I'm so excited to introduce you to this week's guest on Pep Talks for Side Hustlers, Meg Casebolt of Love at First Search!
Meg Casebolt is the founder of Love At First Search, an agency singularly devoted to helping online businesses get found in search results (like Google, YouTube & iTunes) & turn those new readers into leads, subscribers, and sales. Meg’s clients are entrepreneurs who are too busy changing the world to worry about things like website conversion rates and search traffic … but still want their websites to get found on Google for their brilliance and turn readers. SEO is our vehicle for amplifying female entrepreneurial voices and empowering women to help their families, communities, and the wider world flourish.
Push play to listen to this week's episode, or read the full transcript below!
Connect with Meg:
Shannon Mattern: Welcome to episode 372 of Pep Talks for Side Hustlers. And I am so excited to be joined today by Meg Casebolt from Love at First Search who's here to talk about all things SEO and business and whatever we get into in this conversation today. So Meg, I am so happy to have you here. Can you share a little bit with our listeners about you and what you do?
Meg Casebolt: Sure, I would love to. Thank you so much for having me. So I run Love at First Search, which is a search engine optimization agency. Search engine optimization is basically just a fancy difficult way of saying, getting found on Google, showing up in search results. We work mostly with online entrepreneurs to help them show up in whatever their search engine of choice is. So people think of Google, but also Apple podcasts. So podcasters can show up in search results. YouTubers can show up in that search results, YouTube is the set biggest search engine in the world. Those are kind of my top three search engines. So if you are creating some form of content and you want to show up in those search results, I can help you do that. Or if you just wanna show up and have your ideal client find you, get to your website through a search and then fill out your contact form, or buy some thing from you, or join your email list. I also teach, once they get to your website, what you want them to do. Because traffic is traffic. But if you get the right people coming to your website, it can make a huge difference in the quality of leads that you're getting. And also how much time you have to spend on your marketing. And if your ideal clients are seeking you out, finding you and reaching out to you, you don't have to spend as much time taking selfies on Instagram, unless you want to.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh, we're gonna dig into that.
Meg Casebolt: So much of tat content is literally built to just detonate.
Shannon Mattern: It's just consumed and it goes away.
Meg Casebolt: And you're like, I just spent 45 minutes on a reel that's going to disappear in 24 hours. I could spend 45 minutes on a podcast that will live forever that people can go binge when they find me in 2039, you know? Okay. Maybe podcast won't be a thing then
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. I wanna dig into your backstory here in just a second. But what you just said when you said "inbound", there is a difference in intent between people who are scrolling social media versus people who are searching a search engine. Total difference in intent of what is behind why they're doing what they're doing.
Meg Casebolt: Yeah. What I say a lot is like people go to social media to be entertained and waste time. And maybe they want to be entertained by the content that you're creating. And maybe that's really fun for you to create an interesting approach to what it is that you do. And if that's something that you love, awesome. Great. I hope your people find you there. But it doesn't have to be the only way that people find you. And I also have a lot of introverts who seek me out because they're like, 'please don't make me dance', please don't make me do a TikTok'. 'I don't want to do a TikTok'.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. Oh, so good. Okay. So let's go back, get your time machine. Take me back to the early days of what you were doing before you started this social media or social media?
Meg Casebolt: So I went and worked at nonprofits for many years after graduating from college. Nonprofits have a very limited budget. And so I was often the only communications person that worked for these organizations. Or like a team of two
Meg Casebolt: And some of it was, I took these classes cuz I could make the case in the grant that it was cheaper to train me as an employee than to hire a contractor. And so that was how I got started in design. I don't have a degree in it. I have a degree in political science. I have another degree in community economic development. These are not relevant skill sets
Meg Casebolt: It didn't make sense for me. I understand that it can work for other people. It may be that you wanted to stay there for a few years and then go into the side hustle. But that was when my side hustle started. I'd recently gotten married. I designed all my own programs for my wedding and the wedding website and kind of started there. And then started tapping into my networks. And one of my friends from high school had a web design agency. So she hired me as a contract junior designer. And that, as a side hustle, gave me enough stability to be able to quit my full-time job and start pitching myself out to other people, and getting to know the web designers, friends, and then their clients and their friends, and sort of build out that network as a web designer for small businesses and a graphic designer for nonprofits.
