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Our Quick Guide for Important SEO Terms

The fundamentals of digital marketing rely upon a strategic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan. Over the years, SEO has become a broad term for the many functions that you can do to make your website more visible to Google and improve your rank on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Knowing what these functions are and how they contribute to your success will help you quickly determine what you need to do to improve your digital presence.

 

Common Digital Marketing SEO Terms

Some of the terms we use to describe SEO functions have become familiar and self-explanatory, like website traffic, keywords, query, and ranking. Others may need a bit more explanation:

  • Crawling – The process used by search engines to discover your website pages through complex algorithms and other functions. There are many ways that you can improve the crawlability of your website, making it easier for Google or Bing to find you.
  • Intent – This refers to what people are looking for when performing a search. Combinations of words improve their intent, whereas one word may be too ambiguous.
  • Guidelines – A published reference by search engines for the purpose of helping website owners and administrators understand how their content is found and indexed. It also provides helpful tips on improving your search results.
  • Sitemap – A list of URLs typically found in an XML form that makes it easier for crawlers to discover what’s new on your website and provides them with a helpful index.
  • Engagement – How people interact with your content is a significant component of engagement. This goes beyond click-through rates and describes traffic patterns and conversion rates. Your comments section speaks volumes about your engagement with the people that matter.
  • Robots Meta Directives – Specific code written into your pages instruct crawlers how to index your content. The directives include Meta Robots Tags and X-Bots-Tags. In general, the directives tell a crawler whether it should follow your page or not.

 

Google Specific Terms

The following are specific tools and reports from Google that help you measure and improve your search rankings.

  • Search Console – Free tool that allows you to monitor your site traffic and a diagnostic of your site’s health. This is essential for all administrators to understand how to use and how to set up goals.
  • Featured Snippets – The box that appears typically at the top of a SERP, the snippet is a brief description of the page beneath the link.
  • Analytics – Another free tool, analytics is one of the most important tools for understanding how visitors interact with your website. This tool describes your engagement with viewers, where you engage with them the most, how much time they spend on each page, and more.
  • Caffeine – Google has a name for everything. Some are bland, and others are fun, like Caffeine. It’s the name of Google’s web indexing system. Googlebot crawls websites and brings all of that information to Caffeine.
  • My Business Listing – Ever find a business using Google Maps? How about a simple search? Your business should appear at the top of the page and contain the most up-to-date information on location, hours, etc.
  • RankBrain – Another creative name that describes the machine learning component of Google’s core algorithm. Good SEO knows how RankBrain thinks.

 

Keywords and Organic Search

Finally, the following definitions are ones you’ve probably already heard, but it’s good to reacquaint yourself with them, regardless.

  • Keyword Difficulty – This varies from SEO service, but it’s a reasonably accurate description of how difficult it is to outrank other websites. The higher the numerical score, the lower your chances of reaching the top of a SERP.
  • Keyword Explorers – 3rd party tools that are subscription-based and provide an in-depth analysis of your page rankings and the keywords associated with them.
  • Long-Tail Keyword – These are three or more words strung together to increase the chances of matching user intent. Successful content focuses on long-tail keywords to improve relevancy and engagement.
  • Search Volume – Typically, search volume is estimated by keyword explorers through a monthly average. Volume is the number of times a particular keyword is searched for over any given month. Seasonal keywords and others may need to be adjusted to give a better picture.

There are more general optimization concepts that we haven’t covered because they may need some one-on-one guidance, such as organic search and responsive design. We can help you set up and learn more about these and other ways to improve your SERP through a strategic SEO plan. One opportunity to succeed with SEO is to make some little tweaks to your website. Simple updates to your website can improve the user experience and generate valuable, qualified sales leads.

Images and video also improve SEO. Whether it’s to improve SEO or the user experience in general, Pinstripe can create videos, blogs and optimize images for your website. We can also take professional photos and assist you in setting up a studio for recording vlogs. Contact us today to find out how we can help you overcome the challenges associated with SEO.

