On our first episode of the Dogwood Media Solutions podcast, our host and Dogwood's owner Brian Harris talked to Lauren Cumbie, our account manager at Dogwood. Their conversation centers around 3 tips she shares about how your business or organization can show up better on Google.
They'll talk about claiming your Google business listing, creating an SEO strategy, and even buying Google search ads.
It's a fun-packed episode with lots of helpful nuggets of info designed for you!
Learn more about Dogwood at DogwoodMediaSolutions.com. At our site, you can learn more about our staff, and the services we offer. Don't forget to check out our blog full of information while you are there. You'll also find links where you can follow us on social media and become an insider to really see what it's like at Dogwood.
Hi, and thanks for tuning in to the Dogwood Media Solutions podcast. I'm your host Brian Harris, and in today's episode, we'll be talking about three tips for showing up on Google with my guest, Lauren Cumbie.
Hi, and welcome to the Dogwood Media Solutions Podcast. My name's Brian Harris. I'm the owner of Dogwood Media Solutions, and today on our podcast is Lauren Comby, one of our staff. Um, she'll also, you'll be hearing her voice in the future more often. Uh, she'll be serving as a host when I'm not here. Uh, and so she'll be doing that along with being the guest on some occasions. But, um, a lot of things we're gonna be talking about are the blog posts that we write about using those as of subject matter to kind of go a little bit more in depth. And so people who write the blog post the most are myself, Lauren, and Beth. And so they'll probably be the main three you'll be hearing from on a regular basis. Uh, but we do have several other podcasts in line of some of other staff here at Dogwood that they'll get to come in and participate in also too. So it won't be just the three of us. We'll keep it nice and interesting. Lots of different subject matter we'll be touching on each week. Um, so Lauren, um, thanks for joining me for the first episode of Dogwood Media Solutions podcast.
Yeah, I'm excited.
This is something you, you're a big podcast listener, so this is something that you've really always wanted to do. And so finally we have this editing suite to finally do a podcast in.
Yeah, that's really exciting. We've been talking about it. I mean, I've almost been at Dogwood for four years and I feel like we've been talking about this since day one, so this is
Exciting. Yeah. And that kind of touches into the next thing I was gonna talk about. You know, how we met, you know, we've known each other for, I guess about a little over five years now. Uh, I worked at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, was a state missionary there, uh, doing digital marketing. And when I started, uh, Harris Media Solutions and took it full-time, uh, they became one of my clients. And so Lauren was at the State Board of Missions, uh, after I was there. So when I left, uh, I think, did we overlap? I don't think we overlapped any, no.
After I came in in 2018.
Okay. And I'd already left in February of 2017 was when I went full-time, uh, with my company. And so Lauren came in afterwards, but I met her through, uh, scooter. Scooter was a youth ministry strategist at the state board of S and he met Lauren through super summer, Alabama and had brought her in. And so Lauren being the young person, was helping him doing a lot more marketing. And, uh, she just reached out and was very teachable, I would say. And that's what I liked about her because like when someone's willing to ask like, how do I do this? Is there any way anything I can be doing to make your job easier? I was like, okay. So I, I started giving Lauren more responsibilities than other people did, uh, in the building, like with social media. And, um, and so when it came time for Dogwood to go into its next phase, I'd already brought, uh, Thomas Jones in helping out. And then we merged the businesses. And, and so we knew we needed help with social media because I couldn't handle it all myself. And the first person I thought of was Lauren. Um, do you remember the email I sent to Chris? Uh, Chris Mills was one of the associates, or still is one of the associates at the state board admissions. And
I don't think I knew that you emailed Chris, but I knew that you, you and I were talking and Chris, Chris and I were talking one day and he said, you need to respond to Brian and tell him that, um, your email Lauren Dogwood media solution sounds better than L House Sbam or whatever. And
Uh, that was my underhanded attempt to see if Lauren would be interested in joining Dogwood.
Yeah, well, cause you responded and you you said, I'm working on it. And I was like, oh.
I literally was, I was like, if I can grow the business and get to the point where I need to bring someone in, you're the first person I wanted to talk to. And I, I lived up to my word and
Aw, I'm honored.
