How to Increase Organic Traffic to your Website with Kate Toon

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How to Increase Organic Traffic to your Website with Kate Toon | Ep 37

 

If you want to start increasing organic traffic to your website and rank higher in Google searches, then this interview with Google beast tamer and SEO expert Kate Toon is a must. So stay tuned to learn the best strategies for SEO success.

For a small business, search engine optimization (SEO) can be daunting, so this episode will break it down for you step-by-step so you can learn what Google is looking for, what traps to stay away from, and what to do to start increasing your organic traffic. 

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • The basics of SEO and how search engines work 
  • How to improve your SEO
  • Mistakes, misconceptions, and the downright dodgy in the SEO world
  • How to complete keyword research to help with google ranking
  • Kate Toon’s favorite SEO tools

Listen on your favorite podcast platform

Guest: Kate Toon

Kate Toon is a down-to-earth human on a mission: to demystify the realities of running a successful online business. 

Her StayTooned group of companies includes the Digital Masterchefs, The Clever Copywriting School, and The Recipe for SEO Success. Through these, Kate’s helped more than 10,000 other businesses demystify digital marketing, grapple the Google Beast, and grow their overall success.

Connect with Kate

Website 

Podcast 

Instagram 

Facebook 

Resources

Pingdom Site Speed 

Hemingway App 

SEO Meta in 1 Click 

Uber Suggests 

Keywords 

Share the Love 

If you love what you’ve heard, please share this podcast with your friends, family, and colleagues. Support the show by taking some time to leave a review at https://ReviewThisPodcast.com/SSOMPodcastW. Thanks!

And a big thank you to Phoebeanna143 for their wonderful review:

“This is my absolute favorite podcast! Each episode is so informative and captivating. You make every topic simple and easy to digest. I have learned so much and I’m always looking forward to the next episode!”

Transcript

Nicci O'Mara

The Simply Standout Marketing Podcast is for you, the small business owner wanting to supercharge your marketing with simple actionable strategies and inspiration so you can smash your goals and grow your business. Now it's your turn to discover what actions to take to make your business truly stand out and succeed. Let's get started.

Nicci O'Mara

Today I'm really excited to welcome to the show the lovely and very talented Kate Toon. Kate is an award-winning digital marketing entrepreneur, she's a proud business misfit as well. She's also a Google Beast tamer, a copywriting coach, popular educator, speaker, author and podcaster. You're one very talented lady, Kate. So welcome to the Simply Standout Marketing Podcast.

Kate Toon

It's lovely to be here. I have to say you have one of the nicest podcast art images I've ever seen. I love it.

Nicci O'Mara

Thank you. I'll have to tell my very talented graphic designer Michelle. So I chose the colors and she did the rest.

Kate Toon

It's very beautiful. I love it.

Nicci O'Mara

Oh, thank you. Today we're talking all things SEO because I want to help, just like you, small businesses with something that they find totally overwhelming, being search engine optimization. But as you and I know, I know from making mistakes myself, that SEO can make such a huge difference to growing their organic website traffic. So I definitely learnt by going, no, it'll be fine, I'll catch years ago. So how did you get to working in SEO?

Kate Toon

It's not like I was a child thinking when I grow up I want to work with SEO. In fact, obviously the internet didn't exist when I was a child. So I started working in advertising pretty much straight out of University and then I was working in events and this amazing new invention came along which was websites. So I was working at one of the first digital agencies in London. I worked on the Marks  Spencer's first-ever website, which is a bit of a claim to fame and it kind of evolved from there. I had various jobs at big advertising agencies like Ogilvy, but then I worked at a particular agency called Advertising.com where they were starting to work in the kind of Nasson area of optimization because in the early days there weren't that many websites, and if you wanted to rank, you literally just put some words in the header of your website and you ranked. Google was very unsophisticated. There were no ads, there was no video and no image tab, and all the different things we see now. It's was just ten blue links. And then over the years I did a lot of work in agency and then I went out on my own about twelve years ago and that's when I started to do SEO audits and copy for smaller businesses. And then from there grew the courses, the resources and all the other things. So it's been a bit of an epic journey really.

