SEO Terms You Should Know graphic

SEO Terms You Should Know

If you’re in the realm of marketing, chances are you’ve heard the term SEO before. If you’re not savvy with technology or aren’t as engaged in the digital side of marketing, the concept of SEO and the many facets of it can be overwhelming, to say the least. 

Understanding the terms and basic ideas of SEO is essential to marketing in today’s digital world. Luckily, once you get past all of the industry jargon and complex-sounding terminology, SEO isn’t too hard to understand. 

What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is how well a website, brand or page does on search engines. When thinking about SEO, you should consider all search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, to name a few. However, keep in mind that Google has more than an 80% share of the search market, so that should be your main focus. 

SEO involves a lot of analytics, too. The research is just as important as the actual practice of SEO. Use tools like Google Analytics to understand how your website fares on search engines, and if your SEO practices are working.

Why does SEO matter?

In this digital age, search engines are the most popular’ go-to’s when trying to find a product or service. If you use SEO strategically, you can ensure that your company will pop up on someone’s first or second search page. Ranking high in search results will make them more likely to visit your page. 

SEO words to know

Just understanding what SEO is isn’t enough, though. There are plenty of terms and topics that are important to know if you’re interested in using SEO. 

Here, we’ve compiled a list of popular SEO terms that you can use to grasp the basics of SEO.

Google homepage
Understanding SEO can improve your rankings on search engines.

Keyword

What it is: A keyword is the word or phrase that you are using in your content to gain traffic on search engines.

For example, if you’re a marketing agency based in Georgia, your keyword may be “marketing agency in Georgia.” That way, your content will show up when someone searches “marketing agency in Georgia.” 

Why it matters: Keywords are essential in SEO because they will help potential clients find your site or lead them to your content. To find the right keyword, make sure to research what phrases potential clients in your niche are searching for.

For more on keywords, check out our previous blog post.

Along with keywords, you may also hear the term keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing refers to the use of too many keywords or cramping the same keywords into a few short paragraphs.

This is a common mistake because many assume the more keywords, or the more instances of a keyword, the better. In fact, keyword stuffing will harm your site’s ranking on search engines.

Traffic

What it is: Traffic is the amount of clicks and views your content gets. Organic traffic refers to traffic that comes naturally through search engine queries, social media pages, email newsletters and so on. Paid traffic comes from advertisements, such as sponsorships and pay-per-click ads.

Why it matters: Gaining traffic is a no-brainer because SEO is all about driving traffic to your website. It’s essential to getting more visibility and growing your business. 

Meta Description

What it is: A meta description refers to a part of your content’s HTML (the markup language of online content) that has a small snippet of the content. It is usually 50-160 words and search engines may use it in search results. 

Why it matters: If a search engine displays your meta description, it will influence the number of clicks your content receives. Your meta description should contain your keyword and be compelling, enticing the reader to learn more.

An example of a meta description for SEO use.
This meta description uses the keyword organically while giving a simple summary that engages readers.

Crawling

What it is: Crawling is a search engine process that uses crawlers (sometimes called bots or spiders) to go through the internet and find websites, links and other data. Using a specific algorithm, a search engine will determine which websites will be scanned and how often.

Why it matters: Your website being crawled by a search engine is the first step to getting it listed on a search engine’s database. From there, it will then begin to show up on search engine results pages. You can make sure crawlers find your most important content by making it easily accessible on your website. 

Index

What it is: Indexing is the next step for a search engine after crawling. Much like a physical index, it is the database a search engine uses to store all information and data for websites that come up as search results.

Why it matters: If your website isn’t in a search engine’s index, it won’t show up for users. The index will rank websites based on relevancy, which will then begin to show up on search engine results pages, or SERPs. 

Your SERP position should be a primary focus for SEO. According to this competitive research study, the first five results on a search engine page accounted for nearly 70% of all clicks.

Learning more

If you’re interested in more SEO terms and techniques, websites like Moz and Yoast are great websites to explore. If you’re ready to start or expand your SEO journey, contact us to learn about our copywriting services.

