How to Rank #1 on Google Without Spending a Dime | Ep 214

In today’s show, I’ll delve into strategies for enhancing your website’s Google ranking. A fancier term for this concept is search engine optimization or SEO. SEO is the whole idea of optimizing your website to boost its visibility on search engines.


5 Key Benefits of SEO For Your Business


1. Get More Website Visitors

The higher you rank on Google, the more likely people are to click and visit your website.


Appearing prominently in search results increases your visibility, attracting users to explore your music school online.


2. Boost Conversions

The more people visit your website, the more likely you are to make a sale.


Implementing SEO strategies not only drives traffic but also ensures your content is tailored for user engagement. A well-optimized site guides visitors toward key actions, making them more likely to convert.


3. Build Authority

If you’re ranking at number one, website visitors are likely to make positive assumptions about your business and assume that you’re an authority in what you do.


Securing the top spot in search results not only attracts attention but also instills confidence in visitors, positioning your music school as an authoritative source.


4. Save on Ads

The higher you rank on Google, the less money you have to spend on Google ads. Using Google ads is an effective way to spend your advertising dollar, but you’re paying to be listed at the very top.


Everyone knows it’s an ad, and people pay to get listed there. Not that you shouldn’t do it; there’s still value in it because people will see your music school first before the organic listings.


However, even though it’s listed at the very top, a paid Google ad isn’t as credible as an organic listing.


5. Establish Local Credibility

The good news is that music schools usually compete locally. You’re not competing nationally, unless you offer Zoom lessons and target different cities. This adds a whole nother level of sophistication when it comes to SEO.


I mean, how many music schools are you really competing with in your area? Maybe three to five, or even more. And sure, there might be additional music schools nearby, but people are pretty savvy with Google now. More people search for “Guitar lessons near me” than “Guitar lessons in Cleveland.” When you say “Guitar lessons near me,” Google knows your location.


And here’s the deal: if the IP address on your computer is in Beachwood, Google determines the closest music schools to you. If there’s a music school in Cleveland, let’s say 10 miles away, it’s likely to appear at the top rather than a school that’s closer. So, geography matters when it comes to SEO.


Marketing expert Neil Patel once said if you’re not in the top six listings on page one of Google, you’re really not ranking. Clearly, if you’re looking for roof repair and can’t find it on page one, you’re not likely to find it on page two.


14 Ways to Optimize Your Website


Many people outsource website changes, and it becomes costly. Maybe you or your staff don’t know how to handle SEO, so you hire a third party. As a business owner, you should be able to make edits or changes to your website yourself.


There are actions you can take on your website to signal to Google that you’re an authority or expert, and it’s super easy to do.


Today, I’m going to share things with you that, if implemented on your website, should lead to some dramatic improvements.


1. Speed

If your website or web pages load slower than what Google recommends, it will affect your Google ranking negatively.


Google has publicly stated the importance of load time, and there are various tools, including Google’s website speed test, to measure your website’s speed. I suggest starting with Google’s tool because it’s the search engine you care about the most.


When you conduct a speed test on your homepage and various internal pages, it will highlight potential factors slowing down your website.


One significant factor impacting speed is how you build your website. Websites built from scratch by web developers or customized templates tend to load faster than those built solely from a template.


Speed tests grade your website and reveal its performance. Today, you can assess the loading speed, not only of your homepage but also of essential internal pages, particularly those emphasizing your music lessons.


2. Keywords

Identifying the keywords you want to optimize your website for is important, and for music schools, it’s pretty easy.


Examples of music school keyword phrases: 

  • piano lessons near me
  • guitar lessons near me
  • drum lessons near me
  • voice lessons near me
  • singing lessons near me


These keyword phrases are what people are likely to use when searching for your music school. This emphasizes the importance of having a dedicated web page for each instrument you teach.


Create Seperate Web Pages for Each Instrument

I often see music schools use a single page for their private lessons which lists their various offerings. Unfortunately, this may not necessarily boost your ranking efforts.


