SEO OBSERVATORY

This discussion is intended to assist business owners in making a web functionality decision. Professional developers and marketers are invited to chime-in; particularly if you can offer relevant raw data.

SEO is an acronym for an industry term, Search Engine Optimization. It mostly refers to how easily your business (or website) can be found. Your website being on the top of the first page of search results has been the goal since the internet was established (ASR: active search results). The search-engines use a formula (or algorithm) that identify several elements of a website and places them in a precedence or hierarchy which dictates the order in which search results are rendered. Some of these elements are: keywords, description, redundancy (of relevant text), backlinks (includes social media), hitcounts, and updated content. The importance of SEO is industry-dependent. For example: A franchise doesn’t have to advertise -– They just need to be ‘in the book’ and ‘on the map.’

After your site is established, the URL (http://www.your-domain-name.com) needs to be submitted to the major search-engines, after which your site will be indexed in their database. Then your site will be findable in a ‘general’ search, but its order or placement in the results are dependent on the aspects mentioned in para 1 above. Just searching for your company name or domain-name isn’t the proper test. Your site needs to found with ‘general’ industry terminology. If your company is King Nail Salon in Atlanta, Georgia, you want to test search results for ‘nail salon atlanta georgia’ not ‘King Nail Salon.’

Industry Saturation: The top spots will consist of advertisements, data-driven sites, then company websites. So if your industry is saturated and you don’t have the budget to advertise, you at least need to get your site listed with the data-driven companies (Yelp, Yext, Yellowbook, etc). Many of these are FREE, so you can get listed with no monetary investment.

Niche Market Saturation: The top spots will consist of fewer advertisements, fewer (if any) data-driven sites, then company websites. Some niche markets or industries may not trigger relevant ads; so if there are ads at the top, they may not be relevant and they’ll be ignored by the user. And some niche markets are either not listed in data-driven sites, or the data-driven sites don’t include a logical industry category in their database. So if you’re in a niche market and you don’t have the advertising budget, and you see that there is no logical category in the data-driven sites, you will need to rely on the legacy SEO aspects listed in para 1 above in order to compete with each competitor company website.

Social media is being effectively utilized for both advertising opportunities and SEO. But social media sites are cumbersome to navigate. They’re wrought with account setup and taxonomy inadequacies, privacy concerns, and an inability to separate personal and business account information. Account setup predominantly includes background information, logo, header image, posting, and sharing. The biggest obstacle is establishing followers, which is the group you rely on to read and share your posts and shares. Subscribing to a group is another way to be noticed. Additionally, with a standard account there are serious template limitations. For example: For LinkedIn posts in standard accounts the default font style is serif (Times New Roman) and cannot be changed. So in order to maximize the effectiveness of your posts, you need to spring for the premium account.

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