Alison Roller is a recent graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism. When she’s not writing, she can be found wherever her cats are. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

There are signs you can look out for in a good content marketing agency.

What To Look For in a Content Marketing Agency

If you’re looking for a content marketing agency, the vast amount of companies and services that they provide can seem overwhelming, to say the least. Luckily, there are a few tell-tale signs of a good and reputable agency that you can be on the lookout for when considering which company to work with.

1. A Good Website & Social Media Presence

The first thing you may come across when looking for an agency is their website or social media accounts. If you know what to look for, these can tell you a lot about the agency itself. 

Is their website up-to-date? Are they active on social media, and is their brand recognizable and consistent? A good brand presence can tell you what the company’s all about. Their social media can also serve as a general idea of what the content services they would provide you would look like. 

Although this can be a way to assess any type of company, it’s especially important for content marketing. After all, if a content marketing company doesn’t put out quality content itself, would you trust them to make you good content?

A consistent social media presence can indicate a good content marketing agency.

2. Proven Results

Website testimonials or case studies are a great way to judge a company.

A good content marketing agency should have proven results, shown through past clients’ reviews and testimonials. Past clients can also tell you an agency’s core niches and whether they’ve worked with content similar to yours in the past. The presence of long-term clients can tell you that an agency is trustworthy and reliable.

It’s also important to go past website testimonials, though. To truly know if a company is trustworthy, you can scour the internet for any possible negative feedback or cautions. Use a website like Clutch to get totally honest reviews. 

If you’re seriously considering an agency that has a few bad reviews, don’t be too quick to judge.Try reaching out to the company to discuss any concerns you may have. If it’s a good company, they’ll be open to discuss how they’ve improved.

3. Modern and Effective Techniques

Content marketing in this day and age goes far beyond creating good content. Making sure the content reaches the right audiences is the second half of the battle. 

Marketing strategies and research like Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, should be part of an effective content marketing strategy. 

Ask about your potential agency’s SEO practices and make sure they’re doing the right keyword research, content analysis and optimization of meta descriptions.

4. A Diverse Staff

Diversity goes far beyond physical appearance. A diverse staff should include different niches, expertise, experience level and background. Consider things like age and expertise when looking at a company’s staff.

A diverse staff can bring the best of both worlds to your content. Your content will benefit from the knowledge that only comes with a long history in the industry paired with the innovation and creative ideas of someone newer to the field.

Does the content marketing agency have a staff with different backgrounds and expertise?

5. Solid Communication

One of the most important things when working with any kind of agency is a steady line of communication. Look beyond just basic communication, though. A lot of content agencies will be able to talk you up, but fall short on finished products. Make sure what they’re saying is in plain English instead of industry jargon and that what they’re saying aligns with your vision.

A good content marketing agency should reach out enough that you always know where your budget is going. They should keep you in the loop with where they’re at in the timeline for your project. Also, make sure that the agency puts you in direct contact with the employees that are working on your campaign. If not, you’ll risk your message getting lost in translation. 

Communication goes both ways, too. Do your work with an agency that leaves the line of communication open and encourages you to get in touch with a question or comment.

6. A Mission Statement that Aligns With Yours

Any company – from a content marketing agency to a local boutique – should have a clear and visible mission statement and vision for their company. 

If your values and beliefs line up with what the agency stands for, you can ensure it will be a good fit for your content. The beliefs that a company holds comes out in all they do, and that includes content. If your beliefs do not align with the agency’s you’re working with, it may come through in the content they create for you.

You should also make sure they put their efforts where their heart is – if one of their major values is contributing to the community, see what they are doing to turn that value into real results.

A shared and honest understanding of what their big picture is will help you in the long run.

7. A Local Agency

If you’re able, finding a local content marketing agency can be a huge help. Especially if your content is geared towards a certain location, finding an agency that’s local can give you valuable insights on your target audience. An established content marketing agency may even have connections within the community that can help you reach even further.

