SEO 101 – What Is It and Why Should I Know About It?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which, according to Moz, is a “set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results. Because organic search is the most prominent way for people to discover and access online content, a good SEO strategy is essential for improving the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.”

There are several elements to a whole marketing strategy. As we break apart different segments of a strategy on our social media posts, we will also blog about them as well. This blog will focus on SEO services. These services consist of a combination of things. There is not a magic button that someone can push that says optimize my keywords, make my website rank higher than my competitors, or show my images on page one. Rather, SEO is a combination of a variety of services. The biggest thing to always remember with SEO is that there is no one-sized-fits-all approach. It’s important to address SEO services with your marketing team or agency, but as a leader, it is also important to be aware of what SEO is, how it can help your business, and then make sure you are paying for only services that are addressing your SEO needs and not for a “bundle” of services you don’t need.

Let’s just skim the top of SEO so that you can have a basic understanding of what it is. If there’s more you’d like to learn, contact our team and we can dive deeper into it with you.

What is a Search Engine?

Search engines are sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo. DuckDuckGo, etc. There are so many different search engines that can be used, but according to Joe Barker, all search engines consist of three parts:

  1. A database of web documents
  2. A search engine operating on that database
  3. A series of programs that determine how search results are displayed

Professionals argue over which is the best search engine and why. Even our team has a difference in opinion. It is a major science that goes into creating a search engine. And it is even a science of figuring out how to manage SEO for clients. 

Google is typically the dominant search engine in the world, but there are reasons why some users won’t search through Google, including the theory of information being withheld. Sites like DuckDuckGo are said to be best for users who have privacy concerns and want to keep their browsing information personal. This list could go on and on as to what search engine is best and why, but it typically boils down to personal preference and where the information wanted can be found fastest.

What is Organic Search?

There are two kinds of search results:

  1. Paid results
  2. Organic results

It is easier to understand paid results – basically it is results that populate because money is behind that result. Organic search results happen because of strategy! These results then lead to organic traffic, which then hopefully leads to whatever the conversion goal is. 

Here’s where it can get confusing and tricky. Organic search results differ from search engine to search engine. It just depends on that search engine’s algorithm. Figuring out that algorithm is a lot of work, research and patience because it is ever changing! There’s never a guarantee that anything will rank in a particular position. The good news is that Google Analytics expert Avinash Kaushik once determined that around 86% of search engine users prefer organic search results. We have been accustomed to scrolling past the ad to get to the first section of results. 

How Do I Ensure I Am Optimizing Search Results?

The best advice when it comes to SEO is to write for what humans want to read first – SEO second. Like previously mentioned, the “rules” for SEO are constantly changing. So whether you are writing website copy, a blog, social media posts or whatever, write to your audience, post what they want to see, and then think about SEO. After you have your content written, think about keywords. Go back through your text and see if your keywords are there. If not, add them! Not sure about keywords? There are SEO tools to help with that!

If you are building a website, build it for the user, not the search engine. There is nothing worse than a website that is hard to navigate. User experience ranks higher in our book than SEO factors. SEO can be a second thought in this situation as well. Build your website to you and your target audience’s liking, then address headings, sub folders, mobile friendliness, links, and so on. Test the website to make sure it loads quickly. If not, take care of whatever is slowing it down because that will hurt your SEO. If users are jumping on and then off of your website because it loads too slow, that will hurt your rankings.

And as always, constantly research, improve and update your content, website, whatever it is you are working on. There really is no finish line to this work since it is always evolving. Whatever it is that your competitors are doing, search engines changes, and even your own business/personal changes are always going to happen. A strong online presence gives your business credibility, a professional image, and an improved customer experience. Our team can review your brand through your online listings, SEO scores, social media presence, website speed and more. We can also compare how your business performs online compared to your top competitors. Then we can discuss what the plan should be moving forward if you’d like! Take us up on this opportunity!

