SEO & Story Brand
Do I have any other Story Brand fans out there? If you haven’t read Donald Miller’s book “Story Brand” yet, I highly encourage you to pause for a moment and go purchase it on Amazon. I’ve read through it 3 times myself, participated in a small group study where we went through it together, and created several versions of a brand script. It’s just an all-around great book for every business owner to read.
*pausing now so you can purchase the book*
Ok, hopefully, you’re continuing to read because you’ve now purchased this wonderful marketing book.
In general, Story Brand has great advice for therapists.
Now, hopefully, I’ve made it clear that I REALLY like Story Brand and I think Donald Miller’s marketing advice is generally golden. Some of my favorite things I’ve learned from Story Brand:
- As a business owner, you are the guide in your marketing, not the hero. Our customers are the hero.
- Keep your messaging simple. This is especially true on websites. We want a client to be able to immediately tell what service we offer when they land on our website (Donald Miller calls this the caveman test), so I often work with SEO clients on simplifying their language in their writing, adding a clear call to action button and even simplifying the navigation bar so people can easily navigate a website.
- Your website should have a clear, short statement explaining what you do “above the fold” or before someone scrolls down.
- A website needs clear calls to action. It shouldn’t be difficult for a client to figure out what to do next or how to get ahold of you.
- Paint a clear picture of how your service will help the client. On a website, it’s important to do this through having positive, outcome-based pictures. Photos quickly convey how someone will feel after working with you.
Anyways, I could go on and on about all the things he got very right in his book.
There is one place I disagree with Donald Miller’s advice….
There’s just one place I disagree. And I know I might ruffle a couple of feathers by disagreeing with such a genius marketer. But I can’t help it….
At one point in the book (page 154 in my well loved copy), Donald Miller recommends that you delete half the content on your website. In fact, he says your website should have “very few words.”
In fact, this is something I’ve heard Donald Miller repeats when he speaks and that he’s very, very critical of websites (like mine) with a large amount of content. As someone who helps therapists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals with their SEO every single day, I disagree.
Why do I disagree?
Because if you delete half the content on your website it will be much more difficult to get your website to the top of search engines.
Google needs your website to have enough content that it can figure out what your website is about. It can’t rank you for the searches your ideal clients are doing unless it realizes that you have information bout that topic! You may have heard the phrase, “Content is King.” This is SOOO
true when it comes to SEO. I’ve told you before that Google likes lots of content.
It is well established in the world of SEO that Google ranks sites with more words higher.
Google assumes that if you have the word “divorce” on your page you know what the word means. If you have a paragraph about “divorce” on a page all about life transitions you may know a little about the topic. But if you have a whole page with lots (500+) of words? Wow, Google now assumes you’re an expert. When someone is searching for tips for getting through a divorce, Google now understands that your website has the information that person is looking for!!
So, how do we stay (mostly) true to Story Brand while also getting great SEO?
I believe it’s possible to both stay true to Story Brand and create a well-ranking website with tons of content. We use your brand script to make sure we really understand your services. Then, we sprinkle the phrases you’ve used throughout your site as we optimize.
Most importantly, we simplify your message by using your brand script when we write headings and subheadings on your page. We know nobody reads big blocks of text on a website. But they do scan the page. Therefore, the subheadings are what people are most likely to read on your page.
We use this knowledge to our advantage. Subheadings on your page absolutely need keywords in them. However, they also need to be written more carefully than anything else on your page because they are what your clients are most likely to read. So, the subheadings should be very easy to understand and clear. In other words, they should be written with your brand script in mind.
Can I still use the Storybrand wireframe and rank well on Google?
Absolutely! I’ve seen several website that use the Storybrand wireframe and just add more content. I also think it’s ok if your home page has fewer words. That is, after all, the page most people will see. I recommend people prioritize design &amp;amp; carefully chosen wording on their home page. Then, you have some carefully chosen service pages explaining that you are an “expert” on treating your ideal clients. These service pages should use Storybrand but will likely have more words on the page than Storybrand recommends.
