The yellow pages have long been replaced by search engines and as competition for top online searches increases, we need to find new ways to get our name ahead of our competitors.
More than ever, businesses rely on the internet to gain more customers and this trend will only increase with traditional media seeing major decreases all across the board. According to Internet Live Stats, Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average. This translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.
As you can see from the below screenshot of an Advanced Web Ranking case study, nearly 75% of all clicks in the Google SERPS will go to the first five organic (aka natural) search results:
This means that if your website doesn’t rank in the top five search results for your target SEO keywords, there’s a pretty slim chance that someone will click through to your site.
One of the Least Expensive But Most Effective Ways to Boost Lead Generation and Sales
Helping business professionals learn SEO and digital marketing has long been a passion of mine. I now get invited to speak at conferences around the globe and I even have become a Lecturer in Digital Marketing at the University of Strasbourg, France, and the College of Contract Management, UK. As part of an online Master’s degree that I teach for the University of Strasbourg, I e-meet with students from all over the world on a regular basis and truly enjoy passing on my knowledge this way.
Mastering SEO is essential in today’s digitally driven world. As mentioned above, if your site is not showing up in the top organic search results, you are missing out on getting potential customers to your website. SEO is not rocket science but if done right, it can yield amazing results. After attending one of our courses, we helped a student implement a powerful search engine optimization strategy. As you can see from the Google Analytics screenshot below, applying the best practices that we teach in our courses can have tremendous results. This increase in Google organic search traffic also resulted in an 800% increase in revenue:
We now offer digital marketing and SEO training courses in the Denver area and also at our London, UK, training facility. Feel free to reach out if I can answer any questions.
An Introduction to the “5 Pillars of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” Methodology
We’ve developed a methodology, called The 5 Pillars of SEO, which we use in most of our digital marketing training classes. A winning SEO and digital marketing strategy is based on the 5 pillars:
1. The Technical Health of a Website
2. The Functionality and User Experience of a Website
3. On-Page Search Engine Optimization
4. Off-Page Search Engine Optimization
5. Social Media Marketing
The foundation of these five pillars is a content marketing strategy.
SEO and digital marketing have become quite involved over the last few years and you can’t just “shoot from the hip” anymore.
If you want to improve the visibility of your website in search engines, if you’d like to use social media marketing to boost sales, and if you’d like to get the biggest bang per dollar spend on your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, you need to know what you’re doing and you need to implement a strategy that you’ll execute in a professional manner over months, if not years to come.
In this blog post I’ll share information about the workshops and courses that we now offer in the following three disciplines:
1. Organic SEO and Content Marketing
2. Social Media Marketing
3. PPC and Google AdWords
1. Organic SEO and Content Marketing
If you want to rank high in online searches, you first need to research and determine the keywords and phrases that are most important for your business to be found for.
We all turn to search engines to find answers to everything, from the weather to the latest stock information to where to buy a product. And if you want to succeed online, your business needs to appear in the first few results as discussed earlier.
Keywords, which are what people enter into a search engine, are the foundation of your SEO strategy. In order to determine what keywords to use in your strategy, you must do keyword research to get real data – you can’t just guess. Fortunately, you can use all kinds of tools, both free and paid, to help you get started.
I usually recommend using the Google Keyword Planner tool. However, this tool is part of Google AdWords and requires you to set up an active AdWords campaign in order for you to get the full functionality. I’m currently beta testing a pretty cool keyword research tool called Twinword and I definitely recommend SEMRush (one of my favorite paid tools) if you want to knock it out of the park. Another great tool you may want to check out is KWFinder. Tools are an essential part of the keyword research process and it’s something we address in great detail in our workshops. Make sure to read our step-to-step keyword research guide for additional tips and best practices.
Once you’ve researched and identified your target SEO keywords, you’ll want to put those keywords to work by implementing a content marketing strategy. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “content is king.” The trend that I see is “high-quality content is king” since simply creating content for the sake of creating content doesn’t really work if you’d like to succeed with SEO. Creating high-quality content takes time, resources and expertise but it has to be done if you’d like to see results. Content marketing may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. If you don’t have the resources internally, time, or know-how, you can hire contract writers. In fact, this is how we work with our customers.
Google updates its algorithm on a regular basis and recent updates have given boosts to websites with high-quality content. On the flip side, websites with lower-quality content and ads shown have been lowered in rankings. This is fantastic news for consumers and the businesses that have put the effort into a high-quality content marketing strategy.
As a small business owner myself, I’ve personally seen the results of producing high-quality content for my clients and for my business. If you combine the craft of writing high-quality content and the art of using SEO keywords, and you have a process to do this on a continuous basis, you should drive more qualified traffic to your website, and ultimately, get more sales from your site.
