This SEO primer is a collection of informal notes from secondary sources to provide beginners with a solid non-technical introduction to SEO from an operational perspective.
If you have gone through the effort of creating a web presence, then you want to be found. Of course, people who know you can just type in your URL or Google your brand name to find you.
But if you’re like most brands you’re probably just as interested in the people who have yet to discover your offer. For those prospective customers, there are only three ways they will ever discover you online.
This is when you are mentioned or recommended by an individual or organization you have not paid. This could be on social platforms like Facebook or Twitter, or in a review or blog post, rating site or article. It could also be less formal via email or a Skype conversation. This is also known as word of mouth (WOM). The reason it is so important to building brand equity today is that:
- Studies (and common sense) tell us that mentions are, by far, the most trusted form of introduction when they come from a trusted source.
- With today’s global peer-to-peer network, one influencer’s word of mouth can literally influence millions of purchase decisions.
- WOM is also a double-edged sword because the impact of this exposure can help or hurt a brand with equal power depending on whether the comment is positive or negative and the source.
The next most trusted source of information is search engines like Google, Baidu, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo. Since search engines are typically the first stop for people seeking information on purchases, it is important today for brands to be found via search. “Organic” refers to the fact that you have not paid the search engine to appear in their results.
This is effective and the easiest to execute, but the least-trusted channel to help prospects discover you online. It includes things like Google AdWords, banner ads, video pre-rolls, Facebook advertising, sponsored Twitter posts, etc.
This method provides the advertiser with the most control over exposure and the fastest short-term results. Advertisers should be cautioned not to let the investment in paid detract from investing in a sound web presence and quality content that can attract traffic based on its own merits.
Although this document is focused on organic search, all three of these channels have a role to play in any online marketing program. It’s a good idea to have a plan in place to cultivate each one. The idea is to balance them in accordance with your resources and brand objectives. As things change, it is helpful to regularly adjust that balance to adapt to the evolving needs of your brand and market.
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We put together this 22-page guide helping you understand what SEO is and how SEO can add value to your digital marketing.