Simple Website Updates on a Budget

by Michael Premo, Content Specialist

Updates to your website are some of the simplest things you can do to increase traffic and conversion rates. The best updates come from a solid content strategy that improves the user experience.

Getting Started: Spreading the News

Here are three reasons to set up your website so it can quickly broadcast news about your community:

  • Brand Identity – Your brand encompasses more than a logo and tagline. It involves your employees, the services you provide, and how you help your community. All of these are great headlines for any news section, plus they define your brand and what it stands for. Over time, you could become a resource for others. Now that’s brand recognition!
  • Improved Client Experience – Making your clients aware of recent news about your industry helps them understand their own challenges. This improves trust and credibility—two emotions linked to decision making. When your clients trust you, they will turn to you first for answers.
  • Domain Authority – Where do you show up in a Google search? 1st page? 3rd page? Where you land on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) depends a great deal on your domain authority and what your competition is doing. Moz, a leader in SEO, states, “Domain authority is meant to approximate how competitive a given site is in Google search results.” One of the ways to influence your domain authority is to update the content on your website frequently.

Blogs, Vlogs, & News Tickers

Your blog is the most common area of your website that spreads news about your company. Blogs are necessary for SEO purposes, but vlogs will get more engagement. The right mix of both is important. Just remember to maintain a professional appearance and hire a good editor.

Have you ever thought of a news ticker for your home page? Just like a stock ticker showing real-time trades, it’s a simple addition that displays blurbs about your company and leads to other articles on the same subject.

 

Multimedia: Improve SEO and Brand Identity

Videos, animation, graphics and images make a website look great. People would rather watch a video than read long, text-heavy pages. Studies have shown that people tend to leave those text-heavy pages, so it’s best to break them up with graphics and images that fit the topic. The whole idea behind SEO is to meet each visitor’s expectations, enticing them to stay on the page longer.

Did you know that your multimedia may be working against your SEO efforts? Large files take longer to load, which leads to a terrible SERP ranking. Compressed images and embedded videos on a separate platform create a better user-experience (UX). People don’t have the patience to wait for a video to load or constantly pause while buffering.

 

39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load

 

Using stock photos is good, but it doesn’t necessarily improve the UX or your search rankings. A reason for this is that other websites often use those same images with the same tags, so you’re left with no distinctive identifiers. Unique images are better for SEO and your overall brand identity. Candid photos are great for a blog, but your home and about page should have professionally composed and edited images. Appearances do matter, and you have less than a second to make visitors feel welcome.

The best opportunity to succeed with SEO is to make some of those little tweaks to your website. If you can’t make them, then it’s time for a complete overhaul of your site. Simple updates to your website can improve the user experience and generate valuable, qualified sales leads. Whether it’s to improve navigation or the overall user experience, Pinstripe can create videos, blogs and optimize images for your website. We can also take professional photos and assist you in setting up a studio for recording vlogs.  Contact us today to find out how we can help you overcome the challenges associated with SEO.

Digital Marketing – What’s Your Strategy?

digital marketing strategy

Marketing has changed a lot over the years and I’ve been fortunate enough to see how it has taken shape. In the past, we used broadcast and print marketing to reach out to consumers and businesses. Back then, we didn’t call it traditional marketing. We just called it marketing.

Today, the digital universe has not only changed the way we reach out to people but it’s also changed what we say. Brand messaging is the biggest change that I’ve seen. It matters to your clients and customers. It also matters to the general public. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the recent public relations nightmares. So, having a strategic plan to deliver your message throughout the digital-verse is just as important as it was in the past.

Digital Resembles Traditional

Digital marketing has some basic concepts in common with traditional marketing. The goal of a traditional marketing campaign was to cover as many bases possible—to capture as much attention while staying within budget. A well-rounded campaign focused on primary and secondary activities.

Primary activities delivered the entire message. These had more space or time for content that gave all the necessary details. Typically, primary activities were print-based and some broadcast media, such as infomercials and infotainment.

Secondary activities were used to keep brand names front-of-mind for consumers. This is a broad category that includes things like billboards and vinyl-wrapped busses. The goal of secondary activities was to complement marketing campaigns through increasing brand recognition.

