Every online business owner wants website traffic from people who are actively seeking solutions to their problems. And if they can get that traffic for free? Even better! Search engine optimization (SEO) can deliver, but it takes time and a strategic approach. Learn how an SEO strategy can help you grow your creative business.

What is an SEO strategy and how do you create one?

An SEO strategy is a content strategy for your website designed to help your brand attract customers and leads by ranking the organic results of search engines like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Baidu. Your SEO strategy can also include visual search engines, like Pinterest, and local search engines like Google My Business.

The tactics you choose will depend on what kind of business you run (online versus local, service-based versus ecommerce) and your business goals.

How is SEO different from other types of content marketing?

When you’re searching for information, you typically start by asking a question. You’re looking for information that will provide a helpful answer to your question. On the flip side of that, the goal of SEO content is to answer questions that people in your audience will have about topics related to your business.

In other types of content, your goal might be to tell a story, declare your position on a social issue, or make an announcement. In those cases, the content is about you. SEO content is about helping your audience.

Why creative businesses need an SEO strategy

Any business owner can put content on a website, but not all content is helpful to its intended audience. But when you create content with SEO in mind, your primary goal is to help your people. 

Think about it. When you land on a new website for the first time and the content doesn’t have what you’re looking for, do you read another article? Do you join their email list? No way. You go right back to the search results and keep trying to find what you’re looking for.

How to implement an SEO strategy

Get comfortable writing or recording content that answers your audience’s questions. Don’t worry about developing a complex vocabulary and sophisticated writing style. It’s actually best to keep your writing simple and easy to understand. Remember, the goal is to be helpful.

First, you need to know what your customers are looking for. You can look in online communities, like Facebook Groups, Reddit communities, or Quora threads to find out which questions people are asking right now so you can write articles to answer them.

Your own discovery calls with clients are also a great place to start mining for questions to answer in your content. If you get asked questions on social media, or if you see people asking questions of big accounts in your niche, those would also be good queries to target in your content. 

Then, you need to create content that helps them. Leaning into your own subject matter expertise is important, but you should also seek out additional references and link back to those as relevant. You can also repurpose your content from your own courses, blogs, or social media posts to help.

You need a promotion strategy that helps other people and search engines find your content. There are two sides of this strategy: Onsite and offsite.

You need to build links between the pages on your site, so that people and search engines can navigate from one to the next. Without links, pages get “orphaned,” or left alone so that they can’t be located. Offsite strategies can include link-building, public relations, and claiming local listings through services like Google My Business.

The exact blend of tactics you use will depend on the unique nature of your business. So stay true to yourself, serve your own audience, and don’t follow the crowd.

How long does it take to see results?

It depends on a lot of things, like what kind of activities you do and for how long. Because search engines use hundreds of signals to rank your site, there’s way more that goes into it besides just content. Your site also needs to be in good technical health, which you can assess with software like Screaming Frog. Give it at least 3 months of effort to see results.

How do you measure SEO success?

You might be tempted to search for your keywords repeatedly and see if you show up number one in the rankings, but this isn’t the way to do it. Instead, start by setting some business goals. What do you want SEO to help you achieve? Is it more ecommerce sales? More leads? More visitors to your blog? 

Then, make sure you have Google Analytics and Google Search Console set up so you can measure your growth properly. Before you start, you might want to take a “before” snapshot of your metrics so you have a baseline to compare your future results to later. 

Keyword research is the foundation of a solid SEO strategy for creative entrepreneurs. Download my free guide below to get started!