SEO Series part one, planning

Mar 8, 2024 | Marketing

“Show Notes”

SEO Part one There are going to be three podcasts on SEO.

  1. Planning
  2. External SEO

3. Internal SEO

This episode is sponsored by Website for photographers. Website 4 photographers help photographers get more leads from their websites. You can get in touch here


⁠⁠01482 765871

This episode is all about SEO Planning. The first thing is not to do any SEO until you have done your planning. Until you know what words you want to be found for, how do you know what to do? Lots of people love to tick boxes etc and feel they are doing SEO, but unless you are aiming towards something it is pointless. What so you need to plan: 1. The key words / phrases you want to be found for 2. Geography – what geographic areas do you want to be discovered in? It’s important to look at how difficult is it to be found for your keywords / phrases in different towns / areas.  It’s good to look at lots of combinations. It may be it’s a lot easier to be found as a wedding photographer in a town ten miles away, than it is in your local town. So you may be better aiming there instead of in your local town, where there is more competition. Keywords You need to put yourself in the minds of a potential client. What might they be searching for. This will be much more than simply portrait photographer. Google comes up with alternatives to searches. ⁠Answer The Public⁠ also gives you loads of alternative search phrases to help you find search terms people might be using.  Using these tools and your brain come up with a big list of keywords and phrases that you want to be found for. Geography Then think about what areas you want to be found in. Think about local towns and villages, but then also counties and regions. There are quite a variety and it may be that you focus different search terms in different areas.

Keyword data You then need to get data on these keywords and areas. Most places charge for this, but some may let you access the information for free. Google data is available if you have an active ⁠Google Ads⁠ account. Data can be from places like ⁠Moz⁠ ⁠ahref⁠, ⁠Google keyword planner⁠.  These give you vital information:

1.     Search volume. You can see here how many people are searching for a particular search term in a particular area per month. If the numbers are too low there is no point trying to rank for this word/ phrase as it won’t bring many visitors

2.     Competitiveness This tells you how much competition there is to rank for this word / phrase. This gives you a clue as to how much work you need to do to be found for this phrase in this area.

3.     Domain score of other sites ranking You can see the domain score of other sites ranking. You can compare this to your own domain score to see how close your site is to theirs.

You then need to look at the data for your keywords in different areas and see which are the best combinations to go for. You are looking to find keywords in certain areas with a good number of searches that is not too competitive. Without this work further SEO work is a waste of time.

Domain score This is a score from 0 to 100 that every domain has. For a small business 20 is a really good score, you will never get to 80. You can ⁠get your domain score here⁠.

Your domain score looks at how good Google thinks your website is. It uses

1. Traffic

How busy is your website? If it does not have many visitors you need to improve this if you want to improve your domain score

2. Engagement How long are visitors staying on your website and engaging with it 3. Backlinks How many other websites are linking to your website?

Finally here are some useful tools that are free:

⁠Google Analytics⁠ – To see your visitor numbers to judge how effective your SEO work is

⁠Google Search Console⁠ – Gives you search term data

“Show Transcription”

Marcus: Hello there, Sam, how are you?

Sam: Very good marcus  and how are you on this fine morning?

Marcus: I really well. So I’m laughing listeners, you’re probably wondering why we just had them trying to encode this. I couldn’t get .

Marcus: Yeah. All good with you.

Sam: Yeah. Very good, Marcus. Yes. Looking forward to this week show.

Marcus: Yeah. And I believe you got a three part show plan first. And you’re delving an Ivan? deep into the subject of SEO.

Sam: Yeah, that’s right. So we’ve got an SEO show already. But it’s quite brief. So our thought we’re trying to, there’s a lot to it. So you can’t really get that much out of one show. So I’m going to do three. So that’s like our summary show. So these are going to be like three sub shows. So this one is going to be about planning. And then we’re going to do one about what we’re going to call external SEO and one off site SEO and on what we call on site SEO, and when you get to the chauffeur for right so this one is about SEO planning. This episode of Shoot to the top is sponsored by website for photographers, I’m Sam Hollis from shoot to the top and website for photographers is my business. I help photographers get more leads, and so more customers from their website. I do this through SEO, and website services, both tailored specifically for photographers in this business only worked with photographers. And as you know from the podcast, I spend loads of time talking to photographers, and really getting to know that photography business. So if you want more leads, and more customers, get in touch with me. rather shoot to the top website, email me at info at website for That’s the number 4 all look for more contact details in the show notes. And now on with the show.

