Hey there, thanks for joining me today to learn all about what SEO is and why it matters in your tpt business. I’m also going to be sharing my top 3 SEO tips.
A little bit of background info before we dive into SEO – when I started my store, I was doing all the things that everyone told me to do. I was posting on Facebook and Instagram and email and Pinterest and it was overwhelming and I ended up feeling pretty burnt out and honestly kind of resenting a business that I initially really loved.
I was feeling like I always had to be cranking out more content or people would stop buying and my sales would drop off and I’m sure a lot of you can relate to that feeling. But then I started looking at my data and I realized that no matter what I was trying, 90 to 95% of my sales were coming straight from TPT search.
Now, I will admit initially that made me feel really discouraged, like maybe I’m not posting the right things on Facebook or Instagram or maybe I’m just bad at writing emails, or my pins are too ugly. But then I realized that that was actually exactly what I wanted. See if 90 to 95% of my sales come from TPT search, that means 90 to 95% of my sales are passive income. And if I wanted more passive income, then the data was telling me I need to improve where all my products rank in search. And that my friends is search engine optimization.
The first year that I focused on SEO, I more than tripled my TPT income. This past year, I created very few new products and I still grew my income 23% just by using my data to make small changes to my products and by optimizing for search. Now I love SEO because it is the one thing in my business that gives the most return on the least amount of work and it lasts longer, where social media posts and emails kind of expire fairly quickly.
They drop out of the feed or people delete them from their inbox. The progress you make in search results is lasting. In fact, a lot of times the longer the content has been out, the more so-called “seo juice” it builds up and the more traffic it can generate.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about what search engine optimization, or SEO, really is. It’s basically the practice of setting up your website pages in a way that makes them show up higher in search results. Now this applies to all the content you publish online- your TPT products, your blog posts, and even other pages that are on your website.
Every search engine has its own algorithms but for us as TPT sellers, we want to focus on just 2 of them: Google and TPT search. Better SEO and showing up higher in the right search results increases traffic to your pages, and the more traffic you get, this will lead to more sales.
Now let’s talk about my top 3 SEO tips. First, when you learn and apply SEO best practices, you want to apply those to all the new content that you publish, but don’t neglect the old content. Most of the time you can make more progress, and you’ll be able to rank higher in searches, both on Tpt and Google, with updates to existing poster products then you will by publishing brand new content.
So you want to make sure you’re going back to those old pieces of content, whether they’re posts or products, and updating them. Check your existing products regularly to see if teachers are still using the same search terms, or if you need to update them to keep up with ever changing educational lingo.
I have one particular product that I’m thinking of that I have updated the search terms on probably half a dozen times at this point because the educational lingo around this product keeps shifting and changing. But my product is still good and it’s still relevant, I just need to change the way I’m presenting it a little bit so that it stays relevant long-term.
My second tip is to always start with keyword research because optimizing for the right keywords is really the most important thing when it comes to SEO. See if you optimize for a keyword no one is searching for, then even if you’re number one for that keyword, you’re not going to get much traffic from it because no one’s searching for that term. On the flip side, if you optimize for a keyword that is way too competitive for your particular site or for this particular product, then you won’t be able to outrank those people who are ahead of you.
A really good example of this is a keyword like “spelling”. If I tried to optimize a blog post on my blog just for the keyword “spelling,” I’m competing against giant websites like Spelling City who have huge SEO power and are going to show up higher for that particular search than my little blog post is. So I need to choose a less competitive keyword for that blog post. The goal is to find that Goldilocks keyword that has good search volume but it’s not too difficult to rank well for.
You can use tools like KW Finder or Uber Suggest (and I’ll link to those in the show notes) to help you find the right keywords for Google search. But for TPT, there’s no tool to compare to those, so we really have to rely on what shows up in the dropdown on the search bar. When you start typing, you’ll see a dropdown menu and the terms there are the top five currently trending terms for whatever you typed in. So I recommend that you type slowly. I usually try to stop before any endings.
For example, addition… I will type in the word “add” so that I can see if “addition” “add to 20” “adding”; so I can see all these different varieties of keywords that might pop up. Now seasonal products are a little tricky on tpt because they may not show accurate results outside of their season. There may not be much coming up for a St. Patrick’s Day product if you’re searching in September. So you’ll want to come back and check that just ahead of the season to see what is showing up and even kind of early in that particular season and make some tweaks to your content on your page if you need to.
Another tip you can use for seasonal products is to go search on KW Finder or Uber Suggest even if you’re optimizing for TPT search, because those can still give you an idea of what phrases people are using when they search around those seasonal topics.
Tip number 3 is to use your keywords in the content. One big mistake I see teacher sellers make all the time is that they want to rank for XYZ but they don’t actually use those words anywhere on the page. If you want a product to rank for something like “multiplication worksheets” then you need to say “multiplication worksheets” in the title and in the page content.
Some key places to use your keywords are the title of the page or the title of your resource on TPT, the very first paragraph, and then this last one applies only to your website, but the image title, file name, and alt text should also have keywords in them. The reason I say it only applies to your website is because TPT actually changes the titles and the file names and the alt text on our cover and thumbnail images when we upload. We have no access to edit any of that information. So that particular tip just applies on websites.
Always make sure as you’re working keywords into your content that you’re using them in a way that sounds really natural, otherwise you might be penalized for keyword stuffing. My best tip for that is to read your content out loud after you’ve written it and see if it feels good. If it feels uncomfortable or awkward to say you probably need to rewrite a little bit.
Now I want to make sure that this show is something that actually helps grow your business, not just one more piece of content that you consume and forget about. So most weeks I’ll leave you with an action step that you can take right away. Your action step for today is to go find one existing tpt product or blog post and update it with a great focus keyword. I would love to see it when you’re done so share it with me at @kristendoyle.co on Instagram.
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. To find links to the resources I mentioned today head over to the show notes at kristendoyle.co/episode2 or if you want to really dig deep and learn more about SEO, check out my course at seoforteacherauthors.com.
To celebrate the launch of this podcast, I am doing a giveaway of not 1 but 2 1:1 strategy sessions with me. In these sessions we can talk about your website or your tpt products. To enter all you need to do is screenshot your favorite episodes so far and share it somewhere on social media. Whether that’s Instagram stories, your Instagram feed, or on Facebook, just be sure to tag me at @kristindoyle.co so that I can mark down your entry. This giveaway closes on July 26, 2022. Tune in next time to learn why your About page is not about you! I’ll see you then.