This week, we skipped past the kiddie pool and dove straight into the depths of search engine optimization and its impact on inbound marketing (Andy talks more about that in his blog here!).

Search engine optimization

As a reminder, SEO is, in short, a set of tactics that companies and brands use to rank higher in search engine results.



This isn’t a concept that should be new to us. We dipped our toes into the basics of SEO in the first Social Media and Personal Branding course as a part of our digital hub projects; however, our new focus for the semester looks not only at optimizing our own digital content, but also on how businesses and brands utilize search engines and the impact that these practices have on their overall business objectives.

Search Engine Optimization: Then and Now

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The intent of search engine optimization has always stayed pretty consistent; however, as consumers’ search habits have evolved, search engines have also gotten a little bit smarter, too. Search engine developers are continuously adapting the algorithms of how their platforms generate information. Search engines are designed to now understand the intent behind a searcher’s quarry, allowing for quicker population of the most relevant search results. Having once been ideal for short-tail, generalized key word searches, sites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing have also been programmed to understand the nuances of language and how consumers actually tend to search, paving the way for more specific, long-tail key word searches. Source authority, content quality, and even mobile optimization have even began to come into play when determining how results rank to best suit the needs of searchers.

So what does this mean?

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Searching has become one of the most accessible and reliable means of obtaining information, with over 3.5 billion Google searches conducted every day worldwide. This makes SEO integral to companies’ inbound marketing strategies. The higher you rank, the more possibilities you have to attract customers to your products and services.

Many companies have been quick to recognize this. In fact, some with deep pockets will even invest in PPC campaigns to boost their brands to the top of your search results. Some of you were surprisingly against this tactic when asked if you actually click on the ads in Google Search, but you get what you pay for, right?

Long story short:

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So, let’s discuss!

  1. In what ways would you like to see search engines improve in the future to better suit your own personal search quarry needs?
  2. Go through your recent search history. Have you searched for anything strange or unusual lately? Did your search give you what you were looking for? (Keep it school appropriate, please!)
  3. In this day and age, do you think that companies still have a chance of being successful without incorporating SEO tactics into their inbound marketing strategies? Why or why not?
  4. How do you think a working knowledge of SEO will benefit you and the career path you’ll choose?

22 thoughts on “Search Engine Optimization: #ADDWSU Week 3

  • January 29, 2017 at 8:02 pm
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    In what ways would you like to see search engines improve in the future to better suit your own personal search quarry needs?
    I think google could form databases around search content. For me, I want to be able to form a database around horse racing or wedding or otherwise. Also, I think the way google has moved is in the right direction, with the answer box (i think that is what it was called) on top to try and give us the best results first.

    Go through your recent search history. Have you searched for anything strange or unusual lately? Did your search give you what you were looking for? (Keep it school appropriate, please!)
    I have not! I have searched for my normal horse racing stuff, then I have been looking for dresses so I can look nice in valentine’s day weekend. Also, I searched for the discontinued Philadelphia Strawberrt Cheesecake bars because I was craving one.

    In this day and age, do you think that companies still have a chance of being successful without incorporating SEO tactics into their inbound marketing strategies? Why or why not?
    Absolutely not. I know I can’t find half these farms, products, and more without them. They have to know what words people will be looking for and if they do and do not incorporate then, then no one is findig them.

    How do you think a working knowledge of SEO will benefit you and the career path you’ll choose?
    I am hoping to be a photographer and journalist, so writing a great headline with perfect keywords and writing alt text with the right keywords will keep me current and in the front lines of Google.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2017 at 1:29 am
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      I definitely think you might be onto something with the database option, Casey! I could definitely see that being a really great way to kind of streamline search results to get more relevant information.

      I gotta confess, I’m not getting married anytime soon, but I’ve definitely looked around google at wedding dresses a time or two as well. hahaha

      Reply
  • January 31, 2017 at 12:05 am
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    Love your post, Adrienne!

    In what ways would you like to see search engines improve in the future to better suit your own personal search quarry needs?
    The only way search engines could improve to better suit my needs that I can think of would probably be to improve the way that Google can recognize what a user last searched for and display more accurate suggestions on what they could possibly want next without the user having to type it all out. I know that’s asking a bit much, but that would be helpful for my needs.

