If SEO feels scary and confusing, I've got a 5-step process that makes it easy to understand and implement. With just a few hours of work, you can rank #1 on Google in 60 days. Here's how.
SEO (search engine optimization) has become a thorn in every business and content writer’s side. It’s the thing you know you should have a grasp of, but somehow, it seems complicated and technical. I’m with you. As a former contract content strategist at Google, I’ve seen the technical side of SEO, and it really can feel scary and confusing.
Fortunately, this blog post is here to simplify SEO by making it easy to understand and removing the fear of implementing it. Over the last few years of working through and implementing SEO for my clients, I’ve learned that you don’t need to know all of the jargon and technical tools to be able to benefit from SEO on your website. All you need to know are three key things:
What meta descriptions and title tags are
How to do keyword research
When to expect results
So that’s what this article will cover today. Consider this your layman’s guide to SEO for those who don’t have the time or energy to learn all the technical aspects but do want to know how to implement effective SEO in one hour or less. Read on and be sure to bookmark this article for future SEO projects.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization and is, in essence, a conglomeration of keywords on your website that help search engines find you and introduce your website to people on the web searching for a topic that you address on your website. Phew! That was a mouthful.
In even simpler terms, think of SEO as a person asking a question, and Google saying, “Right this way, I know the perfect answer to your question”...and that perfect answer lives on your website.
So structuring your SEO in a way that…
answers a common question
provides top-of-funnel information about your brand, product, or service
builds trust and supplies reliable information to your audience
…are essential to ranking on the first page of Google and other search engines.
How crueltyfreecopywriter.com ranked #1 on Google in 2 months
As mentioned earlier, the very website you’re reading this article on, www.crueltyfreecopywriter.com, is ranked #1 on Google. But no, this website does not rank #1 for the keywords “pet supplies” or “wineries in Napa.” Instead, this article ranks for strategic keywords that I know my ideal client is looking for like “vegan copywriter,” “cruelty free copywriter,” and “vegan writing services.”
It wasn’t hard to rank #1, but it did take strategy, research, and thoughtful writing technique to get the results that I’m enjoying today. Here’s how I recommend you research, write, and implement SEO on your website so you can enjoy #1 rankings on search engines, too.
A step-by-step guide to ranking #1 on Google
Here are the five steps I followed to rank on the first page of Google.
Step 1: Do keyword research
When it comes to ranking on search engines, you want to make sure you’re not taking a stab in the dark. You want to know what keywords your ideal customers or clients are using on search engines and be intentional about structuring your meta descriptions to match those keywords.
For example, if you’re in the cruelty-free niche and you’re selling vegan eggs, you can start your research journey by going onto Google Trends. On Google Trends, type in “vegan eggs” and see what topics related to “vegan eggs” are trending.
Google Trends is a great tool to tell you what people are searching for within a given timeframe and whether those keywords are receiving high traffic. Change the timescale from one day to one month to one year to see if “vegan eggs” is a popular inquiry today or if it’s been popular for the past year. From there, you can see related searches, and if anything is relevant to your product, write down a list of keywords and inquiries, then set it aside. You’ll want to refer to this list later when building your meta descriptions.
From there, you’ll know, okay, “vegan eggs” is a keyword I should use because hundreds or thousands of people search this term year round and I want my vegan egg company to rank #1 on this page.
Do additional keyword research on SemRush. SemRush is a great tool to not only find strategic keywords for your website but to also spy on your competition and see what keywords are helping them rank on search engines. For example, if you’re a vegan fashion brand selling apple leather purses and you share a similar consumer as a fellow fashion brand, enter the competitor’s website into SemRush and see what keywords they rank for. If they’re ranking for “vegan leather bag,” you can use those same keywords in your meta description to essentially steal or cannibalize their traffic.
From there, you’ll know:
Which competitors are dominating the keywords you want to rank for
How many search inquiries there are for those keywords
Which countries people who search for those keywords are located in
Related keywords to help bolster your rankings
There are numerous ways to do keyword research but these are the two tools that I use the most. If this sounds a bit too complicated for you, I can certainly do this keyword research for you and take a bit of the burden off of your shoulders. Book a discovery call today to learn more about my SEO Glow Up service.
