Being #1 in Search: The Art and Science of SEO

Search engine optimization. ‘S-E-O.’ You’ve heard these three letters thrown around more than ‘synergy’ in a Silicon Valley boardroom. Maybe you’ve even had your website, social media profiles or your online business listings optimized.

Some call it an art; others say it’s a science. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll know it’s both. Whether you realize it or not, every search you make on Google, every post you share on Facebook and every blog you read or write are all fueled and curated by SEO. But really… what is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO is what Google says about you when you’re not in the room.

SEO encourages information-and-answer aggregators like Google and Bing to find and index your site, hopefully on the first page – ultimately leading to organic (unpaid) visits to your website.

Using complex algorithms, these search engines crawl the internet and make determinations about things like the topic of the page, the quality of the information/source, relevance to the subject and more.

Using these as well as hundreds of other factors, a search engine determines where your webpage deserves to rank relative to other pages with similar keywords.

To put it simply, without SEO, you're never going to 'pop up.'Click To Tweet

How do you ‘do’ SEO?

The first step? Make sure your content is valuable and relevant to your consumers! If you aren’t answering the questions at the tips of their tongues, you are already missing the boat.

That’s where we start: we create huge volumes of content for our clients, from press releases, to blogs and LinkedIn articles, to social media posts, to video and images. Every bit of it forms part of our strong foundation for SEO. Every word counts; every one of your company’s social profiles, webpages and news articles is connected, and works together to position you online.

Once that foundation is in place, there are hundreds of techniques that can be employed to grow your website’s SEO prowess. Some companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on multi-pronged strategies to maintain their top placement in search. A few of our favorite tactics:

  • Social Optimization
    • The modern-day internet has been built upon the backs of social media giants – and their SEO leverage is not something to be forgotten. Incorrect information accidentally left on Facebook or LinkedIn could end up making its way through to Google My Business, leading customers to wrong or broken links, or just straight-up confusing Google as to what your business really is. Putting the SEO aspect aside, a poorly optimized social profile just isn’t a good look. Built on a solid foundation, though, social media is a critical component of any company’s public outreach.
  • Barnacle SEO
    • Like a barnacle on the side of a giant ship, this technique refers to ‘latching on’ to SEO giants in the keywords of your choice. Creating a digital relationship between yourself and websites that rank heavily for your desired keywords is one way of signaling to Google: “Hey! I’m a great resource for this term!” You may never be able to get your website to rank higher than an industry blog, social network or Wikipedia page, but we can make sure users who visit these websites see your brand being linked, mentioned or discussed.
  • Backlinks
    • This is one place press releases come in handy. When websites share your content, write about your initiative and then link back to your website, this gives Google a good understanding of what your website is about and what types of people will be interested in it, based on the websites where the release is shared.

Can’t you just pay your way to the top of Google?

Maybe – but don’t expect great results. SEO expert Moz claims that while 66% of general searches result in a click, only 3.4% of searches result in an ad click. That’s a lot of time, money and effort spent on developing ads for a minuscule amount of your population. Before initiating any advertising strategy, be clear about what you hope to achieve from your investment – and measure accordingly.

There are no shortcuts to dominating search.

Search engine optimization is a key part of every campaign we operate; but there is no one-size-fits-all approach. We customize a strategy based on each client’s goals and budget, and usually that means taking it in steps. First, do your online properties tell your story well and in the right words? Do they work together? Are they aligned? Do you update them and post on a consistent basis?

Once we have a lively social media presence up and running, we sometimes partner with experts in a particular SEO tactic. The field is so multi-faceted, no one company does it all! And it is constantly changing, so it takes agility and creativity to stay relevant and keep in close contact with your audiences.

Like we said… it’s an art and a science.

 

Lead Digital Strategist, GillespieHall. Content Writer & Manager. Social Marketer. Photo-Journalist.

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