Why is ADA Website Compliance Important Now?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was introduced in 1990 to address the desire to have equal access to business services. Not only does this mean brick and mortar storefronts, but it has morphed to include websites. As time progresses, we get better and better with technologies. Now, website building gurus have access to tools that aid businesses with the ADA and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Why is this Important Now?

A lot of everyday life revolves around the Internet. Remote work, communication with peers, social media posts, online shopping, online live education, and banking are just a couple of how it has changed our lives. Everyone should have the ability to access the products and services on websites, so that is why ADA compliance is important now. 

Unfortunately, lawsuits are hitting record numbers when dealing with compliance and business owners have websites that just aren’t up to par with adequate access for everyone. 

A positive note on ensuring ADA compliance is that it is known that ADA compliant brands have more reach online and a stronger reputation, which everyone dreams of having. When businesses make their websites ADA compliant, it helps with ease of use and in turn adds to optimal user experiences. 

And finally, it is just the right thing to do. You just never know who will come across your website so it is best to be accommodating for everyone.

What Is ADA Compliance on a Website?

There are three different levels of WCAG compliance:

  • Level A – most basic and minimal compliance
  • Level AA – mid-level ane most acceptable parameters for compliance
  • Level AAA -the highest level with fully optimal compliance

The levels can help web developers determine which accessibility tools are going to be needed for the site. Each level has certain criteria that must be met, but the WCAG does not outline specific actions the website has to take, rather it states what accessible websites should do. That can get confusing. Basically, there isn’t a right or a wrong way to make a website compliant, but there are steps along the way that have to be met.

Examples of ADA Website Compliance

Since more than 61 million Americans live with a disability, there are various parameters for compliance. Some examples are listed here, but they are not limited to just these:

  • Navigable with a keyboard (Level A)
  • Video captions (Level A)
  • Color contrast is, in most cases, at least 4:5:1 (Level AA)
  • Form fields have accurate labels (Level AA)
  • Sign language interpretation for audio or video content (Level AAA)
  • Timing is not an essential factor of any activity on the site (Level AAA)

It isn’t always about just the individuals with disabilities. We all know there are many times where we would love to just have a break from reading and listen to something be read to us instead. Or if we can’t specifically focus on something on a website because we keep getting distracted by something else, there are tools to help with highlighting the information to keep us engaged. So while compliance is specifically geared toward those individuals with disabilities, these tools can be used by everyone!

We Can Help with Compliance

It’s important to ensure that your website(s) are WCAG compliant. While we are not a law firm or attorney, we are an agency that knows understanding the differences between each level can be hard to comprehend. That is why we are here to help. We have ways to test and correct accessibility issues that will help to meet compliance standards. Following our advice will result in peace of mind for your business since you will be up to current ADA compliance.

The WCAG is always updating guidance so it is important to stay up-to-date with changes. We will share this information as necessary and will work with you to make sure you are meeting new guidelines. 

Is Change on the Horizon for Marketing?

All kinds of marketing really had to make a shift in the past 18 months. People were staying closer to home, were online more than ever, and were sitting on the couch in front of the television more than anyone would care to admit. Shopping closer to home was happening more, and the mom and pop small businesses were reaping some benefits. There are some key opportunities and challenges for businesses when it comes to marketing lurking in the upcoming year. Below we will discuss some marketing trends that should be considered for 2022. If any of these seem challenging, let’s tackle them together!

Double Down on Digital

Digital advertising is predicted to boom in 2022. This really shouldn’t surprise anyone though. According to GroupM, the amount spent on advertising to support ecommerce will increase 66% in 2022, while Zenith predicts digital channels will amount to more than 60% of global ad spend for the first time next year. 

The Internet is just going to keep growing. Digital communication is never going away. Online networks are where people spend their free time. The Internet is where people shop. It is where people communicate and it is where people research. Use the Internet and digital communications to their fullest potential in 2022.

Keep Going With Short Videos

Short videos are still going strong on social media and are predicted to continue this route in 2022. Instagram reels and TikTok are just two examples of where short videos come from. These short videos take no time to view and are widely shared. If there is a way to utilize a short video format for a product, business, promotion or spotlight, do it! Video is so powerful!