    Go through your recent search history. Have you searched for anything strange or unusual lately? Did your search give you what you were looking for? (Keep it school appropriate, please!)
    I have not searched for anything that a search engine wasn’t able to find in years! I even get accurate results back from Google when the searches I do type in usually look something like “What is the song that plays in *insert movie title* right when the *plot device* happens?”

    In this day and age, do you think that companies still have a chance of being successful without incorporating SEO tactics into their inbound marketing strategies? Why or why not?
    When it’s taken into account how far technology has come and how popular search engines are today, I would think that a company’s chances for success would be slim-to-none. Most of the audience any new company would want is online, and chances are the most probable way that a company is going to have potential customers find them is through use of a search engine. If a company doesn’t have a good grasp on the importance of SEO, in this day and age, they’re not setting themselves up to last long.

    How do you think a working knowledge of SEO will benefit you and the career path you’ll choose?
    In the field of Mass Communications in general, knowledge of anything and everything digital is usually helpful, because that’s where the majority of technologies these days are going. Further to the digital. Search engines have become such a staple to almost everything the public does online today, especially since almost all news sources, both local and national, have a website of some kind, increasing the traffic to the site of the company I work for will definitely help me progress in a journalism field. SEO will help me do that as well, because if I know how to make sure the potential viewers are going to find the site of my company online, I will be able to have an edge in that job field.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2017 at 1:32 am
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      I have to admit, Jonah, I’d be a little bit freaked out if Google could predict what I was about to search! Technology is getting too smart for me, I think! Feels a little bit Big Brother-y!

      Reply
  • January 31, 2017 at 11:10 am
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    Great post Adrienne!

    In response to your first question, I agree with Casey in that a way to database search would be fantastic, especially in times when I’m trying to research or find something in particular and end up with some relevant results, but also a handful that have done nothing for at all. Apart from that, I feel as though Google has definitely gone in the right direction in terms of improving. Maybe it would be nice to be able to have a certain set of filters that you can set to avoid certain content, though. I feel like there’s nothing worse than when you’re trying to research a person or something and the first two pages are all personal Facebook pages and SoMe accounts that have nothing to do with what you’re looking for. A way to filter those out could be handy.

    I haven’t actually searched for anything too strange recently, so Google has been able to provide me with just about all the results I needed! Well, unless you count searching for tropical fish stores as strange, then there was that. Google still gave me the expected results and it made my search that much easier!

    I agree with both Casey and Jonah in that, in this day and age especially, without embracing SEO tactics, the likelihood of success decreases dramatically. Living in such a technological age where most everyone relies on Google or some form of search engine (what ever happened to Jeeves?), it’s become almost crucial to embrace strong SEO tactics. With the competition having access to all the same resources that a company does (monetary capabilities aside), it really forces one to think smarter and harder about what they want to do, how they want to do it, and from there, what are the best steps to take. All in all, without SEO, I can’t see someone getting very far.

    Lastly, I think SEO will benefit me in the career field that I intend on going into because it’ll help me figure out the best ways to optimize my content to ensure it’s getting to a) the right people and b) a broader audience. Since I want to go into Social & Digital Media Content Creation for a professional sports team, it would definitely be crucial for me to ensure that I can target the right audiences and get the name out there in whichever way I can, since there are so many websites and additional SoMe channels for every team in every league in every sport you can think of to compete with.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2017 at 1:37 am
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      Filters on Google would be terrific. I know you can type in certain words like and and not to kind of tailor your results a little bit, but I agree. There’s just so much information out there that it’s easy to be overwhelmed with all of the search results!

      I can see how SEO knowledge would benefit you greatly in particular. It’ll definitely give you an edge when trying to optimize your content to compete with the other contributors to your industry.

      Reply
  • January 31, 2017 at 5:36 pm
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    1.I would like to see search engines improve by the answer box for more questions
    2. I have not searched anything strange lately so that question isn’t really relevant.
    3. I think companies have no chance with out SoMe or SEO practice because that is the primary way millennials find things
    4.I don’t know my career path so I don’t know how SEO will affect

    Reply
    • February 2, 2017 at 1:41 am
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      Don’t sweat it, Paul! I think it’s ridiculous to think that every 20-something year old has to know exactly what they’re going to do with the rest of their life. The important thing isn’t the destination, but more so the path you’re taking to find it. :]

      Reply
  • February 1, 2017 at 11:54 am
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    I want to start this response by saying great job Adrienne! The content of the post was easy for me to consume and I enjoyed the GIF of Regina George. SEO is a field in digital marketing that I am still trying to wrap my head around, given the fact that I use search platforms on a daily basis. I have a limited understanding of SEO in general and found Hubspot’s brief about it necessary.