Nicci O'Mara

It certainly has. And you like me have been there from the very start. I remember my first website being the RSPCA and yeah, as you say, it was so easy, I didn't even know what SEO meant. It probably didn't even exist back then.

Kate Toon

No, it's not as a discipline and not as like a business area that really has only been the last ten or so years and really massively, I've seen a massive increase over the last seven years. So when I launched my course, which was back in 2014, there was not a single other SEO course in Australia and I was one of the only, there's another lady called Heather Lloyd Smith who's an SEO copywriter, but one of the only women who had an SEO education kind of space. And now every dog in his Badger has an SEO course. But it was very different back then.

Nicci O'Mara

Yes, and it is something that you need to learn. I tried to do it by myself and it is so much easier when you learn from people like yourself how to actually do it. But hey, for those who are just starting out and really they've got their website up and things like that, but really are drowning and when they hear the word SEO, what is the basics of what is SEO and how do search engines work?

Kate Toon

I think SEO is a very unpalatable term for something that really just means making Google fall in love with your website. So Google, like everybody else is fussy and it has a big list of things that it wants to see on websites. We think there's about 200 or so factors and some of them are more important than others. Most of them are common sense, the things that humans want as well. So for example, a big factor for Google is how quickly your website loads because no one likes sitting around waiting for a website to load. Another big factor is how good does it look on a mobile device? How easy is it to use? Google cares about things like security and good content and not having hundreds of pop ups popping everywhere. So really it's about understanding what Google would like to see on your website and then doing that. It's literally that simple. I guess the complexity comes from when you've done the basics and now you're into the more pointy end where things are less black and white and a bit more subjective. What is good content? What makes a good title tag? That kind of stuff.

Kate Toon

But it's building a website that Google loves and when Google loves it, people will love it too and then everyone's happy. So yeah, I think SEO literally means search engine optimization, but it's just making your website better, I think is an easier way of understanding it.

Nicci O'Mara

Yes, that makes total sense. So what about from the point of view you talked about some of the things that Google looks for in a website and a web page. What are some of the things that people could do? You say websites loading quickly; what should they be aiming for? Like, how many seconds is the current time? And things like mobile optimization, what are some of the things they could tick off their list?

Kate Toon

Well, I'll give you some simple tips for things that will make a big difference quickly. So as you said, speed is a great one to choose whether or not it's the most important factor from Google's point of view is debatable, but it's one of the easiest ones to fix. So ideally you want your site to load in 3 seconds or less. Mobiles are a little bit fiercer than desktops, so desktops allow your site to be a tad slower. But these days Google is a mobile first search engine, so it doesn't even look at the desktop version of your site. It's only looking at the mobile content. So how can you improve that? Well, easy things are look at your images. Are they huge? Did you upload them at 5000 pixels by 5000 pixels? Did you compress them in any way? Do you have too many images? Videos? Have you optimized those? Are you hosting them on a third party platform like YouTube or vimeo? It's much better if you are. You know, things like if you're on Shopify, looking at the number of apps that you have running. If you're on WordPress, looking at the number of plugins you have running, do you need them all? Could you get rid of a few?

Kate Toon

And then things like feed; so do you have an Instagram feed or a Facebook feed? Anything that's pulling content from another site into your site is going to slow it down. And once you fix all those kinds of things, you kind of have to look at the big stuff like where are you hosting your site? There's not much you can do about that if you're on Shopify or Squarespace or Wix or Weebly. But on WordPress, moving to a better hosting company can make a huge difference to your speed. So some of those things are easier for a normal human to do, and some of them, you might need a developer to help you. But the most important thing is understanding what you need to do. You don't necessarily need to be able to do it yourself, but understanding that, yes, it needs to be 3 seconds. Here are some things to fix it. Go get someone to fix those things, then run the test again. There's a great tool called Pingdom Site Speed. Maybe you can include a link in your notes.

Nicci O'Mara

I will. I know that one.

