Are you one of the thousands of business owners looking to improve your online visibility on Google? This is one episode you won’t want to miss as Katie talks to Caroline Phillips – owner and founder of SEO Alba Services and Alba Business Director.

Caroline shares 4 easy to action SEO tips for business owners like you Caroline talk about joys of running a business, building a team and the challenges of working from home during lockdown.

Sound good? Let’s get started on episode 49 of the Whin Big podcast. 


Turning redundancy into a new business

A former scientist working in IVF, Caroline moved into IT in her 30s. When she was made redundant in 2008, she knew it was time to strike out on her own business journey. Using her previous experience in IVF she built an online directory for people researching IVF treatments abroad. Understanding the need for validation on Google, she studied how Google ranked sites and was successful in bringing both clinics and IVF patients together.

Caroline loved the process so much she realised she could offer the same service to other businesses and industries and Alba SEO services was born.

The current shape of Alba SEO Services

Starting off with just 1 client, the business has grown well year on year. Caroline now has two full time employees and a graduate who works on a freelance basis. After a period of growth that felt unsustainable for Caroline, she’s happy with the current size of the business. For Caroline it’s all about keeping in close contact with clients and colleagues alike for a better balance.

With such a hands on approach she’s able to closely involved with a huge range of businesses from genealogists to cleaners.

The future of Alba SEO Services

Caroline’s optimistic about the future as so many businesses are going online. They need to get more visibility on Google and need some SEO help. They’re seeing the value of going online so much more. 

Navigating through lockdown 

 SEO Alba Services already worked remotely, connecting through Slack so on the face of it, the business wasn’t affected. As well as learning new skills and approaching challenges as more e-commerce businesses approached them, the extra hours of lockdown meant she could fulfill a goal she’d had for a while.

Going back to her directory experience she built a comprehensive small business directory during this time and launched it a few weeks ago.

“Looking back on it now I think it’s great that something so good came out of something so depressing.” – Caroline

Building a business directory

 Having a lot of experience with sub-par directories, Caroline wanted to build a directory (Alba Business Directory) that was of genuine use and value to the user. This meant creating a plan that included:

  • Usability & user experience
  • Design & copy
  • Adapting & fixing code
  • Setting up SEO
  • Creating content for credibility
    • Blogs
    • Backlinks
    • Digital marketing

How do you market Alba SEO Services? 

Unsurprisingly, Caroline’s priority is SEO and keeping the business on page 1 of Google. 

“I’m always looking for opportunities to add my website to places that will give me a backlink. That’s what SEO is all about – building your credibility, and you do that with backlinks.” – Caroline

Other marketing activities:

  • PR: Caroline works with a PR consultant who finds opportunities for marketing Alba SEO Services that wouldn’t be available to them otherwise – such as writing articles for the press. This goes a long way to strengthen their reputation and provide backlinks back to the website
  • Social Media: Caroline sees this as essential marketing to grow her audience and reach new audiences, but it also strengthens SEO so it’s doubly important for her business.
  • Networking: As a member of the Chamber of Commerce Caroline has access to a strong network of business owners. They’ll share her content, post blog articles (more backlinks!) and organise networking events.
  • Surveys: followed by writing white papers on the results have also worked well for Alba SEO Services, although points out that the project can take months and is definitely not a quick fix.

“I’ve always liked the idea of doing original research for my business and then using it as a tool for SEO, PR and marketing, but it feels like a lot of work – I’d like a team beside me to make it possible.” – Katie

Marketing through press and writing articles

Working with a PR consultant has given Alba SEO Services additional exposure that goes a long way to gaining trust and credibility in the industry.

Understandably, their ideal customers are ‘business owners’ so they steer away from writing articles for SEO and tech press, and don’t write using technical jargon.

Instead, they write about topics like:

  • Top 5 things you can do to make your website better for Google
  • Things I’ve learned as an SEO consultant

The content is about how business owners can improve their sales through SEO. Caroline recognises that it’s hard to be consistent with articles and blogs (for Alba SEO Services site and guest blogs).

“It’s realising you can’t do everything you want to do. And asking for help. I’m taking steps to get help with my admin which was taking up so much of my time. I wonder why I didn’t do this before – now I’ve got time to write blogs.” – Caroline

5 tips to improve your business visibility through SEO 

If you’re considering getting an SEO agency to help with this area, but don’t quite have the budget to go all out, here are Caroline’s tips on getting started.

  • Copy: Google has to understand what you do or it can’t rank you on search pages. Make sure you have enough copy on your site so it can do its job.
    Keep your site warm and inviting for people visiting – but make sure the copy does the job of clearly defining your business
  • Separate your services: Have a different page for each of your services so it’s easier for Google to rank your different products or packages (rather than one generic services page).
  • Backlinks are links from someone else’s website to your own website. They are the lifeblood of SEO because they prove your credibility.
    • Get onto Yell, Yelp and other directories is the quickest way to get some backlinks flowing
    • If you want to learn more about backlinks – Caroline goes into much more detail about backlinks in the episode, so don’t miss out on listening this week!
  • Google my Business it’s essential you’ve claimed it and full of the information you want to tell the world.
  • Podcasting! Katie reminds all listeners that featuring on her podcast gives you an instant backlink from her own website through the show notes. So get in touch with her if you’d like to feature on an episode!

“Best marketing advice: Just keep going when things are tough. If you’re worried your ideas aren’t going to work – see your ideas through to the end.” – Caroline

Resources and links

Connect with Caroline and Alba SEO Services on the following channels: 

Website

Facebook

Twitter 

Instagram

LinkedIn

You Tube 

Other links discuss in this week’s podcast: 

The Whin Big Podcast episode 34: 4 lessons I learned from failing at blogging

Alba Business Directory

Lewis Bilsland (Caroline’s developer)

Google My Business