The Importance of Being Optimized

(Part One of a Series on SEO)

Just how important is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Research shows that SEO and Pay Per Click (PPC), together referred to as, “Search Engine Marketing” rank highest on Return on Investment (ROI) of all marketing activities including traditional and non-internet marketing. That’s a lot of acronyms isn’t it?

According to marketing research, the absolute best way to sell a product is to invest in a good SEO strategy for your website. From a common-sense perspective, this makes sense. What is the point of having a great website unless you get people to visit it? However, a closer look at SEO reveals why running out and hiring an SEO company or consultant might not be the best option for your site – based upon your budget, your product, your target audience and your needs.

Our clients are well aware of the value of a strong SEO strategy. It is very common for a client’s first question to us to be, “do you include SEO?” Our first reply is commonly, “tell us more what you are looking for”. There are various components that go into good SEO, some of which are:

  • content that includes targeted phrases
  • identifying specific targeted words to use in the pages' code - called 'keywords'
  • creating relationships with people having a web presence to create links to your site
  • developing a web community and being active on social media (facebook, twitter, G+, pinterest, etc.)
  • having clean organized code compliant with SEO best practices
  • having content that maximizes the impact of the right searches finding you

Indeed SEO is not one particular activity, but a combination of activities that help affect the ranking of your site when a certain term is searched for. These all have to do with elements that affect the way the search engine’s automatic software (“web crawlers”) views your site and orders it within their system. For example, a site that gets a lot of links from other sites that are reputable and very popular will get a higher ranking. This makes sense, as more people are probably going to want to see the web page of Coca Cola, then your neighborhood lemonade stand. Links are kind of a way of voting.

So what does Tectonica offer in terms of SEO? Here are the parts where we will take full responsibility and ensure that your site will be delivered with these components already optimized:

  1. Design that works for SEO: Certain design works better for SEO than others. We build visual hierarchies also reflected in the code to help web crawlers index and sort relevant content for optimization. This is a method of organizing a design that works both for browsers and humans. We plan and create our designs with the content in mind so that you can be sure that is will perform better in terms of SEO and user experience. Basically our designs are SEO friendly because they are custom built to your needs.
  2. Code that is optimized for SEO: One of the most important elements for SEO is how a page is coded. The web crawlers don’t see the page like we do. They see it as code. And they look for specific helpers in the code to sort and rank the information. In the code are sets of keywords, meta-descriptions (like that summary of the page that shows up on Google), meta information about photos and videos, and much more. Having the code compliant with the best practices of SEO and organized for the web crawlers is a huge value
  3. Social media connection: All Tectonica sites are set up to interact with your social media sites: twitter, facebook, G+, or others you specify. Cross-posting and building a community of followers in the social media world will greatly enhance your SEO.
  4. WordPress and Blogging: Since we work with WordPress as our Content Management System (CMS), having, posting, and managing a blog is an easy affair. Blog’s are great for SEO as web crawlers love fresh content. In addition to providing new material to attract return visitors to your site, a blog offers the potential to have your perspective and opinion shared across the web. Remember, each link or share is a “vote” when it comes to SEO.
  5. SEO Plug-in and Google Analytics Included in every site delivered: We will help set you up with Google Analytics to monitor who is visiting your site, their location, and if they are “converting” (performing the target activity you have defined for them). We also include installation of Yoast, a basic SEO plug-in for WordPress, that will allow you to manage key meta information on every page of your site – like keywords, meta summary, and page titles. Yoast even allows you to run reports on your site and develop recommendations to improve the SEO. If SEO is important for you, you should request extra training time from us in order to utilize this plug-in.

What else do you need? That very much depends on how important SEO is to you; what your product is; and what you have as a budget. Here are some elements that we can work collaboratively on, you can do by yourself, or we can arrange for others to help you with as an additional service:

  1. Marketing plan: Building a full marketing plan that includes your online presence is the best way to ensure long term success of your site. While we can give you a degree of consultation on marketing, especially in the area of online marketing, we are not a full service marketing company and you might want to seek further assistance in this area.
  2. Content Creation: Unless otherwise specified, Tectonica does not develop content for you. We either use the content you provide us with or input dummy content placeholders that you replace later with your own content. You certainly have a better knowledge of your products, so we feel that you will be able to write more intelligently about it than we will. However, if you require some help with it, we have a close working relationship with individuals who do copy writing specific to websites and we can collaborate with them to ensure that your web content and design match perfectly to achieve maximum impact. If you prefer to work with your own copy writer we recommend that they have web specific experience and are familiar with both SEO and the importance of “more is less” when it comes to web interface.
  3. Link generation: Many companies will “magically” make it so you have many links. We’ll explain more in the next post in this series why we recommend generating links through creating actual quality content on your site and generating genuine interest in your product.
  4. SEO planning and monitoring: While we can develop packages around these services, we do not include, as part of our standard service, any monitoring or goal setting planning for your SEO.

Now, SEO might sound to you to be both very important and very complicated. So you might be a bit tempted to start putting aside money to hire an SEO service. In the next post in the series we will discuss why SEO services tend to be on the sketchy side, when to determine if they are for you, and what some other alternatives might be.

We will be finishing this SEO series with a Do-It-Yourself SEO guide to help you utilize your own resources to configure your own SEO.