Find a content marketing agency that is connected to their community.

8. Transparency

Transparency relates to almost everything on this list. If they’re not honest about deadlines, avoiding certain questions or are not responsive to constructive criticism, it can be a huge red flag.

You should also always be in the know, from coming up with due dates to getting the final project. If there’s even a small problem or bump in the road, you should be kept in the loop and know what happened and what they’re doing to get back on track.

Transparency within content marketing is especially important. It can help you know what they’re doing to reach your target audience and expand your reach with content creation.

If these traits of an effective content marketing agency resonate with you, consider working with PivotPath. We can help you create Real, Recognizable and Relatable content to connect with clients and expand your businesses. Check out our content services here.

Alison Roller is a recent graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism. When she’s not writing, she can be found wherever her cats are. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

How To Attract Students To Your Institution With Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool that, if utilized properly, can promote your institution.

Studies show that Generation Z is more connected to social media than any other generation before them. Making sure your institution has a recognizable and relatable social media presence can give students a glimpse into what life is like at your institution and potentially show them that your institution is the right fit for them.

But attracting potential students isn’t as easy as simply having an account; you need to make sure you’re appealing to the right audiences and using social media to your full advantage.  

Why Does Social Media Matter?

Social media can be an added boost to promote attention towards your institution. However, it can also be a direct way to introduce your institution to potential students. The right social media presence can have a huge impact on attracting new students and retaining current students. 

If a student sees an outdated or barely-used social media page for an institution they’re considering, it could deter them from exploring your school further. On the flip side, a savvy, fun social media presence could peak their interest. 

It’s important to be relatable in your posts, and that starts with understanding the wants and needs of your targeted audiences. For attracting students, make sure you are highlighting all the best features of your institution, social events and campus culture. All students know what a typical institution is like, so what makes yours recognizable? What makes it stand out?

Making sure your social media presence is recognizable and engaging can help your institution stand out to potential students. Beyond attracting students, using the stats on social media can help you determine if you’re reaching your target audience. It can also show you how many people are interacting with your posts and if your social media strategies are effective.

What’s the Best Social Media To Use?

The three main social medias that will give you the most traffic are Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. But how can you use them? What’s the best strategy for each one? 

1. Twitter

Twitter is great for written content as well as sharing others’ posts. Use Twitter to livetweet campus games and use hashtags to increase engagement and visibility. Use a LiveTweet App to create a Twitter wall for your events to show potential students what others are saying about your institution.

2. Instagram

Instagram is one of the most creative and customizable apps to attract students. This platform has a ton of features that can help your institution. Features such as Instagram highlights and stories can make information about your institution more accessible. The photo grid on each Instagram account creates the opportunity for you to craft a unique look to attract new students. 

3. Facebook

Facebook should be the most professional presence you have out of all the social media platforms mentioned. Studies show GenZ doesn’t use Facebook as much as older people do, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Even if your content doesn’t reach a potential student on Facebook, it may reach a parent or relative. It’s generally a good idea to share your Instagram posts to Facebook to make sure you’re reaching all your audiences.

Facebook is a good social media for older adults.

4. TikTok

TikTok has the potential to be a great social media platform for institutions because of its “For You” page. The “For You” page uses an algorithm to show the user videos similar to ones they’ve interacted with. It can also show content related to topics they’ve shown interest in. TikTok’s algorithm may help you reach your target audiences quicker. It also means you don’t need to have tons of followers for your video to gain views – giving your institution more visibility.

Not all social media is created equal when it comes to reaching your targeted audiences. It’s worth noting which ones may not be the best platform for your content.

  • Snapchat

Although this is a popular social media platform, your content isn’t accessible to people who aren’t following you, making it harder to reach potential students. Instead, try adding geotags for people to use when they’re in the school’s vicinity. 

  • Pinterest

Research shows that Pinterest is popular with older generations. While some older adults go back to school, it usually isn’t your target audience. Pinterest is also not ideal for content creation.

