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Understanding SEO, What Senior Executives Need To Know

Understanding SEO, What Senior Executives Need To Know 1440 773 Shout Out Studio

If they haven’t already, someone is going to tell you, “We need to spend money on SEO to improve our search rankings on Google.” There are a few things you need to consider when that happens.

Understanding SEO; in a nutshell, SEO does two basic things. First, it ensures that your website can be seen by search engines and technically matches what those engines expect to find. the technological crossing of T’s and dotting of I’s.

It’s the second SEO function that people are usually more interested in— : achieving higher placement in search engine results.

Understanding SEO

What really helps boost Google rankings is not SEO–it’s content marketing!

When businesses want better search rankings, they usually look for a quick fix. There isn’t one. The only way to get the Google placement you want is to consistently create valuable content with which your target market regularly engages.

That means, to achieve better Google rankings, you must commit to regular, ongoing content creation like blog articles, social media posts, and publication outreach. That commitment means you must have—or find– the resources to sustain it all.

This is where SEO really contributes to its own success. It provides answers to the following key questions: What content does my target market want? What relevant Google searches should include my company in the results? What searches are my competitors capturing? And what content will it take to “out-Google” them? SEO research can give you those answers and more. It’s the have-to-have tool to inform your content strategy.

Successful content marketing involves incredibly detailed planning.

Effective research is the key, but it takes the right software, clear goals, and the know-how to analyze the data and make a plan to achieve the results and better rankings you want. The right tool (we use SEMRush) in the experienced hands of the right team can take you where you want to go, delivering both upfront research and follow-on analytics.

Through research you’ll learn:

  • Phrases/words your potential customers use to search for your product or service.
  • How many frequently those keywords/phrases are used, in each search engine, in your country, state, and/or city.
  • The competitive landscape for those keywords. You can bet there are others who are intentionally or inadvertently drawing traffic by using the same words you are targeting. Which words/phrases are less competitive? Let us tell you.
  • Which keywords are your competitors using and how to best co-opt them for your purposes
  • Which keywords have the highest probability of leading people to your website?

Like content creation, effective SEO research is an ongoing process of discovery and analysis. Trends will emerge over time, and with the right resources in place, your position in Google’s results will improve. (By the way, if you’re into techno-lingo, they’re called SERPs: Search Engine Results Pages.)

Optimizing the content you create is also a must to improve search engine rankings.

A lot of technical details matter here – where your keywords fall on a page, how many times they are used in an article, more specifics than you could possibly keep track of — and they’re all important. Once again, the right tools allow us to guarantee that all content is optimized for every page, blog article, and image on your website.

Understanding SEO

A brief message about Organic vs. Paid Traffic, or Content vs. Ads

Ads, particularly promoted posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram ads, or Google ads, should absolutely be included in your content marketing strategy. Just remember that they have little-to-no shelf life. The second you stop spending money on them, they disappear.

Great content, however, can have an incredibly long shelf life and will continue to draw search engine traffic for as long as it is on your website. Knowing this is essential to understanding SEO and how it works.

While Google Ads can be a shortcut to the top-of-the-page it just will not perform as well as organic in terms of CTR (click-through rate). With 80% of all searches on Google leading to a click on pages one, two, or three, that means all those Google ads are fighting for the remaining 20% of traffic.

My final comment on organic versus paid traffic depends on the users’ intent. When people go to Google, they search with specific intent. Conversion rate data show a big difference between ad results (1.5% for B2B) and organic content results (2.6%). That difference translates to a 73% better conversion rate for organic traffic.

The End Game, Understanding SEO

Many executives and their well-meaning advisors misunderstand where and when to fold SEO into the marketing mix. While it plays a valuable role in effective marketing planning and execution, SEO is not some magic silver bullet guaranteed to get you the highest search engine results. SEO is part of the puzzle, a tool, for defining the correct content in your overall marketing strategy.

Interested in a cup of coffee and a conversation?

Every client relationship we have started with a simple conversation, usually over coffee, we love to brainstorm and answer questions. If you have any please let us know…we’ll spring for the coffee.

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How to Enhance Your Digital Marketing in 2014

How to Enhance Your Digital Marketing in 2014 880 461 Shout Out Studio

Digital marketing done right has the potential to provide a great return on investment to help build your audience online and increase customer engagement. Maybe your digital marketing is performing the way you think it should or maybe you know there’s a better way to do what you’re doing, but just not sure how to do it. Regardless, there’s always room for improvement (for us too), and we’ve identified some ways that you can enhance your digital marketing efforts in 2014.

Nathaniel Seevers

Want to immediately improve your marketing in 2014? Tighten up your mobile presence. 50% of people use mobile as their primary Internet resource. Imagine that. If half of your market is using mobile as their only means to access the Internet and your site isn’t built to engage and convert on smartphones and tablets…

Oh, and there are plenty more compelling mobile stats where that came from. Check out more here from Digital Buzz.