    Building off of what Casey previously stated, I think that Google would benefit from search related databases specifically catered to my personal search history. I sometimes have difficulty finding distinguished sources from certain searches. An example of this is when I typed in “Syrian GDP,” Wikipedia was on the top of the list. Sources such as the UN and the World Bank were also close to the top of the list, however it was difficult to find the desired information within the links given.

    I think Google should elevate searches by the quality of their content, however that my by easier said than done. In terms of search relevance, I do not know how that would be achieved.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2017 at 1:47 am
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      Heheh thank you, Hasan! I appreciate it!

      Yeah, I agree with you! I think we kind of come into learning this at kind of a disadvantage in a way. We grew up with search engines. I’ve relied on Google since middle school to find information. Since it’s just a part of our everyday lives, I don’t think we’ve really had to stop and think about the mechanics of it. It’s definitely something we’ve been able to take advantage of, and it’s been super interesting being able to dissect the whole process.

      Reply
  • February 1, 2017 at 12:45 pm
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    I’m impressed with Google’s search engine improvements and I can’t think of any future improvements.

    According to my search history I haven’t searched anything exciting at all.

    Without SEO, I don’t think a company today would be able to survive and thrive on because SEO is what everyone uses to find what they need and want.

    With better knowledge of SEO, I think that it will help accelerate my ability to target and give my audience what they need as well as helping me find some of my own specific needs. SEO is going to be great for to get my presence out there since there are numerous amounts of platforms to become listed on.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2017 at 1:49 am
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      Just to clarify, you wanted to start your own organization, right? I can definitely see how SEO would help to jump start that and really get yourself out there!

      Reply
  • February 1, 2017 at 2:20 pm
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    Solid post Adrienne! Very personalized and fun!

    1. I would like to see search engines become more responsive to voice to text recognition. They have come a long way, don’t get me wrong. However, I have ran into several problems with Amazon’s Alexa when searching for relatively easy topics and terms. Google is definitely better, but still lags behind Alexa in opening particular apps.

    2. Well, I’ve mainly asked Alexa what a score of a particular game was and the current weather for the day. Google on the other hand- Topics for class including searches on A Mid Summer Night’s Dream, the Lebanese constitution, and cultural mosaic societies. I definitely received the information I was looking for, which helped me ace a research paper.

    3. Today’s companies are doomed if they refuse to incorporate useful SEO strategies and more specifically the Inbound method. Now Iwould say small “Ma and Pa” stores and restaurants in small towns with established customer bases will be less susceptible. But, for the majority of brands and companies trying to compete for buyers in today’s marketplace better have a strong social media game backed by excellent content.

    4. Well, if i go into digital marketing it will be essential. But, in general understanding SEO principles will help in almost any position. SEO is branding and everyone needs to know how to brand themselves, jobs, and anything they care about in order to succeed in life.

    Once again, great post Adrienne!

    Reply
    • February 2, 2017 at 1:55 am
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      Thank you, Cameron!

      I agree! I think search engines and voice-activated search platforms all across the board could benefit from getting a little bit better at distinguishing verbal language. Nothing irritates me more when I want to ask Siri a quick question, and it doesn’t understand what I’ve said so I just have to open up Google and type my question out. First world problems, right?!

      I know absolutely nothing about Alexa, but I did hear a story on a podcast recently where two friends were having a conversation, and somehow Alexa thought they wanted to order a giant teddy bear? Not sure how that happened, but there you go! hahah

      Reply
  • February 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm
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    In what ways would you like to see search engines improve in the future to better suit your own personal search quarry needs?

    I would like for there to be some kind of regulation on the amount of spam websites that come up in search results. Also a reduction in the blogs that middle aged women write that have 100 ads on each page that makes it impossible for the site to load.

    Go through your recent search history. Have you searched for anything strange or unusual lately? Did your search give you what you were looking for? (Keep it school appropriate, please!)

    I havent searched anything strange lately but the things that I have searched, I was able to find the answer on the first page of results.

    In this day and age, do you think that companies still have a chance of being successful without incorporating SEO tactics into their inbound marketing strategies? Why or why not?

    I dont think that companies will be successful today of they dont have some sort of SEO strategy. Business is only getting more competitive, especially online, and with the fancy new in home devices such as Alexa by Amazon, its inly going to get harder to get to the top.

