What Is SEO and Why Is It Important

What Is SEO and Why Is It Important

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Table of Contents

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Search Engine Optimization in 2022

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On-Page SEO (with Keywords)

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Technical SEO (Under the Hood of Search Engine Optimization)

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Core Web Vitals

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Safe Browsing

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Mobile Friendliness

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Is SEO Marketing?

Search Engine Optimization in 2022

Any marketer knows your digital real estate is only as valuable as it is visible. In an internet landscape with thousands of options available from every SERP, how do you connect with the people who want what you have to offer? 

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the first step in digital marketing for a business of any size. 

What does it mean to be search engine optimized? Let’s unpack.

On-Page SEO (with Keywords)

SEO is divided into three main categories: On-page optimizations, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. In this article, we’ll focus on on-page and technical SEO since off-page deserves much more attention.

On-page SEO refers to the content on your website. That includes your content structure, content hierarchy, user experience (UX), image alt-text, internal links, and external links. 

Search engines like Google and Bing scan all the text your site contains in order to determine what you are about and who is trying to find you. This information is used to generate a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) when a user enters a query. 

Not all words are created equal! If you are an e-commerce site that specializes in pet supplies, some words on your page are more important than others! Google algorithm does its best to filter out “contentless” words; the, and, at . Instead, it focuses on the descriptive words; dog, cat, toy, food.

Those contentful words are your keywords. By examining what keywords your content contains and how often they are used, Google determines if your site is a good fit to show a user. This is called keyword density or keyword frequency. 

Of course, higher isn’t always better. Would you want to shop with an E-commerce store that contained the word “dog” 120 times and nothing else?

Technical SEO (Under the Hood of Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is more than just your content. Google Analytics ranks your site based on key metrics called core web vitals. These core web vitals are used to measure how functional your website is. 

A site with great content that has broken links, few updates and loads poorly is not user friendly. As many of you know, Google is To make sure Google is displaying your content front and center, check your site against Google’s gold standards for user experience.

It isn’t surprising that speed is the most important metric of technical SEO. But what does speed mean for your site? Google measures your speed according to 4 measurements. 

Core Web Vitals

Domain authority is based on more than just speed. As of the May 2021 update to Google Analytics, there are 2 other key factors that go into determining SERP visibility. 

Safe Browsing 

As you may have noticed, most sites you visit use HTPPS as their protocol. This is a secure protocol and the current minimum requirement for a page to be considered safe. It goes without saying that your pages should be free of malware, intrusive pop-ups or unauthorized data catchers. The newest addition to your safe site checklist is to use HTTPS.

Mobile Friendliness

Most web users browse as much on their phones, if not more than on a desktop. Why then, are so many sites not mobile optimized? Google is putting the mobile user experience first this year, and that means you should be too. Not sure if your site is mobile optimized? Get your answer from the horse’s mouth with Google Mobile Optimization Checker.

This free tool will let you know if your site is up to grade, and give you actionable advice if it isn’t. 

Is SEO Marketing?

Now that you better understand SEO and domain authority, you might be thinking “Is this marketing?”

SEO is a set of best practices for digital content. It is not marketing by itself, but all digital marketing campaigns should be launched with SEO in mind. You can’t sell to your market if you aren’t visible to your market. Everything from your text, domain choice, graphics and layout is factored in to your placement on a Google SERP.

If you are unsure about your marketing and what it means for your digital presence, chances are you need an SEO marketing consultant or a marketing agency that specialized in SEO to guide you. When looking for that consultant, make sure they offer you a service that keeps SEO best practices front and center.


What is Social Proof, and is it Important?

What is Social Proof, and is it Important?

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Social Proof Examples

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Social Proof in Marketing

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What Social Proof Isn’t

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The Social Proof is in the Pudding

Social proof is the basic human tendency to trust in the actions of the many. From Consumer Reports to Amazon stars to trendsetting Instagram accounts, people need more than facts about a product or promises from a brand to try something new. 

According to psychologist Robert Cialdini, the definition of social proof is: 

“…people are especially likely to perform certain actions if they can relate to the people who performed the same actions before them.”

The most powerful persuasive tool you have in your customer conversion toolbox is the human voice or social proof.

Social Proof Examples

Imagine you are shopping online for a new hand lotion. You see an ad for Crabtree and Evelyn brand lotion, and you notice three of your friends have liked this brand on Facebook. 