  • Tumblr

Tumblr isn’t as commonly used as other social media platforms. While it may work to use as a website to promote a service, using a similar photo-sharing app like Instagram will generate more engagement. 

How Can You Promote Engagement on Social Media?

Promoting engagement on social media can help your page gain more traction, and with more followers comes a more recognizable presence..

To promote engagement, make your page as interactive as possible. Instagram stories are a great way to pose questions, create polls or quizzes and interact with your followers. 

Giveaways on social media for school swag are another way to promote engagement. Try making some rules for the giveaway that will increase engagement. Ask followers to tag a friend in the comments or add the post to their story. 

Using hashtags can help get your page on more screens, but be weary of having too many in your captions. Use a few simple hashtags at the end of the post or incorporate them into the caption itself to make it look more aesthetically pleasing.

Gen Z uses social media more than any other generation.

Features To Take Advantage Of

  • Twitter/Instagram Polls

Polls are a great way to promote engagement. You can use the poll feature to ask institution-relevant questions, such as whether your team’s going to win the next game. However, to attract new students, make sure to keep some questions more broad to keep potential students involved.

  • Live Videos

The live video feature is on multiple platforms and is a great way to show prospective students what your school is like in real-time. Whether you want to record a game or other campus event, use this feature to highlight campus culture.

  • Instagram Highlights

Instagram Highlights are a convenient way to organize and archive past Instagram stories. You can use this feature to give a potential student a quick way to access information. Take some time to make well-designed stories that highlight all the best parts of your institution and answer some FAQs. Be sure to keep your Instagram highlights up to date.

There are benefits and drawbacks to any social media you may choose, but each post is a chance to attract a new student to your institution. If you’re looking to create a Real, Recognizable and Relatable social media presence to attract more students, PivotPath can help! Check out our social media management services here.

Alison Roller is a recent graduate of the West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism. When she’s not writing, she can be found wherever her cats are. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

5 Ways on How Podcasts Can Boost Your Brand

This year, about 155 million people listen to podcasts every week. Podcasts are transforming how people gain and retain information. You can listen to podcasts while exercising, driving to work, or simply listening for leisure. Now that you have that in mind, it is important to understand how this form of digital marketing can boost your brand.

What is a Podcast?

A podcast is an audio program that consists of a series of episodes that discuss a particular topic. For instance, that can range from either lifestyle, religion, politics, social sciences, etc. You can subscribe and listen to a podcast on your phone either through headphones, through speakers, or in your car.

Developing connections with host speakers build your credibility when using podcasts.

Many podcasts are quite familiar with how they sound due to their conversation-like style of speaking about a focused topic. Digital marketing continues to rise with the use of social media, videography, and SEO. In fact, podcasts are reshaping the art of storytelling by showing audiences that conversations are powerful. They are designed from an idea or passion to draw attention and inspiration. Essentially, implementing podcasts into your marketing strategy can help gain more prospects for your business and boost your brand awareness.

So, what should you consider when choosing to go on a podcast platform?

Before creating any type of marketing strategy, it is important to identify your buyer persona.

  • What are their personal interests? 
  • What do they need to know about your business’s missions and values? 
  • How will podcasts help serve your customers’ needs when they engage in your content?
  • Why would they want to listen to your content?

Identifying and researching the characteristics of your buyer persona is vital when crafting a podcast to ensure that your content will be engaging and beneficial to your audience and to generate leads.

So how do podcasts boost your brand?

1. Helps Personalize Your Brand

Inevitably, your main pursuit when beginning to create your podcast is to build relationships with your customers – which includes building trust. Uploading an informative series relating to your products and services helps your audience get a better understanding of your brand’s personality. Also, podcasts help represent who you are to the world. Podcasts are highly engaging which breaks the monotony of overloaded information.

  • You can break the monotony of overloaded information by allowing guest speakers onto your platform to discuss topics that represent your brand.

