you trying to do with your web traffic? Are you trying to get people to work with you one on one? Because if that's the case, you probably want to craft content around queries that your ideal client is searching for.
So what type of stuff do your clients ask you? And can you do some research to figure out what people are typing in, exactly, into the Google search bar around those topics? I'll tell you how to do that in a second.
Or if you're trying to get people to purchase an e-book from you or an online course, you probably want to be creating content around that topic. Around the topic of the things that you are selling.
Or supporting content that leads up to helping someone feel ready to purchase that content. Like for me, If I'm creating an SEO course, maybe it's helpful for me to have some content for the step before that, with just setting up your website. Because you kind of need to have a website set up in order to implement an SEO strategy. So I could have both content about SEO and also the steps before that, where you might get stuck like helping them get over the hurdle of setting up a WordPress website, for example, and then they're ready to implement the SEO stuff that I teach.
Or if you're just trying to get a lot of pageviews so you can earn ad revenue or affiliate income and you don't want to sell anything or you don't want to work with people one on one, then you should probably be targeting the highest volume keywords that you can find within your difficulty range.
Because in that scenario, it's less about finding the right person coming to you. You're just going purely for eyeballs, because that's how you get paid, right?
If you're monetizing with ads, you want eyeballs on those ads. So there could be a slightly different strategy here.
With trying to attract people to work with you one on one, you probably are going to go for lower volume search terms, but that are highly targeted to your ideal client, versus trying to monetize with ads, you're going to go for volume.
Where does keyword research fit?
So where does keyword research fit? Honestly, this is what you should be doing first.
Before you write anything, think about your goals. Use those to hone your research and then do that keyword research before you ever write a word of a blog post.
So the order of things is keyword research first, content creation second, and then third, and an often forgotten piece, promotion. You want to make sure you also take the time to promote that content after you create it.
So keyword research basically tells us how many people are searching for that topic every month so that we can choose popular topics to write about.
It tells us the exact verbiage that they're using so that we can make sure we include it in our content so that Google can more easily match us up. So, like if someone is searching for, ah, “best vegan multivitamin”, if you title your article Best Vegan Multivitamin in 2020 or something like that, then that just increases your chances that Google is going to be like, oh, this person is answering that person, or this exact keyword question, and it increases your chances of being put onto the first page of the Google search results.
Keyword research helps us avoid wasting our time
And then again, it also tells us how difficult the competition is so we don't waste our time. So there's multiple ways we could accidentally waste our time.
We could accidentally waste our time by writing about things that no one is searching for, in which case we'll never get found cause no one searching for it.
We could accidentally waste our time writing about things that the wrong people are searching for. So if we don't take the time to think about why we're creating this content, maybe we are writing about totally unrelated topics that aren't gonna bring our ideal client right to us.
Or we could accidentally be writing about the right topic, but too difficult of a keyword. So if you are, for example, an intuitive eating dietitian, if you try to create a blog post called like Intuitive Eating 101, and you're targeting the keyword “intuitive eating”, it's probably not gonna happen for you. Because that is a competitive keyword. A lot of people have already written about that topic, and the people who are ranking on page one are really authoritative.
So we need to find a smaller sub-niche of that topic to write a piece of content around so that we can get found through a different search query, if that makes sense.
So you're probably wondering, okay, this sounds good, but where do we do keyword research? How do we actually do this?
Three Tools for Keyword Research
Ah, well, there are some tools that you can use to make this process easier.
So there's three different ones that I talk about in my SEO course and often recommend.
The 1st one is completely free. But it's, to be honest, not as good as the paid ones at this moment. That tool is called Ubersuggest.
And it is a free keyword research and SEO tool made by Neil Patel. And for being a free tool, it's great. It does a lot of things. Basically, you can use it to type in whatever…
Side Tangent: How to do keyword research
The way you do keyword research is, you don't want to go super specific. So if you're thinking you want to write about, um, turkey spinach meatloaf or something like that, and you type that in, it could happen that you went too specific and no one's actually searching for that. And then it's just gonna spit back out zero searches per month and you're gonna get frustrated because you're going to keep typing in these things, and it's gonna keep telling you, zero people are searching for this a month, and you're like, this doesn't make sense. I don't like this, and then maybe you put it aside.
But the way that you actually want to do it is you want to take away, peel back all of your preconceived notions about what people are searching for, and when you use these tools, type in just the most basic phrase.