First is your Aunt Karen, who has excellent taste. She always has premium brands in her fully stocked guest bathroom. Next is your sister, Liz, who is a socially conscious vegan. Liz would never use a product unless it were Non-GMO and cruelty-free. Lastly, your Co-worker, Michael. Michael doesn’t pay much attention to brands. If HE liked it, it must be widely available. 

Just from these three likes, you know Crabtree and Evelyn are…

  • Sophisticated 
  • Eco-conscious
  • Available at major retailers

Now without ever reading any product information or sales pitches, you know a lot about a potential purchase. Better yet, you don’t have to wonder if the hype is real because it’s coming from people you trust who don’t stand to gain anything from their endorsement.

Informing customers via trusted social media voices is the very definition of social proof.

Social Proof in Marketing

Social proof in marketing can come from something as simple as likes and comments from customers or be as big as a celebrity endorsement. No matter the source, social proof is an essential part of any digital marketing campaign. 

The most common social proof in marketing comes from customer interaction. Comments, social media shares, and customer testimonials will naturally occur. By offering incentives, sharing affiliate links with other blogs, or partnering with influencers, you can give those authentic customer impressions the spotlight. 

For more insight into social proof and how it meshes with digital marketing, check out this guide on how to use social proof.

When and where you choose to display those organic customer responses makes all the difference. Blog posts or site pages that are informative rather than persuasive are natural settings for testimonials or endorsements.

What Social Proof Isn’t

Social proof is NOT an ad copy. The impact of social proof in marketing comes from the fact that the brand does not directly control it. Social proof can’t be faked.

Knowing the importance of social proof in marketing, you might be tempted to do anything you can to ramp up testimonials and endorsements. Remember that the power of social proof is in its genuine, organic nature. 

Potential customers use social proof to learn about your product from a non-biased source that they trust. Granting coupons for shares or giving freebies to influencers may seem like an easy way to boost interaction, but it can quickly become a bought-and-paid-for infomercial if overused. 

If your potential customers feel they are being swindled or misled by false reviews, all the social proof in the world cannot outweigh the sense of suspicion that follows from just one fake endorsement.

We all live and consume media in a commercial culture. Your customers know a sales pitch when they see one. There is a time and place for sales language in any digital marketing campaign, but it should be kept separate from social proof.

When you present a white paper or highlight social proof in marketing, that is NOT the place for traditional ad copy.

The Social Proof is in the Pudding

Social proof is an essential part of any marketing campaign. As they say in show business:

“ten thousand fans can’t be wrong.” 

It’s human nature to assume that the crowd knows more than we do. Social proof in marketing relies on these key features:

  • Authenticity
  • Organic generation
  • Number of responses
  • Qualitative, informational responses

To learn more about social proof in marketing, the definition of social proof, and how it relates to digital marketing, check out the science behind the concepts in Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

If you have other questions about social proof that you’d like answered, get in touch with Geneva.

Have unique experience with social proof? We’d love to hear it! Share your social proof experiences below.

DIY SEO | Affordable SEO for Small Businesses

DIY SEO | Affordable SEO for Small Businesses

In the wild world of DIY SEO and digital marketing, visibility is everything. Page hits fly in from social media, google queries, and backlinks, but that’s only half the story.

Your audience is going to hit the first page that matches their needs. How do you make sure that Google knows what you offer and how to display it? Search engine optimization.

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What Does SEO Stand For? (The Working Definition)

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SEO for Dummies (Easy Guide to DIY SEO)

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Leave it to the Pros (Affordable SEO for Small Businesses)

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DIY SEO Checklist (Search Engine Optimization in 4 Steps)

What Does SEO Stand For? (The Working Definition)

SEO or search engine optimization is the fine art of labeling your content so that an algorithm can interpret the type of content you have and choose when and where to display it.

By analyzing keyword density, intent (i.e. sales, white paper, review, blog), and backlinks, the Google algorithm gives your content a ranking for various search terms or queries and displays your content by ranking within a search engine results page (SERP).

This process also scans your content to create direct answer experiences within a SERP.

The exact process Google uses to rank and sort content is proprietary. To keep things fair and accurate, they do not disclose precisely how the ranking process works. However, let’s go over some basic principles of SEO.