Meg Casebolt: So I was contracting with them and doing like, oh, you need the program designed for your gala. I can do that because I had that grant that taught me how to do that.
Meg Casebolt: I'm like, hmmm? And so I started teaching myself SEO. And it started, as it does for many of us, with what is this Yost plugin? What do these lights mean? You know,
Meg Casebolt: And they said, well, we can't either. Sometimes we hire out our SEO, but we don't really have a good SEO person that we trust. And I was like, oh, really?
Meg Casebolt: And I was more interested in it. There was a point where I was like, I really like the visual elements of design. I like the feeling of pulling all of this together. But clients can be so finicky man.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. I love that story. And as you're telling it, I'm like, oh my gosh, that was me! Oh my gosh, that was me! Working in a nonprofit, working in communications, solving business problems with technology. Constantly. Being the one, the go-to person to figure out all that, wearing all the hats and then realizing at the end that I have accumulated so many valuable skills. I didn't realize how valuable they were at the time. But, you know, just that whole 'I can figure out how to do anything'. I can literally figure out how to do anything and how empowering that is.
Meg Casebolt: And knowing that everything is Googleable. Have you seen that pie chart of the amount of things that you know and the amount of things that you know how to Google? And it's like 90% being in business is just figuring out what the heck you're supposed Google.
Shannon Mattern: The craziest thing to me was people thought I was so smart. And I would literally say, "I just Googled it". And they are like, 'but how do you even know what to Google and how do you even know what to believe and what not to believe?' And I'm just like, I just tried it all and then maybe one thing would work. And then the next time I knew what not to try, and just knew what to do first the time next time. And I always said, I just Googled it. But I guess not everybody has the patience and the tenacity to track down the answer.
Meg Casebolt: That's it. There's a level of knowledge. And I don't think of Googling as being a skill, but it is. And I think a big chunk of this, whether you are setting your website up to be found, or figuring out what you need to find, is like taking yourself out of the equation and thinking what is the thing that everyone else would be searching? If I didn't know what I knew, if I was the person that I'm trying to reach or, you know, some other variation of who I am that just doesn't know all the things, what would I look for then? It's empathy. It's tenacity and empathy. Those are the two big things.
Shannon Mattern: And what questions would someone be asking about this that you're answering for them? Because, I mean, I was just literally typed in the questions that I had and I don't even know if I was using the correct terminology. But it would lead me down a path to an answer. And thank goodness for people taking the time to SEO optimize because that helped me so much in being able to develop the level of knowledge and information that I have. I didn't know any of this was going on in the backend back in the day.
Meg Casebolt: Right? It's a good thing Google existed and gave you all this Information.
Shannon Mattern: I had no idea. I'm Googling things. Things were coming up. I didn't realize that anybody was pulling ropes behind the scenes to make sure I was seeing the best. I was clueless about a lot of this stuff back in the early aughts, like you said.
Meg Casebolt: And there was something really appealing to me about how I get to do the part that makes my brain fire, you know? Not bad fire! Fire all cylinders! Not like go set on fire.
Shannon Mattern: I love that. And another thing that you said that I think is just a really interesting topic, and for those of you listening that have a website or those of you listening that are designers working for clients, just having a website in and of itself literally is not going to magically create clients for you. And I really do think that people are like, oh, I didn't have it before. Now I have it. People are magically going to find me. I don't have to do anything to make that happen. And if I hired someone to build a website for me, and I'm not getting traffic, it's that person's fault. . And so it's like educating the end user, the client, the DIYer, the person hiring somebody, that there is extra work to be done for an SEO strategy beyond a website design. And also you, as the business owner, are responsible,
Meg Casebolt: I like to think of it as your website can function as a brochure. So if you are like, I am going to DIY this, and then I'm going to post on social media or go be on podcasts or go to networking events, or join my local BNI group or whatever, and my website can be the validation tool where after somebody sees me, after they know me, after they have my business card in their hand, they can then go to my website site and say, yes, Shannon does know what she's talking about. Look at all this that she has here. It can validate their concerns. Or your website can be a lead generation tool and a sales tool. It doesn't mean that a website that's a brochure is bad. It just wasn't built for lead gen and sales. And that is a choice that you can make. You know, you get to choose how you run your business and how you market yourself and how you get your clients. Some people don't need that traffic.