Yeah. Well, four years later, you're, you're still here, so you must like it somewhat, I guess to stick around with me. So, uh, now I really appreciate it. Uh, Lauren does a lot of work for us and, um, she's, her role has changed tremendously over the past four years. As Dogwood has grown, her role has changed. And of course, when she first came in, she was it, she was handling all the social media, so she was literally managing the social media. She was the social media manager. And the next position was when we changed up our titles. Cause we started bringing in additional people. And Beth, we talked about her will be joining us. And she came in and later Emily. Uh, and so everyone became digital media specialist. And then the next title was Senior Digital Media Specialists. Cause we realized we need to have someone to rule all the digital media specialists <laugh> to rule.
Yes. It's like when you're gathering power. And so Lauren took over that. And then just most recently, uh, we've shifted a lot of things around again, uh, just as we're continuing to grow, we have, uh, four people on the marketing strategy team. Now's what we call, they're not digital media specialists anymore, a marketing strategist. And there's a total a five actually, if you include yourself. Yep. Um, and so, um, Beth's shifted to being SEO specialists. And we have three other different people. Uh, each one has a different focus that they primarily work on. They work coursework with all of our clients. Uh, but our, our big three that we work on at Dogwood, our, our non-profits, our religious institutions and our education. And so each one of them kind of has a little bit of a specialty. We're kind of evolving that a little bit.
Cause we still have a lot of businesses that don't necessarily fit this three care, uh, like silos I guess you could call them. Um, but they're still important to us and so we still work with them. And so those folks are kind of evolving in that way. And so we knew we needed to move Lauren into the next, uh, iteration of her role where she's the primary contact for the clients that, you know, basically over all of our folks. Cause she's had the most experience. And then she's working primarily with some of our clients that are very content driven or ad space driven. And, and so she stays pretty busy. And then she's helping me a ton too, uh, because I'll, she does a lot of things for like, proposals and helping me with that and just meeting with clients when I can't necessarily always be there. Cuz it's hard sometimes when you get pulled in multiple directions. And so it's, it's great to have Laura and they're helping that personally with that. So
Yeah, that, um, and and other responsibilities as assigned by your, your Yeah.
That it changes like <laugh> or, Hey, can you send out these Christmas card invitations or Christmas cards or just different things like that, or there's always, uh, changing as as as it go. But today and kind of getting more into the actual subject, what we wanna talk about, we wanted to talk about, uh, three tips for showing up on Google. And this is something that Lawrence became an expert in. And so she wrote a blog post about it. And so we're just gonna kind of go into that a little bit more, more in depth. Um, the first tip you had on there on your blog post you wrote was about claiming, uh, your Google business listing. So I'll kind of let you tell us a little bit more about that.
Yeah, so the way this kind of got started was, um, my husband and a good friend of ours, um, actually run a dog training business here in town. Um, and I, because I'm in the field that I am, I just pay attention a lot to where they're showing up and how they're doing on social media and that kind of thing. They're not our clients or anything, but because I, you know, am a caring wife, I care about my husband's business. So I was finding some things that I was like, Hey guys, like y'all aren't showing up on Google, like at all. Which for them right now isn't a big deal because they've got the word to mouth situation going on. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I was like, at some point that's gonna be a, a big problem. And so she asked me what she could do that wouldn't cost a ton of money, but that would help them to just get their name out there a little bit more, especially on Google.
Um, and so the first thing that I told her was that she needed to claim her business. And, um, she said that she had already tried to do that, but that it wasn't showing up and she didn't know what she was doing wrong and all that kind of good stuff. Um, but that is like one of the biggest things that people don't realize that they need to do is claim their business because it's kind of one of those processes that, I mean, you know, as well as I do that you gotta tell 'em where you are. They've gotta send you the postcard, you've gotta tell 'em, yes, I got the postcard, I really am a real person and a real business, all that kind of good stuff. And people just don't know that they need to do that. And I mean, how often do we say, you know, hairstylists near me or mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, and those little searches are the ones that come up, the ones that have the map and the business listings. And if you don't have one of those and you're not gonna show up for those, and I mean, that's where most of us go to find the places near us that are doing the services we
Need. Yeah, that was gonna be my first question, like the process for, for getting that. Of course I know it, but I feel like some of our listeners might know it. You kind of touched on it with the postcard. Uh, was that the main thing that the best way that people can request to claim their listing is by getting the postcard sent to them?