Step 2: Start writing meta descriptions and title tags
You may be wondering, what the heck are title tags? What are meta descriptions? And why do they matter so much? I’m glad you asked! These are the two most important components of SEO in my opinion. These are the make-or-break, the you-won’t-rank-without-these elements of SEO. So, let me break them down in simple terms.
Title tags, also known as meta title tags, are the names of the pages visitors see on Google search results. For example, the title tag for my About page says “About the Cruelty-Free Copywriter.”
That’s a perfectly fine title for those who are looking for more information about me. But you can also use the name of your brand and the title of the page. For example, “Cruelty-Free Copywriter | About.” Or if you’re located in a particular city or only serve a specific geographical area, you can use the name of that city or region to draw more local clientele.
For example, “Awesome Brand | Vegan Leather Bags | New York.” Title tags shouldn’t be too long–around 50-60 characters, so choose your tags wisely! In some ways, they are the true SEO indicators for Google, while meta descriptions are helpful additional words to bolster rankings.
Meta descriptions are the details that show up on Google or search engine results underneath your title tag. For example, if your title tag says, “Awesome Brand | Vegan Leather Bags | New York,” your description could say, “Plant-based leather bags, handmade in New York City. Zero waste, apple leather, slow fashion.” Your meta descriptions are a way for you to infuse even more keywords and details about your web page, product, or service and should hover around 150-160 characters.
If you’re a solopreneur, like me, and people may not necessarily know your brand name but are more likely to know your personal name, you might choose to add your name to your meta description as I did.
One word of caution: there is an artful way to weave in keywords about a particular page or your website as a whole. The best advice I can give you about this is to be “artful.” You want to avoid “keyword stuffing”.
Keyword stuffing is a method of adding keywords to a page to try to trick the search engine algorithm into ranking your website on the first page. But know this: as a former contract content strategist at Google, I can assure you keyword stuffing does not work. Search engines are much smarter than they were in 2008 and can totally flag keyword stuffing. So be sure to write your title tags and meta descriptions with the right number of keywords in a coherent and legible way; not stuffed with random keywords.
My method for writing title tags and meta descriptions
The first thing I do when I’m ready to start writing meta tags and descriptions is to open up a blank Google Doc and start writing. Start with the title tag.
Although your website is www.fashionbrand.com, you’re actually selling cactus leather shoes or accessories which your website URL may not clearly explain on search engines, so be explicit with your title tag.
Use the keywords you searched for earlier to write a title tag that explains what the page is about and helps people find you with commonly searched keywords. For a situation like this, I would write a title tag as something like:
Brand Name | Page topic (about, shop, home, etc)
Brand Name | Product detail (vegan, leather, plant-based, egg, energy bar, etc)
Then for your meta description, I would use these 150-160 characters to craft a short and sweet description of your product or service with popular keywords included.
To help you craft your message, think about: Is my product or service vegan? Cruelty-free? Is it slow fashion or handmade? Is it vegetable-tanned or sustainable? Is it gluten-free? Is it a lipstick or an eye shadow?
Be specific and detailed but concise and to the point. No run-on sentences or “personality-packed” copy here. Just answer the question: what is this thing and what are two or three features of it?
Again, if I were you, I would write a meta description to say something like:
Vegan and sustainable cactus leather products handmade in Mexico.
Vegan and plant-based energy bar. Gluten-free with 10g of protein. Based in Denver, Colorado.
With just a few characters, you can artfully describe your product and get the keyword recognition you need to rank on search engines.
If you’re not a wiz with words or you’ve done a bit of keyword stuffing in your day, book a discovery call, and let’s talk about how I can help you craft meta descriptions and title tags that lead to results.
Step 3: Add the title tags and meta descriptions to your site
Once you’ve got some good title tags and meta descriptions ready to go for various pages on your site, start adding them to your website. Keep in mind that your homepage, about page, blog articles, and PDPs will need different meta descriptions. This isn’t a plug-and-play formula that you can just mindlessly copy and paste onto every page on your website.
Each description should be customized to accurately describe that page’s content and what a potential customer or client could find or learn on that page. So be sure to write your title tags and meta descriptions accurately.
Any reputable website provider you use, whether it’s Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, GoDaddy, etc., will have a place to implement SEO. Each page should have the option to add meta descriptions and title tags. Look for it in your backend and upload what you wrote.
