Search engine optimization experts use a number of terms to describe strategies and techniques they employ to make your site more search engine friendly. It’s a good idea, whether you are in charge of your company’s website, in marketing, or up in the C-suite, to have a good understanding of what these terms mean and how they can impact your company site. After all, you want your site to work for you, and having a better understanding of how this can be accomplished starts by understanding the terminology.
The following terms will get you headed in the right direction:
SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process of using keywords, links, content, and other strategies to increase the searchability and ranking of your website.
Keywords: These are words or phrases that people might type into a search engine when they are looking for specific information. It is estimated that the U.S. online population performs 37 searches a week using keywords (this number can vary). If they are looking for the products or services your company offers, you better be sure those keywords are worked into your content, title, and other areas of your website.
Long-tail keywords: These are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point of purchase. Long-tail keywords can be counterintuitive at first, but they can be hugely valuable if you know how to use them.
Google Keyword Planner: This free service from Google gives you an idea of how many times people use specific terms to search for a product or service. It also helps you develop terms that will help someone find your business. For instance, searching for “hardware store” is very broad. The Keyword Planner would help you improve your searchability by using terms such as “Chicago Hardware Store” or “Chicago Power Tools Hardware Store.”
Link building: If done correctly, this can be a very powerful way to improve your searchability. The basic premise is that external pages – pages on other websites – link to your website. When the search engines see a lot of links to your website, they assume your site is very important and may be a quality resource for their search users. However, link building must be performed correctly in order to be effective, and if not performed correctly, it can actually work against improving your site’s ranking.
Duplicate content: One thing you want to avoid is putting someone else’s content on your company website. This is referred to as duplicate content and the search engines might suspect something underhanded is happening on your site. This applies to entire articles copied from another website or just blocks of information taken from another site. Best to avoid this at all costs.
Article marketing: Related to duplicate content is what is called article marketing. This is essentially when one article is rewritten and passed off as new content. It is often used in link building and can have serious negative implications. It is all right to write more than one article on a certain topic. The problems develop when one article is essentially tinkered with to make it look fresh.
Social search: This service found on Google helps users find information about people or organizations on the leading social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and others.
Inbound marketing: This is a very important term to know. Traditionally, companies have marketed themselves by having sales staff reach out to others who may want to use their products or services. This is outbound marketing. Inbound marketing means that these potential customers come to you by finding out about your company, its products, or services.
Content marketing: Finally, let’s talk about the big shift occurring in marketing. Content marketing is a strategy of using quality, educational, and credible information presented using words (blogs and articles), videos, infographics, and other venues to teach and educate potential customers. As Joe Pulizzi, author of “Epic Content Marketing,” defines it:
The essence of this strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.
If you have a company website, you probably want to ensure people can find it. Understanding these terms and concepts will help you achieve that goal.
Robert “Buzz” Kravitz is president of AlturaSolutions, which works extensively with B2B industries such as the professional cleaning, foodservice, hotel, hospitality, and Green-related manufacturers and organizations. Contact him at www.alturasolutions.com