Kate Toon

Yeah. So you can run your site through that, see how slow it is, then send it off to your developer to fix it up, and then run that test again. And you'll know if your developer is doing a great job or not. So it's all about empowerment. The next thing you asked about was mobile optimization. And again, really, a lot of that is common sense. Big images don't work well on mobile. Video, that works okay. You need to make sure your contrast is really good with your text and your background. You don't want to have fiddly little navigations that drop all over the place. You want to make sure your buttons are nice and big so you can get your thumb over them and not touch the wrong thing. The best way, really, to test for mobile app optimization is to try and do stuff on your own website, on your phone. People don't do that. Like, when was the last time you filled out your contact form on your own website or ordered a product on your phone, on your own website? You do that with the sun glaring in coles and you'll see very quickly all the mobile optimization issues that your site has. And it's a great test to do.

Nicci O'Mara

I also find getting someone like my husband or someone like that with bigger fingers to actually do it and see, because I find we know our site so well, we know how they work and how they're supposed to work. But if you give it to someone else who has no idea, that is always such a good test. So that's sort of a double test, I suppose.

Kate Toon

Exactly. And also they're on a different device, probably. So maybe you've got an iPhone, they've got a Samsung. Most of us work on our sites on a desktop, so we never really see the mobile experience. But as you said, we think we know our sites really well, but sometimes someone else looking at them, they spot something and we're like, oh my God, I think I had a typo. I had a typo on Kate Toon copywriter for four years on the homepage, and I just never saw it. How many business clients I lost because of that, I don't know, but it's very hard to spot your own mistakes.

Nicci O'Mara

Absolutely. I do copywriting as well, and you will find that there will be something and you would have read it over and over again, and yeah, it's one of those handed over to someone else and go, can you just read that? Because it could say anything right about now. And I even find that from a copywriting, website writing point of view, we might understand what we're talking about, but does everyone else actually necessarily understand what we're talking about and know what we mean and what we're all about? So I think that's a great one.

Kate Toon

We talked about a few technical things there, but readability of content is actually a factor from Google's perspective. How easy is it to read and understand your copy? And most people, when they're trying to sound clever, use longer sentences and bigger words and more complex structure. But actually it really doesn't help, especially when a lot of people reading a website might have English as a second language. So there's another wonderful tool that I love called Hemingway App, which will look at the readability age of your content and give you tips on how to improve it. Really, you should be aiming for around grade seven readability age, not University graduate. Even if the person reading your page is a University graduate, the way we read online is dramatically different to the way we read print. So you have to be aware of that when you're writing your web copy.

Nicci O'Mara

Yes, absolutely. And for those writing headlines, for blogs and things along those lines, I use Headliner, which gives you a similar readability score and tells you what's really grabbing someone's attention. There's so many tools and we'll get to some of the other tools a bit later, but there are so many amazing tools out there and so many of them are free, which is great. Now let's talk about some of the mistakes and misconceptions and some of the really dodgy bad things that are done with regards to SEO, and that no doubt people will have received emails about.

Kate Toon

I think I am an SEO expert to a degree. I hate the word expert, but you know what I mean? And I get those emails to "Greetings of the day, I've looked at your website, it's full of errors, if you want me to fix them, get in touch". Everybody gets those emails. They have not looked at your website. It's highly likely that it's not full of errors. So all of those emails should be immediately deleted. Never, ever read them. Never believe a word they say. Because good SEO people don't have to solicit clients in that way. You never get those emails from graphic designers or accountants or anybody else. So I don't know why the SEO industry has done that. It gives us all a very bad name. So the bad things that you can do: there are terms in SEO, there's white hat SEO and black hat SEO. So white hat SEO is kind of I'm a white hat, which means I teach the good stuff. It's like being the white witch in The Wizard of Oz. I teach the good stuff, the stuff that doesn't go against Google's regulations and it's not going to get me a penalty.

Kate Toon

Black hat SEO is kind of a bit more dodgy. You're doing things that probably could get you a penalty, but you hope that Google doesn't notice. The problem is that some of the black hat things work very well for a short period. Often these dodgy SEO companies will say things like, we can get you to number one for this particular phrase, and they use black hat tactics to do that. So you succeed and you give them your money and you're like, wow, this is working. And then your site starts dropping and then you can't get hold of your SEO agency and they've disappeared, especially if you're hiring people on Fiverr or Upwork who can just delete their profile and make a new profile tomorrow. So really, if you're going to work with SEO person, you need to get recommendations from people who are still working with them and from people who understand what SEO is. Because I often see people in Facebook groups saying, oh, you know, Barbara is amazing. She did such a good job of my SEO. But you have a pretty good understanding that this person doesn't understand what SEO is. So they don't know whether Barbara has done a good job or not. Barbara may be the most wonderful person, but it can be like the blind leading the blind. So getting good recommendations is super important. And I'm not sure I even answered your question there because I think you wanted to know what was some of the dodgy things people do.

