Guide to SEO for StoryBrand Websites (2019 Update!)
Many business leaders are uncertain about SEO for StoryBrand websites. There is a lot of mystery around how to show up higher in Google searches and if the principles are the same for StoryBrand websites.
This uncertainty means these business leaders don’t do anything. They don’t know what they should do!
Today, I’m going to reveal the man behind the curtain. Just like with Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, what seems like magic really isn’t.
Here are 5 simple principles to boost SEO for StoryBrand websites. You can use these tips to make your site rank better on Google — and gain more visitors and more sales.
1. Write For Humans
Many people (falsely) believe that their primary goal is to create content Google likes. All their content exists to help Google understand them so Google will boost their search ranking. This was true ten years ago, but not anymore.
Google gets smarter with every update to its search engine. It can tell what content is about even if it hasn’t been properly keyworded or optimized. And each new update is putting more and more value on the viewer’s experience.
Google’s main goal is to provide search results that its users want. When people are happy with the results Google provides, they use Google more, and Google can advertise to them.
Because of this, Google is putting more value on signs that users engage with the websites Google sends them to, such as average time on page and conversions. “SEO” is no longer about stuffing as many keywords into a website as you can. Google is smarter than that now.
While some amount of optimization helps Google understand your website, it does not replace the boost you’ll get when you create content that humans like. When you write compellingly (so the people Google sends to you engage and buy), Google notices and boosts your content.
StoryBrand is the best method to create a clear message. Many marketers provide theory and ideas but Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller and the StoryBrand Marketing Workshop teach you how to do it.
Writing clear, compelling content that increases average time on site and increases conversions has never been easier. Pick up your copy of Building a StoryBrand to clarify your message or head over to this article on how to StoryBrand your website.
(Disclaimer: The above links include affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage commission of your purchases. It doesn’t cost you any extra to use those links. If you’d prefer to not use my affiliate links, I won’t be mad. You do you!)
Your primary goal is to create engaging content for your website viewers — content that solves their problems and makes them want to buy from you. This is why I love SEO for StoryBrand websites. Nothing you do should sacrifice the experience you create for humans and StoryBrand makes sure you keep their experience front and center.
Use the following tips to optimize your great content so Google better understands it, but always prioritize humans over search engines.
2. On-Site SEO
This is the ground floor of your SEO for StoryBrand websites strategy (the foundation is the experience you create for humans). If your content isn’t optimized for Google to read and understand it, nothing else will work as well as it could.
Google’s primary goal is to help searchers find what they’re looking for. So it wants to put the best options at the top of the list. As a business, Google gets more users when its users are happy with the search results it shows. So that’s what it tries to do.
If Google doesn’t understand your website, it doesn’t know when to put it in search results. It doesn’t know which searchers are looking for what you offer.
As an aside, I’m not going to get into website code here. I’m assuming that if you’re reading this you’re using a website builder, like Squarespace or Divi with WordPress, not hand-coding your website.
Here are a few ways to help Google understand your website (and yes, these are necessary for SEO for StoryBrand Websites, too).
This is the first place Google and searchers look. It’s what shows up as your title in search results. Most website builders let you customize the title of your page. For your homepage, look in the general settings for something like, “Site Identity”. For other pages, it should be in the settings for that specific page. Here it is in WordPress:
You want it to be 70 characters or less and include your business name and one or two keywords that relate to that page.
But remember, it’s not only for Google. This is also what your searchers see. So don’t cram nonsensical terms in there just because you want to rank for them. When it comes to SEO for StoryBrand websites, your goal is to keep everything clear and simple so searchers want to click.
This is the small text that displays beneath your title and URL in search results. You can find it near the setting for your Title Tag.
Provide some extra information about what your site is about. There is some debate about how much meta descriptions help your ranking, but they definitely get seen by searchers. So make it clear and compelling.
Here’s what your meta description and Title Tag look like in search results:
If you’re using WordPress you get an extra benefit: SEO plugins! There are plugins you can use, like All in One SEO, Platinum SEO, and SEO by Yoast that will help you add and optimize your title tags and meta descriptions. Some plugins also give you feedback on your content and provide other suggestions to help boost your SEO. My team installs Yoast on every website we build for clients.
Writing Tips for On-Site SEO for StoryBrand Websites
When you’re writing content, there are some basic guidelines you should keep in mind that help both humans and robots (Google) read your text.
- Headers: This is the first place to start. When humans read your content, they don’t start by reading it. They start by skimming your content, which means they glance through it to get the basic idea of the content, then the scan it, which means they read through the content quickly to find facts and see if they like it. Then, if they like it, they read it.
Break your content down into small, bite-sized pieces with headers to make it easier on people when they’re skimming and scanning. This will also help them decide to read it, which means they engage longer. Google likes to see people stay on your page longer and will reward you.Headers are also helpful for SEO for StoryBrand websites because it helps Google understand which ideas are important.
Don’t forget that Google reads the rest of your content, too, but specifying headers helps. Note: make sure you use HTML or built-in header selections (which write the HTML) so Google knows. Simply adjusting the text size or bolding the text won’t work.
- Bold text: Similar to headers, bold text helps both humans and search engines understand your content. Don’t overdo it, because that will increase confusion. Use bold text to highlight main ideas and help humans better understand your content. This will also help search engines.
- Internal links: Linking to other pages on your website helps Google understand what each page is about. This works best when you’re intentional. Don’t just link to random pages to build your internal links. Categorize your pages and blog posts and link to other pages and blog posts within the same category (HubSpot has a great article on internal links, look at #10).