So, for example, I don't want to type in turkey spinach meatloaf. I just want to type in meatloaf. Maybe turkey meatloaf, if I'm dead set on doing turkey meatloaf, but ideally, just meatloaf. Because if I don't care what type of meatloaf. I want to choose based on the data, right? Not my preconceived notions.
So I'll just type in the word meatloaf, and then these tools will bring up hundreds or thousands, even, of keyword ideas. So keyword phrases that people are actually typing into Google and this is really data from Google (depending on which tool you're using).
Um, but anyway, you type in the phrase like meatloaf, and it will bring up a list of all these ideas like best meatloaf, um, I don't know, dairy free meatloaf, uh, veal meatloaf, meatloaf with bread crumbs, like whatever.
There's so many like more ideas than you could ever think of off the top of your head. And then you can sort them by how many people are searching per month and the difficulty so you can, depending on which tool you're using the way that you do this is slightly different, but essentially what you're gonna do is try to find the highest volume item that's still within your difficulty range.
I go over this in great detail in my course, but, um, I'll just use an example for now. I'll use the example for the next tool, the middle-priced tool.
It's called KeySearch (affiliate link). And, uh, it's $17 a month normally, Um, but if you use the coupon code KSDISC, like key search discount, Um, and that's not an affiliate discount. That's just a code that they have freely available for anyone.
But if you use that, it'll bring it down to, like, $13 a month. And then when you have an account, you can put in your own domain name and they will tell you what difficulty score you should be targeting.
Their difficulty scores, I believe, go from like 0 to 100. But, um, usually we're looking for things on the lower end, so ah, it'll tell you like, Oh, you should target keywords that have a difficulty of 32 or less.
And then when you're doing your keyword research, like say you typed in the word meatloaf and it brings up that huge list of ideas off to the right, there will be a box that you can click to reveal the difficulty. This is how it works for KeySearch.
It's not like this for all of them. Um, some, like SEMrush (affiliate link), you don't have to click to reveal. Like all the difficulty scores are already there. In Ubersuggest they're also already there, but I found them to be kind of incorrect.
So I talk about this in the course, how to get around that, but there are other tools that you can use to kind of double-check and make sure that the estimated difficulty score on Ubersuggest is accurate, because it's, often time it's grossly underestimated, which can you know, kind of waste your time if you think the topic is easy and it's really not.
So that for that reason, I typically recommend starting at least with the Key Search option. It's paid, but totally affordable like I said, like, $13 a month And that data is a lot more accurate. And then you know that you're not wasting your time, essentially.
But in KeySearch you can bulk reveal I think up to, I think 200 a day, 200 keywords a day on the lowest-cost plan. The $13 a month, um but yes. You bulk reveal the difficulty scores up to 200 a day, and then you should be able to find something in your suggested range.
So if you're looking for keyword scores of 32 or below, you just kind of ignore the keywords and you just look through the difficulty scores till you find one in your range.
You can sort by volume, find the 1st one on that list that is within your range. Scroll to the left. Look at whatever the keyword was. Then you can be like, Okay, that's what I'm writing about. Like I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna think that I know it all and choose the topic.
The data is clearly telling me this is the highest volume topic within the range that I can realistically rank for. Um, and this is something that my ideal people are looking for. So I'm gonna write about it. So it's a win-win.
You're writing about something that hasn't been written about a ton. Whatever the topic is, because if it's a lower difficulty, that means that a bunch of big, authoritative sites haven't already covered that topic, which is why you have a shot of sliding in there and serving your people and getting on page one.
Um, so it's serving your people, it's serving you, because you do have a shot at ranking for that and getting your ideal people to come to your website, for free, just for you creating that awesome content. And, you know, then you have confidence that you're not wasting your time.
So the third tool is SEMrush (affiliate link). I'll put links to all of these in the show notes, by the way, so you can find them. I am an affiliate for Key Search and SEMrush, so I'll put my affiliate links for those in the show notes.
Um, the Key Search one, if you signed up for that, that would just mean that I would earn a small percentage of that at no extra cost to you, if you went through my link. But there's no like extra perk, really.
But for SEMrush, as an affiliate, I have the ability to offer a free seven day trial, and the service is usually $99.95 a month. I have an account, and it's worth every penny to me. That's what I have used to grow my functional nutrition answers blog so well.
Because with SEMrush, uh, you don't have to, you're not limited to revealing 200 a day. You can reveal an endless amount of keyword difficulties. Like they're all there. And you can sort them however you want. So you can do your keyword research much more quickly and feel really confident that you actually have found the highest volume, lowest difficulty keyword combination, and it takes, like, seriously five seconds. So that's what I use.