SEO for Dummies (Easy Guide to DIY SEO)

Don’t worry, digital nomads! There are a lot of things you can do on your own to improve your site ranking and give yourself a DIY SEO checkup. 

Before you can optimize, you must determine what keywords you hope to use. In other words, what queries do you hope will return your content as the top choice? 

To start with, determine your current keyword density. If your website is on WordPress, you can use free SEO plugins like Yoast SEO or Rank Math. Both plugins have tons of great features including their own builtin keyword density analyzer tool. This tool will show you how often your focus keyword is used throughout your content compared to your content’s total word count. 

Next, try generating a SERP and running the top-ranking pages through the same tool. SERP will show you, in direct numbers, how your keyword usage compares to the top-ranking article. It will also show you the top keywords utilized by the top-ranking content, keywords you may want to incorporate into your content during your next edit!

With keyword info in hand, remember Google doesn’t just use your plain text. The Google ranking algorithm pays special attention to backlinks, paragraph headings, urls and alt-text. That means you should too!

Leave it to the Pros (Affordable SEO for Small Businesses)

Is this starting to feel overwhelming? Don’t worry; I’ve got your back.

Once you’ve given yourself a DIY SEO checkup and identified your areas for improvement, you might feel like the hill is too high to climb alone. 

SEO doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are lots of services for every budget from simple check-up tools to full service solutions, and most importantly, mentoring to guide you through.

Your first step is to optimize your existing content. Using an SEO suite of tools like Ahrefs or Loganix can help you chart a clear course to improving your existing sites and measuring their performance. Using an SEO toolkit gives you measurable, actionable feedback rather than the qualitative inference you might do on your own. 

Once you have identified what works, and what does not work, about your existing content, you have the information you need to create new, more impactful content within your niche. At this stage, you are ready to utilize freelancers to create custom content that rank competitively in the ever changing SEO world.

Of course, like any entrepreneur, you, and you alone, have the vision that makes everything possible. You must balance the power of delegation with the need to invest in yourself. By spending a little more time now to master the world of digital marketing, you save yourself time and most importantly, money. When you are ready to take your DIY SEO to the next level, you are ready for mentoring and mastermind sessions. 

DIY SEO Checklist (Search Engine Optimization in 4 Steps)

Whether you are performing a marketing audit or crafting your strategic goals for new content, make sure you can check these ‘SEO best practices’ boxes.

  1. Have you identified your keywords?
  2. Are your headings, URLs and alt text boxes keyword optimized?
  3. Are you linking to relevant content both within your site and to other sources?
  4. Have you linked Google Analytics?
  5. Are relevant sources linking back to your content?

As your business grows, so will your on page SEO needs. Even so, affordable SEO for small businesses is possible! 

Hopefully this DIY SEO guide has provided you with some marketing wisdom you can apply to your niche right away. If you found more questions than answers, let this be a wake up call for you!

No matter how big or small your business goals, it is always the right time to invest in yourself. Why not start now? Get in touch with SEO consultant Geneva Bell.

You Can Become a Digital Nomad. Here’s How.

You Can Become a Digital Nomad. Here’s How.

There are a number of reasons why people choose to pursue the lifestyle of a digital nomad. Whether you want to travel and see the world or whether you want to break out of the 9-to-5 grind, being a digital nomad affords you certain freedoms.

Before you jump into this laptop lifestyle though, some planning should be involved. There are a few things you can do to help you on your quest to become a digital nomad.

Simplify Your Life

When you think of a nomad in the traditional since, you think of a person who travels from place to place. Owning many possessions isn’t something nomads are known for. So if you have a house full of things and you’re serious about making the transition, you might want to start thinking about simplifying your life as much as possible.

An important part of becoming a digital nomad is getting rid of unnecessary baggage and expenses. When I first started my journey, I gave up my car and all things that I didn’t view as essential. It was a gradual process. You’ll want to be honest with yourself about what things are necessary and what you can give up. If you envision yourself traveling to different countries months at a time, do you really need that gym membership, magazine subscription, or Sam’s Club membership?

Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed. Having many prized possessions can do that to you. Take baby steps. Two things that were really difficult for me to give up were my television and Vitamix. I actually tried to figure out a way to bring them with me. How crazy was that?