Nicci O'Mara

You did really. I mean, in some ways, yes, absolutely. Because people need to understand that there are the White hats and the Black and some of the terrible things. But yeah, how do you work out if they are legitimate? What are some of the terrible things that people are offered?

Kate Toon

Yeah, well, I've got a free little thing which I'll give you a link to called my SEO Nibbles course. And at the end, there's a questionnaire that you can ask any person who you're going to work with in SEO, and then the answers that you want them to give. The truth is that a good SEO person is pretty transparent and they're pretty honest. So they won't claim that they can get you number one ranking. If they do offer to improve your site, it will probably only be for a couple of different keywords. It won't be for hundreds and hundreds. They will talk more about different factors, not so much ranking, but traffic and conversion and money, because, for example, you could be ranking in position three. But when someone hits your site, your conversion optimization isn't very good. And so you're not making the most of that position that you already have. An SEO is usually transparent. They are honest about the results and don't make big promises. They probably will ask you to commit for at least six months because it can take that long to kind of see any difference. And they're very open about their tactics.

Kate Toon

There are no special magic tactics of SEO. Even I don't have any. I can't tell you hey Nicci, if you do this, it's going to improve your ranking, because it's a process. And everything that Google wants us to do to improve SEO is freely available on the Internet. They tell us pretty much everything they want us to do. And then after that, it's about understanding what the priorities are and putting the time in. So an SEO person that says they have a secret methodology or a special relationship with Google. They're lying. Yeah. So it is hard and it is a minefield. And I mean, that's why I created the course, because I think a little bit of education can be a really powerful thing. And it helps you understand when you're being bamboozled. Like if you get on a call with an SEO person and they're like, well, your XML isn't linking and your PHP and your JavaScript aren't integrating with your AI and what like, don't try to use jargon and try and make this more complicated than it is. It is not a dark art. Anybody can learn SEO, just like anybody can learn how to write and how to do bookkeeping and whatever.

Kate Toon

It's what you're interested in. And I think as a small business owner, it's bewhoven on you. I love that word. It's bewhoven on you to understand enough about all of those things just a little bit. So I would never hire an accountant without even a basic understanding of accountancy. Because then how do I know if the account is good or bad? I'm babbling now. 

Nicci O'Mara

I have clients who come on and someone's tried to say something, tell them about all your SEO needs thid, snd now you have to do Google Ads. And this is why I come in there and they're spending this extraordinary amount of money on Google Ads. But their keywords and things are just nonexistent. Like, they have no SEO whatsoever. And you go, okay, this is all just a monumental waste of money.

Kate Toon

Ads they're interesting. Google Ads has nothing to do with SEO. As you know, you can pay heaps of money for the ads and it won't improve your organic ranking. And the great thing about Ads is you pay your money, you get your click, you pay your $1,000 a month, you're going to get your clicks and you can track it and you can change the keywords and the ads, but you're paying all that money. But the truth is, with SEO, you still pay because you have to pay to do a course or you have to pay someone to optimize pages. It can be more cost effective because you may pay once and then the value of the SEO lasts a long time. So I've got work that I did in 2009 that's still ranking really well, but you still pay. You might just pay more in time than in money and the results will just not be as immediate, but they will be more long lasting. But yeah, I've had people come on the course who are spending $3,000 a month on an SEO agency with absolutely no idea what they're doing. Not one of idea. It's terrifying, really.

Nicci O'Mara

I know. So this is our thing. And you spent years trying to educate people as to what they need to be doing, which I just absolutely love. Let's talk about keywords, because you chatted a bit about those before. What's a simple way of someone starting out so they can get a basic understanding; how do they find keywords for their website?