Yeah, I mean, it, you can do it in a couple different ways. The postcard is the, the way that they like will send it to your actual physical address. But I've had people ask me like, well, what if I don't have a physical address? And you can use a PO box. It doesn't have to be a, like your business has a building kind of situation. Um, and then once you actually have your Google Business listing claimed, you can go in and tell them what information you want them to show so you don't have to show that PO box. They just need a physical location to send that postcard to, to be able to verify that like you are a real business and a real person and that kind
Of thing. And of course you can set up multiple people to be able to access that business listing too. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so I know we've had that occasion just cuz we're an agency where we have control of someone else's listing, but there might be other people that are part of the ownership of that too. And that's one of the great things about that. I know one of the stories with Dogwood, just because we've moved recently, uh, we're still trying to get our Google by Business listing taken care of because of the postcard issue. Because our, ours being a brand new building, we didn't have a post office box. And so we had to go through that process and are still doing that with Google right now to get our address moved from our previous address over to this. And so to say it's an easy process.
It's not, uh, even us you know, this is the kind of thing we do on a daily basis, are still having to have deal with issues with that, with Google having to get that, uh, that postcard over and getting their address verified so they can move our location because it's even important for us, you know, we're not a, we're not selling a physical product, but still when our clients wanna come meet with us, we wanna make sure that they can find us. And of course, our address not existing doesn't help either too. So yeah, we do have a PO box like you mentioned too, which is another pro thing that will help us a lot, a lot on that also too. So the next piece you mentioned was, uh, going in and creating an SEO strategy. And, and I know this is kind of things that we always tell people when we talk about seo. We always bring Beth into it because Beth became such an expert in, in knowing how to do seo and just the things she knows about SEO just surprised me on a regular basis because Oh yeah, it's, it's amazing. Like she'll just, she'll start going in details and I'm like, all right, all right, <laugh>,
She's a superhero. I mean, we, yeah, she really is. We told her what, two years ago that we needed her to like, take that on and be the expert. And she like, she took that seriously. She is the
Expert, but she was writing already. And so we started talking and I, I remember this process. We're like, we need you to like think about SEO when you're writing these things. She was like, okay, I'll, I'll research it. And I remember it always being an interest to her because, uh, when Thomas was here, she'd always like pick his brain, like, how can I write this better for seo? And so she just took it on herself. She got all the certifications and she is by far probably the most knowledgeable person I know, uh, when it comes to seo. And it, it's great that we have her on our staff and are able to have her, he helping to work with our clients. And of course she'll be on several episodes and, uh, you'll talk about that a little bit later on too about, uh, that topic coming up of her. But go into talk about the SEO strategy here.
Yeah, so SEO is, uh, search engine optimization and basically it's the way that we build websites, post content, that kind of thing, so that Google sees our site, reads it well, and is able to then take that information and show it to the people that need to see it on Google when they're doing searches. So one of the ways that you can optimize your website for SEO and um, just make yourself easily to find on Google, is to update your content regularly with keywords that you feel like people are going to search for to find your business. Um, Beth talks a lot about creating a SEO blogging strategy just because that's one of the easiest ways to update your content regularly. Um, and so basically what what you do in that situation is you kind of sit down and brainstorm those keywords and try to think of what are, what are the things that people are gonna be looking for? So in the situation with the dog training, you know, you might be looking for basic obedience or, you know, new, new puppy training tips or, uh, I mean just training near me, those kind of things. Um,
Even our blog posts that we do for quid mm-hmm. <affirmative> are very specific in SEO and how we put those at mm-hmm. <affirmative> and how they affect our Google listings too. Um, so
Go ahead. Yeah, for sure. Um, and there, I know that Beth will talk about all these things a lot more in detail as we get going, but there's short term keywords, there's long tail keywords, there's a million different ways that you can kind of put those words into your content, um, to help you show up on Google. But that first step is kind of coming up with those keywords that work for you. Um, and then to start writing content, I mean, think about those keywords, think about the content that would come from those, and then just start writing. Um, I know that there are people that say that they're not good writers, I'm not good at this. I promise you if you just like Google text talk your thoughts about a certain topic, you can go in and clean it up later. You can use Grammarly and make it sound pretty, all that kind of good stuff.
