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The Mystique of SEO

SEO-mystiqueIt seems like SEO is big business these days – it’s the “buzzword” de jour! With more and more SEO consultants, online SEO experts, SEO packages, SEO promises, and SEO professionals popping up every day, I find myself and many of my clients bombarded with the pointed message: “Your business will die without proper SEO” (I am paraphrasing of course).

With many web companies, online providers and marketing companies all providing SEO, how are you to know which one is offering the right SEO for you? Should you buy that SEO package online or use the consultant from that SEO Company everyone is talking about? I certainly understand all the SEO confusion that exists in the marketplace.

SEO by its shear nature is continuously evolving which is why there seems to be a mystery around what it is exactly. Let’s demystify it: SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, plays an important role in your customer’s research and buying cycle. It attracts potential buyers to your website through critical and relevant keywords and phrases ranked high in search engines where searchers are already looking for information about them. SEO is about being where your customers are, and directing them towards solutions you offer them.

SEO is so important, in fact I would say it is absolutely essential to helping you grow your online business, but like other marketing tactics, SEO needs to be part of your marketing strategy.

A good marketing strategy will provide an indication of which marketing tactics should specifically target your audience. The tactics will complement SEO and in combination, strengthen and reinforce each element to grow your business exponentially. To be clear, SEO alone (i.e. without brand awareness, and a strategy) cannot help you reach your highest marketing potential.

How much you should invest in SEO, what type, and who implements, are great questions for a discussion to have with your trusted marketing agency or advisor. Although they may not be SEO experts, they should be able to help you understand why you need it, what type of investment you might be looking at, and point you in the direction of a professional SEO specialist.

Does your marketing agency provide you with SEO services? What type of successes have you had with your SEO? How long did it take for you to see results? What investment have you made? I look forward to your comments below.

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Online Marketing: How To Get Found

The phrase “If you build it, they will come”, may have worked in Field of Dreams, but in online marketing, we must build something, and create the avenues that help us get found.

In previous blogs, I’ve outlined some marketing approaches and the importance of knowing what to look for, what marketing tools you might require and what social media you might use on the journey to increase brand awareness and grow revenue. In this blog, I’d like to get back to basics and outline what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) activities are, and how they can help you to attain your online marketing goals.

The term SEO is frequently bandied about for show, these days, but let us never forget what it really means:  the process of improving the visibility of your website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural,” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”), search results. (Wikipedia)

SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by targeted audiences.

The goal is to increase your SEO to achieve the highest possible rankings for searches that are relevant for your business.  In simple terms, you want people to find you by typing certain words into Google or Yahoo or Bing.

Here’s some tips to help you better navigate the world of SEO.  If you need some more clarification on how best to increase you SEO, consult with a marketing agency you trust to advise you on the best strategy for your business.

1. Get indexed

The leading search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, use crawlers to find pages for their algorithmic search results. Search engine crawlers may look at a number of different factors when crawling a site. Not every page is indexed by the search engines.

Crawlers cannot read Flash sites.

2. Increase prominence

A variety of methods can increase the prominence of a webpage within the search results.

  • Cross linking between pages of the same website to provide more links to most important pages may improve its visibility.
  • Keywords
    The language of the search engines is keywords. Based on the words or phrases searchers use, search engines determine the most relevant fit and rank results accordingly. Writing content that includes frequently searched keyword phrases, so as to be relevant to a wide variety of search queries, will tend to increase traffic.
  • Meta data
    Adding relevant keywords to a web page’s meta data, including the title tag and meta description, will tend to improve the relevancy of a site’s search listings, thus increasing traffic.  Use your keywords properly in your page titles, page headings and alt tags (image descriptions).

3. GO BEYOND YOUR SITE

Search engines give significant weight to what happens beyond your web site. This is often referred to as off-page SEO. Updating content so as to keep search engines crawling back frequently can give additional weight to a site. The premise is that they place more trust in how credible you are to others, versus how you present yourself.  Off-page SEO means web sites, and other sources, directing (linking) interested parties back to you. The greater the number of credible back links to your web site, the higher your search engine ranking.

4. USE SOCIAL MEDIA

As with off-page SEO, the search engines place more weight on how you are perceived online.  Social media is another opportunity for your site to be indexed and increase your rankings. Social Media influences search engine rankings, so keep up the frequency of your posts. The more you post, the more there is to index, and the higher your rankings.  Search engines also take into account any content created or accessed by people in the searcher’s social network.Search engine optimization is something you need to take seriously if you want increased visibility and more inbound leads: build it, create the avenues, keep it fresh and they will come!

Have any SEO questions or stories you’d like to share?