Kate Toon

Well, I mean, I think people misunderstand what keywords are literally it's just trying to make a connection between what you type into Google and what Google displays. Yeah. And people keep on saying keywords don't matter anymore, google will work it out. But at the end of the day, if people are typing in purple Hedgehog jumper and you want a bit of that traffic, well, you have to use the words purple Hedgehog and jumper at some point in your site. Google not that's smart. So we mustn't think of keywords. It's really keyword phrases. No one's going to rank for a single word term like shoes. Competition, even blue shoes, competitiv. Blue running shoes, still competitive, men's blue running shoes, still competitive. So we get longer and longer and longer with our keyword phrases. And those are called long tail keywords. And that's really where small businesses can win, because while Nike may own running shoes and you will never beat them on that, they cannot possibly rank for every iteration around that. Like small running shoes for men, purple with green laces. Yes. Much fewer people are typing that into Google. But you can rank number one and get all of them if you have the right traffic. So how do you find keywords? It's a pretty simple process, which is incredibly complex. First of all, you brainstorm and you write down every possible keyword you can think of. Maybe you ask your audience, what would you type in to find this, that and the other you can use tools. One of my favorites is Keyword Shitter, which is a terrible name, but it's lots of fun.

Nicci O'Mara

I haven't heard of that one.

Kate Toon

There is Uber suggests. There's lots of free tools that will help you generate, like a seed list of potential keywords. And then you need to put them into tools again. You can put them into Google and just see what comes up, but you can put them into tools. And you're basically looking for two things. How much traffic does that keyword have? How many people are searching for it a month? And how competitive is it? So what we want is something with lots of searches, and that's not very competitive. And that can be hard.

Nicci O'Mara

It is very hard these days.

Kate Toon

Yes. And there's no such thing as a perfect keyword or a golden keyword. Literally, you need to go through your site page by page, home page first, most important page on your site and go, what would I want someone to type into Google to find this page? And if you already rank for your brand name, then you would move away from trying to rank it for your brand name. And then you would try and rank it for something you do. So say for me, it might be SEO courses, and I'm going to choose the keyword SEO course. And I'm going to put it into a tool that's going to say loads of people are searching for this, but it's super competitive. So then I might add a word at the beginning, free SEO courses, and that might bring the volume down, but it might bring the competition down. Australian SEO courses, female lead SEO courses. What I'm trying to do is find a keyword that I can rank for in the top three, because if I'm not in the top three, probably I'm not going to get any click throughs at all. And that may cause me to go longer and longer and longer, but better to go for longer keywords than to try and go for short keywords that I'm going to be on page 74. Does that make sense?

Nicci O'Mara

Yes. Well, it makes sense to me, but I also know what you're talking about, but it does. There's no point in ranking for a keyword if no one's ever going to find you for it.

Kate Toon

Well, this is it. I just did a post about this. You'll see people in Facebook groups going, oh, my God, I'm ranking number one for the most obscure phrase in the world. It's like you're ranking number one for it because no one's ever Typed that into Google ever. And also you don't realize that you're looking at your site in your own browser. So the results have been personalized to you. Google will always show you your site first and you're not seeing a real picture of where you're ranking. Because if you go in and type it in and your site pops up first, it's not because you're ranking number one. It's because Google knows you love your own website and it will always show you it first.

Nicci O'Mara

That's why Google is so clever.

Kate Toon

Yeah, it is far too clever. It knows everything about us. It is terrifying.

Nicci O'Mara

Oh, it does. That and Facebook, definitely. Now, one thing that people do need to think about is the different search intents that people have when they actually go on to the Internet. So what are the main ones that you always consider?

Kate Toon

I love that you brought this up because a lot of people aren't aware of this. So search intent. I love that you bought that up. Google had an algorithm update, it was quite a while ago. It was called Hummingbird. And that was all about intent. And it was when Google kind of went up, it up leveled. So it stopped looking at what you're typing and it started to understand why you're typing it. This is where it gets scary. So if I type in piglet jumper, what do I want from Google? Do I want to see pictures of piglet jumpers? Do I want knitting patterns? Do I want jumpers with piglets on them or piglets wearing jumpers? We don't know. Yes, piglet jumper is confusing. If you do piglet jumper into Google, you're probably going to get a lot of images and videos because it thinks you want to see pictures. It doesn't quite understand your intent. But as soon as we add what's called a modifier to that phrase, it completely changes the way Google acts. So if I add the word cute, immediately, the search engine results will change to being primarily images and video.