And if you do go through my affiliate link, that I will put in the show notes for this episode, you can get a seven day free trial, which is great, and then, if you choose to upgrade, then I would earn a commission on that sale. Uh, but yeah, that's what being an affiliate means.
Um, so I'll put those links in the show notes. If you want to check them out. I would say, if you're really serious about this and you want to grow your blog traffic, I recommend using Key Search, because it's just much more clear and straightforward.
Ubersuggest requires a little finagling and a deeper understanding of what you're looking for to make sure that the suggestions they're giving you are worth pursuing.
If you do want to know more about that, I explain all this in my SEO made simple course. I'll put a link to that in the show notes as well.
But if you're really raring to go, if you already make any sort of money on your blog and you just want to kick it up a notch, then I would suggest SEMrush.
Because in addition to doing these keyword research things, they also can do a full technical audit on your website, tell you any technical issues that might be impacting your rankings and all that, sort of that last pillar of SEO that we talked about – having a good, fast, secure, user-friendly website. It does all of that for you as well. So it's incredible.
It's an amazing tool. I'm obsessed with it. It's probably, if I had to cut back in my business anywhere, this would be one of the last things that I would stop paying for. So, um, highly, highly recommend.
The Benefits of Keyword Research
So, yeah, that's how it works. You type in the most basic root word that you're thinking of, like biotin or meatloaf or, I don't know, baby led weaning, whatever topic you want to write about, and then you just literally let the data guide you. You're looking for a high volume, low difficulty keyword within the suggested range for you.
And that's how you create your content calendar for your blog. So you're not guessing. You're never stuck wondering what am I gonna write about this week?
You spend, you know, maybe an hour every quarter doing the keyword research and coming up with blog topic ideas and you're done. And you write them down and you're like this one I'm gonna post this day, and then I'm gonna do this one, and then you execute.
You can outsource it. You can hire writers. You can have your interns help you. You can do it yourself. Whatever you love, lean into what you love. And if you love writing, you know, you don't have to think about it.
You're like, sweet. I've got my content calendar. I know this is stuff that's not gonna waste my time. It's gonna move the needle, and you can feel really good about it.
How to come up with topic ideas
And if you're really struggling to come up with things that your ideal reader or customer might be searching for, Facebook groups are a great place to kind of scope around and see what hot topics are coming up. So join Facebook groups where your ideal clients are and just see what they're chatting about and what questions they have, because that's gold right there.
You can do the same thing on other websites like Quora, which is sort of like a question and answers forum. You can see what people are asking related to your topic there. You can do the same thing on Reddit, another sort of forum.
You can even go to your competitors website. So if you know someone who is basically doing what you want to do and has a great thriving website around the topic that you love, what are they writing about? What topics seem to be doing well for them? And then you could do keyword research on those topics and see where you could find an opportunity there.
Think about what your clients ask you if you work with people one on one. What questions are coming up again and again and again? Like, can you create evergreen content online to address those? Because that will continue to serve you forever, like not only through SEO, but then if someone asked you that question, you already have a resource you can point them to.
And then take a moment to flush out your customer journey. Like that example I gave – If I'm teaching about SEO, that is a strategy that people can apply when they create content on their website. But of course, then that means they must have a website. So thinking backward, what supporting, like sort of pre-steps can I create to help move people along and get them ready to implement an SEO strategy?
So in my case, maybe that would be helping people set up their website. Can I create some excellent free resources there get people used to my teaching style and learn to trust me and my recommendations? And then that will just increase the likelihood that when they're ready to implement SEO that they'll purchase my course.
So you could do something like that as well. Like, what are the roadblocks that people might be having before they would want or need to purchase your program or your course or work with you? And create free content to address those.
And I just organize all of this on a spreadsheet. So I have a Google doc. I have a brain dump for all of my ideas. And then I have separate tabs on that document where I go into more detail. So if I'm looking up, maybe gut health topics and then I'd have a tab for gut health and I'd list out all of the, um, keyword or the actual keyword phrases that I've done the research on, I'll put the verbatim keyword on that list.
I'll put the difficulty score, the volume, and then the date that I researched it, so that if it's been a while, I can go back and make sure I double check it again before I create the content, just in case things have changed. You know, if it's been months or something like that.
