SEO and marketing

Simple ways SEO can inspire marketing strategy

How much does SEO really matter?

Good SEO is essential to businesses in niche markets. The smaller the segment of the general population who wants to be your customer, the more important SEO becomes. If I’m selling vanity license plate covers, anyone with a car could be my customer. If my vanity license plate covers say, “Jeff is a star!” I better make sure my ads only end up in front of people named Jeff.

 

Whether your service area or clientele are limited, your SEO strategy should cater to the keywords that will help your audience find you. Imagine that your ideal customer, who has never heard of your business before, finds your website. What terms and searches would they be using and what part of your site might they end up on? If 100 new customers found your website, how would the majority of get there? What other things might they have been searching?

 

Insufficient facts always invite danger

Having analytics on your website can be a gamechanger when answering these sorts of questions. Using analytics requires putting a section of code in your website that sends information to an analytics software. They can get you stats like what time of day your website gets the most traffic and from which geographic locations. You might find out that a big chunk of your new traffic comes from a backlink (someone who links to you) you weren’t aware of. Popular, inexpensive softwares like Google Analytics make this kind of data fairly accessible to anyone who can watch a tutorial or two.

 

Some blogging platforms have integrations that make installing tracking software even easier. Check out the help section of your blogging platform to see what they recommend. While you’re there, some blogging platforms have built-in SEO tools or plug-ins for their customers. Some lay out step by step instructions for you. You pay for the tools anyway, might as well use them!

 

Researching your competitors is an often-forgotten part of SEO. Understanding your competition in your segment of the industry can inspire your messaging strategy. Businesses that stand the test of time find ways to differentiate themselves from “the other guys” (like literally branding them as “the other guys”).

 

Make the big moves

After a few weeks or months of developing your Domain Authority, you can use it to open up whole other segments of business. For instance, if your business wants to expand to offer another service, you can alter your website’s metadata description to include it. This lets all your digital visitors know that both services are offered. You might find that traffic for certain services is located in certain geographical areas and be able to zero in on new segments of clientele.

 

Here at Avant8, we eat SEO for breakfast, with a serving of fruit and Monster Energy. We partner with our clients to develop SEO strategy that works. Our content team writes blogs, web copy, and social posts that bring in organic search traffic. If you’d rather put this stuff in our hands, get in touch with us!


SEO and social media

Social Media + SEO: the connection

If you have escaped the realm of social media … you’re a rare one and, perhaps, lucky? With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping us isolated, social media feels like, more than ever, like a gift and a curse. When used properly, social media can be fun for personal use or very beneficial for professional use. Using social media for professional use can be quite daunting no matter what kind of business you have. Professionals need to know the ins and outs of social media to win the game. The “ins and outs” of social media should always be linked to SEO (search engine optimization) because a solid understanding of it can help boost your online presence. Sure, you may understand social media, but do you understand SEO? Do you understand the connection between the two? If not, Avant8 is here to help! We have an entire team of SEO gurus that help our clients get views for their content and strengthen their social media presence. Here is a snippet of what our team knows to be important about the connection between social media and SEO.

 

Social Media is …

This is a basic point, but a very important one. Social media platforms are websites or apps that allow users to create and share content as well as participate in social networking. There are hundreds of different social media apps and websites. Often, they are both a website and an app for use on a smartphone. Some of the more popular social media outlets include Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, TikTok, Pinterest, etc. Choosing which social media outlets to participate in depends on the consumer you’re trying to reach. Sites like Pinterest or Tumblr are often deemed more casual outlets whereas LinkedIn and Instagram will be a bit more professional. If your customers or clients are very young, they may gravitate towards Tik Tok, whereas older folks tend to prefer Facebook.

 

SEO is …

SEO is an important factor when running a business. Search engine optimization is, in simple terms, a process that increases how visible your content is to search engines. Basically: SEO tells search engines to put your work in front of the consumers you want.

 

The Connection

Now we know what both SEO and social media are; What is the connection? Our resident SEO expert here at Avant8, Tedd Vinson says, “Social signals are a factor for SEO. Google will check your social profiles to see how many followers and how active you are on social media. It may not officially be listed as a factor, but many SEO experts agree that there is a correlation between keeping social media active and growing your followers with search engine rankings.”

 

So, in short, the more social following you have and the more active you are, the more you will show up in a search engine.

 

Whether you own a small or big business, social media and SEO are key to your success. You can go at it on your own and see what you can learn about SEO and your social media or, perhaps, you can hire a person/company (cough … Avant8 … cough) to do it for you. Get in touch with us through our contact form to learn how Avant8 can increase your business’ visibility. You can also learn more here about how we're updating our SEO practices to reflect social distancing.


SEO's importance

SEO in the time of social distancing

It’s a little bit cliché to say that we are in crazy times right now… But we’re in pretty crazy times right now. COVID-19 has everyone going through their daily lives in very different ways. Those who can, are working from home. Waiting in line at the grocery store like it’s Disneyland. Eating in a restaurant not really an option.

People are turning to the internet for things they would normally get out in the real world. This means that small businesses have to be even more present online. Customers can’t come into your store or office looking for your goods and services. So, you need to make sure that you are coming to them. Well, to their computer that is.

This all means that not only is your website more important than ever, but so is your SEO. Marketing people and web developers have probably thrown this word around or even at you without ever explaining what it is. I’m not going to do that. Not only am I going to define SEO for you, I’m even going to give you some tips on how to increase it.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It refers to where you show up if someone googles your business or keywords associated with what you do. If your site shows up on the first page, you’ve got good SEO. If it shows up as the first result, you have amazing SEO. Unless you have a very niche business, getting amazing SEO isn’t easy. However, getting good SEO is within reach.