Sam: So the first thing markets, the most important thing, if you’re thinking about SEO is do not start until you have done your planning. Because until you know what keywords you want to be found for? how the hell do you know what to do? So that’s it. So planning, we really got to think about this because yeah, lots of people. A lot of people have WordPress websites. And there’s a plugin called Yoast, which is great for SEO and it gives you a little green smiley faces if it thinks your SEO is good. And so loads of people love to get all their little green faces. But if they’ve not actually thought what keywords they’re aiming for the whole thing’s a waste of time, because you don’t really know what you’re trying to do. So you’re kind of you know, you’ve got a big ship, and you’re staring at it, but you don’t know where you’re steering it to until you’ve done your planning. So it’s kind of a bit of a, you’re wasting a lot of time and a lot of effort. So yes, I’ll stop talking about planning, saying we need to do it and about what you need to do. So there’s really a couple of things you need to think about with planning. And one is the keywords or the key phrases, you want to be thankful. So that means things that people type into Google, that you want your website to pop up for a page from your website. The second is geography. So not just which words people are typing in, but where they are, when they typed them in, because Google knows where they are. And so if you’re a photographer, down in, say, Bristol, you probably aren’t that fast if somebody types in something related to you in Aberdeen, but you will be quite fast. If somebody types it in Bristol, and maybe in batting, you think about where you want to be found. So there the two key areas when you think about is your key words and phrases and your geography. Okay? And the geography isn’t quite as simple as you think maybe because what we need to do is when we’ve looked at the keywords and phrases we’re going to talk about we need to kind of look at how competitive those are. So we can see, you know, how hard is it to be found for wedding photographer in Bristol? And how hard is it to be found for wedding photographer in Bath? And how hard is it to be found for wedding photography in Devon, and you kind of look at those. So it might be actually that being found for wedding photography in your local town is really hard because there’s some stiff competition. But actually there’s just as much work in the next hour and it’s not very far, and there’s much less competition, it’s much easier to be found. So the geography isn’t always just as simple as well, my local town or stuff because it’s worth investigating what’s near you and also looking at that, you know, bigger area, is it worth going out to the county is it worth going out to the region, you know, how much extra work would it be for me to be found in those areas? So drug free isn’t as simple as our pop in my hometown job done. So thinking about keywords, what how do you make a list of keywords that you want to be found and four key phrases and there’s a few things you can do. First of all, you’re gonna have to use your brain and you’re gonna have to think put yourself in your customers shoes and think, what are they going to be searching for. And some of the things are really obvious. Like we just said, if you are a wedding photographer, typing in wedding photographer is clearly a bloody obvious thing to do. But then think about what other phrases people might use wedding photographer near me. What prices are wedding photographers, all sorts of things that people to do with wedding photography might be searching for, what does a wedding photography package include? You noticed, think of all things people thinking about wedding photography might be searching for and make a list of as many things as you can try Google as well search stuff. And remember, as you’re typing in Google, it comes up with suggestions, doesn’t it? So as you’re typing in one thing, it’ll come up with suggested alternatives. So you know, have a look at those alternatives they see if they are useful to and just come for now come up with as many stuff as you can. And the other thing is you do there’s loads of websites can help you one of the ones I’ll put links for them in the show notes from the one of the ones I like to use is answer the public. And you put in a phrase or a question, and it comes up with loads and loads and loads of alternatives that you might not have thought of that people use on this in the searches. It uses search data to come up with the alternative. So that’s really good. So if you type in wedding photographer, it would probably give you 100 different search phrases that people might use looking for those. So that’s really powerful. It’s one of those premium sites, you know, I wouldn’t subscribe. Unless you’re very getting really into SEO, just use the free version, it gives you loads and plenty of information you need to get you started.

Marcus: So as I understand it, then it is different to ranking your page on Google is where people just are typing in random questions, and your page will come up, as opposed to the way it ranks.

Sam: That’s the same thing. So ranking means where your page comes on a search term. So for any search term, your page will come will rank first, second, third, fourth, fifth. And it depends on where the person is putting the search term in, and what search term they’re put in that is ranking and you can rank for all sorts of different keywords and phrases.

Marcus:  Okay. So if they’re showing up in finding photographer, Bristol you can you get a list coming up are people based on typed in, you know, watch the back post, we’re in a planting shoot, that would be you’d rank different.