Kate Toon

If I add the word how to Google will dramatically change and start showing me featured answers, knitting patterns and YouTube videos showing me how to knit piglet jumpers. If I add the word buy, the search engine results will change again and there'll be a shopping carousel. There will be ads because each of those has a different searcher intent. And you ask how many there are. People think there's four, five, possibly five. The four are conversion intent or transaction intent:I want to buy something. Information intent: I want to know something. Investigational intent: I want to compare X with Y. And then navigational intent: I just want to get somewhere on the Internet. I want to get to the Net Bank login page. And then the final one is location intent: so if you do things, you have a local intent, like you're looking for Pizza Hut near me, it will change the search engine results to show a map, a local pack, and that kind of thing. So really, there are four, possibly five different intents, and they matter so much because, as I said, they changed the search engine results page. But, like, if you're a shop, you kind of want to have more conversion intent keywords than maybe informational. Information is blog posts and that kind of stuff. I mean, they're good, they're educational, but they're probably not going to lead to a sale. So they may in the long term because you're building trust and authority, and that's fantastic. But really, you lie in conversion intent. You want to sell stuff. So you need to be going after phrases like buy, money, affordable, price, online, Australia, free shipping, free delivery, piglet jumper free delivery, buy piglet jumper online Australia. They have conversion intent. Piglet jumper doesn't have conversion intent. Do you see what I mean? Yes, super important. And people just don't seem to be aware of it at all. So I'm glad you brought it up.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah. Now, people tend to think that, okay, well, it's just about the I'm a dietitian or I sell pool equipment or whatever it happens to be, but if they keep it to a city and this is what we do, I'm an accountant in Sydney, or I'm an advertising executive in new York, whatever it happens to be. But they forget all of those things, that action, that call to action that people want, but it's going to come through in the keywords as well. So I love that. Now for beginners, what are the three most important things that they can work on? They can start working on right now that can begin to increase their ranking.

Kate Toon

Okay, so number one, site speed, we talked about that. Just visit that again. Go to Pingdom SiteSpeed, have a look at your site. If it's taking a long time to load, think about getting rid of stuff, reducing images, getting rid of plugins, just making it as streamlined as possible. That would be number one. Number two, I think would be really thinking about your audience and what they could be typing into Google to find you. Often when we write our website content, we write it from the inside out. Like you just said, we're very narrow minded. I'm an accountant in Wollongong and that's all I'm going to say about it, thank you very much. So instead we have to try and think outside the box because maybe accountant in Wollongong is really dominated and you're not going to win on that to start off with. So maybe you have to be a bit more suburb focused or maybe you have to start writing some content that makes people know I can trust you or do something different to your competitors. So, yeah, thinking about your website from an outside in perspective would be probably the next thing.

Kate Toon

And then the third thing, which we haven't really touched on that is maybe something people can go and explore on their own is building up links from other websites to your website. So Google sees that if Nicci O'mara links to my website, it goes, well, Nicci is pretty cool and she's linking to Kate Toon. So therefore Kate Toon must be pretty cool. It's like SEO love or SEO juice flows through the link. So getting people to link to you is important. And you can start with the easy things like Yellow Pages and True Local and Directories. But then after that you can do things like going on podcasts and writing guest blogs and they generate links from that site to your site and that will help improve your ranking. So speed, content and links would be my top three.

Nicci O'Mara

That is fantastic. What about internal linking as well? Is that still important to do?

Kate Toon

Yeah, it's something that I think for the beginner, it kind of gets quite confusing because it's like, well, I've got links in my site, what do you mean internal linking? So instead of having links in your navigation, what it's about is if you're on a page and you're talking about your accountant and you're talking about the fact that you have a bookkeeper that you wrap the link around the word bookkeeper and it goes to the page about bookkeeping in your site. So what you're doing is you're trying to control the journey of the user. You're not forcing them to rely on going back to the navigation or clicking on particular buttons. You're trying to drive them to content deep within your site quickly and easily through contextual links in your copy. So, yeah, I had a post, for example, that did really well. It was like something like Ten Things Not to do on Facebook, that posted so well. It got so much traffic and ranked so well that it could help the whole site. So what I did was go through that post and add links from that very successful post to other pages within my site. And it's like the SEO juice from that post drips down into other bits of my site and helped them improve as well. So that's internal linking in a nutshell. Yes.