Shannon Mattern: Right. Right.
Meg Casebolt: But some people want that, and that's a choice,
Shannon Mattern: And also, you can make it a door to Google, right? I kind of think of it as you're either connected or you're not. So depending on how you structure things and how you use them and what kind of content you're creating, you're either opening a door to a whole world that you would've never opened it up to, or you kind of have it closed and camouflaged, and no one is really noticing you as they're walking by.
Meg Casebolt: You can be a secret weapon.
Shannon Mattern: Typing furiously!
Meg Casebolt: Puppet finger typing.
Meg Casebolt: And it's like, well, no! They could help you with that.
Shannon Mattern: Oh, I love it. So what are some of the, I don't know, misconceptions or myths or things that you just wish people knew about SEO as a marketing strategy?
Meg Casebolt: I think there's a misconception that you need to be a certain level of established, or you need to have a certain amount of traffic for SEO to make sense for you. Or that you need to be a certain level of tech savvy also. And I think that all of those are not true. Instead, what would say is you need to be intentional. So if you're selling hammers, I don't know why hammers came to mind. You're probably not gonna rank number one for the term hammer, because home Depot and Lowe's and ACE and Harbor Freight are better known than you. But if you have a 12 inch ball peen hammer with stainless steel frame and you know, and.. Why go with hammers? Let's go with jewelry.
Meg Casebolt: OK. Jewelry is more interesting. Let's see if I do this. You're not gonna show up number one for jewelry. Kay's, and Jared's, and Zales, they already have that. But if you have a specific mother's gemstone ring that has a Sapphire and an Emerald and it's set in rose gold, then you can be found for something that specific. And then you can also have content that's like, here are really unique mother's day gifts that it would be good for a mom with kids under three, right?
Meg Casebolt: I need a watch. They get more specific right away. So by thinking about it as what is the specific thing that I am selling, you can be able to get people who are much more likely to buy from you than the people who are like, what is jewelry? This metal stuff? I don't know, do you wear it on your legs? You know?
Meg Casebolt: But if you're like, I am a WordPress web designer for museum curators, yeah. The museum curators are gonna be able to find you. And then you're gonna be able to have all the museum curators, and you're gonna find your blue ocean where it's not everyone just talking about WordPress and plugins and blah, blah, blah. It's like, no, these museum curators are gonna be your best clients. And then you can, you know, expand a little bit and be like for galleries and then for painters. And you can kind of grow slowly, being very intentional and specific about what that audience is or what their problem is or what your solution is and starting from there. You don't need, you know, millions and millions of page views every month. You probably just need to start with 10 or 20.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And you don't necessarily wanna be like, oh, I need to rank number one for WordPress web design. You know, that's going to be a futile effort on your part.
Shannon Mattern: What are some of your favorite stories from your clients, or people that have come to work with you, in terms of where they were when they first came to you to what's happening for them now?
Meg Casebolt: I think the most satisfying ones for me are the people who get so hyper specific that they're able to turn around and get leads really quickly. So I had somebody that I worked with, Katie, who's a nutritionist, and she didn't quite know how to talk about it. She was like, I'm a functional nutritionist for women. And I'm like, that's really close to where we wanna be. How are you helping them? Which kinds of women? And she's like, I wanna work with women athletes and do, let me see if I can remember this, metabolic efficiency training. And there were much more complex words that I can't remember right now, and can't pronounce, but because she honed down into this area of amateur and professional women athletes, women who run marathons and do CrossFit and they're power lifters, and they have this specific testing tool that they want to use in order to both plan their lifting strategies and plan their meals. And she's able to do this for them. And once she started ranking for metabolic efficiency testing, she just shut down her social media. She started working fewer hours. She raised her prices because the right people were finding her.
Shannon Mattern: That is fascinating.
