October 2014 —Learning more about SEO was all the rage this month at two different events: inFORUM, a professional organization supporting Michigan women, and the Internet streamed Radio for Divas, brainchild of Monica Sparks. The two organizations welcomed Top Of The List President Beverly Mapes to discuss the basics of SEO, changes in the industry, and how SEO relates to social media.
Hosting both events was Karen Horrigan, owner of Kareismatic, a social media consulting firm located in the Grand Rapids area.
When asked if SEO was dead, as proclaimed by several recent articles on the subject, Mapes responded an emphatic “no.” She followed with hard facts about the industry’s sold out conferences, trade organization stats showing time and budget spent on SEO, and then turning to the audience asking “who used a search engine today?”
A top change in the industry, according to Mapes, is the increase in mobile search and its effect on search engine placement for all devices. “When there are three times the number of mobile phones in the world than there are desktop computers, you can be sure the search engines are going to favor websites that make load times fast, and those that make viewing and navigation on a mobile phone the most friendly.”
Other prominent industry changes include search engine algorithm updates that block what “used to work” for SEO, the shrinking space on the search result page for organic search (as it fills up with paid search, shopping images, and local search), the increase in technical strategies for SEO, and the increase in other digital marketing venues such as social media to share the online market.
“The objectives of SEO are very different from that of social media,” Mapes said. According to a 2013 survey conducted by SEMPO, the industry’s trade association, SEO’s objectives were closely divided into three main areas: 1) drive traffic to the website, 2) sell products or services online, and 3) generate leads. Conversely, social media’s objective was all in the same bucket: branding.
“Still, social media links and how one optimizes those mediums can help a company dominate the first page of search engines,” Mapes said. Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube, when optimized and popular among followers, are her favorites for boosting a site’s recognition on Google, while a site’s Facebook activity results in better visibility on Bing/Yahoo. “There’s quite a dance going on with the social media players and search engines. They don’t all like or cooperate with each other. We’re sort of in the middle, just trying to figure it out and get the best for our clients.”
About the Author
Nicole has been working in online marketing since 2007 when she joined Top Of The List. She loves creative endeavors and spending time with her daughter.