When it comes to simplifying your life, that includes your spending habits. Cutting down on your spending will not only save you money but will help keep unnecessary items out of your house that you’ll eventually need to give up anyway. When you’re traveling in countries where a dollar goes a long way and living is cheap, you’ll appreciate having more money in the bank.

Freelance or Start An Online Business

Consider your skills and how you can carry them into online work. Writing, design, editing, and software development are common skills that lend themselves to freelance or remote work. Joining a freelancing community will expose you to work opportunities and resources used by other location independent entrepreneurs.

If you want to start your own online business but don’t have the confidence to leave your 9-to-5 job right away, you can try to get remote freelance work in your spare time. The point is to establish yourself as a freelancer so it can become a viable source of income. As a digital nomad, you won’t need a ton of money, but you will need a steady amount to get by. If you don’t have a lot of money saved in the bank, traveling without having clients or an established online business can make your life more stressful and the laptop lifestyle nearly impossible.

Consider the Logistics

If you already have health insurance, double check that you’ll be covered while you’re in other countries. If your health insurance doesn’t cover you while you’re abroad, you should consider travel insurance that is specifically for digital nomads. One insurance company that I absolutely love, and am also an affiliate for, is World Nomads. Depending on your needs, their comprehensive insurance plans could cover some combination of dental, emergency health, trip cancellation, delays, lost luggage, tech and gear and the list goes on.

Research the country, city or town you want to travel to before you go. Find decent lodging, whether it’s an affordable bed and breakfast or other reasonably priced place to stay. You’ll want to feel comfortable and safe in the place you’ll be lodging, so thoroughly look into the neighborhood you plan on residing in, especially if you plan on staying there for at least a few months. Figure out where all the essentials are—hospitals, grocery stores, coffeeshops, metro stops, places of worship, co-working spaces and so on.

Whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, it’s important to make sure you have the cell phone reception and wifi you need. Consider getting a local SIM card in the area you’ll reside. You may also be able to rely on your cellular network and use your personal hotspot for internet connection if you find yourself without wifi.

Consider Avenues to Diversify Your Income

As a remote SEO agency owner, I can tell you that it’s crucially important to diversify your income by building multiple streams of income. Passive income can make life a whole lot easier for a digital nomad, especially at times when work is inconsistent. If you have the money, investments and dividend-yielding stocks might work for you. Others prefer going with something like an E-commerce business. If you already plan on documenting your travels through blogging, Instagram, YouTube, or other social media, placing ads, affiliate links, or sponsorship posts could be a possibility for you.

There are many affiliate marketing programs like Shareasale, of which I am an affiliate, CJ and Amazon affiliates just to name a few.

Digital Nomads Still Need a Schedule

It’s important to schedule your time, even as a digital nomad. Schedule time for work and time for leisure. That way you can stay productive and also enjoy your leisure time exploring your new environment.

Maintaining a work-life balance will make your new lifestyle more sustainable. Letting work take over leisure time will create stress, and failing to block out consistent work time will affect your productivity. Make goals and give yourself deadlines to meet so you can make progress on your work.

Conclusion

Becoming a digital nomad can seem like a big, intimidating change. But if you’re really interested in the lifestyle, there are steps you can take to make the transition easier and to minimize stress. And if you do eventually decide to settle down, you can still stick to freelancing instead of returning to an office job because of the work you did as a digital nomad.  

Are you already a digital nomad? Did we leave any crucial steps out? Please share with us in the comment section below!

The Definition of Brand Personality And How to Develop It

The Definition of Brand Personality And How to Develop It

Many people confuse brand personality with brand values. While these two compliment each other, they are not the same. Brand values are the things your brand stands for, whether it be transparency or quality, or innovation, etc. These are the principles that your brand is determined to uphold.

A brand personality is similar to that of a person’s. It is the combination of human characteristics or qualities that form the brand’s distinctive character. A brand’s personality influences how consumers feel about the brand and has the power to attract consumers and make their experience with the brand memorable. These qualities should be consistent across all mediums and platforms in order to be truly effective.

If our relationships with brands so closely mirror those with our fellow humans, shouldn’t we think of brands as people?

– Ignyte

There are five main brand personality types to consider when building your own.

Competence

Competence evokes reliability, experience, proficiency, skillfulness, and expertise. A tried and true brand like Google is an example of this. Microsoft Office suite used to be the go-to office software for most people. Nowadays, Google Drive seems to be the go-to office software because of it convenience and ease of use. Not to mention the fact that it’s free.