Podcasts are highly interactive because they convey a simpler and direct message to your audience with the means of storytelling altogether.

2.  Grows Thought Leadership

When delivering a message to your audience about your experience as an entrepreneur, it is vital to establish credibility on how you have executed your passions. Podcasts are beneficial to grow you as a thought leader when sharing your insights to your audience. Conveying topical information to your audience that is tied with well-researched evidence of building your business shows that you are able to provide helpful resources for your audience. 

Podcasts create relatability between hosts and the audience.

3. Builds Consistency and Awareness for Your Brand

Implementing podcasts for your brand creates a sense of community and awareness about where you stand to make your community a better place. When presenting your content, your audience connects to the authenticity you display to them. That said, using podcasts helps build a relational connection with your brand. Adding podcasts to your marketing strategy boosts your brand awareness by clearly having your voice heard about your passions for your business and customers.

4. It’s a Growing Media Platform

In light of the COVID-19 circumstances, many companies are resorting to audio and video platforms for their audiences to learn more about who they represent, and to educate their audiences on their missions as a business. Since podcasts are another medium of digital marketing, you can use them as an alternative for storytelling. Hypothetically speaking, say if your business does not have the equipment to shoot a professional video, using podcasts is an inexpensive approach to distribute your storytelling content. This is done by using high-quality audio software to record your “conversation-like” content. You can then promote episodes through a variety of distribution channels such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

5. It’s Simple to Setup

Setting up a podcast is not complicated, thank goodness. To set one up, all you need is great WiFi, high-quality earphones/headphones and a microphone, and a good audio editing software.

Second, create cover art and clickable subject lines that appeal to your audience when they are searching for topics to listen to.

Last, outline a decent and organized script that sounds conversational, relaxed, and informative. Not only are these steps simple, but they are also inexpensive when you are branching out a new marketing strategy to promote your brand.

It is important to understand how podcasts have grown through the use of smartphones.

As technology continues to advance, it cannot eliminate the human element of connecting with your audience. Using podcasts boosts your brand to appeal to your audience personally which lets you focus on why conversations matter. Using podcasts effectively helps execute your goals to serve your prospects, customers, and audiences altogether.

  • Discover how PivotPath can boost your brand identity with its brand strategy development here.

Your audience is the heartbeat of building your business success. Reaching them through a portable and mobile-friendly medium boosts your brand and grows your target audience demographic. Inevitably, how you sound to your audience makes a lasting impact on how your brand is perceived. Expand your research on podcasts to see if it can best fit your marketing strategy needs, to become a better storyteller and thought leader for your audience.

Thalia Rodriguez is a Communications major with a double minor in marketing and professional writing at Grand Canyon University. When she’s not practicing writing, she can be spending time with family and friends, going on hikes, or cooking delicious plant-based dishes. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

Influencer Marketing in Business

How Your Business Can Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing

We’ve all heard (and possibly cringed at) the word “influencer” before. It’s safe to say that the term has become somewhat taboo in most professional settings. 

What comes to your mind when you hear that word? Shiny young adults posting edited photos on Instagram? Celebrities engaging in product placement and sponsored advertising? While these may be the most popular images of influencers portrayed on social media, influencer marketing has grown into a legitimate strategy for marketing small businesses and building a valuable network. 

Influencer Marketing
Influencers are changing the face of marketing forever.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Before we dive into the many facets of influencer marketing, it’s important to understand what is meant by the term “influencer.”

Influencer: One who exerts influence, a person who inspires or guides the actions of others.

Merriam-Webster

The title isn’t confined to any one industry or field.  According to the definition, anyone with a large reach and considerable impact can be considered an influencer. The trick is to align yourself with people who already have a large, loyal following. 

So, how can you start to build this large following if you’re a new business owner with minimal connections, or if you live in a rural area? Here are a couple different ways to start making connections and building relationships with influencers in your field.

Start a Blog

When most people hear about endorsements, they think about teaming up with celebrities or notable public figures to advertise a product. This approach may be helpful for some, but if you own a small local business partnering with a celebrity isn’t a very viable option. Instead, one of the best steps you should take is to start a blog on your website.