For instance, if you have a web page specifically for “Drum Lessons” and it solely focuses on drum lessons, Google is more likely to display it in search results when someone searches for “drum lessons near me.”


This makes the drum lessons page more crucial than your homepage because it aligns with the user’s intent. Your homepage might not explicitly mention “drum lessons.” Ideally, you want Google to guide visitors directly to your “drum lessons” page, eliminating the need for them to search around on your homepage. Once they’re on the right page, you’re in a great position to make the sale.


3. Copy

Let’s say you create a list of all your keyword phrases. You want to weave these keywords into your sales copy, but it’s crucial to remember to write for the user, not just for Google.


If you think you have to include the keyword “voice lessons,” it doesn’t mean you have to force “voice lessons near me” into your sales copy. Many music schools make this mistake.


For example, one music school’s website has a homepage button that, when clicked, directs you to their various lessons. The landing page copy then reads “guitar lessons near me,” clearly indicating that it’s just trying to gamify Google.


You don’t want to do this on your website. It won’t make a good impression on users, and it might not impress Google either. Of course, you want to include the keywords “guitar” and “drums” to weave into your sales copy, but integrate them naturally.


4. Keyword Density

Typically, if you want a page to rank for a certain keyword, you want it to be within the first 100 words of your sales copy. What you want to avoid is filling up your sales copy using that keyword over and over, and I see it all the time. It’s not helping your cause because it doesn’t read well.


Typically, if you want a page to rank for a certain keyword, aim to include it within the first 100 words of your sales copy. However, avoid overusing the keyword repeatedly throughout your sales copy, as this doesn’t read well and doesn’t help your cause.


A few years ago, there was a focus on keyword density—filling up a page with the keyword—to supposedly help a page rank. However, keyword prominence is now considered more important than density. Ensuring the keyword appears within the first 100 words is essential for ranking.


This keyword should also be in your web page’s H1 title, the title visible in the featured image above the fold. Google can read this, so, for example, your “voice lessons” page should have “voice lessons” in the H1 title. These practices help convey to Google the main topic of your web page.


5. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

Latent Semantic Indexing or LSIs are words often found alongside your keyword. For instance, when optimizing your violin lessons page, consider common words like “instructor,” “teacher,” “recital,” or “practice” that are associated with the phrase violin lessons.


You wanna be able to work these words into your sales copy as well. If you’re unsure what LSIs are associated with drum lessons, it’s pretty easy to find them. Google search “drum lessons near me,” scroll to the bottom, and under suggested searches, you’ll see your LSIs.


6. Headings

Next, let’s discuss H1, H2, and H3 titles. When you navigate to any page on your website builder, you’ll find a section for your H1 title. Ensure that the keyword is included in every page’s H1 title.


For your homepage, consider having “music lessons” as your H1 title. If you choose a creative headline like “Create, explore, and discover,” it won’t help your cause at all. However, an H1 title such as “Music lessons kids love” will help Google identify the page’s content and appeal to website visitors.


The key is to prioritize the reader when incorporating keywords into your sales copy or headlines, with Google as a secondary consideration.


As people scroll through your page, you’ll have additional headlines. Instead of just making the headline in plain text with bold emphasis, use the H2 option for your next headline. You don’t have to do this every time, but it’s important that your H2 headlines at some point include your keyword again.


If you have multiple headlines on a page, maybe by the fourth, you can bring in an H3 headline. This signals to Google that there’s some order – an H1 headline, an H2, and now an H3.


From my understanding, you can have multiple H2 headlines and then introduce an H3 headline. You don’t necessarily have to follow a strict hierarchy like H2, H3, H4. By introducing an H2, an H3, and an H4, you’re indicating the order to Google, but I’d recommend verifying this through a Google search, especially regarding how many H2 headlines you can have on a single page.


7. Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

Your URL should be short and sweet, including your keyword. Instead of “voice lessons near me,” go for “voice lessons.” Similar to your H1 title, Google relies on your URL to identify the page’s topic.


