SEO Guide for the Uninitiated

No online marketing strategy would be complete without incorporating SEO as a key element. Due to the perpetuation of misinformation and SEO firms only looking to make a quick dollar, many are reluctant to invest marketing resources in SEO efforts. As the internet continues to grow in size and scope, companies who don’t consider working with an ethical SEO company to optimize their search engine presence are hurting themselves.

Much of the negative sentiment surrounding SEO is due to the false assumption that the end goal of optimization efforts is high search engine rankings of certain keyword phrases. High rankings are only a means to an end, however, not an end in and of themselves. All effective SEO campaigns should increase the number of visitors to a website and more importantly increase sales or conversions. To accomplish this effectively, you must figure out the keywords that potential customers search for when researching or buying the products and services you sell.

That is why keyword research is essential to laying the groundwork for an effective SEO campaign. Before developing your on-page and off-page optimization strategies, you should gain a full understanding of the keyword environment you’re targeting. This includes researching keyword search volumes, search trends, keyword commercial value, and the intent of searchers using these keywords. This knowledge will enable you to craft a strategy focused on improving your rankings for keywords that will deliver increased traffic and conversions to your website.

Once you’ve finished researching your target keywords, any comprehensive SEO strategy must incorporate 3 elements: a) Onsite code, tags, and structure optimization; b) Relevant, unique content creation; c) quality link development. You can find all kinds of expert advice, secret tips, and lengthy books out there on SEO, but when all is said and done, pretty much every SEO practice fits into 1 of these 3 categories. If your SEO strategy doesn’t involve all 3 of these elements in a cohesive fashion, your results will fall short of expectations.

Because many companies are skeptical of SEO, they often choose to focus on PPC for their internet marketing efforts. PPC can definitely be an effective tool, but for the most part, SEO will generate more value over the long term. This is because working with a quality SEO firm allows you to build an asset that will continue to yield visitors and conversions after your SEO campaign is finished. SEO vs PPC can be compared to buying a house vs. renting an apartment. While buying a house may necessitate a more significant financial and time investment up front, it becomes an asset that with proper upkeep will increase in value. You should remember that like all infrastructure, online properties need consistent upkeep to maintain and enhance their value.

As social media (Web 2.0) websites have become increasingly widespread and popular, it’s more important than ever that online marketing strategies involve social media marketing in addition to SEO. With the plethora of social media utilities, the thought of generating blog posts, tweeting, setting up a Facebook page, etc. can seem a bit daunting at first. Social media campaigns can definitely become very complex, but you can start with something as simple as a blog on which you post answers to frequently asked customer questions. Social media’s value stems from its power to strengthen customer relationships, listen to what others are saying about you, and develop your brand. As with SEO, social media strategies should be developed so that all aspects work cohesively together.

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