You’ve probably heard similar advice before, and maybe you feel like writing isn’t your strong suit. However, every business-owner has a lot of unique knowledge to offer. Like they say, knowledge is power. 

When you take the time to write informed blog posts and optimize them so that they are easily found through search engines, a great deal more traffic will be drawn to your website. One of the best methods of increasing traffic and broadening your reach is to connect with other influencers in your field by creating a guest blogging network.

Guest blogging
Form a solid guest blogging network; two heads are better than one!

How to Form a Guest Blogging Network

Guest blogging is a manageable first step to expand your industry contacts and start gaining some notoriety in your field. Here are a few quick steps on how to get started:

  1. Reach out to someone you respect and want to be a guest blogger on your site. Is there another blogger you enjoy who has more followers than you? Do you see a space where you could share your expertise on their website? Do your homework first and make sure that the guest blogger can benefit from the collaboration just as much as you can.
  2. Assuming that they agree to write a piece for you, allow them to self-promote by adding links back to their own website. This not only allows the guest blogger to feel as though they have important information to share, but it connects both of your blogs through the internet.
  3. Follow through. Ask your guest blogger if you could also write a piece on their blog. Assuming they say yes, a whole new door of opportunity will be open to you. You will have full exposure to their followers, and you can (tastefully) promote your own business and website. Essentially, it’s a win-win!

It’s important that you find influencers naturally.

Don’t try to force relationships, because it will start to seem obvious that you’re only seeking some kind of personal gain. Instead, comment on people’s blogs, communicate on social media, and be open to helping others. Over time, you will start to stand out and become an approachable, recognizable name.

Get to know your guest bloggers personally by showing genuine interest in their work before reaching out. If you build a rapport through social media first, it will feel much more natural to suggest a collaboration. Cold emails aren’t always the best way to go when it comes to forming an effective support system.

Engage With the Community

The business world is all about relationships. Apart from guest blogging, another way to use influencer marketing to your advantage is to go out into your community. Serving other small businesses is a great way to prove you’re engagement. You may not gain any monetary value from it at first, but forming valuable relationships can pay off ten-fold in the long-run. 

For example, let’s say you own a sign-making business downtown and you see that a new ice cream shop is opening next door. You could introduce yourself to the new owner and offer to create a sign for them at a steep discount. This interaction not only promotes the service you provide, but benefits another business owner who will most likely recommend your product to others. 

Community engagement
Make a difference locally and the world will follow.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to be an influencer – it’s all about surrounding yourself with positive relationships and making those initial connections. Here are a few other ways to meet business-owners in the community who might be interested in your product:

  • Attend charity events or volunteer
  • Consider setting up a booth at a local fair, market, or festival
  • Visit other small businesses, introduce yourself, and hand out business cards or coupons
  • Sponsor a local school’s sports team

What Are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing strategies such as guest blogging increase your reach as well as the impact of your brand. In search engines, the index is the complete archive of all existing web pages. To find your page, a search engine sends out crawlers (or bots), which jump from page to page using links. Simply, the more links you have traveling to your website, the more chances search engines have to index your site. 

If links constantly point to your site, search engines will recognize it as a valuable resource and rank you higher than the competition. Guest blogging is a win-win situation because it will provide you with a larger network of bloggers and business-owners, increase your website traffic, and also benefit the guest blogger.

Much of the same can be said for other forms of influencer marketing. Reaching out to forge beneficial relationships solidifies your passion for your business and opens the door to new opportunities. It’s not just a clever way to gain more Instagram followers, but the future of marketing itself.

  • Do you want to start building a brand that influencers would love to promote? PivotPath is here to help!

Cammie Conn is a Theatre & Performance Studies major at Kennesaw State University, and she also studies through the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program. When she’s not practicing creative writing, she can be found playing guitar, reading voraciously, or jamming to her vinyl collection. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.