Also, it’s super important that all of your lesson pages are as close to your homepage as possible.


Instead of this: lessons/guitar lessons


Use this: lessons


The farther a web page is from the homepage, the less important Google considers it. Since your guitar lessons page is crucial, position it right next to your homepage.


Kind of in sync with this idea of URLs is your homepage’s menu options. Google can read these, and they should be optimized with your keywords. Instead of using “private lessons” or “services” on your homepage, label it as “music lessons.” Including “private lessons” is a missed opportunity since not many people search for “private lessons near me.” Specify the type—music lessons.


8. Word Count

The amount of words you have on a page matters. Typically, the top 10 results on most Google queries have 1800 words on those pages that are ranking in the top 10.


The more words you have on a page, the better Google can understand. It will help with establishing your authority with Google. That’s an important idea. Google’s trying to always figure out which pages have the highest authority, which pages are most likely gonna be, and what the person using Google is looking for.


The challenge, of course, with trying to get that many words on a page is writing for the reader. You don’t wanna just start writing for Google. So 1800, yeah, that’s a lot of words. Experts recommend 1500 at least if you wanna get into that top 10. You can have pages with less word rank.


You’re not dealing with a very competitive market because you’re dealing with a small radius that you’re trying to get your web pages to rank for. If you do have a certain page for one of the instruments you teach and it’s not ranking well, I encourage you to take a look at the word count.


Use AI Tools for Crafting Content

When it comes to trying to get all these words and worry it’s gonna take you so much time, just take what you got and go ask ChatGPT to elaborate on what you already have. Be specific on your prompt, but never copy and paste ChatGPT’s results onto your website.


Your brand has a certain tone in its writing, so you wanna get in there and edit whatever ChatGPT creates to get it to match your brand tone. ChatGPT can help get you moving in the right direction. It can help maybe take a page that only has say two paragraphs on it.


9. Dwell Time

Dwell time is simply how long a visitor stays on your page, and Google tracks it. The longer people stay on your page, the more Google perceives your website to have valuable information.


How to Improve Your Dwell Time


Optimize with Bullet Points

When a web page includes a bullet point list, visitors tend to see there’s some useful information, making them more likely to read it. Despite the website being text-heavy, it’s crucial to remember that attracting and maintaining visitor attention is an ongoing challenge. Incorporating a bullet point list is a great way to hold people’s attention on your web page.


Incorporate Numbered Lists

The same principle applies to a numbered list. A lengthy bullet-point list may not be as likely to be read. Opting for five to seven bullets can be a more effective approach.


Utilize White Space Effectively

Utilizing white space is inviting. If your web pages are generally dense and cluttered with lots of pictures and texts squeezed together, people are less likely to read it.


The harsh reality is that most people don’t read much on your website. Observe your behavior when visiting a website—there are likely certain things you’re inclined to read. You might glance at them but not delve deeply into the content.


Use Multimedia Elements

Incorporating multimedia onto your web pages is another factor that improves dwell time. Multimedia, including pictures and videos, signals to Google that it’s likely a high-quality page.


This enhances dwell time because people enjoy looking at visuals. However, not just any pictures will do. Ideally, use pictures that appeal to your website visitors seeking a music lesson experience to enrich their child’s life.


For instance, a photo of a piano keyboard with hands may not resonate unless the visitors are musicians or looking to buy a piano. On the other hand, a picture of a smiling child playing the piano, well-lit and filling a large part of the frame, is likely to capture attention for a second or two.


Embedded YouTube videos with a thumbnail designed to mirror the web page’s design are highly effective. Since Google owns YouTube, incorporating it onto your web pages is likely to be favored. However, it’s essential to choose videos that people will actually watch.


10. Updated Content

Updating content on your website, especially on the pages you aim to rank, is crucial. For instance, if you have a pricing page, ranking might not be a top priority. However, when someone searches for “How much do piano lessons cost near me?” you still want your piano lessons page to rank. Adding and removing content signals to Google that the page is active, dynamic, and relevant.


