Podcasting For Beginners | Equipment, Show Development Tips

How Do I Find A Virtual Assistant? (What Should I Look For?)

by Crystal Waddell on Oct 12, 2022

outsource SEO tasks to a virtual assistants.

In our 19th episode of the Simple and Smart SEO Show, we're talking about hiring a "Unicorn" SEO assistant (not your average VA!).

Our Part 1 Takeaways are that business owners should give Virtual Assistants tasks that are measurable.

  • Tasks that VAs can help with include scheduling social media posts, drafting emails, and creating content.
  • SEO-specific tasks include updating Google Search Console and writing SEO Meta Descriptions and Titles.
  • Communication is key when working with a VA, and business owners should be clear about their expectations.
  • Business owners should track their time to see where they can delegate tasks to a VA.
  • SEO is the starting place for all of your content.
  • The BFF of SEO is time. Optimize your site and give it time to work for you.
  • Google Webmaster Tools lets you build your own tracking links.
seo assistants with emily reagan

Why You Should Hire a Virtual Assistant for Your Business

A virtual assistant (VA) can be a godsend for small business owners who wear many hats and don’t have the time or bandwidth to do everything themselves.

But what, exactly, can a VA do? And how do you know if hiring one is right for your business?

First, let’s start with what a VA is not. A VA is not an employee; rather, he or she is an independent contractor who provides services to clients remotely. 

This means that as the business owner, you are not responsible for payroll taxes, benefits, or other associated costs. You also have the flexibility to hire a VA for as long or short a period of time as you need.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about what a VA can do for your business.

When it comes to online businesses, there are three main areas where a VA can be extremely helpful: social media, email marketing, and content creation.

Social Media:

A VA can help you schedule and publish social media posts, interact with followers, monitor comments and messages, and even create social media graphics.

Email Marketing:

A VA can draft emails, create email lists, segment subscribers, and track metrics like open rates and click-through rates.

Content Creation:

A VA can help with everything from brainstorming blog post ideas to conducting research to writing and editing articles.

If you have a podcast, a VA can also help with show notes and transcription.

finding a virtual assistant that can help with SEO can be challenging

If you’re thinking about hiring a Virtual Assistant for your business but aren’t sure if it’s the right decision, hopefully this article has helped clear things up a bit.

There are many benefits to working with a VA—including increased productivity, more free time, and access to skills and expertise that you may not have in-house—so if you think hiring a VA could be helpful for your business, we say go for it!

Listen to our podcast for the full story on hiring a Unicorn SEO Assistant! 

Scroll to the bottom of this article for the audio version!

Episode Transcript: 

Simple and Smart SEO Show: Emily Reagan Transcript

Episode 19

And so when you track it, you can see, okay, scheduling on social scheduling emails. 

It's not that time consuming, but if you're thinking about where you want your business to be, when you're at capacity, when you are maxed out, when you're focusing on the money makers, you're not gonna be scheduling your email. 

Hello, and welcome to the simple and smart SEO show Where we provided tips and advice to improve your website’s search engine ranking. I'm Brittany Herzberg, SEO copywriter for holistic health and wellness pros who want to show up as the answer to a Googled question. 

And I'm Crystal Waddell, an e-commerce seller and content creator. I help business owners communicate the value of their products and services through content. So you can make more sales and grow your business.

 We are business besties who love learning and sharing what we've learned.

So what are we waiting for? Let's jump in. All right. 

So we have Emily Reagan here, VA extraordinaire, and we don't really know what to call you because you don't know what they call you, right? 

I struggle with this. I like to say digital marketing implementer, because I do a bunch of things in this space and I can change it at any point.

I love it. We're gonna do this. So one thing we love to ask. I personally geek out by asking all of our guests: how do you define SEO? 

Or like, what do you think of when someone says SEO? Oh, Well you, you ladies say it best here on this show, but it's how you get how your website comes up. 

When people search for their problems or whatever. So that's what I say. Like, how do you get, how do you get Google to pick your site in your page and your blog? That's amazing. I like that one. All right. 