Meg Casebolt: I know! Similar story, I have a client who helps people escape from soul sucking law jobs. She was a lawyer. She worked in big law. She's like, I really don't wanna do this anymore. I know so many people who don't wanna do this anymore. And so her website is formerlawyer.com. I'm like, God, that's clever
Meg Casebolt: but because she's being so specific about the types of law that she has worked in and what people's outcomes are that they want and the opportunities that they have, and the timelines they're talking about. She's not trying to say to people 'I am a legal career coach', right? It's so specific. And then she referred someone else to me who is a legal career coach. And she helps people negotiate for raises within their law firms. And they are different search terms, and different avatars, and different things that they wanna rank for, even though they're both probably technically calling themselves career coach for lawyers. Right? But the outcomes that they're getting are different. So the content that they're creating is different. So the people that they're are being found for are different.
Shannon Mattern: So that's fascinating. And a couple things that were kind of coming to mind as you were saying that is, people get so hung up on what they call themselves. Like, what am I, what am I, what I am I, and how do I describe myself? And basically what you're saying is, call yourself whatever you freaking want. I don't care. But when you're talking about what you do, do it with some specificity because that's how people are going to know that you are for them, or alternatively, that you're not for them, because that's what we want too. We want people to know if we're not for you we don't wanna waste each other's time.
Meg Casebolt: Yes. And I've talked to so many copywriters, and many life coaches who fit into this boat, of saying 'I am a magical wordsmith' or 'I help you transform your life'. And it's like, people don't know how to find these clever names.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, I'm not sitting on the other end of my computer Googling I need a magical wordsmith. How to hire magical wordsmith. Right? You are never going to.
Meg Casebolt: Words do I put on the page? Right.
Meg Casebolt: This is not the point where we start talking about somatic, neurological decision making. Right? This is where you're like' how to feel less stressed'.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. I'm like, what would they be searching for in that moment?
Meg Casebolt: Yeah. I think about when people are thinking about how to DIY my own website. Are they starting a business? Do they have a website that they've been trying to build, but they're like, 'something's really not working' and they're going, 'should I just go to SquareSpace or should I really be on Wordpress? And what's the price differential?'. And there are so many questions that come up when people are kind of gearing up to go through something like your 5-day Challenge where it's like, 'what hosting service should I use? How do I sync up my email provider'? These are all people who are DIYing right now and struggling with it. And they want someone to just come in and be like, 'boom! Here's your solution!'
Shannon Mattern: Yep. The biggest traffic driver to my 5-Day Website Challenge is a blog post I wrote, How to go from Squarespace to WordPress. Boom. And it's a tutorial just explaining here's how to migrate. Now, that was really popular back in 2017, I think, before Squarespace was as robust as it is today. So it's not bringing as much traffic as it used to. But it was always fascinating to me cuz before I really dug into SEO for myself I was like, I'm too broad how to build a website. I'm not gonna even really bother with SEO right now. I'm gonna do, you know, relationship building and getting in front of other people's audiences.
Meg Casebolt: And Podcasting. You have 370 freaking episodes, you're content creating. Even if you're interviewing people and then you're sharing their information, you can still be found for that. And you can then go in and be like, what are these keywords that are showing up all the time and what else can I create around it? It doesn't always have to be you sitting there and going, what do I think people want from me? If you have been doing something, if you have a website, chances are you're ranking for something and Google will tell you what that is. And then you can either choose whether or not to create more around it.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. I love it. I love it. So, I wanna get back to SEO tips in a little, but I just kind of wanna go back to your business. So you land in the blue ocean of SEO. You start working with your friends and your colleagues in the design space. What does the evolution of your business look like when you land on that?
Meg Casebolt: So I started the business in 2014, had this revelation about SEO in about 2016 or 2017. And just started to talk about it more, but didn't take web design off my website at first. I was just like, I do website and SEO, right?
Meg Casebolt: And also I could track the value of the work that I was doing. So, I stayed a solopreneur for about two years in that role. And then people started coming to me and saying, I can't afford to hire you, but I wanna learn this. And when I heard that, I started teaching and created a course in 2018, which I'm still teaching. It's called Attract and Activate about how to get people to find you and then once they get to your website, activate them into whatever your call to action is. And once I started Attract and Activate more of solopreneurs and DIYers started finding me, as opposed to me being just kind of a quiet, secret weapon service provider that had a network of people that I was working with, but not necessarily making a name for myself in that process.
