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Tag : Search Engine Optimization

SEO for Amateurs: What, How, and Why

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16Jul

If your brand has a website, you have probably heard of SEO. This concept is frequently mentioned, but rarely discussed in lay terms. What is it? How does it work? Why should you care? We’re here to break it down and help you understand how to make it work for you. 

The What

Search Engine Optimization (a.k.a., SEO) is the process of optimizing the content of your website for search engines (shocking, we know). People rarely look past the first few pages of search engine (let’s be honest, of Google) results, so the closer your website is to the top of that first page , the better. SEO is considered “organic,” in that you are not paying a search engine for your rank. 

The How

Ask yourself how much you really want to know about SEO, because there is a lot of information to unpack here. At first glance, SEO might appear to be an ice berg: small on the surface, gargantuan beneath the waves. In reality, SEO is more like an ant hill: it looks simple enough above ground, but that unassuming mound of dirt hides an extensive and intricate network of tunnels guarded by hordes of zealous soldiers.

What we’re trying to say is this: SEO is surprisingly complicated. Here is a very brief, very broad overview of SEO mechanics.

Search engines (almost all of them, anyway) index sites using crawlers, computer programs that continually browse the internet. As crawlers travel the world wide web, they index and catalog all of the information they find. The search engine’s algorithm then sorts the findings according to two criteria: relevance and popularity. Relevance is influenced by myriad factors, including external links, meta data, and citations. Popularity is a factor because the algorithm–much like middle school students–assumes that popularity is a good indicator of value. (Generally, that holds true.)

You optimize your search engine rankings by incorporating keywords and key phrases into your website and content. How do you know which words are key? Well, what are the most common search terms used by your customers? What do people type into the search bar when they’re looking for your industry, product, or service? Some of this seems like it would be common sense (for example, a gluten-free bakery would use keywords and phrases like “gluten-free,” “gluten-free ingredients,” “celiac,” et cetera), but there are other aspects that you might miss (e.g., there is often an overlap between gluten sensitivity and other dietary restrictions). Most people use keyword research tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Keyword Explorer from Moz. SEO is more than stuffing your website with keywords and calling it a day. You must carefully integrate keywords into your content.

By the way, remember the ant metaphor? Much like the angry soldier ants who fiercely protect their queen and kin, Google doesn’t play. If there are indications that you’re gaming the system (keyword stuffing, manipulating back links, or any other black hat nonsense), you will be penalized. The algorithm won’t literally attack you, but you’ll lose rank. There is no appeals process, either: the only way to regain your standing is to reform your SEO practices.

The Why

There is no logical reason to abstain from SEO. A well-designed website is using at least a few keywords anyway–the process of SEO just ensures that the best keywords are being used. A brand has no excuse to avoid this powerful tool.

Need help with your SEO? Yeah, you do. Contact us today for a free consultation!

 

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SEO V.S. Social Media Marketing: What’s The Difference And What Marketers Need To Know

Go-Agency-Blog-Template-1-200x300
10Dec
When people begin to research online marketing, they quickly realize that two terms seem to dominate most conversations – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). In fact, these two are used so much that it can make someone’s head spin, especially if they’re not entirely sure of the difference.

To start things off, let’s establish some definitions.

Search engine optimization is a process which allows a web page to appear in the most viewable placing possible in search engine results. For example, if someone looks up “fishing supplies” on Google, Bing, Ask, AOL, or Yahoo, they will get a list of related web pages that feature fishing supplies. Businesses that incorporate SEO strategies will, in theory, appear above others.

Social media marketing, on the other hand, is a tad bit different. Entirely different, actually. This method allows businesses to not only appear in search results on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest, but it also allows them to interact with customers through a variety of avenues. Marketers can represent their brand via profiles and pages. They can also share a constant stream of original and curated content, similar to an individual’s activity on these platforms.
We may be tempted to ask ourselves which one is better. SEO or SMM? Well, these two are not competitors. Instead, they cater to completely different aspects of the online marketing industry. The two are essentially completely different crafts despite contributing to the final product of increased online visibility.
That being said, social media marketing contributes to online marketing efforts in ways that SEO, in its nature, cannot. Here are the top advantages social media has over SEO:
  1. Immediate customer and audience communication. Businesses on social media have the ability to respond to customers who are trying to reach out via messages, tagging, tweets, etc. After all, it is social media.
  2. The ability to send out constantly fresh and updated content. SEO allows you to be in the spotlight in search engine results. Social media allows you to be in the spotlight of social media news feeds. The average Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram user checks their feeds multiple times a day, thereby increasing your chances of getting engagement.
  3. Quick personalization and “damage control.” Are there negative comments about your business on social media? No problem. You can immediately respond to the “crisis” in a positive and professional manner. Does a negative comment pop up on search engines? You’re in for quite a headache.
  4. The benefits of “peer reviews” and user-generated content. People like to read reviews from their fellow consumers. While places like Angie’s List and Yelp are helpful for this, social media is one of the most popular places for reviews and offers a special advantage – companies have the ability to respond and tell your side of the story, whether the review is positive or negative.
  5. Considerably less expensive promotional options. Social media isn’t completely free if you want to be successful. Facebook advertisements, for one, is a very helpful albeit paid service. Still, social media promotional services may prove to be inexpensive when compared to premium SEO options.
We don’t do traditional SEO, as it takes quite a while to be effective, whereas social media takes 4 to 6 weeks to really take off. It is also quite costly. With SMO (social media optimization) we get people to your site via PR, targeted relationship building, social media advertising, and strategic use of keywords, hashtags, and algorithms.
Now, there is one bridge to connect these two worlds and that is Google+. By posting social media content on this platform, your SEO rankings will be improved on Google via the keywords you used in your updates. Google is by far the most popular search engine and offers this helpful solution to have best of both worlds.
When it comes down to it, SEO is a visibility tool. SMM is a communication tool.

There is a place for SEO. No smart online marketer would say otherwise. It can help service-based businesses show up when people are searching for solutions. However, SEO in no way replaces social media marketing. By representing your business on Facebook, Twitter, and the other platforms, you’re essentially giving your customers the opportunity to benefit your company by tagging your business, giving 5-star ratings, sharing your posts, and much more. It’s a completely different marketing animal, and one that is proven essential for online brand awareness.

Contact us today to start your social media marketing journey!

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