What is SEO

What is SEO? and why is it important to my business?

what is seo

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and to put it simply it is the process of making improvements on and off your website to gain better search engine results.  This will lead to more visitors finding your website and for the right reasons.

Let me take a step back and explain what a search engine is.  Have you ever wondered how Google works?  Search engines are simply trying to find and understand all the information on the entire internet and then deliver search results based on relevance and authority according to what a user is looking for.

They do this by using very smart, and very proprietary algorythms that determine how your content is written and implemented in code and how other sites on the internet are linking to you.  This is incredibly complex and even still within a fraction of a second they will serve you results you are looking for.

Relevance: search engines are actually quite good at ranking results by relevance.  Let’s take the keyword phrase “Dog Crates”.  Search engines will be able to tell that a site that sell dog crates is of high relevance.  They will also know that a site that sells animal carriers is also of interest, and what more impressive is that they know that website promoting pet food or dog toys are also may be of interest but are of less relevance.

Authority: Search engines also compare you to other sites by analyzing how other sites think of you.  This is done mainly by links that are pointing to you by other site.  You can think of links as a vote of trust on the internet.  The bigger and more relevant the site that is linking to you the more authority the search engine attribute to your site and will rank you in kind.

But don’t get too caught in putting too much energy into getting links.  It’s not a popularity contest and search engines are smart enough to understand when it’s being used as a tactic rather than links being based on actual content.

Now this is crucially important: There are folks that try to replace quality and relevant content on their site with SEO tricks.  No single, or set of SEO tricks will ever help get your website infront of the eyeballs of the right people as well as quality content that is relevant to your target market.

I hope this helped answer the question, “What is SEO” and will be writing more specific tactics in later post so please stay tuned.

If you have any questions on this or other internet marketing topics please put them in the comments below.




What is Online Marketing

If you are wondering what online marketing is and how you can get started then I am writing this blog post for you.

Online Marketing

Online marketing is a blanket term that includes many tactics like SEO, social media, blogs etc.  It can be very confusing and overwhelming when starting out so try to think of it simply as relationship marketing.  Online marketing is about how to use these tools to build awareness and offer customer service and sales.  All these different tactics are different vehicles to be more human with your marketing in ways you can’t do with paper ads.

It’s important to offer that personal touch because they are more likely to do business with you if they feel like they get to know you. it creates a more well rounded approach to business. If you consider that it take an average of 7 touch points to make a sale, this personal touch with a human face helps that.

You might be thinking that getting too personal would be bad for your brand and that is very valid for certain businesses. For those brands you want to think of this as the place to focus on what you do for local charity organizations or way that your company performs community outreach etc.

Whatever you end up doing, plan to start with creating content. Content is the king of online marketing, whether you are a small business or an enterprise.   Blog posts, articles, ebooks, videos, podcasts, anything that can be seen as thought leadership in your industry. It’s the absolute best thing you can do to kick off your online marketing engine. Because it’s the gas that drives the engine and the best part is, it never burns up.  The more you create the farther you will go.  This all doubles for search engine optimization which is usually a vital segment of most online marketing strategies.

So, say your a small business and your starting to get a little overwhelmed with all these online marketing tactics that you have in front of you.  One thing you can do is just start watching and observing what other organizations are doing.   You should also just start playing around with the different social networks and start to get a sense as to how other brands are using them.  You have to consider what you can mindfully manage and enjoy doing because if you like facebook but get annoyed with Twitter than with out a doubt just start with facebook. You may find that one or two social networks is all you can handle for now and that is a great start.

One of the best reasons to use online marketing is that you have proof of how successful it is.  With a magazine ad you have no way of tracking who saw what and which specific sales came from it.  With online marketing you can track someone from the point of entry onto a webpage or twitter account all the way to their purchase.  That is the reason why everyone is moving more of their marketing to online strategies because every interaction with every person who engages it is tracked and you can then test, measure and compare tactics to then focus on what works best.

I will be writing more posts that will break these specific tactics down but please let me know what questions you need answered in the comments below.

How to Choose a Logo

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a graphic design expert but as a product manager I spend tons of time figuring out which web graphics will cause the desired result and which won’t.  This blog post is meant to help start  you off in the right direction when you are trying to choose a logo.

I have had to make decisions on a number of logo designs and like most customer facing design decisions I always start with the “why”.

Why are you putting a logo on the site? You might think this question is silly and overly obvious.  But it’s a good exercise to make sure you can answer this question with something more than just “because we need a logo”.

Does this logo need to do something different than other logos? What is the desired result of this logo? If you can’t answer these questions then you’re not ready to make a decision on logo design.

For example: www.schooltree.org is a new social network for school communities that I’m currently the business director of.  So why do we need a logo on the site?

Answer: to get people to remember they were on www.Schooltree.org as opposed to another site.

Our strategy is to promote the name as simply as possible.   I don’t think we should use an image as part of the logo.  As an example of websites that simply use the company name: facebook, google, linkedin, keek (I worked on this one too), path, digg, lifehacker, paypal, craigslist, ebay, wikipedia and on and on and on.

The common denominator with all of these websites is that they are simply trying to get people on them and to stay on them as often and for as long as possible. That is how they make money. Using imagery in a logo is common for websites that promote a product that is something separate from the actual website like a car or a band, etc.

When trying to cary your brand from one location to another imagery ties the product to the online display so people know they are on the right webpage in case they might have gone to a different webpage with the same name but for another product.

The purpose of our logo is to get people to remember the name ‘Schooltree.org’ and to come back to that url as much as possible. That is what we are selling.

If you want get a deeper understanding of how to design a logo here is a great book I can suggest.

Now for the engaging part of my post… If you can give me a reason to use imagery for the www.schooltree.org logo and send me a design that makes me change my mind we’ll use it and give full credit.