Though we recommend responsive sites as the way to go, you don’t have to blow up your current site to prepare for mobile. If you already have great content and user-friendly navigation on your desktop version consider tools like bMobilzed to adapt your site to a mobile-friendly version. There’s no reason to make it difficult for people to connect with you online.

Colin Smith

It’s a new year, and with that comes new trends. Content marketing is on the rise, and knowing what content to post to which social media outlet allows companies to communicate directly with their target audience, as well as other businesses. By now, a vast majority of companies use social media giants such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to post their content and broaden their outreach.

2014 will present more opportunities to use a wider range of social media sites for marketing purposes. Smaller platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, Vine and even Snapchat provide companies with a way to show, not just tell. When used correctly, these smaller platforms can really elevate your online and mobile presence and keep your brand a step ahead of competitors.

Gretchen Ardizzone

One of the ways you can enhance your digital marketing this year starts with first making an assessment of what you’re currently doing—what are your strengths and weaknesses, and where are the opportunities. After you’ve identified those, it’s important to compare against the goals you have set to achieve this year. By doing this you may realize a potential gap in your ability to reach these goals. I’ve worked for companies in the past that have clearly defined what they want to achieve online, but the reality is that department didn’t have the manpower or expertise to reach these goals. That’s ok. One option is working with an outside resource to fulfill the needs to accomplish your goals. Yeah, that may seem like a plug for our services, but it’s really not. This is simply is why companies like Shout Out exist. To serve as a digital marketing partner or an extension of your existing team. Teams like ours can help you plan and execute individual initiatives, or serve as a team of experts to implement an entire digital marketing strategy.

Marsh Williams

Learn the difference between sales and marketing. So many firms use sales and marketing as interchangeable words when it comes to sending out messages that will hopefully generate new business, but they are very different and your expectations should be set accordingly.

Marketing is about establishing your organization within the target audience. It is about giving them a sense of your organization and establishing “pre-sales” knowledge. In this sense ,marketing takes time and has to be done with the regularity of a drumbeat. Marketing efforts take months or years and should have expectations set accordingly.

Plan a marketing calendar, even if you only try one avenue such as blogging, or social media, just pick one area and learn to use it effectively in 2014. You will be surprised by what you find at the bend of a year.

Shannon Blair

One way to enhance your digital marketing efforts in 2014 is to focus on and enhance who you are as a company. Examine the digital marketing work you do and with that – the work you want to do more of in the New Year. One way to do this in an efficient way is to follow your measurements and metrics. By pulling data from various aspects of your digital marketing you can analyze and enhance the parts that you want to do more of. If you haven’t done so already, give Google Analytics a try!

Photo Credit: wenzday01

Tools

Top 5 Small Business Marketing Tools

Top 5 Small Business Marketing Tools 1920 700 Shout Out Studio

We have a running joke here at Shout Out that EVERY time we have a meeting somebody suggests a new internet tool that I haven’t heard about yet. There are so many tools out there that it will make your head spin. For instance, the following list of marketing tools can hardly even be considered the tip of the iceberg. *Note please scroll through to the end for the Top 5

Marketing Tools

For social media there is:

Hootsuite

SproutSocial

Engagor

RaffleCopter

For Website Analysis there is:

SEM Rush

SiteBeam

SEO Quake

Optimizely

*Click through to see more tools and the top 5.

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GoogleAnalytics

Google Analytics Made Easier

Google Analytics Made Easier 1920 700 Marsh Williams

For those of you who know the power of the Google Analytics dashboard, you can skip to the next paragraph. For the rest of you, Google Analytics has the ability to create customized dashboards which provide a fast detailed look at any set of data you want. While it can be a bit “wonky” to create them they are well worth the effort if you’re trying to get a quick look at any subset of information and invaluable in understanding your audience.

Or if you don’t want to create your own, there are places on the webernet that you can also find pre-packaged dashboards which can be directly imported to your GA.

We have found a few of these to be especially effective and use them frequently…

Site Performance – Go get it

This is a great option for showing how your site is actually performing from a time-to-load standpoint. It also shows metrics for performance in each browser.

SitePerformance Sample

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Calendar

Why We Changed Our Website After 4 Months

Why We Changed Our Website After 4 Months 1920 700 Shout Out Studio

Back in September 2012, the team at Shout Out Studio schemed up a website for ourselves.

During the planning meeting, we threw out an idea that a load of content marketers probably dream of: “What if our site was first and foremost a space to share content?”

Rather than have a “typical marketing firm website,” we’d focus on making our website a go-to resource for our clients (and probably our competition too).

For this reason, our original homepage looked more like an online magazine than a business’ website:

An Attempt at a Marketing Resource Center

The Old ShoutOutStudio.com

Once that site had launched, we asked a lot of folks to give us feedback. One thing we heard was “It is kinda hard to find out more about your company.” This is exactly what we expected and – to be honest – what we wanted. We wanted the resources to shine and our company to be along for the ride. So we pushed forward… read more

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