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In Charge of Change: What is SEO?

 

You’ve probably heard the term SEO thrown around in a marketing meeting at some point, but do you really know what it means? Many don’t, and misinformation about SEO runs rampant throughout the marketing world. But despite this, SEO remains one of the most important, successful, returnable marketing tools today!

So, what is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is the process of altering your website through a series of content driven tweaks to raise your standing in search engine results along popular platforms like Google.

Why is SEO useful?

If you are a Dentist in the Orlando FL area, through optimization of your content, you can become the number one result shown when someone types “Dentist, Orlando FL” into Google. This would ensure that you would capture many of the leads coming through for this term on a daily basis. Often times, when looking for services such as those offered by a Dentist, consumers will perform an internet search to comb through vendors in their area.

Being listed at number one not only puts you in front of more pairs of eyes, but it instills a sense of quality in the minds of your prospective customers. Google is a very well respected company, and when they list you as the number one authority in your field, it is a stamp of approval that goes a long way for consumers.

How does SEO work?

Improving your SEO score is achieved through content. We live in the era of content, and when it comes to digital marketing, content is king. With SEO, this is no different.

  • To begin a successful SEO campaign, first you have to identify which key search terms you want to be ranked for. This is done through careful research. It’s important to target high volume terms that many people are searching for, that are also relevant to your industry. Google has a number of tools available to aid in this research, detailing the monthly numbers of searches by region for any key term you enter.
  • Once you have a plan of attack, adjust the content of your website so that it falls in line with your research findings. Consistently create new blogs and update your website’s information pages to include the key terms you want to be ranked for. Words, phrases, and relevant information need to be peppered throughout your pages, shining like a beacon on a VERY crowded street. When someone performs a search, Google’s bots crawl the web gathering information. Your content needs to stand out among the crowd.
  • These bots also check your site’s metadata, the descriptive information built into your site. It is important to have your metadata and title tags optimized. A common mistake that many people make is having a title tag that states who they are, and not what they do. Google already knows who you are. What it’s looking for when compiling search engine results is what you do. A title tag that says “Johnson’s Dental Associates” isn’t going to do much for you. But if your title tag reads “24 Hour Emergency Dentist Orlando FL Surgeon” then you’re letting Google know what you do, and that information goes toward your SEO ranking.
  • The final and most important step of the SEO process is backlink generation. This is the most time consuming and difficult piece. Google needs to see relevant websites linking back to you. Typically, SEO specialist marketing firms will submit link bearing content to a variety of directories in an attempt to have links published on various sites. Many companies attempt to cheat the system by creating dummy websites featuring links back to their main site, to trick Google into increasing their ranking. This worked…for a time. But Google caught on and now tactics like this will actually hurt your SEO score. Backlink generation and the time it requires is one of the biggest reasons to bring on a marketing firm to handle your ongoing monthly SEO efforts.

What about other Search Engines?

Yahoo and Bing exist. You can’t deny their presence, but their effectiveness is called into question. There are an estimated 1 billion internet searches per-day. A whopping 80% of these are Google. Bing and Yahoo cannot generate the traffic that a goliath like Google is capable of delivering. While some people do still use these secondary engines, it is in Google that we place the overwhelming majority of our SEO efforts. Think about this, you never say “I’m going to do an internet search.” You say, “I’m going to Google that.”

When can I expect results?

SEO is not an overnight process. There is no guaranteed timeframe for first page penetration, nor is getting onto the first page assured. Each case is different, and matters such as competition, key term search volume and more come into play. Typically, we estimate realistically seeing a return around the six-month mark.

Because of this, many companies choose to subsidize their SEO efforts with Google Adwords, a service offered by Google in which you bid on key words and pay based on the number of clicks you receive. Adwords begins working immediately, giving the SEO time to gain momentum. Then, once the SEO is providing return, Adwords can be phased out.

SEO is the future of digital marketing. We live in a Google search society, and as such, our standing in the world of SEO becomes more important by the day. SEO is not something you take on for a short time, and then abandon. It is a living breathing thing that must be nurtured on a consistent basis. It is laborious, time consuming, and at times frustrating. But it also can be lucrative, empowering, and rewarding in the long-run!

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