Digital Marketing: A Comprehensive Mix

Everyone, regardless of age, is now online. The digital world is part our every day lives. Television is on smartphones. Radio stations stream through wireless speakers. Voice-controlled personal assistants sit in our living room and robots roam our houses. Marketers can capitalize on these changes by investigating how new and unique platforms within the digital-verse can deliver their message.

It’s time to be more strategic about your digital presence. You really need to have all things digital in play. Just like traditional methods, we need to have a good mix of primary and secondary sources for people to find your business.

More Than Just a Website – Primary

Websites are no longer digital brochures. Your home page has become your storefront—your front lobby. It’s where potential and repeat customers enter your business. And it has to do so much more than ever before.

Your website has to be a primary source of information. Every visitor should have all of their questions answered before leaving it. If not, they should be able to ask and get a quick response.

Added to this is the fact that your website depends upon two major criteria: search engine optimization (SEO) and mobile responsive design. Without these, your website won’t be as easily found by Google. SEO requires strategic organic search optimization through original content, such as videos, articles and blogs. These need to capture viewers’ attention, be informative, and need to be updated frequently or else Google will send you to the end of the list.

Social Media – Primary

The world of social media is always changing, always in flux, but one thing is for certain, it’s not going away. Your social media presence has to be a primary source of information. It also has to create an emotional connection with your viewers. This is just as true for B2B as it is for B2C marketing.

The bio pages on any social media site can inform your visitors about what you do and where you’re located. Frequent posts with pictures and videos show your business in action. Informative articles, white papers, and video content about your business’ expertise should also be shared frequently on social media. Remain positive in this space. Business social media pages are not a political platform and you will see your audience diminish drastically if you use them in this way. All of these guidelines will also help your efforts with public relations.

Google My Business – Primary

When Google knows more about your business, your visibility will increase. This means more traffic to your site and social channels. That’s what Google My Business does. It puts you on the map, allows online reviews, and provides primary sources of information. Here are some handy statistics about Google My Business:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – Secondary

In some ways, paid search has taken the place of broadcast media’s quick ad spots. But it’s so much different than blasting your message to everyone listening. As a secondary source, it resides in the middle of your sales funnel and provides measurable and trackable data. This leads to increased targeting and more appealing messages.

Paid search is a great way to target new audiences with relevant content. It drives more people to where you want them to go. We regard PPC as an important activity for any digital marketing campaign.

Content – Secondary

Your digital marketing campaign needs flawless content. This ranges from videos to podcasts to blog posts and each one has to differentiate you from everyone else. The best advice we can offer about content is to be authentic and be genuine. Show off your best and people will notice.

Content puts your expertise on display. It shows how your company is unique, and what your company culture is like. Plus, frequent updates of content keep your website active and relevant for search engines.

Link Building – Secondary

Your website really can’t rank well if it doesn’t have link building. This goes even further than someone linking to one of your blog posts. It’s about building partnerships, getting mentions in the press, appearing in videos and on podcasts, and building influencer relationships. Link building should also be part of your public relations strategy.

We Help with the Specifics

A solid digital marketing strategy can improve your visibility, which is a pretty big deal these days. But it also tells the story about your company. Knowing these general concepts is the first step in a bold digital presence. There is so much more to learn about messaging in the digital space, as well as which platforms work best.

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with every aspect of their digital marketing. We specialize in discovering our clients’ personal traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and your marketing goals.

SEO Tips Introduction

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a moving target with a mysterious algorithm that no one seems to be able to define precisely. While this fact can be frustrating, if you can look at it from a positive standpoint, it can be to your benefit. Why?

No One Else Has the Exact Answer Either

We are all at the same disadvantage in our inability to crack the Google SEO code. You can count on the fact that no one else knows the code, so if you stay up to date on SEO techniques like the ones we are about to discuss in this series, you will stay on top of the SEO game.