Meg Casebolt: And then after a while I started getting enough leads that I started hiring out a team and figuring what are the things that I still need to be doing versus what are the things that I can train someone else to do as well or better than me. And so I think at this point, the team is probably better at keyword research than I am, which is kind of fun.
Shannon Mattern: We do life on this podcast. Exactly.
Shannon Mattern: We're all not pretending that like we're working from home in like this quiet little bubble where like nothing ever happens.
Meg Casebolt: It was supposed to be. And then the 4-year-old got a cough and got sent home early from school. So my mom's here watching. This is life, right? This is life. And the whole reason I started the business seven years ago was so that way I could have this flexibility and be able to be home with my kids when they're home. And I just wasn't planning on them one being home today.
Shannon Mattern: The show must go on. Right?
Meg Casebolt: Exactly.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. So I'm just sitting here, like I wanna do that! But this is not what this interview is about about!
Meg Casebolt: Shannon, I can't tell you how many podcast hosts that I have finished the call and they're like, 'so where do we sign?'
Meg Casebolt: Well, I mean, that's the best part about having a podcast is you just get to ask all the questions for free. It's like you get this person to be a consultant for you and you don't have to pay 'em 500 bucks an hour. They could pay you to be on the podcast, you know?
Shannon Mattern: Right. It's a great platform. Well, I would love to kind of go back to talking about pricing in your early days and different things because one of the things I see with web designers a lot is that they undercharge and they over deliver and they don't value the skills that they bring to the table. And I'm curious as to what your journey was with your pricing, even in your early as a web designer, but then when you started offering SEO services, what did that look like? Did you feel really aligned with your pricing or was that a struggle for you? What did that look like?
Meg Casebolt: I remember the first time I got paid $500. It was like, I am rolling in the money. I can't believe someone just gave me $500 to build a website. Like it was incredible!
Shannon Mattern: Right. It's stealing from them. That's how I would feel. I'd be like, oh my gosh, I totally ripped them off.
Meg Casebolt: You're like, I'm gonna build them the world's best website. I'm gonna spend all my time on it because they paid me $500!
Shannon Mattern: I drop everything when they say 'drop everything'.
Meg Casebolt: So I think that there is that phase of everyone starts by undercharging. And you have to undercharge to recognize how much time you're spending on it. And the sooner you can learn the value of it the better, but you have to step in a lot of puddles and make a lot of mistakes along the way. So, chances are, if you're listening to this, you could double your rates and get better clients.
Shannon Mattern: Yes, yes, yes
Meg Casebolt: And where are the places where I can support them without feeling like I'm looking over their shoulder or stifling them or showing up too late, and figuring out how I fit into other people's businesses. So usually the first time that people will work with me is the site has already launched and they're like, we have no traffic. What did we do wrong?
Meg Casebolt: And then also if the client is redesigning a website, then we wanna look at what are they already ranking for that we don't wanna lose. And often people come to me because they've redesigned a website and they're like, uh, I suddenly have no traffic anymore. And I'm like, yeah, cause you have moved everything. You broke all your links. You renamed everything. You broke all. Yeah. Google doesn't know where you put anything so they can't continue to send you traffic. When you moved from WordPress to Squarespace and suddenly all your blogs have the word blog in them, and Google lost all of that, you're starting from zero, you know? So sometimes what I help people with is like migrating and making sure that any page that has traffic coming to it doesn't lose that traffic.
Shannon Mattern: Redesigns and migrations cost more, people. This is why
Meg Casebolt: This is why. Well, redesigns and migrations, if you have existing traffic. If you don't have any traffic and you're redesigning, just scrap it and start from scratch. If you do have some sort of domain, or if you're moving from one domain to another, we wanna make sure that whatever back links you had coming into your website move. There's a lot to consider with this. I don't do that as much for independent business owners, but when I work with designers, I'm like, let's talk migrations.
Shannon Mattern: Yep. Uh, so good. So your pricing shifted to where your are like, okay, I can comfortably be a line item of this person's project and it makes perfect sense. What were some of your other growth challenges that you had, you know, kind of going from solopreneur to agency?