    How do you think a working knowledge of SEO will benefit you and the career path you’ll choose?

    I think that a woking knowledge of SEO will benefit me in my career path because I feel like its something that people dont know about or dont know they need so if I am able to educate them on why its important I think it will benefit the company and me because they will want to hire me.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2017 at 2:03 am
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      I think we can all agree that nothing is more annoying than spam results!

      Going along with the random blog pages, I’d also like to see more credible results for certain searches. Like, it’s clear that certain blogs or websites were created for someone’s 8th grade history project. How these things end up on the top page of results, I’ll never understand.

      Reply
  • February 2, 2017 at 12:00 am
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    I feel like brands have no chance in surviving 2017 with no SEO optimization if they are going to continue to not be fully engulfed in their demographics. Obviously it will be difficult for anyone, but of a brand has favor and a strong following, they wont need to find all the SEO cheat codes to maintain survival. For example Beyonce posted a photo is beat the record for most Instagram likes in LESS than a day. when it comes to using platforms of social media, if the following is strong, the SEO can relax. HOWEVER to obtain success with a base following of 0, unless Bey is tagging your article, site, or service in her caption, may just want to re-watch those SEO videos because your going to need them.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2017 at 2:09 am
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      Yeah, it’s actually pretty cool that search engines can tailor their results to take relevance into account when users search. Like, if you’ve kind of got a base, you can chill out a little bit. But I don’t think that fully lets your brand off the hook either.

      Take, for example, popular tabloid and celebrity sites all reporting on Beyonce blowing up Instagram. Sure, Beyonce would be relevant content, and since the news is recent, it’d probably pop up if you searched her, but the challenge comes when all of the tabloids end up reporting the same thing with similar content. Who gets the top spot then? Maybe there is some wiggle room with a following, but I think it’s important to still keep on top of it.

      Reply
  • February 2, 2017 at 12:07 am
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    I honestly don’t know if search engines need to improve for me. I don’t ask the engines to do acrobatics. I just ask it simple questions, such as the questions to my homework.

    Shout out to Yahoo Answers.

    I haven’t searched for anything crazy, but everything that I did search for, like Mariah Carey’s new single that will be out at midnight on February 3, 2017, which you should go buy on iTunes, came back with the results that I expected.

    Without use SEO tactics, I don’t think companies will be as successful. I don’t know about others, but for me, when looking for something, I go straight to Google. If you don’t incorporate SEO, how will I find your company if it’s not something that easily stands out? Companies are like Whitney Houston, and SEO is like crack. They go hand in hand.

    I would like to go down the social media route, so knowing how to perfect SEO is good. Whether it’s a blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube, having knowledge of SEO will be beneficial to fulfilling my job duties.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2017 at 2:13 am
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      Oh my gosh, you crack me up!

      Also, I don’t know… I just can’t get into Mariah.

      Sorry friend!

      Reply
  • February 2, 2017 at 2:24 am
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    Hi friends! Thanks for contributing!

    I can’t agree with all of you more! after learning more about SEO and its benefits to companies in terms of brand awareness, I can’t see many brands, even well-established ones, being able compete in today’s digital climate without utilizing search engine optimization tactics. It seems essential.

    Also, I posed the question about weird searches to make myself feel better. So thanks for not being weird and letting me down, guys! Now i feel strange!

    Just for fun, here’s a little of my recent search history. Enjoy!

    “Are ghosts real?”
    “What shape should your nails be?”
    “Cat in box”
    “Hamilton the musical”
    “Stress test”

    Reply
  • February 2, 2017 at 5:02 pm
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    The ways that I would like to see search engines improve is that they can take out suggestions that could lead younger people and kids to search for things they had no intent of searching for. The Internet is never ending and all it takes is misspelling one word for a kid to go to places they ought not be.
    As far as what I have searched for lately I would say that “hash brown casserole recipe” is the strangest one. The first thing that popped up was exactly what I was looking for to make for Sunday’s Super Bowl.
    I think that without SEO tactics the only way that companies will be successful is if they have a good customer base that was established before the age of technology took over. This success won’t last however, because the generations coming up will want to do more an more online. Lagging behind will cause companies to suffer.
    A working knowledge in SEO will benefit me because it will be something that I am constantly looking for and it is something that can always be done better. If I were to get a job that needed the skills to optimize SEO then this would be one of the best things I learn.

    Reply

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