Kate Toon has successfully built not one, but three businesses, and her name has become deservedly synonymous with SEO. As if that’s not enough, she also hosts the copywriter’s podcast: Hot Copy, created Australia’s first Copywriting Conference: The Clever Copywriting Conference (CopyCon), and in her spare time (how the friggin hell does she have any?!) writes books (her most recent is Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur), and she has appeared at events such as YoastCon, ProBlogger, WordCamp, The Artful Business Conference and Mother’s Den.
After following Kate Toon for many years, I felt incredibly privileged to meet and interview her last year for the networking group I was running. This is the moment when my respect for her as a businesswoman developed into a bit of a non-lesbian girl crush because she genuinely is a top chick! She’s warm, clever, funny, quick as a fox and happily knocked back a red wine almost as fast as me 😉
Naturally, when I then saw the next round of Kate’s The Recipe for SEO Success course come up, I pounced on the opportunity. Having completed the course, I’d love to share with you a) my 3 biggest learnings from the course (shared with Kate’s permission, of course) and b) my review of the course.
NOTE: I will add at this point in time that I am NOT affiliated with this course, nor am I getting any kickbacks! I simply thought this would be valuable information for anyone keen to learn more about SEO.
Learning #1: Technical Stuff.
This is where it all starts. Basically, there’s a whole bunch of elements of your site that need to be edited in order for Google to find you. I’m talking meta-tags, meta descriptions, image descriptions, understanding site speed and crawlability…the whole shebang. There’s a lot of it! Obviously, I can’t possibly cover it all in this one little article (and nor would I do it justice!) but all of this is one of the first things that is covered in the course. Boring? Not really, I actually found it pretty interesting as it’s explained in a simple way for non- techy people like me.
Learning #2: Producing great Content.
This is HUGE, this is where the rubber really hits the road. To get your business seen on google, it’s all about using the right keywords in the right ways. The course covers how to do keyword research to find the write keywords, then how to write “google friendly” copy.
And Kate’s biggest SEO tip?? Focus on your real audience. Stop laying gifts at the feet of the “Google gods” and shift your focus to producing high quality content to delight your audience.
Learning #3: Backlinks.
Ok you guys, this one is HUGE. Backlinking is like networking for websites. The more connections you create, the more credibility you gain and the more highly respected you are by Google (which in turn helps you rank higher). There is also explanations around citations (where your business is mentioned, but not necessarily a backlink) and why buying backlinks is NOT a good idea for your website.
This summarises (at a very, very high level) the main areas of content of the course – there are also sections on keyword research, analytics and measurement, local SEO, social media and ecommerce seo.
What did I think of the course?
Kate Toon’s reputation for SEO is completely justified, and her technical knowledge is fantastic! The Recipe for SEO Success is overflowing with information.
Not only is the content great but it’s presented in a very practical and accessible format with weekly exercises designed to implement your learnings as you go. Weekly group calls AND a Facebook group ensure you have ample touch points so you’ll feel well supported through the whole course.
My advice for anyone considering signing up.
- Follow her before you sign up. As I mentioned earlier, I would describe Kate Toon (who is very much front and centre at the helm of Recipe for SEO Success) as funny and warm…but I would also describe her as direct. Kate doesn’t pull any punches and she calls a spade a spade. As an example, she does “Toon Reviews” where you can volunteer for her to review your website. These are very helpful and full of practical advice, but also quick and to the point and she doesn’t soften her language. If this is something you’re not comfortable with, you may feel a little sensitive. Personally, I like honesty and a direct nature so this didn’t bother me, but I would suggest that you start following her, join her groups, or listen to her podcasts before investing. Not only will you learn a bunch just by doing this, you’ll get a good idea of her style and whether it will work with yours.
- Make sure you commit time for completing the course. To get the most out of the course, you need to make it a priority and allow ample time for completion. I chose to do this when I had a young baby and my business was keeping me busy with coaching clients. This meant I often had to miss calls for client work (or have to care for one or both of my kids), leaving me to fall behind in the content as early as week 2. Although I have lifetime access which I continue to use, to get the best bang for your buck I highly recommend working through the content with the group. The course is fast-paced and has heaps of content and the live support of Kate and other learners is invaluable. If I had my time again I would block out my calendar for the coaching calls and dedicate a half-day every week for coursework.
- Milk every minute! Be that guy (or gal) who asks those questions; don’t be afraid to clarify until you’re confident. Perhaps as a result of being a little behind on the work, I didn’t ask enough questions and I didn’t do enough exercises and keep up with my accountability buddy. SEO has the potential to really change your business so give this part of it the time and love it deserves.
Overall, I would say the course is fantastic and well worth the money. Remember, SEO (done properly) has the potential to hugely change the results of your business. I highly recommend it to my clients, and anyone else reading, or willing to listen to me harp on about it, to be honest!
To find out more about SEO and Kate Toon, join her Facebook group here.