True or false: It’s possible to grow your business organically without spending a dime on paid ads. I can almost hear my two guests for this episode shouting from Minneapolis, “IT’S TRUE!” Yes, organic business growth is totally possible without spending on ads. The secret here is SEO – search engine optimization.
Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are both co-founders and business besties of Duo Collective, a boutique organic marketing agency specializing in social media strategy, branding, SEO and coaching for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs.
The dynamic duo of Abbey and Courtney are here to demystify SEO starting with the basics, but don’t worry, for all you seasoned SEO DIYers listening, they’ve also got some updated advice and strategies to keep your SEO on point. Three SEO-obsessed women on one podcast together… This should be FUN. Let’s get started with Abby and Courtney.
Merging their zones of genius
Something I’ve learned is that when you are in a partnership for a business, it’s like a marriage, right? So I asked Abbey and Courtney about the different zones of genius they each have, and whether they were always obvious or if they came to light when they started their company together.
Courtney starts off, “The great thing about what we do is that Abby and I have such different brains. So she’s got the SEO strategy side, I’ve got the creative side, and together we’re able to offer our clients both of these services. And then our brains together are so good in that social space too, because you need that strategy side and you need that design side. And we are all about organic marketing, so we really push our clients and our audience to think about ways that they can grow organically without having to pay for ads right away. So we’re really trying to be those organic marketers that come together and provide solutions for our audience. And what better way than having both sides of the brain?”
Abbey adds, “We knew too, like there’s no way I would ever do anything in the branding space or design anything for our clients. And Court would never wanna be in the SEO keyword research that I’m in every day. And it was like, no question. Because a lot of partnerships, they struggle with, okay, how do you define roles and how do you determine who does what in your business? And it was so natural for us with our background and the agency because we took what we already did in the agency world and we just applied that to our own business and we naturally fell into the roles that we needed to do to run our business.”
Why SEO matters
SEO is a topic we’ve covered on the show here, but not a topic we’ve talked about at length. For a lot of people, just those three letters sound incredibly intimidating, so I figured who better to explain why SEO is so important for online business owners than the SEO experts themselves?
Abby explains, “It’s just a really amazing form of long-term lead generation. You can do something today in the SEO space that can benefit you five-plus years down the road. So it’s something that if you focus on it and if you make sure that your website is well written for SEO, if you’re creating content that people are craving, then you’re kind of guaranteeing yourself some future traffic and future awareness for your business just by putting in a little bit of work. I think the best part about it is that just a little bit of work can drive a ton of growth for you. It takes consistency, it takes dedication, but once you understand just a few simple strategies, then it can really help improve your business in the long-term.”
Courtney adds, “I feel like that’s where a lot of people kind of get hung up too, is that in today’s world, we need like instant gratification or instant results, and in a lot of the ways we can find that within Instagram or any other platform that we’re using. But with SEO, you don’t get that instant result or gratification. So I think that kind of makes people push it to the side like, ‘well, if I’m not gonna get instant results from it, I wanna do that later.’ But the thing is, you actually want to do it sooner because then you know that next three months you’ll start to see that growth and see those results, and then from there you can just build and expand on that.”
Three steps for growing your SEO
I wanted to know, if somebody’s reading or listening along with this and they’re saying, “Okay, you ladies have convinced me,” where should they start when it comes to SEO strategy? What are some easy things that can get your feet wet?
Abbey tells me, “First, there are keywords. You need to understand, what are your audience and your different niches typing into Google to find you? And then you need to use those keywords that people are using to find you in your copy, you need to put them somewhere. They need to be in a headline on your homepage, you need to basically take those words that people are searching, the problems they’re having, the solutions they’re looking for, you need to take their words and use them in your content.
“Step two is creating that content. So I think blogging, and people talk about blogging a lot and everyone loves to ask if blogging is dead and it absolutely is not. It is hard work, but it is not dead. And one of the best things too is like, okay, if you’re not a blogger, maybe you love to talk. Well, a podcast like this one has the opportunity to also create content where you create show notes and that can be your blog. You can use your show notes as your opportunity but lean into your podcast to build that. So creating content that can live online, whether it’s a long-form blog post or podcast show notes is something that can really be beneficial for you.
“And then the third one, no one thinks about this but it has a huge effect on your SEO and just the overall authority for your business is backlinks. It’s a link to your website that lives on someone else’s website. So, someone’s mentioning you as an expert on a topic. Anywhere where your website is linked tells Google that you are an expert in what you do, and it kind of gives you a boost, so to speak. It gives you more authority in the eyes of Google because just like us, we understand that human recommendations are way more powerful, so Google does too. So that is a really great way that people don’t think about improving your SEO by doing these opportunities to get new backlinks.”
More from Abbey and Courtney
I learned so much about the importance of SEO from my conversation with Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen, to hear a more detailed breakdown of all the ways you can grow your SEO you can listen to the full episode. If you want more from Abbey and Courtney you can check out their website Duo Collective and follow them on Instagram @duo.collective. You can also check out their podcast, Duo On Air, wherever you listen.