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Day Three

Ready for Day Three of The Intuitive SEO 5-Day Challenge? Watch the video above, and get the slides here.

Today’s all about the principle that if it’s not clear to Google what your website is all about and who it’s for, you’ll struggle to grow your search traffic.

Over the past few years of working with creatives, artists, small businesses, and different organisations of all kinds, I’ve noticed that this very basic principle of SEO can feel extremely challenging to some of us (myself included).

Why?

Because, when it comes down to it, many of us are uncomfortable pinning ourselves down to a clear and specific definition.

I get it, I truly do; I’m a magpie, and I’ve always flitted between interests and hated labels because I worry that they’re too restrictive or don’t leave me room to grow and be fully myself.

But here’s the thing… if you’re not clear about what you do and what you have to offer, it makes life really hard for your website users (and for Google).

You don’t have to have it all figured out, and remember you and your work and your website will be constantly evolving entities. You can always change your website copy, so don’t panic! But we do need to start to try and be more clear, for our website users’ sakes.

I’m making peace with the fact that I’m multi-passionate and have many different strands to my work, and I’m always working on explaining what I do to people in a way that feels clear enough and also encompasses enough of who I am and what I do to be authentic.

You might have already noticed that Google loves a niche. So does Instagram… projects with clear and simple messages go viral more easily. Blogs that are all about books, or all about travel. Instagram accounts entirely made up of a cute pet pig wearing quirky hats. Cheese obsessives. This is because it’s easier for people to quickly grasp what these things are all about, and to get behind it—to a certain extent, we can be lazy when we’re online.

This doesn’t mean you have to reduce yourself to one tiny niche or box to grow… just find a clear, simple, and specific way to introduce yourself, as you would at a party or networking event, and then invite people in deeper to get to know you and all your complex layers better.

{I explore this in more depth inside my course, Intuitive SEO: A Creative’s Guide to Growing Search Traffic, because I think it’s a really complicated and important question, and is one that lots of SEO and marketing experts often brush over.}

Today’s action step is to edit the meta title and description (also known as the SEO title and description) for your website’s Home page and About page, adapting the introduction copy you drafted for Day One’s challenge.

Meta data (sometimes called a search title or title tag and search description) is the text that comes up in the search results for your website, like this:

Just like I said yesterday in regards to your social media bios and everywhere else you show up in the search results, whatever the platform, the idea at this point is to make it as easy as possible for your ideal audience or whoever is searching your name/business name to find you and recognise quickly who you are and what you offer.

You have limited space in the search/meta title and search/meta description (around 90 characters max for the title, and around 160 max for the description), so as with your social media bios (IG limits you to 150 characters), you’ll need to adapt your “elevator pitch” from Monday to be super short and sweet. Remember that with search/meta titles and descriptions, though, your goal is always to encourage people to click onto your website from the search results.

WordPress users, you can use the Yoast plugin to edit your website’s meta data (you’ll find instructions for that, here), and for everyone else, you can Google: how to edit meta data on [name of your website platform e.g. Shopify/Squarespace/Wix here] and you’ll find instructions for your specific website platform. On Squarespace and many other platforms like it, you’ll just need look for the boxes called “search title” and “search description” as you’re editing any given page of your website, and fill that out.

I feel like this is a good moment to clarify a few things…

I’ve been talking about the importance of introducing yourself “above the fold” (that’s in the space that’s immediately visible when you land on a website page, without having to scroll down) on your website’s Home page. Here’s what I mean:

and here’s another example of a UK creative coach:

Both of these ladies are on the first page of search results for “creative coach UK”, and this is what their meta data/SEO titles and descriptions look like, i.e. how they show up in search results:

Can you see how lovely and clear that all is? Google can easily connect the dots between what I’ve searched for and what their websites provide.

Now, just to be clear: there isn’t a strict word count for the introduction text that you’ll be sharing above the fold on your website’s Home page, but as I said there is a pretty tight character limit for the meta/SEO title and description of any given page (as well as the limits in social media bios). So, you’ll want to be more succinct in those places than in your introduction text on your Home page.

Again, here’s a guide for editing meta/search titles and descriptions on Yoast for WordPress and here’s one for editing it on Squarepace. If you’re on a different website host, just Google “how to edit SEO titles and descriptions on [insert the name of your website platform here]” and you’re sure to find a guide.

To re-cap: so far, you should have a working draft of a piece of text that introduces who you are, what you do, who you do it for, along with your core values, or whatever you want someone to know about you at first glance. You then adapted that for your social media bios, and your meta data (and, you can also use it for that piece of text that people see “above the fold” on your website’s Home page, too).

Good luck with today’s challenge, and see you tomorrow in the next lesson for Day Four!

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