Who doesn’t want to be #1? When it comes to ranking, every business wants to be placed at the top, whether it is their product, talent, sales or… organic search rankings. One critical step on a business’s path to marketing success involves its website ranking by search engines. Depending on industry keywords, the competition can get fierce in ranking high among Google’s bottomless pit of search results. Luckily, this reach can come to fruition with the power of search engine optimization (SEO).

You know you need it. But what is it exactly? Ultimately, SEO is the fuel that powers your brand awareness on the web. Since 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine search, many businesses believe this tactic is the best –and only– way to rank on Google’s first page of search results. I, too, partially fell into that trap.

While working at ARPR as an “awesome intern” in college, I developed a love for digital marketing and
analytics, which drove my efforts in becoming a certified Google AdWords and Google Analytics practitioner. After a short stint working in an SEO silo at an SEO agency, I realizeNicole Murdoccad that a rich marketing program needed more than just one tactic to build brand awareness and generate quality leads for businesses. That’s why I transitioned back to the integrated marketing methodology at ARPR after receiving my BSM degree in marketing and management from Tulane University; so that I could kick butt in optimizing clients’ compelling content in the digital sphere. To help avoid common SEO fallacies, here are a couple of key search engine and content marketing nuggets I’ve learned along the way:

SEO – What? Wait… Why?

SEO wiz Rand Fiskin describes SEO as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic that you earn through the organic results in search engines.” Major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing rank search results based on a website’s relevancy to the search query as well as the website’s quality and traffic driven to the site. Since 75% of online users never scroll past the first page of their search results, landing a top spot is essential for getting users to visit your page.

S-E-Oh My!

A leading misconception about SEO is that professionals use one or two hard tactical tricks SEO boosts Google search rankings
to help a website appear at the top of a search results page. Many businesses are unfamiliar with the nitty-gritty workings of SEO and Google’s search algorithm, which leaves them vulnerable. The idea of being top dog mystifies businesses into thinking that hiring a savvy SEO company is the key to cracking the algorithm. But here’s why they’re wrong:

Buyers, beware. Did you know that typical SEO retainer contracts can cost $700 – $5,000 per month?! SEO agencies promise fast results and typically offer a “one size fits all package.” Often, the expert doing the behind-the-scenes work never has face time with the client. This is no recipe for success. So the real secret of SEO is that there is no secret. {let that sink in for a moment} Contrary to common belief, SEO is not a “game” and no “special tools” can beat Google’s algorithm. Instead, SEO is a process. You’ll need to continuously optimize your site to outshine competitors and keep those rankings up. With or without an agency, you can upgrade your current marketing content to please Google in a few easy ways.

Make Your Content SEO-Ready in Just One Day

SEO button on a keyboard

Content is written for valuable leads and customers – not robots! Each piece of content should speak directly to the customer and be primed for SEO. Below are 4 simple and essential ways to SEO-ify your digital marketing strategy:

  1. Identify your audience and conduct a keyword audit.

After locking down who your ideal target audience is, you’ll need to find out what they’re searching for. A great start is to use Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer.

  1. Optimize your website for a user and robot friendly experience.

Here’s where those keywords start to come into play. Every piece of copy and content on your website should be written in a natural tone of voice and sprinkled with keywords. Don’t forget about images – name images with keywords because computer robots don’t have eyes and can only pick up on text. Also, be sure that each page loads and there’s no broken pieces.

  1. Showcase thought leadership in your content to build credibility.

To make content pieces like blog posts and case studies SEO-ready, implement an SEO plugin like WordPress’s All in One SEO Pack. This plugin optimizes titles for Google search, automatically generates meta descriptions, provides Google Analytics support and much more.

  1. Get social savvy to expand the reach of your content.

Establish an active presence on social media to build brand awareness, engage with followers and feature high-quality work. After publishing blogs and case studies to your website, push them through social media channels. A simple social media post increases the reach and life expectancy of the content you’ve worked so hard to create by boosting shareability and creating external links. Better yet, Twitter and Google are BFFs so Google often displays Tweets appear in Google search results.tweets at the top of the search results page. In fact, 6 percent of Google search results are tweets! If your business has a branded hashtag (ours is #makenews), include it in posts to anthologize the conversation.

At ARPR, our seasoned digital marketing and PR professionals help clients increase their digital presence through various strategies and channels. Our 360° integrated marketing communications approach will have your business soaring through Google search pages to ultimately boost brand awareness and create lead generation. Don’t take my word for it, peruse our case studies to see our breakthrough results.

As SVP of digital marketing and analytics and ARPR’s resident data geek, Renee bridges the gap between traditional PR and lead generation.

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