But it's so much better to have good quality content cuz you know your information better than anybody else. So start writing that content and then optimizing your blogs, which basically there's a lot of different things that go into optimizing blogs, but the, the big ones, um, of course are making sure that you verify that keyword cuz Google doesn't know what your keyword is if you don't tell 'em what your keyword is. Um, and then making sure that it's in your title. Make sure that it's in the first paragraph of your, your blog. Make sure that it's in at least one of your headings farther down. Um, and then just making sure that there's, there's external links and internal links we like to use Rank math. Um, it's the plugin that we use to kind of help us go through those steps and just not forget one at this point, Beth and Brian and I, when we write you, we can pretty much plug it in and get a pretty good score without having to look at any of the tips because you just get used to it over time.
But for somebody first starting out, uh, and a plugin like that is really helpful cuz it gives you the list of, hey, your keyword isn't in here enough times, or, you know, your, um, URL is too long or whatever it might be. Um, so it helps you to do all of that optimization, optimizing. Um, and that's just a really great way to go ahead and update your content regularly and get those keywords out there. Um, and SEO is not a quick easy fix, but it is the long-term solution for making sure that you stay relevant on search engines.
That's important to mention that too. That SEO is, it's a long-term strategy. You can't just go in and go, oh, I'm gonna put a little bit of SEO working into this month and then expect 12 months later to be like, all right, I should have tripled my business. And just cuz I wrote one blog post, it's a, Google wants to see consistency across the board and it's not just posting once a month or, or going after a specific keywords. It wants to see consistency across the board of writing regular content, putting things into our focus. It makes sense also too, he doesn't want you just to grab a keyword. It doesn't make sense for right who you are. Like, like you mentioned five record canine, uh, the things that deal with dog dogs make sense mm-hmm. <affirmative> because that's who they are. Um, and so having consistency in how they've done that too.
Yeah. And for them, this speci this tip specifically made a lot of sense cuz they're already doing blog writing mm-hmm. <affirmative>, she just didn't know that SEO was even a thing. So if it's something she's already doing, I mean, she can definitely go in there and make the tweaks that need to be made mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it's an easy, I mean, adds 10 minutes to your blog publishing timeline and then you've done something good for your site, something good for your business, and it's just a win-win all around.
Yeah. We talk about multiple purposes in blog writing all the time too, because it becomes social media content that you can share. It's also just a way to resource your clients and tell 'em one, here's, I'm actually an expert in this mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we talk about that all the time with Dogwood. The people will ask us, why do you give away all these things? Why are we talking about this right now? It's not to give it away, it's to show you the, Hey, we actually know what we're talking about. Uh, let us demonstrate how we know what we're talking about. If it's something you can benefit from, great. If it's something that we can, uh, be able to turn over and give to someone else, uh, great too. So, um, that's just a little things in in blog writing that we like to be able to do. I know we we're running close in time of our goal on this podcast if we didn't mention it, is to try to keep this between 15 and 20 minutes. Um, so we, we'll talk about our last tip on Google and that's about buying, uh, Google search ads. Uh, that was our last tip that we wanted to give out today. So, uh, I'll let you go jump right into that one.
Yeah. So this is a big part of my job now. Um, it was not four years ago when I got started with all of this, but it definitely is now. I spend hours in Google every week now. Um, just updating ads and creating new ads and that kind of thing for our clients and for ourselves. Um, but if you're looking for that quick easy fix for showing up on Google search ads is the way to go. Um, there are billions of searches that go out every single day. And so people are on Google, they're searching, and so you wanna show up for those things. And, um, buying those ads is just a really surefire way to show up on those pages. You might not show up every single time somebody searches, um, but you will show up more times than not. And so it's just one way to like, kind of quick, it's a quick fix I
Call to the shortcut. Yeah. It's, it's the SEO is the long way. Is is the longear the one that's harder to earn and takes a little more time? Google ads are the quick way to make sure you show up at the top of the page.