So we're going to be, I guess I'm kind of like steering this at first, at least we're, I'm curious, just like I've never had a VA and everything that you ever talk about with like, having that support system, whatever kind of that looks like, how can they help us as business owners implement an SEO strategy? 

Okay. So real quick, before you jump into that, I just wanna tell you, I'm also very curious if you could touch on just really fast, like maybe like your top one or two mistakes that business owners make with VAs, because I know we're here to talk about SEO. 

Okay. But the only time I had a VA, it was an epic fail. Like she reached out to me and said,

Hey, I'd like to be your VA. And I'm like, dude, I don't have any work for you. And also, I don't know what I would give you, even if I did have work for you, because it's like all in my head. Right. But then I hired her anyway. And so then I'm trying to find stuff for her to do.

And I'm like, this is ridiculous. So yeah. I just wondered if you could talk about that too. Just a little bit. Okay. So what do you want me to answer first?

How about you do mine first? And that way we can roll back into SEO.

Is that Cool? Okay. Okay. So a lot of business owners struggle with hiring a VA and they always ask me, what do I give them? What do they do? 

And it's a confusing word because it's such a vague job title that doesn't really describe what they do. So the first thing to know about me is I stand anti-VA and I stand for using the job that they do.

So admin assistant, executive assistant marketing assistant, maybe they are specialized in a certain area and managing that from podcast to Pinterest, to YouTube, right. To blogging. 

So, if I teach in my course, being a digital marketing assistant, so being very well-rounded, which is why you have me on the show to talk about SEO. 

But I get a lot of people here who don't know who to hire. And the first thing I say is track your time. 

And I hate this. I hate this. I'm a big black kettle, but if you track your time, you will see what's sucking up your time. And for a lot of us, we are very capable of doing it on our own. And we find ourselves doing it. 

But there are little tasks that we can start getting that ball, going to be able to up level somebody within our team. And so when you track it, you can see, okay, scheduling on social scheduling emails. It's not that time consuming. But if you're thinking about where you want your business to be, when you're at capacity, when you are maxed out, when you're focusing on the money makers, you're not gonna be scheduling your email.

Like you want to be able to say, Hey, send it to this audience, send this email, go, I'm out. And same with social. I did this video now go, go post it. 

And so that's kind of how I like to say, like, think about those tasks that you would offload. The second you get really busy and the tasks that you hate doing that are not getting done for a lot of people in my world.

My background is PR. They hate pitching podcasts. It's not that they hate it. It just gets at the bottom of the stack. 

So if it's something that's not getting done, that's been on your dream list forever. Like get some help to do that. Like you don't necessarily need to be a pro podcast pitcher to do that. Someone on your team can.

So I think that's a good start. And then getting organized to be able to bring that person on, just recording how you do it, a loom video, there's now some new apps like tango, which will screenshot. 

There's another one, but they'll screenshot as you do the task and almost make the SOP for you. And then you can just say here, this is how I do it.

Like when I publish a podcast, I have someone on my team who does the feature image, does the, you know, Yoast plugin for me, copies and pastes the show notes. 

And like, there's a certain way we do that every week. And so that saves me a good hour and a half every week.

Right. And I can focus on something that will truly move my business. 

And here's the thing, 80-20 rule. We need to offload 80% of the tasks and delegate that and focus on the 20% that actually gets us results in our business. 

So a lot of times that's visibility. That's like your core services, anything that makes you money that only you can do 80%, the other stuff, hand it off, get some help. 

So hopefully that helps to gain that clarity around who to hire and how to get them started. Yeah. 

And I actually personally really like the idea of having the loom, where you're recording what you're doing instead of I was doing this last week with one of the podcast things. 

And I'm like,I probably spent like 60 to 90 minutes just drafting the workflow, which is helpful. And it's good. And like, I've always felt like I, like Crystal said, everything is in my head, so I can't go to somebody and like, let's sit down for a week and I'll tell you everything I do. 

So having those different ways to actually piece those things together to me is really intriguing.

Cuz I'm always about like, how can you even like gathering client testimonials, it's like, how can you make this easy for that other person or, and make it easy for yourself. 