So that's what I do. I just keep a running list of high volume, low difficulty keywords that I've taken the time to research and know are worth my time to write about. And I just work off that list when I'm creating my content.
Analyzing the Search Results
And so once you think you've picked a keyword that you want to write about, number one, before you write about it, I want you to Google it, and I want you to figure out what is already on page one.
Because that's what Google thinks that person is looking for. So if, if what you were thinking of writing about isn't in alignment with already what's on page one, then maybe that's not the best term to target. So you wanna make sure that what you were thinking of writing about matches with what Google is putting on page one, because you want to create content that matches with what Google thinks the searcher is looking for.
So click on each article on page one, skim through it, see what the people are talking about and writing about. Pay attention to the titles and the headings that they're using. Um, how they're laying out their article.
What are they including? Make a list of that stuff, cause you need to have that as well.You want to be basically trying to create the best piece of content on this topic on the internet. And in order to create the best piece of content, you need to know what your competition looks like.
So you have to look and see what is Google already ranking? Cause this, in Google's opinion, are the top 10 posts. This is it. And how can we create something just as good or ideally better?
How to make better content
So then put your dietitian hat on and think about what are they missing? Because, to be quite honest, most dietitians don't understand SEO and aren't applying this type of strategy.
So most of the people on page one, it's probably gonna be content written not by dietitians. So this is an amazing golden opportunity to be like, oh, cool. They're talking about XYZ Topic.
But as a dietitian with experience in this niche, why aren't they talking about this little aspect of it? Or blah blah. Like, we're on the ground, like we know what's happening in real time in our industry. And so this is our opportunity to insert those golden nuggets and elevate our content to be better than lay people could create.
And then eventually, over time, you should be able to outrank those those other people. So think about that as well, not only just what other people are doing, but how can we be better.
What is high-quality content?
And then you're in the clear to write the content.
Good content is comprehensive. We want to be the one-stop shop on this topic. We want people to type in that search phrase and click on our article and not have to go anywhere else.
We want to fully address their questions in our content. So again, that's part of why we evaluate what other people are doing so that we can be as comprehensive and even better than theirs.
2. Matches the search intent
We want to make sure we're aligned with the search intent. So what is that person looking for when they're typing in that keyword? And then we create the content that matches their search intent.
3. Fully addresses the query
And we just want it to be as long as it needs to be, no more, no less. Typically, the content, if it's addressing a somewhat complex search query… Like, I have an article that targets the keyword low histamine diet.
Um, so that article is all about what low histamine diets are and how to implement them, so it's pretty long, you know. It's like a couple thousand words, but it ranks on page one, and that's my best article on my website.
But you don't need to go crazy and add a bunch of unrelated things just to try to hit some like mysterious like long article length. Like, that's not what it's about.
It's about addressing the search query to the best of your capabilities, and that's it. So you don't want to go off on all these tangents just to create a longer blog post.
But you also don't want to leave stuff out because you think it doesn't matter. You want that sweet spot of fully addressing this person's question. All of this person's questions, within your article.
4. Well organized
You want it to be well organized, so you want to use headings and maybe formatting like bullet points or lists if you want.
5. Uses graphics and images
Use graphics and images whenever possible to make your points and break up the text.
6. Easy to read
I want it to be easy to read. So correct spelling, good grammar, an easy reading level, not using too much jargon. Or, if you do use jargon, make sure you define it.
And keep your paragraph lengths short. So maybe not any longer than three lines per paragraph for computer reading. People like to skim on the internet, and if you think about what it's gonna look like as well, on like a phone screen, uh, the phone screens aren't as wide, so the paragraphs get longer.
So I advise people not to have paragraphs longer than three lines on a desktop. Any longer than that, people zone out and they'll read like the first and last sentence maybe of your paragraph and skip the middle, so you want to kind of space it out, make it easy to skim through on a tablet or a phone type of device.
7. Uses the keyword
And then in terms of how to use the keyword that we were targeting, you want to take that exact keyword phrase. For example, low histamine diet. And you want to put that in the title, first and foremost, of your blog post.
And you need to, well you don't need to, but ideally, it's best if you include it verbatim. So, for example, if I'm targeting the keyword low histamine diet, uh, I think I titled my article “Low Histamine Diet 101: What to eat, what to avoid, and why.”
And that's my title. And that's great, because the actual keyword, low histamine diet, is together. Those exact words in the same order, at the beginning of my title, very prominent.