Meg Casebolt: I think one of the biggest things for me was taking myself out of implementation. And that was hard because I had the design skills. I know WordPress, I know Squarespace, I know Shopify. I can easily leap in there and make these changes, but I don't always know the plugins of the developers that built the website the first time. I don't always know the liquid that the developer added to the Shopify page and I just didn't want to break anything.
Meg Casebolt: And so trying to still explain to people how strategy was valuable, and to explain to them that it's more expensive to hire me to do the work than to have an assistant who already knows the website do the work. That was a big change. When I was consulting. Now that we're back in an agency model, we're trying to figure out if there are ways that we can implement without, again, breaking things or moving too far outside the brand values. And that's tough. And then also figuring out how to not have everything be bespoke. Especially, if I'm tapping onto someone else's process. You're not gonna pay $5,000 for a web design and $5,000 for a search strategy. That's not doable. And so we came up with two productized services that we work through the same process with every client, for our strategy sessions.
Meg Casebolt: And we have the same structure for the deliverables. And that way it's also much easier to have team members learn the system. And every project is different, but the process can be the same. The pricing can be the same. And so I think for so long when I was doing SEO solo, it was every client was a little different and I would write the proposal. And before I did the proposal, I would have to go in and figure out, okay, this client has 50 pages and this client has 500 pages. How do I price this all differently? And I did so much work to create these bespoke solutions that spent a lot of time on proposals, but they didn't close at the same rate. And so what we do now is we have this productized service where we start almost everybody with a strategy call or a strategy intensive.
Meg Casebolt: And we come up with a plan for them. And then if it makes sense to offer them something, once we know their goals, once we know their strategies, once we know their website and there are clients and their team, then we can say, Hey, do you want quarterly reporting? Do you want another set of plans? Do you want us to go in and change anything? Do you want a dashboard built for you so that way you know what's working? We can have that conversation once we know the client. So instead of creating the proposal on the front end and having a very low close rate, I'm creating a proposal on the back end with very structured options. It's more like a cafeteria menu than it is a custom proposal.
Shannon Mattern: I love that. And I think that that's something that any service provider listening could adapt because it is, it's so much time to go through and figure out exactly what this specific client needs. And I feel like that's almost like a mindset shift too, to be like, I am the consultant. I am the expert. I am the one determining these services and the way this goes and the structure and the flow, instead of like, oh, I know SEO, tell me what you need and I'll do it. Like, I'm gonna tell you what I'm willing to do and what you need.
Meg Casebolt: That's the hugest change I think, leading the conversation instead of taking the lead from somebody else. And I think you guys just got a little bit like, whoa, that sounds really complex. And I'm saying, oh, I just built a productized service with a backend offer. The way that that started for me wasn't like, let me build out this complex process. It was, I started offering what I called Road Mapping Sessions. So instead of writing a proposal for free, I said, let's hop on a call $300, $500 bucks, somewhere in there, and I will map out for you what I think the next steps are on your website. And then if you wanna hire me to do it, awesome. And if you wanna take that and bring it around to other people, almost like a request for proposals, like here's what needs to happen next on my website. You can use that to make an apples to apples comparison of what you want people to do on your website. And so by establishing my credibility and getting paid to essentially write a proposal, it made it so much easier that by the time I sent them the roadmap, they were like, oh yeah, of course I'll do that with you. Yeah, of course. You already know this, you have the plan. But they still felt like they had something coming out of it that some of them went, that's all I need, now I know what to do. Great!
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, I love it. I love it. So I have a few more questions for you, because I could obviously sit here and talk to you all afternoon, cuz that's what we planned to do anyway.
Meg Casebolt: It's my Shannon afternoon. It's true. But we have more people joining us for the next session.
Shannon Mattern: Yes. More people for the next session. If you could just give people your top two or three tips for SEO for their website, leave them with a couple actionable things, what would you have them do?
Meg Casebolt: I would say decide for every page of your website, two things. One, is this page for being discovered or for being trusted.
Shannon Mattern: Ooh, I love that
Meg Casebolt: Because some pages of your site, the how do I move from Squarespace to WordPress? page. That's someone who wants to be discovered. They're looking for that information and you can link them to other pages on your site where you show them that you know what you're talking about. But it's not always the obvious search terms and that's okay. Not every page on your site needs to be SEO optimized. Not every page on your website needs to be found. In the Pareto Principle of 20% of your work produces 80% of your results. Probably only 20% of the pages on your website will get any search traffic. Don't stress about getting your landing pages to show up because they're landing pages. They're intended for people who already know who you are and you're driving them from other places. Instead, allow things to not be search optimized and then create specific search content.