Sam: Exactly, Every single location and every single keyword or phrase, spotter is dead, right? So yeah, so first thing to do is Yeah, use those tools, like camps for public use Google and use your brain and come up with a huge list of keywords and phrases that you might want to be found for. Then you also think about the geography like you said, Where might you want to be found for it, you know, are you talking your town, other local towns, local  county, local region, whatever you think is appropriate, possibly wider, depends on your specialism, some people, you know, work really locally, some people travel a long way, then you do need to use an online tool, and there’s loads that are available, and quite a lot of them will let you do this once for free, and then try and charge you. So if you know, if you’re doing it one off, you’ll probably get away with not paying as a kind of, you know, temperature to get you in more, but just if the model three, but yeah, places like there’s websites like Moz, and there’s loads of other SEO websites that will help you and what you can do with these websites, is you can put in the keywords  you want. And if it’s free, you might need to trim it a bit. So just have a look and go right what’s the best ones do I think because they probably have a limit and put in the towns or the areas you want. And then it will give you a load of really interesting information that you need. So it will give you one the search volume. So that means how many people are searching. So that’s really helpful. Because if the search volume is too low, you can just cut everything because there’s no point being trained, being found for a phrase, which nobody is searching for. That’s like a total waste of time. So you know, you can use that straightaway to cut a ton of things out. It will also tell you the competitiveness of that.

Marcus: would you call a low volume, Sam?

Sam:  So that’s a good question is going to, it’s going to be comparative to be honest.Certainly less than 100 a month probably is worth not bothering with. And then after that it’s kind of comparing them but yeah, it’s below like 100 a month when we’re talking specific phrases in specific places. So we’re talking quite refined here. But yeah, much below that. I wouldn’t bother certainly. It’s then for every phrase, so we’ll have a phrase, and then in that town and the next phrase, and then another area. And so the next thing it’ll tell you is the competitiveness. So in other words, how many other people are going for this? How hard is it going to be to get this phrase in this area? And so that’s another thing to look at how competitive is it? And if it’s really competitive, you’re gonna go, Is this something I want to go for? Because it’s so important, or am I better going for some of these other phrases that are less competitive? Yeah, so the competitiveness you’ve got to use your judgment. And if it is, you know, can I manage this. And the other thing is think about short term and long term goals. So if something’s really competitive, you might go, okay, in a year or two, I want to be found for that. But in the next few months, that’s way too hard. Let me aim to start with something that’s not as competitive, that’s a bit more realistic. Yeah. So maybe I could get found for brand photography in Bristol. While if I want to get found for brand photography in the southwest, that’s a bit more of a longer term goal because it’s more competitive, more competitive. And the other thing it’ll tell you is the domain score of other sites that are ranking. So we’ll go on to main screen in a minute. But it’s basically a score that your website gets, we’ll talk about that in a second. But the key is, you can find your own domain score, and then it’ll show you what’s the domain score of the other websites ranking. And if you’ve got a similar domain score with them, then you’ve got a good chance with a bit of work or getting found for those search terms. If your domain score is way, way below theirs, then you’ve got to work on your domain score before you’ve got a chance of being found. So you kind of use all those bits of information to go, what are good phrases and places to go for, you need to think Is there enough search volume? Is the competition realistic? And what’s the domain scope for websites compared to mine. And you’ll usually find if you’ve got a big list of keywords and phrases, that you’ll suddenly go, all those couple are perfect for me, they’ve got a good search volume, actually, not many other people are trying for that it’s relatively low competition. Other sites that are on it, I’ve got our domain score similar to mine. And we often do this, we do loads with our business, we, for other people, we put in this big list and you put in loads, and suddenly, you just look at those numbers and sort of four or five, six, suddenly shine out and go, Whoa, they’re the ones we need to aim for. Because they’re not too competitive, there’s plenty people searching for them, and the domain score of the site, and the people that the other businesses that are ranking for this, you know, are comparable to mine, so I can really, you know, with a bit of effort, I can, I can be found here. But you can see until you’ve done all that, well, you know, you’re just guessing you could be aiming for, you know, commercial photographer southeast of England. And that’s like way, way harder than anything else, and there’s no way you’re gonna get it. So you’re just wasting your time. So you kind of need all this information for you to go right? What am I going to do which keywords I’m aiming for which key phrases unware, then, which is going to be other shows, you can then start to do something with that information and start to do things on your site and off your site to help you get found for those keywords and phrases. But until you know what they are, you’re just shooting in the dark and wasting your time.

Marcus: I remember when I put my website out, and I was getting into this, you know, on an optimization, SEO mode, that I was split up by the fact that people were being listed above B, who only did a bit of branding photography. But let’s say you did a lot of wedding photography. And I think a lot of people coming to their website. So that search term was search. Look for more wedding photography, is there anything you can do about that.

