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.

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.

COVID-19 affecting businesses

What Small Businesses Can Learn From the COVID-19 Outbreak

In the beginning months of 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the world – and business operations – in ways we never expected. In this uncertain time, everything feels risky. People are losing their jobs, vulnerable businesses are shuttering their doors permanently, and no one has answers. In short, it seems like the worst time possible to take risks. 

However, though COVID-19 is changing the business world, not all of these changes are necessarily bad. In times of uncertainty there are always lessons to be learned. If you are a business-owner, or are considering opening a business, pay close attention to these emerging topics and trends.

1. Safety and Comfort Are Top Customer Priorities 

Most companies mindlessly say that the safety and security of their guests is the first priority in running their business. This makes sense; why would you shop somewhere if you felt uncomfortable or at risk by being there? However, the COVID-19 pandemic is testing businesses in the grimmest way possible. In a time where lives are legitimately at risk, businesses are up against the wall with all eyes on them.

Luckily, these organizations are showing initiative.

Many national big-box store chains, grocery stores, and drug stores are now requiring face coverings to enter and shop. This is a bold, smart move to make. These businesses are proving how important it is that their shoppers feel comfortable upon entering their establishment. The controversy surrounding this topic runs deep, but at the end of the day businesses can’t run the risk of being sued due to endangerment. On top of the mask policies, organizations are placing importance on sanitizing and cleansing every surface

While most establishments are now open, there are a few which are still wary of welcoming guests inside. AMC Theaters have yet to open, despite pushing back their opening date on multiple occasions. This proves that every business must do what’s best for their unique situation.

Small businesses can learn from these more well-known corporations by following their lead in putting safety first – and also learning from their mistakes. We can be sure that these new safety and cleanliness procedures aren’t going away anytime soon.

Businesses everywhere are cracking down on safety procedures.
Businesses everywhere are cracking down on safety procedures.

2. Ecommerce is Here to Stay

We’ve all shopped on Amazon and through ecommerce websites before – they are a common, useful service. This is why events such as Cyber Monday and Amazon’s Prime Day provide such enormous value. Online shopping is not only cost effective, but eliminates the hassle of traveling to a store and searching for a product.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, we have seen an enormous spike in orders from online businesses. This could have been foreseen, but what are the lasting effects of a world in which people are more eager to shop online than in person? We’ve already seen a massive shift in the film industry, where films are released through streaming platforms instead of in movie theaters.

If small businesses want to survive in our current environment, they need to make all attempts at digitizing their products and services. This is a step that will not only benefit them during the pandemic, but long after as well.

3. A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

One of the heartening side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is how people are banding together to support vulnerable businesses. This doesn’t just apply to consumers, either. Like the linked article above references, business owners are finding creative ways to support each other through incentive programs and endorsements.

Small businesses need your support now more than ever.
Small businesses need your support now more than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing just how vulnerable certain businesses are. We took for granted our local indie record store or vegan cafe, but now they face very real danger. These establishments are losing reliable customers, even considering the stimulus checks distributed to ease the blow.

Hopefully, a trend emerges in the future where businesses in the same community form stronger bonds and find ways to collaborate with each other.

4. Scale Down Your Operation Wherever Possible

One of the most heartbreaking side effects of the pandemic is the staggering amount of job loss. New businesses are extremely vulnerable, especially if they haven’t saved up a substantial amount of capital in the case of an emergency.

While massive layoffs are a huge issue that our country will have to deal with later, there is an upside. