SEO Series part two, external SEO

Apr 6, 2024 | Marketing

“Show Notes”

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

  1. Planning

2. External SEO

3. Internal SEO

This episode is looking at External 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 week Sam is talking about external SEO. That means things you can do, external to your website, to help your SEO.

One of the most important things you can do is get a Google Business account. A Google business account gives you a pin (or area) in Google maps. It also gives a table of information within Google about your businesses within the Google search. It is worth spending time setting up a good Google maps account. If you work from home Sam suggests you set it up showing the area where you work, so it’s not a pin at your house.  Posting on Google business is useful, but don’t expect engagement from this. You can add products to your business account. If you don’t have any packages, come up with some. The most important thing you can do is get as many reviews as you can on. Lots of reviews and recent reviews are both really useful. As you always need fresh reviews you always have to stay on the ball with this. Marcus manages two business accounts promoting different sides of his business. Social Media is another  vital part of your SEO. Google isn’t checking every post. But it is keeping an eye that you are active. To ensure this helps with SEO you need to make sure your social media profile shows your website. The one social media account you need to treat a little differently. That’s YouTube, that is owned by Google. Videos can be a great way to bypass the website search. When you search for a term Google will often put Google map entries and videos ahead of websites. So that’s one reason why having a good Google business profile is so important. It also means you can create videos to target specific search terms.

Back links. This means other websites linking to your website. Google thinks if other high quality websites are linking to your site then your website must be good. So trying to get links to your website is important. A simple way to do this is get on as many free business directories as possible. As a warning reciprocal links don’t really work. So don’t trade where two businesses link to each other. Guest blogging and guest podcasting are great ways to build backlinks. If you do a podcast or guest blog ensure you get links get back to your website. Links from high quality sites provide more kudos than links from low quality websites. Over time back links will build over time if you keep producing high quality engaging content.

“Show Transcription”

Marcus: Hello there, Sam. How are you doing?

Sam: Very good, Marcus. And how are you today?

Marcus: Yeah, I’m great. And of course, a big hello to all our listeners out there. Thanks for supporting us.

Sam: Excellent. And Marcus, yes, lots of good listeners. What are we doing today, Marcus?

Marcus: You’re going to be talking to us about a little bit more about SEO. So yeah, I’m looking forward to it because I think there’s been quite a bit, quite a few changes recently, hasn’t there? What are you going to tell us more about it?

Sam: Yeah, so I don’t know if we’re going to go into that. We’re more going to look at the basics. So I mean, if we went into the changes, I’d be presuming we were all SEO experts. So probably not where I was going to go. So just linking back to the last podcast, the plan is we’re going to do three podcasts on SEO. The initial one last time was planning. If you haven’t listened to that, go and take a listen. This one is going to be on something called external SEO. We’ll talk about what that is, and then the next one’s going to be on internal SEO. So this is the external SEO podcast. So first of all, before we start, I think we need a little word from our sponsor. 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 more customers from their website. I do this through SEO and website services, both tailored specifically for photographers. In this business, I only work with photographers, and as you know from the podcast, I spend loads of time talking to photographers and really getting to know the photography business. So if you want more leads and more customers, get in touch with me via the Shoot to the Top website, email me at info at website for (that’s the number four), or look for more contact details in the show notes. And now, on with the show. So, Marcus, external SEO. Do you have any idea what that actually is? Okay, so external, we’re talking about your website, so we mean external to your website. So what we’re saying is this is basically because when you think of SEO, most people think, you know, what am I going to do on my website? But this is about what you can do off your website, yeah? This is about what you can do on the web to improve your SEO to help your website get found.

Marcus: Right, gotcha.

Sam:  And then next week we’ll do the on the internal, so the on-site stuff. Cool, so yeah, that’s what external is. So what can you do? To me, one of the biggest things you can do is get a Google business account. You got one, Marcus?

Marcus: Yeah, I do have one, and I do use it quite a lot actually, and I’ve updated it.

Sam:  Marcus is working hard on his external SEO. If you’re not sure what a Google business account is, it gives you two things. Well, it gives you lots of things, but visible-wise, it gives you that pin in Google Maps or if you don’t want to pin, it can be an area. I know lots of most people as bloggers will be working from home. You do not have to have your home pin. You can tell it an area you work in, which is great. And it also, you know when you do a search and on the, if you’re on a desktop on that right-hand side you get like a little, I’m waving my arms around which is great for a podcast, isn’t it? You get a little like display table of stuff, information about a business. That comes from Google business too. So it’s a really, really powerful thing. So one of the most important things to know about with SEO is Google loves Google stuff and Google business is Google stuff. So like it’s one of the things it takes a lot of notice of. So it’s really worth spending time and getting set up a really good Google business account, yeah? So usually when you set it up you have to give an address but afterwards you can tell it to hide that but you must give an address to start with because it wants to know you exist and what Google normally do is send you a postcard with a code on to that address and then you like put in the code and it goes, oh yeah, you genuinely exist, great. And then you can change it from being a pin at your house to an area, and I really recommend if you’re a house you do that because otherwise when people get that panel of information about you it shows like a, it shows the Google street view of your house which is usually like a car and a few clouds and a random person walking past and it’s completely nothing to do with your business. So I recommend you put an area in there where you work, that can work much better. So yeah, get it set up, get all of your details on there, make sure you’ve got opening hours, contact details, blah de blah de blah. You can post on there. Now it’s not like other social, I’ll be honest, nobody’s gonna like your post, nobody’s gonna reply to your post, nobody’s gonna follow you. The posts are more there for when somebody visits, when they search for you or search something else and you come up and they get that panel on the right, it just gives them, you know, an update from your site. It’s more for that. So if you’re posting once a week, once every couple of weeks, there’s something there that’s new that people see. Yeah, not that are people following, liking, comment, it’s just that there’s something fresh there every time somebody visits and they can see it’s kind of newish. So that’s good. You can put products on there. So, you know, even if a photographer doesn’t quite have products, but if you do portrait photography and wedding photography, you know, vaguely invent some products and put them on there so there’s more content, you know, this is my bronze wedding package and my silver wedding package and stuff, even if you’re not exactly selling that stuff, it’s kind of, you know, don’t lie, but give, you know, get some detail in there, even, you know, if it’s a bit vague. I mean, you must in your head when you’re pricing weddings have at least, you know, this is kind of a lowish and this is a highish, you know, a vague idea. And then one of the most important things on there is reviews. Get reviews. Have some sort of system. I think we’ve mentioned this before on shows where every time a client is done, you get a review of them. You have a system where you know, you remember to remind them, you remember to remind them again, and you remember to remind them again until they fill in that review. Now, yeah, I have automated emails going out that does that sort of thing. You can do it how you want, but don’t forget it’s really, really, really important. Getting those reviews, getting lots of reviews is important and having recent reviews too. So if you’ve got 200 views, but none of them are in the last year, you know, that’s not necessarily, it’s good that you got 200, but if there’s none in the last year, then that’s not great. So it’s not something you can go, oh, I’ve got loads, sit back and relax. It’s something you need to keep on working on time and time again, just keep getting more people leaving you reviews on Google Business.

Marcus: I just had a quick look at my page while you were talking there, Sam. Yeah, I’ve got 37 reviews on there, but I do notice that it’s quite, it’s a little bit messy. I know when I was looking at it, some of the pictures are out of date and stuff like that. So I think it’s a little bit difficult to organize these things with it, isn’t it in some ways?

Sam: It can be. What I normally try and do is just every month go on and add something new, you know, so it’s not stale. So even if, you know, I don’t spend ages, but I just kind of have a month, a month, right, what am I going to add this month? It might be a product, it might simply be a picture or two, might be a post, just, you know, keep going back and just adding stuff. And like you, you can’t normally take pictures away. That’s a bit harder. It depends. If you’ve added them, you can, other people can add them too. The easiest thing is to water them down with new stuff. Just keep adding new stuff.

Marcus: Yeah, that’s correct. And I think also, Sam, you can have, I’ve got a couple, two businesses. I’ve got my teaching side and my branding photography side on there. So you can have, I think that’s the maximum, isn’t it? Is it two industries per household or something like that?

Sam:  It’s a bit vague as to how many businesses you have in one location. So kind of, you know, there’s an issue if your business is registered at like an accountant’s or something because, you know, eventually Google goes, hang on, I’ve got 16 businesses registered at this address. I don’t really believe it anymore. So I’m not sure there’s a limit like two. But as well, the more you have, the more you have, the more you’ve got to maintain and stuff. So it’s kind of a balance for you too. But you can also have different locations. So it might be that your business has a couple of different locations. So you can use different locations that can work too. But yeah, Google business, really, really good, really essential part of offsite SEO. Other things to think about is your social media. So social media is kind of a vital part of your SEO. It’s just kind of, you know, Google getting a feel for how active your business is, how popular your business is. So it’s not like it’s checking every single time you post and how often you post, but it is checking that your social accounts are active. It probably isn’t going to find them if it’s linked to your Google business or your website. So make sure they’re linked to one or the other of those or both. And yeah, you know, it’s basically a case of having good profile and having a good profile and being relatively active on there in terms of SEO. That’s kind of key. It’s just kind of, Google is trying to make sure that its sending people to a business that exists. So if you’ve got a social media where there was tons of stuff last year and there’s been nothing for you, you know, the algorithms are going to be scratching their heads going, is this company still alive? Or do we need to start to push it down the rankings because people are going to be upset going to this website, but actually it’s not a live company. So it’s a bit of a waste of time. So it’s just one of those kind of, there’s not lots you need to be doing on there, but just, yeah, link it up, get it right. Make sure you’re, you know, from time to time putting stuff on there. The one that’s slightly different to that though is YouTube. And guess who own YouTube, Marcus?

Marcus: I should, no idea. Microsoft?

Sam: Google. Oh, Google. Google own it. So Google love it. So videos are really, really good because again, it’s another Google platform. And it’s also a way you can sneak around the search, which the website search, which Google businesses as well. So when you do a search for things, you don’t just get websites coming up. Sometimes you get the Google map coming up, don’t you, with things on the Google map. So that’s your Google business search separate to your website. So that can be a way you can kind of bypass the website search and get right to the top quickly. Similarly, video is the same. If what you’re searching for has relevant video content, bang, that will go in the search. So you can bypass some of the search by getting relevant videos for relevant search terms. That can be another way to get your business into the search. And especially if you’ve got some steep competition and you’re looking at, you know, maybe you’ve got another photographer locally who’s been working really hard on SEO. His website is right at the top. It’s quite hard to get any, you know, to get near it. If you can get some relevant video content, it’s a way you can sneak your stuff in really near the top of the search.

Marcus:  That is great advice. I’ve written that down. I didn’t even know that. I mean, I do remember three or four years ago with LinkedIn, if you did an article, which were very popular at the time, you had a very, very good chance of that ranking very well on a website, on Google, didn’t you? The articles.

Sam: So yeah, I mean, we’re going to come on to other sites. So that’s a little bit like kind of guest blogging a bit in some ways. Because yeah, you’ve got a lot of content there. You’re right. So social posts don’t normally come up because they’re just small and don’t really index. But you’re right. The things like longer articles can come up in the search and that can be really good. Yeah, like you said, like the Google business, like your YouTube, it’s kind of a way of getting your business into the top of the search, even if your business website isn’t there. But all of these things do as well contribute to your business website SEO as well. Because Google kind of looks at the big picture, you can see you’ve got some good videos, you can see you’ve got some social going on, you can see your Google business is good. And so it’s taking all those things into account too, and it’s thinking about your website. So it can help you kind of both ways. Backlinks are another thing. And what we mean by backlinks is other people linking to your website. And basically, Google’s thinking on this is, if websites are linking to your website, it must be because they think the stuff on there is good. Simple as that. Yeah. So if other sites that are high quality sites are saying your site is good, then Google starts to trust them more. The more of those backlinks you have coming in from high quality sites, the more Google thinks, whoa, well, this site must have some bloody good stuff on it because loads of people are linking to it. This is marvelous. So if you’ve got a good website with high quality content, lots of good blogs, you will start to get those naturally over time. They just will grow naturally. But often you want to try and build that a bit and help yourself. So things you can do to help yourself. Get on the free directories. Get on Get on Thompson Local. Get on whatever it is. Tons and tons of them. Ignore their pestering to go premium. Get the free one and just ignore their advertising things constantly to, oh, you could be at the top if you paid. Yeah, don’t pay. I mean, unless you really want to, but I wouldn’t pay. Just get on as many free ones as you can. Because suddenly, you know, something like Yelp has a pretty good domain score. You know, it has a pretty good ranking according to Google. They’re a pretty high quality website. And they’re linking to you. Yeah. So that’s good for you. And you’re not linking back. So that’s key. What are called reciprocal links are bad. So reciprocal links is basically me and Marcus going, right, Marcus, tell you what, we’ll help each other’s websites. I’ll link to yours and you link to mine. Job done. And then Google says we’ve got links from high quality websites. But Google spots if they’re reciprocal links going backwards and forwards. It wants one way links. It wants Marcus to go, my God, that blog that Sam’s written is so good. I’m going to link to it for my website. And it’s just a single thing like that. Not that you’re going, all right, mate, I’ll link to you, you link to me, we’re all happy. Google spots that. So it’s all got to be one way. And a directory isn’t it? You’ll be on a directory, it will direct your website, your website won’t be directing back to Yelp. I wouldn’t have thought it would. So you’ve got a one way link in. So yeah, directories are really good. Guest blogging, guest podcasting, you know, suddenly, our show notes often have in it, the websites of our guests, that’s a backlink. Yeah, backlink from all sorts of places, then backlink from Spotify, backlink from Apple, backlink from the shoot to the top website. You know, there’s loads of podcasting guest opportunity, guest blogging as well. Loads of people like to have guest bloggers, I have guest bloggers on my website, there’s loads of opportunity for guest blogging. And again, you know, make sure your websites, there’s a link to your website on there, you get backlinks in, that can work really well.

Marcus: Yeah. And I do believe, sorry, to interrupt. I do believe that different backlinks have different weights as well. Is that?

Sam:  It’s basically to do with the quality of the site that it’s coming from. So if it’s from a high quality, highly ranked high quality site, because I mean, basically, you know, there is kind of people who just have low quality websites, bring thousands of links in to try and, you know, to try and just build other websites, credibility. But if those websites don’t have much credibility, credibility themselves, it doesn’t help. So Google doesn’t just go how many links you’re going to your website, it goes, how good are the websites linking to your website as well? Yeah. And then obviously, they will organically build over time, naturally, especially if you’re blogging. So last time on SEO, and we talked about SEO again, and I talked about this lots, when we talk about marketing, high quality, engaging content, if you have high quality, engaging, useful content, then people will start to link to it because it will be useful to them. And they might be writing a blog. And when we’re writing blog, it’s great to have links going elsewhere. And they go, oh, that’s a good blog to reference. That’s a good website to reference. And so they might link back to you. But that is kind of that’s more slow over time. And you need to keep blogging. But you know, the guest blogs, the guest podcast, getting yourself on directories, you can do that tomorrow, you know, get on off you go. And then I think the last thing was we’re running slightly tight on time is just yeah, we talked about Google business reviews, just any reviews, reviews are brilliant. Google business should be your absolute top priority. But if you can also maybe set yourself up a Trustpilot account, get yourself reviews on LinkedIn, get yourself reviews on Facebook reviews are always good. But always make sure prioritize those Google ones because Google ones are, you know, make such a difference to SEO and getting found. They’re really, really important.

Marcus:  Love it. That’s fantastic, Sam. A basic sync, really. So there you go. External SEO in a nutshell.

Sam: That’s it doing stuff off your website. That’s really going to help your website found as we say, there’s kind of those two sides, there’s things you can do to kind of get other things found in the search, like your appearance on maps and your videos. And also that kind of holistic picture for giving Google that kind of impression as you of your business as a whole as an active, engaging, interesting thing that it would be useful to send people to.

Marcus: Cool. Thank you.

Sam: That’s right, Marcus. And as usual, there will be a newsletter bonus. And that will be going out to all our newsletter listeners. If you are not a newsletter listener, you can sign up, you go to the shoottothetop website, and it is If you scroll down to the bottom, you can sign up to the newsletter list, you get the bonus content every week, you get blasts in the past, podcasts where we go through old ones, you get a little bit of bonus extras from Marcus and I all sorts of things like that. So take a look. And there is now on the website to a link for guests. So if you are interested in being a guest on the podcast, being interviewed on the podcast, go to the shoot to the top website, click the link and fill in the form and we will be in touch about you possibly being one of our guests. And Marcus, I will see you next week.

Marcus: See you next week, Sam. Thank you very much.

Sam: Take care.