You can record things. You can get screenshots. You can, you know, just to make a neighboring example of that. But this is, oh, it's so good.

Well, communication's really the key. I talk to a lot of business owners, friends who are like, I don't know what to give my VA. 

I'm like, ask. Talk because if they're a go-getter, they have things they wanna learn and do and start taking over. But that communication failure is what probably blocks most people and being clear with expectations, what you need when you prioritizing it. 

Cause I think we've all worked with clients who have shiny objects syndrome. 

None of us wanna be like that too. So just asking and figuring out what is that thing they wanna learn and how much time do they have. And most of our VAs, like what I like to do, are giving them a short term project.

Like this is what you do daily, weekly, and then here's a long term project. And you work on this when you have extra time, like this dream list will be realistic. 

This is a quarter rock to get done, but it doesn't need to be done by Friday. And then that way they can kind of always be like hustling for you.

That's so smart. So does SEO go into that long term list? 

I, well kind of cuz sometimes it doesn't feel like a burning fire. Right. 

But I have steps to make sure it's done right the first time. So I don't wanna go back and fix it. So I think that might be a hybrid now that you say that I have a new lady on my team and I just gave her for some reason, my site map got messed up in Google search console and I just had some podcasts that weren't indexed and I'm like, here's the list, go! 

And that's what she was doing. And I'm like, I don't need it done by Friday, but like, let's get it done. And so I have somebody kind of going over some of my blogs and just making sure my UTM links are right.

And the click through links are right. And that's again, long term. I love that. I was gonna ask you kind of how you have prioritized the SEO strategy, but you just gave some really good examples. I did. I jumped right into it. 

No, I love that. Perfect. Geez, Emily, how dare you read my mind?

And I just, I wanna clarify something real quick because we were, I was just speaking with this, about this with someone this week and Google search console and your indexing. And I think we talked about it a little bit before in one of the previous episodes, you can go into Google console and see which pages are being indexed or which pages are not being indexed.

And I think what Emily's speaking about here is that, you know, some important pages that she wanted Google to crawl and be found on and shown on the internet to people who are searching for that information, we're not being shown. 

So that is an interesting task. And I'm, you know, never really thought about that way, but that's a smart task to hand off to a VA because it's so measurable because it's like, okay here, make sure that you resubmit these to Google search console. 

And then I can see that they are now indexed. And that is to me the definition of a perfect SEO task to handoff to a VA, because you can see that it's been done, Plus you can only do what like 15 a day or something.

Right. Like you're limited in the quantity. So like give them a chunk of time and then they can just own it. Cause I don't have time to keep opening up these tabs and circling back. Like I want someone just to handle it, report back to me when it's done. And so that was on hers to space it out and you can't wait till the last minute and Google, you know, index like a hundred pages. 

It just doesn't work. So yeah. 

Do You feel like most VAs actually have a good understanding of SEO stuff? Or do you feel like you really need to look for, like, I know you even said the term VA, isn't your favorite? 

So how do you feel about that? Do you feel like someone needs to have special education?

I gotta tell you my story about why I even started my course. So I was working on a seven figure business owners team. I was there for seven years and I was doing her blog and a lot of her content. 

We kind of struggled with what my title was, but we kind of said like creative director, marketing director, and one of the first things I needed to offload was the blog.

We were very religious about blogging every week. It was a huge traffic builder. We were doing Pinterest and all of the things. 

And we hired somebody who looked like they had their act together. And when she's going to do the first blog, she's like, what's SEO again? 

And I just thought, and I wasn't in charge of the hiring, but I was like, oh dear Lord, like, you look like you're a social media queen. 

And I said this to her face and she knows who she is. And so I had to teach her, well, this is what I do for every blog, blah, blah, blah, blah. 

And as I did this, like this light bulb clicked with me and I'm like, Emily, I am giving away what took 10 years for me to piece together. Yeah. 

And SEO is the starting place for all of your content, right? Amen. Yes. Yes. 

So I reached that in my course to teach my digital marketing assistants because I was so upset with this like term VA and what it even meant. Like most people take a VA course and they just learn how to set up their business and get a contract and an onboarding process.