But don’t skim on the longer length, feature feel videos. IGTV and any YouTube content is still wonderful. Video overall is just great!

Customer Retention Matters

We talked previously about generational groupings for the purpose of marketing and how it may or may not help when it comes to getting to know your target audience. Beyond just figuring out who the target audience is and how to sell to them/acquire their business, businesses will need to rethink their ways of retaining customers. Competition in the digital market is likely going to become fiercer, only making it hard for a business to grab any attention. This is why the thinking around the customer needs to do a 180. 

Educating customers on why they need your product or service should always be top priority. Think of it in terms of someone who couldn’t possibly live their life without this product. Educate them on why this product is vital to own or use and why your product is better than the competition. Make it all about the customer’s feelings instead of the business. 

The hard sell is going by the wayside. People are just over it. They don’t want to be bothered by gimmicks or “tricks of the trade” anymore. There is not enough time in the day for that. People either know what they want, who they want to buy it from and just make the purchase. Or they research, usually online, but also through friends and family, and take the time to seek out which business should earn their loyalty. Redirect typical hard selling strategies to making sure current customers stay customers for the long run.

Own Your Customers

Ok, no, you don’t really own them, but you need to own how you can contact them. While social media has so many benefits, those networks could go down at any moment. That could mean losing a HUGE database of potential customers, current customers and past customers. Converting those people to your own database takes time and effort but it is worth it. Doing so allows you to be able to ensure the message you want to get to them can (think email marketing and newsletters). Additionally, you will be able to shine outside of where all of the competitors also live. Don’t get lost in the newsfeeds. 

Ask For Help

If there is one thing that always reigns true in this industry, it is that change is always happening. We are used to it and stay on top of it as best we can. But that is our job. And that is why it is important to ask our True Fit Marketing team for help with your marketing strategy for 2022. It isn’t too late to rethink what you’ve been doing and analyze what did and did not work. And it is great to make changes. Ask for help with your marketing efforts because it is important that you focus on other aspects of your business as well.

True Fit Marketing has been recognized as a 2021 Top 30 Best Branding Agency in Pennsylvania by DesignRush.

True Fit Marketing has been recognized as a 2021 Top 30 Best Branding Agency in Pennsylvania by DesignRush. 

DesignRush is a B2B marketplace that connects brands with professional full-service agencies, web design companies, digital marketing firms, and top technology companies.

Their platform lists over 9,300 agencies from over 50 different countries and is consulted by thousands of decision-makers looking to start a project.

“We are so excited to be honored with this award,” said Owner Arlea Hoffman. “Our goal is to build a brand that lasts as long as a business. We will always be a partner with our clients, so this award is for them as well. We work together to meet desires, wants and needs in an industry that is ever changing. Branding is a top priority for a business so it is important that we are on top of our game with knowing what is happening in the branding world. Special thanks to DesignRush for bringing together agency professionals and leaders to learn and collaborate with.”

True Fit Marketing is a full-service marketing advocacy firm powered by technology and grounded with foundational marketing. The agency has grown immensely over the past two years. From clients to staff, they are proud of their growth and the growth in the region. 

True Fit Marketing has been recognized as a Top Web Design Company in Pennsylvania in 2021 by DesignRush

True Fit Marketing has been recognized as a Top Web Design Company in Pennsylvania in 2021 by DesignRush.

“Awards are so exciting to receive, but this award and the previous Top Branding Agency in Pennsylvania award are true top honors,” said True Fit Marketing owner, Arlea Hoffman. “A website is one of the most important parts of marketing, branding, and doing business so we are grateful that we have been recognized as a top web design company.” 

DesignRush is a B2B marketplace that connects brands with professional full-service agencies, web design companies, digital marketing firms, and top technology companies.

Their platform lists over 9,300 agencies from over 50 different countries and is consulted by thousands of decision-makers looking to start a project.

True Fit Marketing® is a full-service marketing advocacy firm powered by technology and grounded with foundational marketing. Simple. Authentic. Unique. Marketing that Fits. Naturally.