Amanda and I sat down for breakfast at my favorite breakfast spot, Einsteins Bagels, while I enjoyed a cup of Vanilla Hazelnut Coffee and a Poppy Seed Bagel. Amanda sipped on Black Rose tea and noshed on a Croissant. We spoke about how to navigate the world of SEO.
Steve: Amanda I know when you’re not busy working on Santa Fe Fashion Weeks’ Website, Social Media, and Fashion Blogging, and among a host of other activities you also work as a Digital Media Specialist for the local Toyota Parts Department, administrating their website and increasing their social reach on the Web. Fashion and Auto Parts – what an odd combination.
Amanda: I am driven by a creative spark in all that I do. I leaped at the opportunity to grow a new website from the ground up.
Steve: Interesting to hear that. I was surprised to hear from a lot of my business friends that, although their websites look aesthetically pleasing, and seem to function well, when they looked under the hood, so-to-say, their webmasters were not fully utilizing most, if not any, of the tools available to drive traffic to their website.
Amanda : The website platform SFFW is using, WordPress, provides a platform for developers to offer WordPress users plugins that can streamline the SEO process. Google, for example, utilizes long algorithms, similar to math equations with many variables, and crawls your website pages in search of answers to these variables as do other popular search engines like Yahoo and Bing.
Steve: are we talking about Keywords?
Amanda: Maintaining Keywords is an important part of the process, as is the relevance of those keywords to your/our content. Keyword relevance is ever-changing, and helps ensure quality content for all of us when utilized well. In addition, things like maintaining links on your site, including those duplicate links that often occur from your content management system, are important. There is a very long laundry list of things to look out for, and each one gives us opportunities to present our content and story in the best way possible to search engines to let them know that we have a high quality, relevant website for them to share with the world.
Steve: What would you do if you had to hire a Webmaster/SEO specialist? SFFW is fortunate to have you as part of our team. I have to admit, when I speak to some SEO specialists, or over hear them talking at Starbucks and talking with business owners, they almost sound like snake oil salesmen.
Amanda: I would watch out for SEO people that seem to emphasize things like affiliate link exchange programs, or make great-big, way-too-good-to-be-true promises. If they sound snake-y, they probably are. An astronomical amount of labor, time, and money has been spent on fighting this very same kind of person. Google heavily penalizes for “black-hat” tactics which, when found, can heavily affect your ranking. Unfortunately, many companies find this out too late. If you aren’t ranking in Google for your website name, for example, you may have a problem. I would want to see some kind of portfolio for a potential SEO persons’ work. They should be able to clearly address specific improvements they’ve made and bonus points for doing homework and suggesting improvements for you: there are many tools that help us create graphs and measure things like the ranking/or even inclusion of specific keywords on your site. I would appreciate a nice graph showing the improvement of traffic over time. Perhaps a list of basic improvements made to the website aimed toward making it more user-friendly for other people – is your site optimized in some way for mobile? Can they help you restructure? Have they done this or that particular thing for others successfully? Are they able to bring along an existing network to help out your industry? What is the web presence like for companies they’ve worked for in the past? I’d say that past websites don’t have to rank #1 (practically an impossibility), but should certainly be ranked for a good amount of words relevant to that sites’ industry and I would be extremely impressed to see a “Page Ranking” of *more than* 1 for the website itself – but that can take a lot of time and effort! Google only provides their page-ranking numbers twice a year. Digital Media Marketing today takes a strong foundation of technical know-how, but today’s landscape demands heavily on creative, well-presented content creation, and an intelligent and diverse marketing strategy.
Steve: Wow Amanda you really know your stuff, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us! I look forward to continuing this conversation.