If your piano lesson page remains stagnant for five years, Google may assume there’s not much happening. Meanwhile, a competitor’s piano lessons page with recent content suggests activity.


This is where ChatGPT can help out. Throw some of your copy, and engage with ChatGPT to kick some ideas back and forth until they align with your direction. Take the generated sales copy, personalize it, and incorporate it into your page.


I understand that altering just a few words or sentences might not resonate well with Google, or Google may not necessarily pick it up. However, if you introduce a substantial change—suddenly adding three new paragraphs to your bass lessons page—this is more likely to catch Google’s attention.


11. Outbound Links

An outbound link occurs when you link from your website to another, ideally a high-authority site. High-authority sites may include educational websites or those from reputable news organizations like Time Magazine.


In your web copy, you mentioned how your guitar lessons help kids feel more confident. Later, you come across an article from a high-authority website talking about how music impacts a child’s confidence. Ideally, the outbound link should incorporate a keyword present on the page you’re linking to. For instance, you’ll have a link over the word “confident,” directing to an article that also features the word “confident” in its title.


It’s crucial to be cautious about the number of outbound links on a page—I aim to keep it to a minimum of two. Placing an outbound link early in your sales copy may negatively impact dwell time. When a visitor clicks on that link, they leave your web page to go elsewhere.


Consider this scenario: your guitar lessons page consists of four paragraphs, and at the bottom, you provide recommendations for guitars at different levels—entry, intermediate, and advanced. Each of these could link to a page at Guitar Center or Sweetwater. This is one way to strategically use outbound links.


12. Internal Links

Internal links effectively communicate to Google the importance of a specific page on your website. For instance, on your policies page, include an internal link to your guitar lessons page. While the policies page may not be a priority for ranking, every mention of the word “guitar” on your site could have a link over “guitar” or “guitar lessons,” directing to your guitar lessons page.


The question of whether there’s such a thing as overkill with internal links to a certain page is worth considering. Internal links serve as a strong signal to Google about the importance of the guitar lessons page. Not only does this page have links going out to Guitar Center, but other places or pages on the website also link to this guitar page.


13. Meta Titles

When you visit any web page, you’ll notice a little tab at the top containing the meta title. If you haven’t configured meta titles for each page, your website will default to its name.


It’s important to get these meta titles right because Google reads them. For instance, if your website ranks for a Google search like “singing lessons near me,” visitors see the headline for your voice lessons page, which is your meta title, and you can actually set it up.


In your meta title, ensure the initial words align with your keyword, such as “voice lessons.” You might structure it as “Voice Lessons in Dallas, Texas,” followed by your music school’s name. Each page on your website should feature a unique meta title.


14. Alt Tags

Ensure that every image on your website has an alt tag, and it’s beneficial to use your keyword for the alt tag. Alt tags signal Google about the content of the image, conveying that it pertains to guitar lessons.


To implement this, log into your website builder, navigate to the media section, and locate the images. Confirm that each image has an alt tag featuring the keyword.


In Conclusion

This concludes some fundamental steps to optimize your website for higher Google rankings. Before I sign off, let me emphasize the crucial role you, as the music school owner or a staff member, play in managing your website’s SEO. The ability to handle SEO internally saves you from the need to hire costly third-party services, eliminating the expense of updating pages and making edits to your site.


Your website should be pretty dynamic. It should be changing a lot, and you’re not gonna change it a lot if you gotta pay for it every time. I also wanna drive home the point of the importance of writing for the website visitor, not for Google. You gotta write for both. But at the end of the day, it’s a human who’s gonna sign up for music lessons, not Google.


5 Key Takeaways

  • As a business owner, optimizing your website for SEO saves you money on third-party services for updates.
  • Personally optimizing your website ensures consistent and affordable improvements.
  • A dynamic website, undergoing frequent changes, is crucial for effective SEO.
  • Optimizing your website brings a bundle of benefits that boost your business.
  • Make sure to write for your website visitor, not just for Google.


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