Meg Casebolt: Once you are starting to think about that search content, or figure out what you already have that is search content, make sure that they have different intents. So it's called search intent, which is every page on your website can get found for something totally different. So if you have a homepage and an about page and a services page, thinking about if I want someone to land on the about page, what would I say on that page, either in the SEO title or in the copy of the text, to get them there instead of the homepage, instead of the services page, knowing that every page on your website can be found for something totally different. And if you get so caught up in, I need to be found for web designer and I'm just gonna put web designer on every page of my site, Google doesn't know which page is the right page.
Meg Casebolt: So it'll probably just send all of your traffic to your homepage, which is fine. But also then you're not utilizing all of those other assets that you've created to give people an idea of what else you can do, what else you can be found for, what other problems you can solve. So once you figure out which of the pages on your site are the searchable pages, come up with a different search term for each of those. And you might be able to come up with that off the top of your head. You might just know it, or there are dozens, hundreds, of keyword research tools that you can use to start this process and figure out what are the exact phrases that people are using. I have a blog post out. I'll share with you to put in the show notes, it's called 30 Free SEO Keyword Research Tools. All free.
Meg Casebolt: So if this is something you're just getting started with and you're like, I don't know which to start with. Honestly, the first one I tell people to start with is Google. Go to Google and see who's showing up for what you think you wanna show up for. Do you fit in there? No? Okay. Let's see what else you might search for. And it's the same way that Shannon and I did at the very beginning. We would search for something and be like, nope, that's not it. How do I need to change what I search for? Or what can I see in the related search terms or the autocompletes or the 'people also asked' that are a little bit closer to what I think people would want from me. And then you can start to integrate that into the copy of your website and you know, the alt text of your images and all those different places.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. Love it. So I wish we had another hour cause I have so many more questions for you, but....
Meg Casebolt: I'm happy to come back for Part 2!
Shannon Mattern: It's the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Yes.
Meg Casebolt: So y'all, if you're listening to this and you have more questions, send him to Shannon. She'll have me back for part two in 2022. It's all fine.
Shannon Mattern: Exactly. So the final question that I ask everybody that comes on the show is what belief about yourself did you have to change to get where you are today?
Meg Casebolt: Um, so many, so many. I think the biggest one was that I think I had to lean into my nerdiness. You know? And when you are tech savvy, there's a certain amount of, uh, you don't wanna acknowledge that because you there's this fear of being too intense or too unapproachable or
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. I love it. I could not agree more. I mean, it really is like stepping into the confidence of I know what I'm talking about. I know my stuff and I can help you. Here's how. Let's work together.
Meg Casebolt: If you're feeling a lack of confidence, go Google what you want to show up for and look at their websites. Chances are you know more than a lot of them and they have just done the work that you haven't done yet. And that can be a boost of like pshaw! I would never explain it that way.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. Perfect place to wrap up this episode. Can you tell everyone where they can go to learn more about you, where they can go to learn more about search, how they can get connected and really start learning and implementing and getting found by people?
Meg Casebolt: Of course. So obviously go to my website loveatfirstsearch.com. It's all there. I have information about if you're a web designer or a copywriter or some sort of service provider, and you wanna talk about a partnership where my team can help you with strategy for your clients. I have an ongoing course and membership for people who want to teach themselves how to do SEO, and be able to come up with a podcast or blog or video content strategy. I have a beginner course where if you're just setting up your website and you wanna be able to do it right, or you've already set up your website and you just want the foundations in place, you can get that. Or I have a free guide that you can check out. And I also create YouTube videos all the time, cuz that's the second biggest search engine. So I'm on there. So you can get there for my website too. Or, the show notes.
Shannon Mattern: Yes. Awesome. So everyone, I will link everything up in the show notes. Meg, thank you so much for being here. Really, really appreciate it. And I'm looking forward to sharing this episode out with everyone and being on your podcast and it's the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
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