- Optimize images: Search engines don’t know what images look like. Image titles and alt-text are used to tell the search engine what the image is. SEO experts have known to add alt-text to images for awhile, but now Google is adding extra preference to websites with alt-text because it helps people with vision impairment engage with your website. When someone with vision impairment comes to your website they might not be able to see the images or read the text.
Thankfully, phones and computers can read the text on the website to them. Just like search engines, the apps that read websites can’t describe an image, so they read the alt-text to the user instead.
Google wants everyone to have a great experience on your website, including people who are visually impaired. Add image titles and alt-text to your images with the human in mind. Remember that they can’t see it, so give a nice description of what it is. If it’s possible to include a keyword, include it. But remember to write for the human first and the search engine second. Don’t over-saturate your image alt-text with keywords just for Google.
As an example, the alt-text for the first image in this post is this: “man reading a guide to seo for storybrand websites on his phone.”
When you optimize your awesome content, it makes it easier for Google to read and understand what it is and when to show it to searchers.
3. Create Incredible Content
Want more people on your website? Everything you’ve read so far is just the rules of the game. This is how to move the ball down the field.
Creating great content is how you boost your SEO.
If you don’t play by the rules, you’re not going to see the results you want. When you play by the rules, your content can help you reach your goal of more people on your website and more people buying your product.
Both humans and search engines love content. In fact, it’s the cornerstone of SEO for StoryBrand websites.
But not just any content. Content for the sake of content doesn’t help anyone. Good, valuable content. Remember, Google likes to see people spend more time on your site. So create content worth reading. Your human viewers will love it—and they might even share it! That’s another benefit of useful content.
Start small with a weekly blog post or video. Whatever fits you best. I love reading blogs and articles, so creating blog posts makes sense. Whenever I write one, I make sure it’s something I would read and find valuable.
After you create your content, let everyone know about it. Post on social media, send to your email list, etc. Google notices the traffic.
After you get into a content-creation rhythm, step up your game by creating content on multiple platforms. Google loves this. Do you have a blog? Awesome, film a video for each blog post, upload it to YouTube then embed it in your blog post.
When Google sees your activity on multiple platforms it starts to see you as a brand rather than a person. This is good because Google isn’t always sure if it can trust (and should boost the ranking for) a person. Brands are more trustworthy to Google, so you’ll see a boost in your search ranking.
Here are some avenues for your content:
- Blogs and articles
- YouTube videos
Here are some ideas for content:
- How-to guides
- Industry articles
For more info, check out Neil Patel’s guide to content marketing.
4. Link Building
Google is a popularity contest. We’re all trying to win the crown of Prom King or Prom Queen. Ugh, just thinking about that brings back bad memories! But it’s true. And it’s necessary for SEO for StoryBrand websites.
One of Google’s hardest tasks is figuring out who’s trustworthy and what content people want. Determining who’s popular helps Google figure this out. If other people think your site is good, Google can assume it is trustworthy and helpful to searchers, too.
How do you convince Google you’re popular?
When you share a blog post, video, or article with a friend, you’re implying, “I like this and trust it.” When you put a link to a blog, article, product, etc. on your website you’re saying the same thing.
Google believes you’re popular when it sees other people linking to your website. One link from someone else’s website isn’t really going to help you. You want to start getting links regularly. Quantity and quality both matter. The more links to your website, the better. But it doesn’t help if the websites linking to you are small or un-trafficked. The best links are from websites with authority.
There are three main ways to do build links:
- Organic links: This is when your content is so good that people link to it without you asking them. These are the best!
- Whitehat: Good, quality links from good, quality websites. Find some tips on how to build these links below.
- Blackhat: Dishonest and unhelpful. Spamming people’s comment boxes, creating fake websites to link to you. Low quality links from low quality sources. Don’t do this.
Here are some ideas on how to build good links:
- Link to others in a quality post or article, then email them to let them know about the link and tell them why you think they’re awesome and ask them to link back to you.
- Write guest blog posts for popular blogs in your industry and put a link to your website in the author’s box.
- Ask people in your industry or who you work with if they’ll add a link to your website on their website. Sometimes people list partners or vendors and you can get a link there.
- Create great content that people want to link to.
- Create online profiles. Social media, Google My Business, etc. Not all of these links count, but it’s a good practice and might attract people to your website anyway.
- List your website in directories in your industry or pay to have it listed. Some cities have lists of the “best local companies that do _____”.
5. Monitor Your Progress
Often, when we don’t know how something is going we assume the worst. We think it must not be going well. In addition, I’m a firm believer that what gets measured gets done.
For those two reasons, I always measure my progress. I want to see what’s going well and what’s not. This lets me fix things that aren’t going well and celebrate the things that are.
Here are my favorite ways to track search results:
- Google Search Console: This is where you can tell Google to look at your site if you made updates and monitor the searches that you’re ranking for.
- Google Analytics: The best free analytics platform out there. You can track pretty much everything! It can take some learning, but it’s worth it.
- Authority Labs: These kind folks track how your search ranking changes over time and lets you know what search engines think your page is about.
There are many great tools to track and improve your search presence, but these are good to start with. Especially if you’re just getting into all this.
If you follow these SEO for StoryBrand website principles outlined in this article, you’ll start ranking higher in search results. But remember, search results don’t change overnight. This is a long game. Do this for six months before truly evaluating how it’s going. It takes at least that long to see a solid boost in your search results.
Stick with it! You make great things and you deserve to be found, not buried beneath everyone else in Google.
Follow these SEO for StoryBrand website tips and watch your search ranking increase.
To your success,
Make more money with a website that sells
StoryBranding your website can be hard! That’s why we host a quarterly How to StoryBrand Your Website Masterclass.
Join StoryBrand Certified Guide, Ryan Toth, and dozens of business leaders as we go through the ins and outs of confidently creating a StoryBrand website that makes you money.