It's clear that that's what the article is about. Um, and then you want to include it naturally, sort of throughout your text.
You don't want to keyword stuff, so you don't wanna throw that keyword phrase in there an excessive amount of times because that looks spammy, and that can actually hurt you in the rankings. But you want to use that phrase as it flows naturally.
You can use related search phrases. I talk about this in the course that I offer, how to find related search terms and include those as headings and subheadings in your post so that you can rank for a lot of related searches as well.
You can include it in your meta description, like the little blurb that shows up underneath your post. Um, when you're, uh, like if you're looking on the Google search results pages and you see a result and there's a title and then there's a little blurb of text underneath that kind of describes it, you could throw the keyword in there only, of course, if it's natural.
Uh, and that's basically the goal here. So we want to use the keyword in our title and in a natural way throughout our content and use lots of related keywords as well. And that's how Google is gonna be able to tell that our content is a good match for that keyword search.
9. Has proper schema
And then last but not least, do you have proper schema set up on your website? And this is what I struggled with when I was food blogging.
Schema is basically like invisible code that is, ah, placed on the back end of your content that Google can read but that people visiting your site don't see. Uh, and it's basically extra ah, like code and, um, says to Google, Hey, this is a blog post or hey, this is a news article, or hey, this is a recipe.
Um, and you need that, especially for food blogging, and you need to have recipe schema on your content in order for Google to even see that it's a recipe and realistically rank it.
If you don't have it, you're not gonna be ranking, because food blogging is a very competitive space. Now you can get that schema in your blog post by using free or paid plugins like WP Recipe Maker (affiliate link) to add that to your post. It's super super easy. You just have to know to do it.
So you know, it's stuff like that. It's like a, you don't know what you don't know, type of situation.
Um, and if you just write blog posts, uh, recently in the last year or so, Yoast, which is a free SEO plugin for people on WordPress, Yoast will add schema to all of your blog posts for free on the free version. It's amazing.
So clearly, once you've picked your keyword, it's worth spending time to make your blog post amazing. Focus on quality over quantity, in my opinion, for blogging.
The Main Takeaways
So I hope that in today's episode, the main takeaways I was trying to establish here were:
First think about your online business goals and how content creation and SEO and evergreen content can play into that. Like what kind of content can you create to attract your ideal customer?
And then do keyword research to find high volume, low difficulty topics to write about. And then aim to create the best piece of content on the internet about that topic.
And then again, as I mentioned, don't forget to promote. Promoting is super duper important. Ah, you can share it on Facebook groups, you can post it all over social media. Anything you can do to increase the visibility of your blog post, do that.
You don't just write it and post it and forget about it. Be actively promoting it. Uh, I don't really have time to talk about backlinks in depth during this episode.
Maybe I'll do a whole episode on that later in the future. But promotion can really help you get out there and connect with other people and increase your chances of getting backlinks back to your content and increase your domain authority.
Um, and again, there's that whole other component that we also didn't touch on yet today, about the technical side of your website. So that might be a whole future episode as well.
But today I really wanted to focus on keyword research because again, I think it's a new concept for a lot of people. But so, so, so incredibly important.
Like, understanding these concepts is essential to content marketing. Doing keyword research and creating high-quality content is going to give you an advantage and an edge above other people and help us dietitians and health care professionals get out there and spread our really important messages.
So, doing that, getting backlinks, building your authority, creating a good user experience on your website, optimizing that technical SEO, all of those things which, again, I teach you exactly how and what to do to implement these things in my SEO course, but all of that stuff will make you unstoppable.
So I hope you enjoyed today's episode.
I know it was maybe a little more technical than some of the interviews that we've been doing so far, but again, I'm just really incredibly passionate about this topic. If you have any questions about this head on over to The Unconventional RD Community on Facebook. Great place to discuss this stuff.
Or, of course, please, you're welcome at any time to join me in my SEO Made Simple course. I will add a link to that in the show notes. But you can also go to the unconventional RD BB (for business bootcamp) dot com and just click on the SEO made simple course, and you can learn all about that there.
It's a six week course. It's going through a live round right now, but it will be self study after that for the rest of the year, and it's worth 21 CEUs.
So definitely come check it out again. The unconventional rd BB dot com.
And other than that, I will see you guys next week with a wonderful episode with Ana Reisdorf of RDs Who Write.
So she's gonna be teaching us all about how to become a six figure freelance writer. So stay tuned for that episode next week.
Thanks, guys. Have a great rest of your day!
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