So, don’t throw the recommended wireframe out just because you are adding more content to your site. Just know, at least on some pages, you’re likely adding more words than a Storybrand professional would recommend.
Content still needs to be quality content
Now, I don’t want you to misunderstand me here and think I’m just telling you to go add a couple thousand words of text to every page of your website. Content for content’s sake is not necessarily good. A huge part of what my staff does is help our clients strategically choose content that will both be very useful to your clients and improve your SEO. And when you’re creating content, you still want to keep in mind the principles of Storybrand.
For example, I strongly recommend blogging regularly as part of your SEO Strategy. You can write excellent, really informative blogs that provide some great tips to your ideal clients. In fact, I often assign my old blog posts as homework to clients or my client care coordinator will send out an old blog post for someone to read while they wait for their first appointment! However, I think you’ll write even better blog posts if you remember that even in those you’re setting the client up as the hero. In the blog you’re saying, “Here is a tip that will help you conquer your anxiety dragon. It’s a tool that will help you on this quest.” Not, “I’m so smart that he’s a magic technique that will solve your problems for you.”
Content is only one part of good SEO strategy
Now, just because I’m talking about how I recommend adding more content to your website than Donald Miller recommends does NOT mean I’m saying adding a bunch of content should be the focus of your SEO Strategy. First of all, content that isn’t carefully chosen isn’t helpful.
However, it’s also important to note that content is only one piece of the puzzle. You also want to address technical issues on your site, have a secure website, make sure you’re using the type of words your ideal clients might use, build lots of backlinks to your website and so much more.
So please, know that you need to add content to your website if you’re created a website that follows Storybrand closely but isn’t ranking well. But also know that just word dumping on your website won’t alone get you great SEO.
Our SEO consultants love to work with Story Brand fans!
The truth is, my favorite new trend with SEO clients is that many are sending us their brand script! This is so flipping cool. It makes our day. Or week. Or month.
If you do the hard work of reading Story Brand and creating a brand script, it helps us clearly understand your message. This helps us be more clear as we optimize your page. It informs everything from your meta descriptions to the internal links we place on your site. Most importantly, we try to incorporate elements of your brand script when we’re writing subheadings on your page. This way, your website does a better job of converting when people do a quick scan of your page!
Have your brand script ready and want to start focusing on SEO for your website?
You’ve read Story Brand, have a clear picture of how to describe your services and have even made some changes to your website. Now you’re just ready to get that website in front of more people while still maintaining a clear message. That’s where we come in!
Search Engine Optimization helps you get your website out there in front of more people. At Simplified SEO Consulting, we offer several options to help you do this. If you’re the DIY type, we have online SEO courses including a comprehensive one that takes you step by step through our favorite SEO techniques. We also have a 12 week SEO intensive if you’re looking for support and guidance to optimize your site. On the other hand, if you find your just too busy to worry about SEO yourself, our staff can optimize your site for you with our “Done for You” services. Even with this option, you’re welcome to send us your brand script and we’ll do our best to incorporate the simple messages you’ve come up with as we optimize your site.
How to start working on your SEO
We help therapists, psychiatrists, counselors other small business owners (generally in the health and wellness industry) get their websites ranking well on google. Getting started is easy!
- Set up a free 30 minute Zoom appointment to talk to one of our SEO specialists about which service is the best fit for your needs.
- Begin learning to do SEO yourself or working with our staff through a monthly “done for you” package.
- Watch your website begin moving toward the first page of Google.
I agree that StoryBrand is amazing…however I don’t agree with the same things you don’t disagree with. StoryBrand websites by default are horrible on the SEO side of the house….we combine StoryBrand with They Ask You Answer and have found that to be a winning formula.
Thank you Stuart. It’s hard to balance great SEO & great marketing practices. I agree that Storybrand itself isn’t great for SEO. In general when someone comes to us with a newly created “Storybrand” website it isn’t ranking. We work with site owners to find the balance that works specifically for their business. This usually starts with adding more content. So, I love working with Storybrand websites in that once we get them ranking they convert, but they do require a lot of balancing Storybrand/Good SEO Strategy.