Nicci O'Mara

That's perfect. I love it. So those three things very important, we will write them all out on the website as well. Now one thing I did want to talk about, we were talking about conversion writing. I do a lot of this and I know you do as well. You can have the most amazing-looking website. It can look incredible. You can have all the SEO words and adds to it and everything else. However, if you don't stand out as someone different that they want to work for, want to work with, no matter what business or what to buy from, if they can't see within the first couple of seconds that you are their people, then you've lost them. So have you got anything from you've got those 1st 3 seconds when they first go onto your website? From an SEO point of view, is there anything else, anything that needs to be up in that first frame of your home page?

Kate Toon

Yeah. So I agree. It's the 330 rules, as you said, the 3 seconds for people to feel that they've come to the right side and 30 seconds to make them stay. So as you said you need to be really careful about what's in that first panel or above the fold. Not some giant image, not a big slider, not a video that auto plays necessarily. You want to have an image that really sums up who you are and what you do. So especially if you're your own business, it's possibly an image of you. If you're a shop, you want to have an image that sums up your shop, not a particular individual product but your range. And then you want to have some really great copy. So I like to ask a question or address a pain point. So for me it might be are you struggling to rank on Google or are you sick of all the terrible SEO advice out there? Who's not going to say yes, I am. And then that encourages them to read on. And then what I think is really important to have very quickly is your USP, your unique selling proposition, which is usually just two lines of copy that says who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and why you do it better than anybody else.

Kate Toon

So that is two lines and then a call to action button. And really that's all it needs to be above the fold. If you get that USP right and you appeal to your audience and explain your point of difference, you've got them. And then they'll take the next step.

Nicci O'Mara

Yes. And really, at the end of the day, it takes hours to actually come up with that unique selling point with that key message that goes up there. And I don't think people realize how long. So I always say you need to spend the time. You need to understand what you're doing, spend the time to get that message right and then change it if you need to. Look, I have one more question for you. Favorite SEO tools for a beginner.

Kate Toon

Okay. So one of my favorites is a Chrome browser bar tool. So if you've got the Chrome browser, which you should have, it's the best one. And it's called SEO Meta in one click. It's a great little tool. Whatever website you're on, you can click it and it will show you things like your title tag, your headers, your images, things that are wrong with your site. My number one tool would be Google Search Console, which is an amazing free tool from Google which tells you everything that's wrong with your site and allows you to test things like speed and see what you're ranking for. It's amazing. And then a lot of the other tools have free trials. So I'm a big fan of SEM Rush and Ahrefs. Both of them have trials. I think Ahrefs has seven days for $7. They're all great. You can get in, have a play around. But again, the point is tools are great, but if you don't know what to do with the information you get from the tools, you can just feel a bit overwhelmed. So I think the most important thing is to find people like Nicci or myself who can guide you through it and be there to answer questions and try not to have too many guides and too many experts, because one of the things about experts is they love to disagree with each other.

Kate Toon

So find someone you can know you like and trust and just kind of focus on them. And stop asking for advice from Susan in a Facebook group who's trying to be helpful but doesn't really understand the area. Get advice from people who know what they're talking about and that you feel have your best interests at heart. That's what I would say.

Nicci O'Mara

I think that is perfect advice. I love it. Now, Kate, what are you up to for this year? So January when we're recording this. So have you got anything in particular that you want to share with the audience that share with you?

Kate Toon

It already feels like October. I'm keeping on launching my SEO courses, and I've got two memberships as well. And I just created a sales page course, so I'm just going to be promoting those. But the big thing I really want to do is this year is write my next book because I'm a frustrated author so I'm going to be working on my book and hopefully my podcast and I'll have to get you back on my podcast when it starts again Nicci.

Nicci O'Mara

Yeah, I'd love to. Thank you so much for being with me and spending the time with me today Kate, you have certainly imparted a lot of knowledge for us.

Kate Toon

Thank you so much. It's lovely talking to you.

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