But like, no one's teaching how to do the work. 

So that's where I stepped in and got my idea. Yeah. And I feel like that's really interesting. I feel like your program is really holistic.

It is very much like we may be able to get into this, but it just teaches VAs. Like everything.

It's like, here's the playbook. Here's how you set up your business. Here's the skillset. But yeah. 

Crystal, I see your hand. Thank you. No, thank you, miss Brittany. No, what I wanted to say is I had to jump in on this rant just a little bit, because I feel like the people who teach about how to grow your online business, leave out SEO. 

And it starts rather than starting with the website and starting with an infrastructure for your own business on your own website, it starts on social media, you know, and what I think it was Laura Jawad  that was on here and she said, you know, stop creating disposable content. 

Yeah. And that really stuck with me because I was like, oh my gosh, like how many of us, you know, when we first searched, how to market my online business or grow my business online? 

All of these social media people pop up saying, oh, do this on Instagram and do this on Facebook and blah, blah, blah. Yeah. Nobody's saying build your SEO, build your foundation. You know? 

And I, it's frustrating. So as you said that I was just like, yes, yes, yes. That is, the mission here is to empower people with this knowledge. 

So, and to start where you are. Yeah. I've gotten so much work when I was a budding new VA from clients who had paid for this beautiful website, got it and didn't know how to access it. 

And then I would go in there and be like, there's no meta descriptions anywhere. And I like, what did you just pay for? Like this should even be part of that service. 

And so it was shocking. It was shocking to me. So when I first got the idea for my business and kind of stepped out into the limelight, it was 2018. 

I had a glass of wine, created my website real fast. Didn't even care about my branding colors or anything. 

First thing I started doing was blogging. I had no audience, no email list. And now, I mean, it is like three, four years later, I am reaping the rewards. Like my organic search traffic is 55%.

I'm getting like 5,000 a month on my little girl website. Like I'm competing with the big VA bosses out there. Those big coaches, we all know. 

And it is fascinating. Cause I just was like, I get this little snowball going and it's just like going bigger and bigger. And it's amazing. And I love it. But that's like that story drives home.

I always say that like the BFF of SEO is time, period. Like, you have to have the time, you have to have the intention and you have to give it time to actually work for you. 

Yeah. And you kind of have to keep feeding the machine. You have to keep doing the content pieces, but it doesn't have to be this big, scary, overwhelming thing. 

You can take like little pieces. You could write a really big post and then pull out some things for future blog posts. Yeah. Go Crystal. Okay. So I have to back up to a term that Emily used just a minute ago because we haven't talked about it on the podcast yet.

And I would love to get a breakdown yeah. Of this word or this acronym or this thing. And you mentioned UTM codes. Those things sound so scary. 

And I once created some, but I don't remember how I did it. So I was just wondering if you could tell us what they are, why they're important and, and kind of how you use them in your Business.

Just like the words SEO, I think UTM is even scarier and which is why all those like online gurus don't talk about it. But yeah, UTM links are just tracking, tracking links. 

There's a little bit of code behind them and they basically tell you if your marketing campaign is effective. So there are certain links you build and you can use the Google link.

You can use the Google link builder to create them. And I use those for all my outside sources. So if sometimes I'm lazy, like I don't always do it for Pinterest, but you know, my YouTube video, it has a UTM link. So I can track the sale back to that specific piece of content. And when you have an internal link it's you don't need to do the whole code.

I had my friend Ang Quinn, like teaching me a lot of this cuz I knew enough to be dangerous. And I teach my DMAs enough to be dangerous with SEO. But these like finer points, kind of like refinement over time, but I just do this internal link. And what it is is a question mark RF equals and then whatever that term is.

So if I have a blog that's linking to another internal page or sales page or something, I just do that. So I just posted a SEO written blog called six types of virtual assistance. Hmm. So inside I linked to my wait list. So that code says type blog. And so now I can see who landed on the waitlist from that blog,

you can get so granular and nerdy and it's amazing. Yeah. I'm geeking out. Love it. My head. Yes. Yeah. And the UTM codes that I created were for Pinterest, it was for a Pinterest client because I was working on different ways that I could track and show data and that type of stuff. 

