Before you take a trip, do you look at a map? Everyone is a little different, some take the road less traveled, others map out every point on the path even planning stops by time and distance. Either way, there is some thought considered to the direction, time, and day of the travel. When you think about creating content for your business, the same methods apply. You might just “wing it” and throw some content out there under the guise that at least it’s done or you may create a content calendar, use a social media scheduling tool and precisely plan out the type of content and channel to communicate. No matter your method, you will need some fuel. You aren’t likely to jump on a long road trip with no gas in your car…so let’s spend a few minutes talking about search engine optimization (SEO), the fuel for your content.
Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website to users of a web search engine. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid or “organic” results and does not include “paid advertising” results. SEO can be broken down into two categories, on-page, and off-page. On-page SEO concerns all of Google’s ranking factors that they determine by directly looking at the page you try to optimize, such as your headlines, content, and page structure. Off-page SEO refers to all variables Google evaluates. These depend on other sources, such as social networks, other blogs in your industry, and the personal history of the searcher. There are different types of SEO, just like different types of gas for your car. If you put the wrong gas in your car, your car won’t run properly, or at all. The same goes for SEO. There are two common types of SEO, Black Hat, and White Hat.
Black Hat SEO is like putting diesel in your fuel tank when you only need regular. If Google thinks you are using the wrong fuel (black hat techniques) to fuel your website, they can ban your website not only from Google but from other search engines as well, i.e. you’ll receive the Do Not Pass Go and Go Straight To Jail card. Some “Black Hat” SEO techniques include Duplicate content, Invisible text, and stuffed keywords, Redirecting the user to another site or page, and links from the site with non-relevant content. Organizations that violate Google's guidelines on link schemes when the main intent is to build links in a large-scale way back to the website. There are many so-called “SEO Consultants” which use these techniques. Be Wary! There’s water in that gas and it will break down in a matter of time!
The other alternative is “White Hat,” like premium fuel, it’s good for your content and for the search engine rankings over the long term. Using premium, even regular, techniques, while not instant, will get you to your destination with fewer obstacles and on a safer path to success. Some “White Hat” techniques include posting relevant content, labeling your images appropriately, offering relevant links and references, writing complete sentences with good spelling and grammar, using standards-compliant HTML, and creating unique and relevant page titles.
Google wants to bring users value and like FedEx, deliver information quickly, reliably, and safely. Google has standards. It’s important that you create content that will inform users, educate another site’s audience or bring awareness to your cause or company.
One important consideration, like an additive to your fuel, is telling your story in static form. Did you know that 65% of the population are visual learners? Did you know that the human brain processes visual elements such as pictures, videos, and graphics 60,000 times faster than the processing speed of words or text? That means that you can kick it up a notch by using visuals to help communicate your story. Visual news and press releases help to establish expertise and drive brand awareness. Can you say infographic? Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge created to present information quickly, clearly and are used for sharing information and link building. Using infographics for SEO is the most recent and most effective technique used for social media. With help of quality graphics and informative data, you can create appealing infographics. Not a graphic artist, no worries!, software programs such as Canva were created for that exact reason and can help!
But you don’t feel like driving, so you catch a ride-share. That’s OK! There are some great SEO firms that provide useful SEO services. As a “best practice” look for the following offerings:
Review of your site content or structure
Management of online business development campaigns
Expertise in specific markets and geographies
But be wary, if it sounds too good to be true, it is! Here are a few helpful hints passed down from Google:
Be wary of SEO firms, marketers, and web agencies that email you out of the blue
No one can guarantee #1 ranking on Google
You should never have to link to an SEO
The SEO should be able to clearly explain what they intend to do
Provide a breakdown between organic search results and paid search results
The company has multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS information
The company has had domains removed from Google’s index or isn’t listed on Google
Practices that violate Google's guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your Google presence or even the removal of your website. The bottom line, know the kind of gas you are buying for your car. While several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results, Google doesn’t. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. Spend a few minutes researching and mapping out your travel, it’s the best way to get around the obstacles in the road and keep your company running the distance!
Interested in other topics or more details on SEO, Infographics, or Data Visualization? Reach out and let me know! Our goal is to be the fuel to help you market more efficiently and effectively! Understanding what essentials you need for your journey can help us to help you be better equipped! Next week we'll talk video..one of the top trends and likely here to stay. So fuel up, sit back and enjoy the journey!