Yeah. Well, and I mean, Google ads are so easy to jump into because they're, despite the fact that Google and Facebook all want us to spend all of our money there, uh, there's no minimum for Google ads. I mean, you can spend as little as $5 a day if you want to. Um, and that'll still get your name out there at least a little bit. So, I mean, it's just such an easy way to jump in and start advertising yourself with a, when you're budget, budget conscious and you know, as your business grows, if you can throw thousands of dollars at it, awesome. But if you have,
We've seen people get lots of great returns off of that. And in fact, we'll talk a little bit about that, I'm sure in some future blog posts about specific goals when it comes to Google ads and how you can use those to be able to reach your audience. And then of course, I mentioned at the top of the page, you're not guaranteed top of the page even when you pay for it. Right? Um, you could pay a lot of money and guarantee yourself on the top of the page, but Google kind of gives you those, those estimates when you're working with Google and they could tell you here's how much, like if for specific keywords that we need to be able to budget to reach that. And also how many times a day you could reach top of page based on that search too. Because just because you bought it one time doesn't mean you're gonna be able to show up there constantly throughout the day. And we've had clients before, they're like, why am I not showing up? Number one, I was like, well, stop searching for yourself. You're, you're ruining it, <laugh>,
Stop spending your own money. You're,
You're spending your own money and when you don't click on it, you're actually telling them that your adss not relevant. Yeah. <laugh>. So you're, you're hurting yourself just by doing that.
And honestly, I mean, just from a personal standpoint, like I very rarely click on like the number one spot mm-hmm. <affirmative> because something to me about like a business being such a try hard, like <laugh>, like trying, they,
They really want
This. Yeah. Yeah. Like it's just, I don't know, maybe that's a weird thing and I'm the only person that does that, but like, I'm usually like a two three spot like click clicker. So
Well sometimes like I'll be searching for something that I've already bought or, and I'm been trying to remember to get to it and I'll see an ad pop up for theirs and I'm like, I'm not gonna click on their ad because I don't wanna charge them money <laugh> because I know like, okay, I know it's gonna cost some money and I really want their ads to stop showing. For me also too, I'm already a client, I'm just gonna like bypass that and be nice and not right, not cause my own price that I'm paying for the service to increase Right. Because of that. But I know not everyone else is thinking about that.
But those are, that is definitely something that only we know is
Only marketing people would ever think about that. But so yeah, so one of those things, if you do search yourself, you probably should click on it <laugh> if you want to show 'em more often, but I know we, we promise you 15 to 20 minutes. I know we're getting close to that. So I'm gonna go ahead and wrap it today. I hope these three tips are useful to you. If you wanna read more specifically about what Lauren said, you can always visit dogwood media solutions.com. Click on the blog, you'll be able to find all of our information that we put out there. We're generally putting out between three and four blog posts a month. Uh, on there, uh, hopefully will help you to, uh, just to get some information and kind of see what we know and also be able to find tips that things that you could apply to yourself. Also to also to connect with us on social media, dogwood media solutions.com. That's the best place to go. You'll find links to all of our social media there. Lauren. Well thank you for being here, being my first guest. Yeah. And, uh, well wish you luck and hosting the next episode. In fact, you wanna go ahead and tell us a little bit about that
One? Yeah. So me and Beth will be with y'all next week. We're gonna be talking more about seo, um, but we're gonna talk about SEO versus s E m and what that means, what those letters mean. Cause there's tons of acronyms. And so Beth is gonna sh prove to you just how much of an expert she
Is. Well, I'm excited to hear that. Cause I won't be here to listen. I mean, I'll be, I will listen to the podcast. I won't be here when y'all actually record it. So, uh, I'll get to be the bystander in episode two, which is kind of nice. So, uh, we'll definitely remind you if you haven't already described to our podcast, if you'd like what we're doing, we want you to go ahead and subscribe and follow us and, uh, be able to get notifications every time. We you a new podcast. Right now our plan is to put this out twice a month. Uh, we have a, a schedule we're working on. We've got podcasts already planned for the entire year and hope that you'll stick around and, and hears that. So thanks for tuning in. Thanks for listening to us here on the Dogwood Media Solutions podcast.