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Search Query Q&A | Search Engine Optimization Tips & Best Practices

As a Senior Digital Strategist at Vital, a top digital marketing agency with offices in Boston, San Francisco, and Portsmouth, NH, I get a lot of questions regarding search engine optimization. Some of the questions I get are simple, while some require a little more SEO expertise.

The following is the first in a series of Q&A discussions about search engine optimization and digital marketing strategy. Enjoy!

Q: What is SEO?
A: At its core, SEO is all about making sure your website is found on the internet. Within the scope of a digital marketing program, like what we do at Vital, it’s about strategically optimizing for higher conversion keywords — and, of course, getting leads. Ranking is nice, but at the end of the day, if that rank isn’t making you money, then its worthless to you and us. There are many ways to answer your question — here’s another. Mainly, it consists of building pages, making sure the code is written in a way that Googlebot can crawl it effectively, and building up the reputation of that page on the internet so Google thinks it’s famous. Think of it this way — if the page is an actor, you’re its agent. You manage the page, where it’s going to be, who gets to see it and how much it gets paid.

Q: How many people does it take to successfully execute SEO strategy?
A: That’s a solid question. It really changes with the skill sets of those involved. But the skills you’ll definitely need are web development, writing, spreadsheet experience (Google Sheets or Excel), design and basic analytical skills. Now, you could certainly have one person with all of those skills, but having an entire team with people who specialize in their given areas really helps move things along more quickly and with much higher quality.

Q: Why do I need a team of people handling my SEO?
A: Good question. Truthfully, it’s better to entrust SEO strategy with a company like Vital — we have multiple people in every discipline, so if your site is of epic proportions, we can get a bunch of people writing code, analyzing and designing all the things we need at the same time. A team really translates the “I can do this” into “we can do this FAST!”

Q:  Is SEO dead?
A: Haha, good one.

Q: Seriously though, that’s been said many times. What are people talking about when they say “SEO is dead”?
A: Ten years ago, you could stuff your keyword meta tag, use a keyword on the page a bunch of times and call it a day. Things have a gotten a lot more complex over the years, which has made the goal of SEO somewhat of a moving target. But let’s be real. While ranking is great, the name of the game is leads.

Q: Does ranking mean anything to an SEO specialist?
A: Well look at it this way. The rank of your page will mean something different in your hometown than it does on the other side of the country — and it will mean something different to a logged-in user or someone who already knows your brand and has visited your site, as opposed to someone who is just discovering you. If you’re local, it might show up in the local 3-pack, but the same search might display differently for someone in another state. My point is that, yes, showing up at the top of a search is important, but the fact is you just can’t track it as easily as you used to be able to. We can still use rank as a metric to guide strategy decisions, but it’s no longer sufficient to reach number 1 and say, “OK, we’re done” — especially considering that we may be ranking number 1 somewhere, but not necessarily where it matters most.

Q: It sounds like you’re talking about the context of the search.
A: Context and intent are the two most important factors in the search world. Remember to always ask yourself: “What’s the context of the search and what is the searcher’s intent?” Google’s algorithm is really good at determining the intent, and they are always testing out new ways to match the search engine results to its intent more accurately and quicker than ever.

What questions do you have about digital strategy and SEO? Send them to us for possible inclusion in our next Q&A. Meanwhile, contact us anytime to interview us about our mission of building beautiful, smartly optimized, lead-generating websites.

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