As part of our SEO workshops, we also teach how to audit a website from a technical and functional standpoint. As just mentioned, Google continues to refine its algorithm 500-600 times a year, and with more than 250 main ranking signals in Google’s Algorithm, things are always changing.
One relatively quick way to try to stay in Google’s good graces is to make sure that your website is as “healthy” as it can possibly be and functions as it should by getting an SEO website audit. By healthy, I mean that the innards of a website are functioning as they should be and are optimized where necessary. For example, all web pages should be indexed, meta tags should be applied appropriately, the website should be optimized for mobile viewing and many more items.
In less than a minute, our free SEO tool creates a 10-page report and delivers it as a PDF straight to your inbox. I’m happy to discuss the findings of the report in a complimentary in-person or screenshare meeting with you:
What’s Your SEO Score?
Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.
2. Social Media Marketing
Like it or not, marketing through social media is here to stay, and you need to take advantage of these platforms to build your brand equity. Google has teamed up with several social media platforms and frequently includes social media pages in its search engine results pages. If you don’t have a social media marketing strategy yet, here are a few tips to get you started:
1. It’s imperative to understand your customers and do your research to determine what social media sites your customers visit and when. You don’t want to use every site because it won’t be effective and you’ll have difficulty keeping up with it. So do your research and start with the 2-3 main sites that your customers use.
2. Plan the content you want to develop and use a calendar to track the process.
3. Select a social media tool that you can use to track your postings, responses, and overall data. Businesses need to monitor who and how many people are talking about their products, services and brand and the growth in a number of interested individuals.
Beyond just being on these social channels, it’s important that people share your content. The more they do this, the higher the ranking you should see. It’s no coincidence that the top search results are often the ones that have the most shares. The more hits a business website receives, the more valuable the site becomes in the eyes of search engines.
Rachel Dankof, Social Media Manager at SocialSEO, recently joined me in presenting an hour-long webinar entitled “Social Media Marketing Success: Add $33k+ to Your Bottom Line” and I hope you find some time to view the recording of this webinar:
If you took the time to watch the webinar recording, you now clearly understand that intimately knowing who your ideal customers are and what information they need is critical to your social media marketing strategy. Trends suggest that traditional marketing strategies that used to appeal to the masses are becoming less effective. Instead, consumers are looking to connect with the brand and know that the brand cares about them as an individual and not as a mass target demographic. So don’t try to be everything to everyone! Be the expert that you are and customize and personalize your messaging so that your content cuts through the clutter and actually adds value. A great way to get started is by developing your ideal buyer personas. From there, you can craft specific messages to each buyer persona. You can read more about how to do this in our fictional case study.
3. PPC and Google Adwords
PPC (also known as search engine marketing) and Google AdWords are a great way to complement your SEO and social media marketing efforts. Search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns offer a great way to drive additional search traffic to your website. Usually, 2 out 10 people will click on the paid search results instead of the organic search result. By perfecting both of these strategies, you’ll dramatically increase the likelihood of getting the right people to your website.
Our PPC and Google AdWords workshops provide attendees with everything they need to know in order to get started with their SEM efforts. You’ll learn about Text Advertising, Ad Extensions, Remarketing, Pre Roll, Targeting and more.
The recording of the webinar “A Crash Course to Google AdWords and Pay-per-Click” will give you a good taste of what you can expect:
I’d like to conclude this blog post by sharing a funny story: On a recent flight to San Francisco, I was working on a presentation that I was scheduled to give at a conference. After working for about 30 minutes on my presentation, the gentleman behind me introduce himself and told me that he knew me from watching several of the webinars that I’ve recorded over the years.
His name was Mark and I found out that he was a fellow content marketing expert. He and his wife were in the process of relocating to Boulder and we ended up meeting again for coffee a few weeks later. I really enjoyed talking shop with Mark and he also ended up attending a half-day SEO workshop in Boulder. It’s always a pleasure to have fellow digital marketing experts in our classes since they are able to share additional insights and knowledge with our students. Just a few days ago, Mark sent me the below video with a testimonial about the training. It was 100% unsolicited and of course, greatly appreciated (thanks so much, Mark!):
In fact, Mark’s testimonial video inspired me to write this blog post.
Investing in furthering your digital marketing and SEO knowledge can be essential to boosting sales and grow your business. Since I’ve only been able to scratch the surface of these topics, I invite you to take a look at our upcoming in-person and online SEO training classes.
About the Author
My name is Chris Raulf and I’m the founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a boutique online marketing training and consulting agency located in beautiful Denver and Boulder, Colorado and London, UK. My team and I assist local, national and international clients with all of their digital marketing training and consulting needs. I have over two decades of hands-on experience under my belt and my international background has helped me become a globally recognized multilingual SEO expert. Feel free to reach out and connect with me on LinkedIn.