There Are Ways to Stay at the Top

There are many techniques to staying at the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP), though you’ll never find the exact formula. Let’s say you’ve been blogging for a couple years, continuously creating new content and seeing engagement with your blog. All that content does not have to have an expiration date. Take some time to review your collection of blogs and see if there are any particular articles that received more traffic than others. These articles will be the starting point for a blog refresh and update, which can yield a significant increase in website traffic.

Now that you have this list of top performing blogs, look to see if there is a relationship between any of these articles. If there is a relationship, can you seamlessly combine these articles into one longer-form, more in-depth article? Find a common thread to connect a few of your blogs, especially if they are around 250-400 words each. You want to combine them to make a longer blog of at least 1000 words.

What’s the reasoning behind this? User-generated content has become prolific ever since we all figured out that generating fresh content is one of the best ways to receive a thumbs up from Google. Look how far we’ve come! From the days of totally useless, “keyword stuffing” articles that had no value other than attracting Google’s attention, to the days of more valuable, readable and meaningful articles, to today. Google has essentially learned how to read over the years, which forced businesses to start writing that real content. And now that real content needs to be even more meaningful and in-depth to offer users and searchers even more valuable information. Google’s reading level is rising.

Now, think about it – this is not a bad thing! Who needs loads of shallow content that offers readers no insight or useful information? While more thoughtful, in-depth content takes longer to create, it is more helpful to your audience. At the end of the day, helping your customers and potential customers is, simply, the right thing to do. They are the lifeline of your business!

Check back monthly during 2019 to receive more SEO tips to improve your organic search traffic and add value to your customers’ experience on your website. Click here to signup for our monthly newsletter to receive the tips directly in your inbox.

The Combined Power of Public Relations and Search Engine Optimization

pr and seo_news copy

Most people don’t associate public relations (PR) with search engine optimization (SEO), but if you play your cards right, PR can lead to great SEO. In fact, sometimes we undertake PR activities with the specific goal of increasing SEO for ourselves or our clients.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

Every day, HARO sends out several emails with queries from traditional media reporters and producers, but also blogs and and other online platforms looking for experts in certain fields and topics, and opinions about popular news items. The list sometimes contains over 50 different queries, ranging in content from health to finance to entrepreneurship to technology. Some of them are very specific and some are more general. The process goes like this:

  • We scan this list looking for opportunities for ourselves and our clients.
  • When we find one that fits, we immediately begin the process of writing the answers.
  • Complete an internal review
  • Request final approval from the client.
  • Once that is complete, we send our response to the query, and then wait for publication.
  • If the reporter decides to use our information in his article, we send a link to the client’s website, name, and sometimes even a bio and website.
  • Post the final article to all social media, including Google+

And there it is – the link back to the client’s site is SEO gold, especially if the site that it’s coming from is a reputable company in a related industry.

A perfect example is the story we contributed to for CEO Nation. The article is a really good social media tips from fifteen different entrepreneurs, including our very own Ginger Reichl! If you check out the story here, you’ll see that this particular article included Ginger’s head shot, name, and a link to our site. The article turned out great, and we learned some new social media techniques as well.

Online Press Release Distribution

Press releases are written for many reasons, including announcements, company news, events, and interesting stories that apply to trending topics. Knowing where and when to distribute a press release is as important and strategic as the writing of the press release itself. For traditional media relations, we rarely use releases anymore – with the exception of major news and investor relations, they typically just get ignored.

However, for SEO purposes, we’ll draft a release for ‘clean up’ work once our usual media relations efforts have been exhausted. There are several free places to distribute press releases online. We make sure that the press release contains the keywords that we want to rank for in search results, and always have the company’s website in the boiler plate at the end of the release. This is considered a backlink, which is, again, SEO gold. Plus, in some cases, we’ve had those releases picked up by a reporter or news outlet and posted on their site, which adds even more to the SEO credibility of the company.

Other content marketing strategies like guest articles and podcasts also have SEO benefits in addition to their traditionally PR role and we will continue to see the lines blur as search continues to drive interest … and traffic.

Connect with us if you need help writing your next press release or finding creative ways to use PR to promote your company.