SEO and online marketing fundamentals?
Do you understand SEO and online marketing fundamentals? When I’m in conversation with any business owner, or prospective business owner, I often get asked about ‘how’ one does SEO. Everyone seems to be aware of the need for SEO but many don’t really understand why or, what it’s meant to accomplish.
If asked, they’ll often say “It’s about getting number one on Google”. Or, “It’s about advertising on Google”. Sometimes they’ll even say “Oh, yes, but SEO is dead now isn’t it? I read somewhere it’s dead, so you don’t really need it”. Mostly though, they just don’t really know where to start, or why and most often how.
This is not an article on how to do SEO or Online Marketing, it’s one explanation of what each component of the whole is meant to accomplish. It would take a book to adequately explain the intricacies of SEO & Online Marketing today.
There are so many acronyms and initialisms out there, SEO, SEM, PPC, SMM. Plus, many different aspects of Online Marketing it’s easy to just think ‘No, not starting that’.
- Content Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
To name just a few. It’s no wonder it seems complicated to the novice. Fundamentally SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) today is about the technicalities of getting your website ready to be crawled by search engines, particularly Google. With the lion’s share of the search market, getting your site Google ready will see you being listed in other search engines like Bing.
- Google has extensive guidelines for webmasters to use to ensure they abide by Google’s rules.
- It wants you to make it easy to crawl your site and know what it’s about.
- Google also wants you to provide a good user experience for visitors to your site.
You should be wary of having a ‘vanity’ site. One that uses all the bells and whistles but, doesn’t show well on mobile devices (because bells and whistles take too long to load).
SEO then, is about have a properly configured site, that’s easy to crawl for search engine bots and easy to navigate for visitors, as well as being totally mobile friendly. That last point is hugely important because Google has gone to ‘mobile first’ indexing.
What SEO is not, is doing things to market your business but it’s the foundation of your online marketing and affects your offline marketing too. Let’s face it, if someone sees an ad in print, where you publicise your website address, they’ll look at it. If they do, all the above is important.
Online Marketing Fundamentals
Marketing your business is about getting the word out so people know you exist. Online Marketing has to do other things though. It has to establish your authority and reputation. Put another way, reputation online is about trust. Can people trust you if they don’t know you and deal with you only through the anonymity of the web?
Trust and authority then need to be established with consumers to make them feel safe in doing business with you rather than a competitor.
That however, is not the only reason you need to establish trust and authority. We’re back to Google now. Google wants to provide the best answers to the people who search because their ad revenue relies on it. To give your site more visibility, Google needs to ‘trust’ that you are what you say you are. Which is why the content you produce should be relevant to your market/niche and, engage your audience.
Google tracks how people engage with your content, wherever that content is found. The more engagement you get with shares, likes, comments, updates, conversations and links, the more Google will ‘trust’ you and the more visibility you will get.
Social Media Fundamentals
I’ve lost count of the people who tell me they don’t ‘do’ social media and don’t see the value. Or, have tried it and it didn’t work so was worthless. A little investigation soon brings to light the fact that social media didn’t work for them because they weren’t ‘social’ they just blasted out lots of ‘Buy Now’ content. Adverts instead of authentic and valuable posts that show what your company ethos is, and what it stands for. Commercial based ‘buy now’ blasts will never work on social sharing platforms, you need to show who you are and how you deal with others.
The operative word here is ‘social’, A relaxed platform where people can connect and get to know each other. It’s very true that social ads can be successful, and you should include some in your marketing. But that’s not the main function of social platforms for a business. The main reason is to gain attention and establish trust.
People interacting with your brand on social platforms, begin to trust you over brands they have no interaction with.
The only social platform where you would not be so relaxed (although it’s still not a good idea to just blast out commercials and pretend it’s good content) is LinkedIn. This is your professional face and so it should be professional.
Here is where you establish your authority and expertise in your field. Because remember, marketing is about showing consumers they can trust you and, that you have the required expertise, which again, adds trust.
To succeed online you need to establish trust and authority with both consumers and search engines. SEO and Online Marketing is how you do that, each component is important and interlocks. Each component is distinct and yet can overlap. Links help a search engine to ‘trust’ you and helps build authority. Links also increase visibility across the web independent of search engines.
Depending on the site where a link appears, it can also establish trust and authority in the mind of the consumer. A bad link, from a suspect site can damage trust and authority.
The same can be said of content and the website. Good content that engages people will increase trust and authority with the search engines and consumers.
- A well-constructed website that makes it easy for a bot to crawl, helps search engines index the site.
- A well-constructed site that is easy to navigate and makes it easy for the consumer to find what they’re looking for creates trust and authority.
- Multi-channel marketing is the way to go, in my opinion of course!