Sam:  So that’s probably well, there’s a few things there’s, there’s going to be tweaking your site, which is the on site SEO and getting found for specific keywords, which we’re going to do a whole nether show on. But there’s the thing I mentioned earlier, which is do your domain score, which is an important part of this. So if you want to find your domain score, again, I’ll put some links in the show notes. But there’s loads and loads of free tools out there that will give you your score. And it’s basically a score from one to 100. Now, please don’t get depressed, because for a small business, if you get 20, you are doing amazingly don’t get upset, you haven’t got 80 You know, that’s like that’s like the BBC or Google or something. Okay, let’s not worry, 20 is a pretty stunning score. Okay. And if you’ve got a new site, and you’ve got zero or one, that’s perfectly normal, but you need to work on it. Okay. And so you get your domain score. And as you say, if you’ve got like, 1520, you think I’m doing pretty well, if you’ve got like five or two or something you think there’s quite a lot to do. And somewhere in the middle. Yeah, you need some work. And so it’s basically you.

Marcus: Oh, yeah. They’re gonna share that link. And then yeah, it’s no.

Sam:  yeah, I share that. But also, this tank, just search guests to score and loads and loads of websites do it. For free. It’s a kind of free service loads of things do. And so you’ve got to think how do you improve your domain score, you’ve got to know what it it’s basically how authoritative Google thinks your website is. And it uses a few things to judge that. So firstly, it judges it on traffic. So it thinks if lots of people are going to your website, they’re going there for a reason. So your website must be good. So you’ve got to find ways to get people to your website, other than Google search, because they’re not getting there because you’ve got no domain score. So be that paying for ads working on social using email marketing, but you’ve got to get visitors to your website because that will help your domain score because Google and start to go, Oh, lots of people are visiting your site. It must be good. There’s the engagement on the site once they get there. So once people arrive, are they buggering off quick? Because it’s bloody awful. Are they actually spending some time there? Because there’s some great content on there. There’s amazing blogs, podcasts, articles, stuff that’s going to engage them. It doesn’t just say, Would you like to photograph now otherwise walk off? Here’s a gallery of 40,000 photographs, which is a common photographer approach. So yeah, how long are people staying on there and engaging with the site? That’s really important. How many other websites are linking to your site? So this is this thing that gets bandied around called backlinks. So that’s how many other websites are linking to your site. And we’ll talk about in the off site, SEO podcast, how you can build that and how you can relatively easily build that that’s another one. Again, Google thinks if good quality websites are linking to your website, they’re doing it for a reason. There must be interesting, engaging high quality content on this website, therefore, it’s good. And Google will give you a better domain score. So Google, you know, if you think about Google, their customers are search people. And so they want when people type in a search term for something to come up that is relevant, that is engaging, that is interesting. That is what people want. And so they’re kind of everything is judged on that, really. So yeah, they’re using those factors for your domain score. So yeah, you’ve got to look at your numbers. Look at your backlinks. And again, backlinks, there’s tons of websites, I’ll put some links, again, if you search back into my website, loads of free services, where you can click in and find the backlinks you’ve got. Yeah, and engagement, is that interesting, engaging stuff, are people staying on your website? And yeah, a lot of the offsite SEO stuff will help with all of this. So yes, you then if your domain score is low, you need to think about those things make a plan of how you can build your domain score, that you can then compete against those competitors with a high domain score.

Marcus: But nevertheless, nevertheless, there’s no denying it, you are an absolute expert in SEO and all things are web related. Fantastic stuff that I action on, in a way.

Sam: Cool, I will be testing you next week. Marcus, then oh, and very last thing is a couple of tools you need that are completely free. You need Google Analytics, or another analytics tool, because you need to know your numbers, how many people are visiting, what pages are they going to? Because without that, how the hell do you judge how good your SEO works going, if you don’t know how many people are visiting now and how many people are visiting after you’ve done a load of work? How do you know if your work that you’ve done is working and having any effect and whether you should carry on doing the same thing. So link your site up to Google Analytics, it’s completely free, link your site up to the Google Search Console that’s completely free. That’s the one that not many people know about. But that gives you all your search term data. So that tells you how many people search for that term, what ranking you appeared for, on average for that term, because it will vary depending on geography and stuff. So gives you all that vital data so you can see how you’re doing.

Marcus: Brilliant. Thank you very much, Sam, for being all that. And of course, for all our listeners out there. I hope you’ve enjoyed the show. And please  subscribe  if you haven’t already. Just click the old up there. And we also have a Facebook group, which I’ve got to mention. It’s doing very well. We got passionate contributors in there, shoot to the top. Please enjoy and be part of the conversation. So thank you, Sam.

Sam: Thank you, Marcus. I will see you next week.

Marcus:  See you next week.