SEO: An Essential Ingredient for Internet Marketing Success
In my role as a member of the Epicomm staff, I field a lot of questions from members. Usually they are pretty standard like how do I add an employee so they receive posts from the Epicomm community site? Or, can you help me with my username and password. But the questions I enjoy most are the challenging ones like the one I received last week from a company in New Jersey that is considering joining Epicomm (hopefully will be a member soon). This particular company specializes in Point of Purchase Displays among other things and they reached out to Epicomm for a referral of a company that sets up Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns.
I had heard of Google Adwords and had actually created a campaign a few years ago, however I’m certainly not in a position to offer any expert guidance. But I immediately thought of the experts we use for all things marketing (mah-ket-ing in John Foley Speak) – interlinkONE/Grow Socially (http://interlinkone.com andhttp://growsocially.com). VP of Marketing, Donna Vieira explained “we do a lot of SEO and Adwords work for our fulfillment and print clients.”
I had heard the term SEO and knew what it stood for but really was curious why Epicomm members need it. So I turned to my brother for help while recently visiting him and his family in Atlanta since he runs a small digital marketing communications company (www.digimarcom.com) which specializes in helping firms improve their SEO. So he gave me SEO 101 below:
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of optimizing websites for better visibility (rankings) on search engines (such as Google, Bing and Yahoo). It is different than online advertising (pay per click campaigns) because its purpose is to attract visitors to your website from the “free,” “organic,” or “natural” search results on search engines.
Basic search engine optimization (SEO) is fundamental. And essential. SEO will help you position your website properly to be found at the most critical points in the buying process or when people need information on your site.
Although social media and other types of traffic can generate visits to your website, search engines are the primary method of navigation for most Internet users.
What Should Be My Goal, Exactly When it Comes to SEO?
The goal of essential SEO is not to cheat or to “game” the search engines. The purpose of SEO is to:
- Create a great, seamless user experience.
- Communicate to the search engines your intentions so they can recommend your website for relevant searches.
Four Basic Benefits of SEO
While rankings are an important part of SEO, they are not the goal in and of themselves. Too many people look at rankings and think “I’m losing X amount of business because I’m not ranked #1.” This may or may not be true. Different rankings produce different bounce rates. It’s important to understand that rankings don’t make sales, they just provide a way in the door, and those that come in at #1 may not be as ready to buy as those that come in at #5.
Once you start getting rankings, even for low-volume but important keywords, you’ll start to see your visitor count rise. Again, this is good, but not the ultimate goal you’re trying to achieve unless you get paid on a cost per impression basis.
This is the big goal. The end-all, be-all purpose of search engine optimization. SEO is more than just helping you get rankings and drive traffic to your site. It should also help you increase your conversion counts and percentages. A conversion can be anything you want it to be – a comment on your blog, a download of a white paper, a follow on twitter, or a purchase of a product. It’s important to know what your conversions are so you can set your optimization goals to help achieve them.
In addition to making content available to search engines, SEO also helps boost rankings so that content will be placed where searchers will more readily find it. The Internet is becoming increasingly competitive, and those companies who perform SEO will have a decided advantage in visitors and customers.
What Search Engines Are Looking For
Search engines want to do their jobs as best as possible by referring users to websites and content that is the most relevant to what the user is looking for. So how is relevancy determined?
- Content: Is determined by the primary messages that are being given, the text on the page, and the titles and descriptions that are given.
- Performance: How fast is your site and does it work properly?
- Authority: Does your site have good enough content to link to or do other authoritative sites use your website as a reference or cite the information that’s available?
- User Experience: How does the site look? Is it easy to navigate around? And now – more important than ever before– is the site mobile-friendly (does it provide a user-friendly experience on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets)?
And during my visit with my brother, he told me Google had recently announced that companies without mobile friendly sites would see a drop in their rankings beginning next month. So all that hard work to improve their SEO could be lost since they didn’t invest in the technology to make their site mobile friendly.
We all agree this mobile stuff is growing at a fast clip http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/28/technology/mobile/mobile-apps-internet/index.html And for those that still think their customers (or potential customers) are not searching for them on a mobile site, you should review this article http://seoexperts4all.com/mobile-has-taken-over-desktop-when-it-comes-to-using-internet/.
So, after this experience I learned a lot about SEO. Something I didn’t think I would ever need in my skillset. But if it falls under a tangible benefit of membership, or something more intangible like SEO, give us a call and let us try to help. I’ve always been a believer that your success is our business. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help you get more value from Epicomm. You can contact me at Tyler@epicomm.org or via mobile at 703-943-6909.