What The Heck is SEO?

With staggering numbers of people worldwide using the internet, it is now estimated that there are roughly 5.5 billion searches performed on Google per day. For businesses and individuals working toward establishing and sustaining a solid online presence, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has undoubtedly become a necessity. By definition, SEO is the process of organically maximizing the number of visitors to a website because the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.

However, as with many factors within constructing a powerful website, one must have a well-informed approach to performing SEO or risk spending time and money without reaping the benefits in terms of the desired high rankings and high visibility. The first step to website ranking success is knowing what SEO is, how it is used by Google, and why your website needs it. The second step is knowing the right way to perform SEO versus undesirable SEO practices.

Here, we will break the SEO process down in a way that is easy to understand, so that your organization or business can start to see great results in website rankings!

Where It Came From

OK, super quick history lesson. In the 90s, search engines like Yahoo, Dogpile, and AltaVista were on the rise. In an effort to generate as much traffic to their site as possible, website owners realized they could force higher rankings in search results by adding unrelated keywords, “stuffing” keywords, and incorporating hidden text and hidden links. This became known as “Black Hat SEO,” the bending and breaking of rules just to get more website traffic. Users were excited that finding information on the web came with greater ease, but there was a problem with quality and accuracy of the results .

Hence, in 1998, SEO was introduced. Google was created and stepped in with a technology that ranked search results based on the quality of a website as a whole, not just the quantity of keywords stuffed on a page. They established criteria to ensure genuine and accurate results for their users. Therefore, in order for a website to be at the top of search results, it had to meet verifiable criteria. Google’s original goal was, and still is, to “reward high-quality sites, and to keep search results authentic,” also known as “White Hat SEO.”.

Why Being on the First Page of Search Engine Results is Key

The competition is high—data has shown that the first five Google results get 67% of all clicks. The goal of best-practice SEO is to get your website to the top of a search engine results list, without any “Black Hat” factors.  

Crucial Criteria for Optimal “White Hat” SEO

Let’s face it, not many of us go further than the first page of Google results, which is why SEO is crucial for your website’s visibility. There is no way to absolutely guarantee that you’ll be the top result, but Google uses an algorithm to rank your website, so taking these steps is your best chance to get your website to appear on the first page—or better yet—in that number one results spot in Google, there are some essential elements that must be incorporated into your website.

  • Domain age and registration length
  • Keywords appearing in domain, tags, titles, throughout pages
  • Meta descriptions
  • Content length
  • Speed
  • User, and mobile-friendly layouts
  • Links to and from other sites to enhance your site reputation (backlinks)
  • Updating your website frequently (by adding new content, blogs are great)

Since websites will only rank at the top if they abide by Google’s search engine guidelines, it is imperative that your website be set up to meet all the criteria set by Google for optimal SEO. Remember, SEO is about your online presence as a whole. Using paid ads alone won’t get you to the top, since only 15% of traffic comes from paid ads.  

It has been said that “if your blog post, article, or product is on any page of the Google search results other than the first, it’s the equivalent of it not ranking at all.” At Brockett Creative Group, our Google Certified experts certified in optimal, White Hat SEO have been getting our clients on the top of the results list for almost two decades. Let our team take your website to the next level, contact us today for more information.

Oh Snap! Your Business Needs to Take Snapchat Seriously

Think Snapchat is just a digital playground for kids? Think again! Once used exclusively by the younger generation, Snapchat is quickly gaining momentum as the next biggest thing for businesses in terms of serving as an incredibly effective marketing tool. Just have a look at the numbers. It is estimated that over 7 billion photos and videos, or “snaps,” are shared on Snapchat every day. Roughly 8,796 snaps are sent per second. And with over 166 million users, businesses can no longer overlook Snapchat as a great potential to grow and strengthen their brand.  In fact, recent trends show that the popular video and photo-sharing app is quickly becoming the latest marketing platform used among both large and small companies.

According to its founders, Snapchat was intentionally designed to be a conversational tool with which users could share stories—rather than content—with their audience. These stories, in the form of “snaps,” could be viewed and would then automatically disappear, mimicking the ebb and flow of real moments in our lives. Because of this unique feature, combined with its casual, upbeat vibe, it became wildly popular with the younger generation. However, it is also because of this feature that it naturally lends itself to being a great marketing tool for businesses.

If you are thinking about marketing on Snapchat, some considerations to take a look into are your target audience demographics, the objectives of your marketing program, your budget, and how your brand is performing on other social media platforms.

Want to get in on the trend while it’s still cutting-edge? Here are some great ways to utilize Snapchat to effectively market your business.

  1. Fully embrace the photo/video feature.

    Snapchat’s unique platform allows users to weave photos with video, and customize them by employing fonts, digital crayons, and filters. This results in extremely vivid, media-rich content that tends to stick with the viewer much more than standard photos or text. Start your business’s “story” to give your audience an in-depth look at who you are, what you do, and why they should become invested in your brand.

  2. Put your lenses on.

    Snapchat’s “lenses” are digital enhancements that the user can overlay onto a snap, thereby enhancing the image in a fun, whimsical way. This feature can bring big results to companies looking to increase brand awareness. For a fee, businesses can sponsor lenses advertising their product. This lens will be available to users to fully engage with the brand (and subsequently broaden its reach) as they employ it on their snaps.

  3. Establish Geofilters.

    Geofilters are a great way for businesses or organizations to advertise local events or promote certain causes. Using a location-based filter, users can employ specific graphics pertaining to their location on their snaps. This is a great way for your business to drive a campaign on either a national or a more location-specific level.

  4.  Create Snap Ads.

    With its ability to catch and hold the attention of nearly double the number of viewers as compared to Facebook ads, a Snapchat ad offers 10 full seconds of video with optional audio, to which advertisers can add interactive attachments for users to engage with while within the app. This highly interactive advertising option allows users to fully engage with your brand, allowing businesses to enjoy a great ROI.

  5.  Get creative.

    Here is where Snapchat pulls to the forefront in terms of its creativity and versatility as a great marketing tool. Capitalizing on its fun, spontaneous, and easygoing vibe, Snapchat offers a great platform for marketers to get really creative with campaigns. One such tactic that has produced great results for larger corporations is Snapchat “takeovers.” This involves companies handing over their Snapchat accounts for the day to an employee, intern or other influencer. Obviously not done without some basic prearranged ground rules, this tactic allows the target audience to see authentic promotion of your brand while also keeping the material fresh, unique, and engaging.  In this way, companies can also offer promo codes, run special promotions, or offer their target audience sneak previews or a look behind the scenes.

If you are looking for the next greatest thing in marketing, Snapchat may be your answer! This immersive video and image advertising experience is truly what affords Snapchat a leg up on its competition and inherently allows those who advertise through this medium a significantly more powerful, and thusly effective, marketing campaign. Before you get started, remember that the nature of Snapchat is light and fun, but highly engaging. Try to keep your material within these parameters organically. Additionally, don’t overwhelm your audience with material- try to post 3-4 times per day, about 3-4 hours apart. The best part is that you shouldn’t take posting too seriously! If you are enjoying the process and letting your creative juices flow, your audience will too. And that can only mean great things for marketing your business.

Brockett Creative Group has been delivering best-in-class website, marketing, and branding services to our clients for over 15 years. For more information about our services, or to get started with a Snapchat marketing campaign for your business, contact us today!