But it was really grueling because I liked doing it as I was learning how to do it.

Yeah. And obviously forgot what I learned, but I did do it, you know, but I didn't realize that Google had a free tool. So that's really helpful. I know. Can you tell us more about that? 

Yeah. I'll give you the link for it, but you know, Google webmaster tools. I mean, they're always changing their names.

Do they even call it that anymore? I don't think Next Wednesday will be different. 

But that's one of those things that you can do for free. Like for years, a lot of people don't even know about Google search console, you know? 

So it's just one of those tools. I'll give you the link to do it. You can build your own and the reason you wanna do it on your own rather than Bitly. I'm not a hundred percent sure, but you can, it's really about the nomenclature. 

Like you have to be specific because you don't want all of your terms to be the same word you have to use dashes. You have to use lowercase, but it lets you filter things out. So I can filter out for social. I can filter out for speaking events.

I can filter out like this certain email and it's all kind of got a rhythm and I can totally put you in touch with my friend. And if you wanna go deeper into this because she'll build the Google data studio, the, the dashboards. 

Yes please. Yeah. Oh, I would love that. That would be amazing. Yeah. Yes. Hook us up.

Yeah. Google data studio is a whole nother thing that we haven't gone into. 

I've played around with it on a blog. And then when GA-4 came out, there was a really great e-commerce training for Shopify and connecting GA four because Shopify doesn't actually have a place to put in a GA-4 code.

Like the universal analytics code. There's a place for it. But Shopify we're like waiting, you know.

So they have like, there's no place to put it. So are you waiting for them to build it, to like give you a place to put it? 

Oh girl, please. No, I researched how to do it and then put the code in. But there is no magic spot to put it, which yeah. Like, you know how you remember how I was so surprised at Squarespace? 

Yeah. I was like, that makes sense.

Oh yeah. Because I had to do some research. I had to copy the code. I'm like, you know, I copied my theme, so I wouldn't just like Jack everything up, but still, you know, it's like, I've done a lot of changes to my Shopify store, even since I added that GA four code. 

So if I had to revert or something back to the pre GA four, I'm gonna lose all the changes that I had up until now. So, it's just one of those things where it's like, oh, until July, right. July, 2023. So maybe they'll fix it. Yeah. Cross your fingers. 

The only problem is that if we wait until that time, we won't have previous year data.

We won't access previous year data. So, and this, this year was so exciting because it was the first year that I could look in our Google analytics and see comparisons and do comparative analytics to last year. And it's like, yeah. 

And it was like, so reassuring because you know, in the summer times, things often slow down for a lot of businesses and we're no exception,

but we usually go on vacation in July. So this year we were home in July and I'm sitting there with my thumbs, like, oh my gosh. I'm just like watching the analytics board. Like somebody buys something, you know? 

Wow. But then as I look at the statistics, our growth year over year was still up.

It was just, this is the same as last year. This is a slower time. But you know, all is fine and, and finances, but it was just like, like, oh my gosh. 

But it was great to have those analytics to compare it to just a kind of reassurance. 

Oh my gosh. I have to tell you how my last launch went.

Cuz I had it all set up so I could track social. And I'm really having a lot of fun on social media right now. My, you know, I've done a lot of production and I'm having fun, but guess how many bills it brought me for my last launch, 0 0, 0, 0. Wow. And so what is this? 

Tell me, I don't need to waste my time, but I still like it, I'm loving it and I'm letting that go. 

And I know it's like a lateral thing for me, like it's peer networking, but what made both sales was my case study email. So What, tell me now I've, I'm adding two more case studies and I know Brittany is gonna like nerd out on that. 

I'm like, I know I'm resisting jumping up and down right now. Yeah, No. I mean that's. Yeah. 

And that's exactly how I feel with any of my social media, especially Instagram. I love doing the reels. I've seen your reels. They're so cute. They're so perfect. 

And I think that there's still a place for it because I think people do want to go check you out over there and see what you have to say.

And I think it's becoming less of like, what can I learn from you? And more about like, who are you? How do you actually help people? 