How to SEO your website

Keywords
There are a few ways to build up SEO. One of the main ones is to know your keywords. What do you want people to search that will pull you up? If you’re a restaurant, your keywords are probably going to be more focused on the kind of food you make or maybe the atmosphere of your restaurant. If you’re in retail, your keywords are going to be in relation to what you sell.

Fresh content
Once you identify your keywords, SEO gets a bit easier. At that point, you can start on your content. In descriptions of your products and services on your site, try to include those keywords (where it makes sense of course; describing a burger as “family-friendly” doesn’t really work). If you can, write some blogs about what you do. For example, if you sell handmade jewelry, write 1000 words on what’s trending in the jewelry world. Another example, just as a crazy hypothetical: if you’re a digital marketing company, you may want to write a blog about SEO and why it’s important. Again, that’s just a hypothetical. In these blogs, you can use your keywords a few times and the search engines will pick up on that, bumping you further up the list.

An important thing to remember: if you are going to be putting blogs on your site, you need to be sure that they are up to date. Search engines prefer information with recent dates over something that is a few years old. Make a new blog post at least once a week if you can. Keep your content current and topical.

Content featuring keywords is good, but content writer beware, too many uses of a keyword can hurt you. Search engines don’t trust sites that are clearly trying to cheat the system. If you have a blog or description that uses your keywords over and over again, search engines might skip past it, thinking of it as spam. Plus, your customers won’t like it too much either because it’ll be hard to read. Be smart in your usage. Don’t use the keyword you’re focusing on 100 times in a 1000-word blog post.

Indexing
Another way to help with SEO is to alert the search engines to your presence. This is done pretty easily. All of the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) have ways for you to submit your site’s details to them. This doesn’t guarantee that you’ll rank highly in their searches, but it always helps to make them aware of you.

Meta descriptions
Meta descriptions and alt-text can help bump your SEO as well. Let’s talk about what these are for a minute, because if you are not the technologically inclined, they probably just sound like Transformers. You know when you google something, and the results have brief descriptions in gray text? That is a meta description. They give the searcher a little preview of what is on your site. They aren’t wholly necessary. If you don’t have a meta description, the search engine will just pull out whatever information seems relevant to the search. But just because they aren’t necessary doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. Having meta descriptions make your site seem more professional and search engines like that.

Alt tags
Alt tags are for images. They are brief descriptions of what the picture is. This is a perfect opportunity for keywords! Selling some lotion and have a picture of the bottle? Make your alt tag “high quality lotion.” Have a picture of people laughing for your blog post titled “How to make people like you?” Make your alt tag “likable people.” Just another chance to boost up how likely you are to show up in a search.

Analytics
If you do all of this, how can you know if it is even making a difference? This is where web analytics programs come into play. These are programs like Google Analytics (which is free, by the way), that keep track of how users interact with your site. If you are doing your SEO right, you should be able to see your organic traffic go up on these programs. You can also see your rankings go up if you link Google Search Console to the Analytics program.

Link building
Link building is another important factor of SEO. If you're a local business, the best way to get more links is to list your company on web directories such as The Yellow Pages, Google My Business, and Yelp. There are hundreds of web directories out there and the more consistent you are with adding listings to your business, the more links you will get to your business from these types of websites.

At the same time there are other strategies to build links from other websites such as reaching out to companies to tell them about relevant content on your site that they could link to, or by posting great content, and having others link to it because it's good information.

With COVID-19, everyone is stuck at home and are doing what they can online to avoid leaving the house. This is the time for your business’s website to shine. But it can’t shine very well if you don’t have proper SEO. These tips should be able to help you start getting your SEO on track. Read more here about how SEO recommendations can change or get in touch with us!


The Next Google Algorithm Update: Bad News For Non-Mobile Sites!

It finally happened.

After much speculation, Google is rolling out an algorithm update that will flatten the rankings of sites that aren’t responsive on mobile devices. Google appreciates it’s users and that shows in their decision to give less precedence to websites that haven’t made their site friendly for mobile.

Fun Fact: 80% of Americans keep a mobile device within arms reach at all times, a statistic that has fundamentally changed how we search the Internet. Gone are the days of stunted search terms, sparingly typed into a browser window. Now people are using voice capabilities on their cell phones, taking search queries from one or two words to full, grammatically correct sentences and questions. Prioritizing sites that cater mobile device and cell phone users is a logical next step.

Despite how frustrating Google algorithm updates can be for businesses and web masters, they do mean that every day consumers are getting consistently refined, and thus qualified, answers to their queries. Not having a responsive or mobile friendly website tell Google that you don’t care about user experience, and thus, don’t deserve prime ranking positions.

One plus side for those that may be feeling some panic at this news, is that Google reported ‘no change’ on searches from non-mobile devices. So if you currently rank well on a desktop computer, you should continue to do so.

Not sure if your website is mobile friendly or not? Check out Webmaster tools, where Google has created a system to let you know if you’re compliant or not.

mobilefriendlyavant8

Sites are either friendly or not. There is no middle-ground, so be sure to take the time to plug in your url if you aren’t sure. Adapting to a changing market can be the difference between thriving and having to close up shop, so if you get revenue, brand recognition or leads from your website, making it responsive is should be high on your priority list.

Not sure how to go about it? Find out on our blog How SEO can inspire marketing strategy or give us a call….