When composing a document on Google Docs, Sheets or Slides, the document is automatically saved as you make changes. Additionally, you can pick up where you left off on any device. If that doesn’t scream reliability and proficiency, I don’t know what does.

Sincerity

Sincerity includes traits such as genuineness, goodwill, and trustworthiness. I personally, think of Whole Foods and Amazon. And it’s no surprise that Amazon decided to acquire Whole Foods in 2017. The Whole Foods brand markets itself as having high quality standards. It prides itself on the vibrant stacks of produce, animal welfare rated meat, responsibly farmed and sustainable wild-caught seafood and body care products with ingredients that consumers can trust. Since what you see is what you get, buyers feel a greater sense of trust toward the brand.

Sophistication

When we think of sophistication, we often think of cultured, refined, elegance and class. Designer brands such as Chanel and Dior are prime examples of a sophisticated brand personality. They exude elegance and status, which draws in customers who are attracted to those traits.

Excitement

Common traits of excitement are exhilaration, emotion, thrill and enjoyment. Oftentimes, those characteristics are also associated with youth. Universal Parks & Resorts uses thrilling commercials and showcases an image of being joyful with its current “Let Yourself Woah” slogan (as of 2020).

Ruggedness

Strength, grit, and athleticism are all traits of ruggedness. Recreational Equipment, Inc., commonly known as REI, a company that believes a life outdoors is a life well-lived, serves as a good example of ruggedness. REI, sells sporting goods, camping gear, travel equipment, and clothing.

Now that we’ve defined some brand personality types and traits, how can you build your own brand personality?

Know Your Demographic

Once you’ve figured out what your passion is, you need to develop it into a brand. An essential part of building your brand is knowing who the brand is for. Your brand’s personality should cater to the customer. Who is your product or service for, and what will they find attractive? Identify who your average consumer is and what they are like and build a personality that’s relatable to them. A good brand personality should connect emotionally with the customer.

Old Spice, for example, uses ruggedness to appeal to their demographic of young men. The face of their brand, the Old Spice guy, is typically an attractive, muscular man. The brand uses what are viewed as traditionally masculine traits to appeal to its consumers. The Old Spice guy is aspirational—he’s suave, he’s fit, and he’s manly. While the people who use Old Spice tend to be young men, the brand has also strategically tried to attract women with campaigns like “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” since women are more likely to do household shopping.

Brand personality traits provide a general idea of how to reach your target demographic, but make sure to really zero in on who your customer is.

For example, once you’ve identified your target as millennial women, consider the fact that millennials have increasingly expressed interest in a brand’s values and authenticity. Love Beauty and Planet, Unilever’s personal care brand that launched in 2017, targets socially aware millennials. The brand markets vegan and cruelty-free products that are environmentally conscious at a time when interest in natural products is growing.

Differentiate Your Brand Personality From the Competition

When developing a brand personality, take stock of your competition. A good way to build a successful brand personality is by capitalizing on what makes you different from other brands in your market.

Let’s re-examine the brand Love Beauty and Planet. Many personal care brands exist, such as Dove, Pantene, and the like. Additionally, other natural and cruelty-free products exist, but at a higher price. However, the brand’s target audience will trust it more because of its commitment to vegan, cruelty-free, and environmentally conscious practices. Its brand personality emphasizes these qualities in a way competitors at the same price points don’t.

Cohesiveness

An effective brand personality extends to a brand’s design and behavior. Most people can easily identify an Apple product by its once-bitten apple logo. And like the logo, the design of the product is simple, clean, and sophisticated.

A brand’s behavior on social media influences the way people see it. A small, trendy jewelry store might utilize Instagram because visual platforms work particularly well for jewelry. It gives the brand a chance to convey the glamour and sophistication of its products.

The way a brand interacts with customers on social media can increase its appeal as well. For example, customers notice when a brand cares about their experience with a product or service and can sense that sincerity in social media interactions.

Conclusion

Building an effective brand personality is essential to attracting loyal customers. Customers who feel a connection with your brand will stay with you. By knowing your demographic, differentiating yourself from the competition, and staying consistent, you can develop a successful brand personality.

Have you built your brand’s personality? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

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