Navigating the Complexity of SEO: Some Simple Tips

Search Engine Optimization, or “SEO,” is a frequently used and important tool in online marketing. Yet to many it’s an unfamiliar and intimidating concept that they may naturally shy away from. Fear of the unknown is understandable, but SEO is something that can’t be ignored if you want your online efforts to pay off. And, it’s really not as complex as the terminology might suggest.

First, let’s define the term. Search Engine Watch defines SEO in this way: “Quite simply, SEO is the umbrella term for all the methods you can use to ensure the visibility of your website and its content on search engine results pages (SERPs).” What does that mean exactly? It means a collection of activities and practices designed to ensure that your website will show up in a prominent spot in search results.

Doing that requires, above all these days, high-quality content. To rank in search for the audience you’re looking for, that content needs to include the kinds of phrases or “keywords” that people are likely entering into search engines (like Google) when looking for what you have to offer.

Let’s take some of the mysticism out of the process. In an article for Entrepreneur titled, “The 7 Most Common Concerns of SEO Newcomers,” Jayson DeMers discusses and attempts to dispel several common sources of SEO apprehension.

The ROI

It’s difficult to quantify the return on investment for SEO activities. Part of this difficulty is because effective SEO is a long-term strategy to boost website traffic and, ultimately, sales—not a quick fix.

The Time Investment

Especially for small or cash-strapped businesses, SEO can seem like an unnecessary luxury. But, it’s important to keep in mind that it isn’t necessary to dive in all the way at first. Dedicating some time here and there for small improvements can pay off over time.

Technical SEO

SEO might seem intimidating from a technical standpoint. However, you don’t need to be a computer programmer to implement some SEO best practices, and there are plenty of online resources to help get started. Some of our favorite sites and sources of information include Moz, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.

The Penalties

In recent years, Google has implemented penalties, and has stepped up its efforts to police abuse in response to an uptick in companies using unsavory—or “black hat”—practices to boost their search rank. But, as DeMers notes, the types of activities that lead to penalties are easily avoidable by legitimate marketers.

Public Perceptions

To some, SEO conjures up images of sneaky tricks to manipulate search results. But this is certainly not the case. SEO is a well-established and well-respected tool in online marketing. You might think of it as a way to help interested consumers find the information, products and services they’re looking for.

Targeting

Much of SEO is based on incorporating certain topics and keywords into your web content to boost your search rank. But how to choose the right ones? Again, this is simpler than it may sound at first, and there are a number of online resources that can help—some free, like Google Adwords, and some with both basic and paid options like SEMRush and Ahrefs.

The Complexity

“The sheer apparent complexity of SEO is enough to turn some people away entirely,” says DeMers. “There are literally hundreds of factors that could influence your rankings in search engines, and even more considerations to bear in mind when you factor in content marketing and conversion optimization.” But DeMers also notes that none of these by themselves are particularly complicated. It just takes some time to develop a familiarity with them.

 

SEO is one of the foundations of online marketing. It’s what brings people to your page and helps determine your rank on searches. It simply can’t be ignored. While it can seem like an intimidating process at first, a little practice can make anyone reasonably proficient.

But, if you’re simply too focused on running your business (certainly an appropriate focus for any business), we can help! Interested in learning more?

 

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About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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