What does that look like? Do you value the same things that I value? And even just like making sure that you're going over there and having fun. It's so huge because people are going to pick up on that.

Whether you're like, you know, having the attitude of, okay, I guess I have to do this fine. Here you go. Here's the thing. Or I'm really enjoying this.

This is so much fun. You know, here's this thing that I did. And I think that that speaks volumes, but I also agree that it doesn't necessarily have to be something that we like to really focus on putting our energy behind. A hundred percent.

And when I'm maxed out, what do I need to stop doing? What do I need to stop doing? Take talk. Yeah. But that's it, I just consume them at that point. Oh my, I can't wait to post today’s reel. 

It's really funny. Will you please go check it out? Heck Yeah. I think you show up in my feed.

Okay, good. Like All the time. It's like my friends and then I always lose a couple followers. So I'm like darn you know, robotics. Oh, wow. You're just left with the good ones then. So Yeah. 

So when you say you're getting goose eggs from social and that includes TikTok and Pinterest and YouTube. Are you lumping those things in altogether?

Yeah. Okay. Let me tell you, let me tell you what's working cuz I'm just having fun with this conversation. So yeah, I make, I make the real, I make the real, but why does it pay off? 

It doesn't necessarily pay off on Instagram, but I use it on TikTok. It goes to Pinterest. It goes to YouTube.

What actually gets, what is getting traction right now? YouTube short YouTube. 

What's searchable on YouTube: Pinterest. I'm trying to wrap it up again. 

I did it for years for clients. I think it's hard. I kind of might have my own limiting belief with my like businessy, you know, topic. 

It's not as fun as the creative clients I've worked with, but at least it's going and we all know what shows up in Google search Pinterest and YouTube.

And yeah, I'm talking about idea pins, like just taking the, the ones where I'm teaching something and really like proving my, you know, authority and credibility and trying to use those sometimes a silly one. But I'm trying to be careful with the music.

That can be a little bit of an issue. Yeah. So It's, I might be creating it for Instagram, but like it's going everywhere and I can retarget people who watch them and turn them into ads. So it's like this huge circle. 

That's where my brain breaks. Cuz I have no, we talked about this on the episode with Ashley, but like I have zero experience with ads. 

And so I'm just like, okay, this is interesting. Well, let me tell you something. I was doing a big client's ad account in the spring and the client was like, oh they were copywriters. 

So they're overriding everything and just let me do my thing guys. Just let me do my thing. Guess what our best ad was.

You already know it was a case study. 

This feels like maybe you should start to like, this is becoming like a whole service for you. Like you add in those emails, add in those ads. But that's what people were reading. They wanted to read how she went from A to B. Yes, exactly. 

And that's what I think I must have,I literally came up with the idea for the case study stories because I woke up from a dream and I was like, oh, that's what I need to do. And I messaged Brenna right after Brenda McGowen and I was like, so I had this thought and I was like voxing her. I was like, I had this thought, what do you think?

And she's like, oh my gosh, it sounds brilliant. I haven't heard of anybody else doing it. So now I've totally leaned into it and I'm seeing it pop up everywhere else. Which, which doesn't give me the whole scarcity mindset. 

It's like, cool. Like this is proving that the idea it's Validation. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So thank you.

You're just validating my life all over the place today. Try. 

Okay. So just a quick follow up on the retargeting. 

So do you retarget on every platform or do you have a preferred platform of retargeting? I'm doing it more with Instagram and Facebook. I would love to learn YouTube ads.

I am doing some Pinterest retargeting because you can add your customer list over there too, but I'm just trying to get Pinterest going. I still have two big Pinterest clients I work with and it's like cobbler's kids. 

Like I don't wanna go do it for myself. I should probably hire that out, girls. 

Yeah. If you find someone let us know, I have people in my world, but you know, I'm like a big black kettle over here.

Yeah. I was like, yeah, there's gotta be a Pinterest assistant among the unicorns. 

You know? So yeah. I'm a few, I have a few, I can just see that that branding would be perfect. Like the unicorn with red and white. Okay. I'm done. 

Thanks for joining us today. If you like this info subscribe before you go.

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