If the website provider’s SEO backend is good, you should be able to see a preview and get a sense of how the listing would look on search engines. Note that you won’t see changes to your SEO or rankings for at least one month after you implement them, so do your best to add your meta descriptions in the right places, and practice patience as search engines begin to update your new keywords in their systems.
Also, don’t forget to update your social media SEO. You may want different meta descriptions or title tags for situations where people share your website on Instagram or Facebook.
Step 4: Wait and see
The secret ingredient to amazing SEO is…you guessed it: patience. You must be patient with the search engine algorithms and give them time to index your page. Unfortunately, SEO isn’t an overnight thing. If you add SEO to your website today, you won’t see results until at least 30 days later. It took my website a couple of months before it ranked #1 for select keywords. That’s a search engine issue, not a you issue. So, if you don’t see immediate results, wait a while and see what happens.
Once you’ve implemented your SEO, monitor its results. If you don’t see first- or second-page rankings around the 60-day mark, go back in and rewrite your descriptions. If your SEO is truly effective, you should be able to see improvements 30-60 days after implementing it. But it’s not a one-and-done, so be prepared to tweak your SEO from time to time as products and services change or if your ranking has been affected by a competitor. The most important thing to do is to wait and be patient. Then, pivot if needed.
Step 5: Reap the benefits
Let’s say you did your keyword research effectively, you wrote the meta descriptions and title tags, you’ve added them to your website, and you finally have first-page rankings on search engines. Hooray! Now you can sit back and reap the benefits. If you find that one page on your website is ranking better than another, study what you did on the better-ranking page and implement it on the other. Maybe it’s a keyword change, maybe it’s the order of the words you wrote. Whatever it is, try to implement that change so all of your pages rank well.
Once the pages you want to rank are doing so effectively, kick up your feet and watch the site visits roll in. When I implemented SEO and started ranking, I went from zero visitors per day to nearly 100 visitors per month. That’s nearly three visitors every day, just from SEO alone. It’s a great way to get more visibility to your site and increase inquiries and sales for your products and services.
That’s all I’ve got folks! Got questions? I’ve got answers!
Q: How long should title tags be?
A: 50-60 characters
Q: How long should meta descriptions be?
A: 150-160 characters
Q: How long does it take to implement SEO using your entire five-step process?
A: It takes about 1 hour to do the keyword research, 1-3 hours to write the title tags and meta descriptions for all of your web pages (depending on how many pages you have), 1-3 hours to add the titles and descriptions to your website, and 30-60 days to see results.
Q: I’ve done all the right things, but for some reason, my website isn’t showing up on Google and other search engines. What gives?
A: Did you click the toggle that says “index this page”? There should be a slider that allows you to index a page which means you’re giving search engines permission to show it on their platforms. Make sure that’s turned on so you can start reaping the benefits.
Q: Do I need to know what title tags are?
A: In my opinion, no. That’s more for your web designer or developer. If it really bugs you and you just have to know, there are plenty of other articles on the web to help you figure them out. But if you’re just looking for better rankings, I don’t think you need to learn about title tags.
Q: I’m a copywriter, content writer, or SEO specialist. I want to offer SEO services to my clients. How much should I charge?
A: I charge a minimum of $1,000 for my SEO Glow Up service. That includes deep keyword research on the tools mentioned in this article and others, plus complete title tag and meta description rewrites, and a 10-20 page SEO report that helps the client implement SEO for the future. But charge what you think is fair for your time, effort, or deliverables.
Q: I’m a brand and I want to update my SEO. Should I hire a specialist or do it myself?
A: That’s up to you! If you’re a brand with a bigger budget and you want to have SEO done right while you focus on other aspects of the brand, I suggest hiring a specialist or service provider. If you’re a brand with a smaller budget and paying someone a couple of thousand dollars to do SEO isn’t possible right now, try your hand at it. The worst that happens is you don’t rank and you can hire a specialist later. The best thing that happens is you have decent SEO that can help get you through while you build enough capital to hire a professional.
Do it yourself or let me do it for you!
If this all feels over your head or too much to implement on your own, book a discovery call and let’s chat about it. I’ve been implementing SEO for brands as big as Google and as small as mom-and-pop businesses. Let’s just say I know a thing or two about how to increase traffic on many types of sites and reach many kinds of audiences. Let me help you rank on Google so you can finally stand out, turn heads, and change the world.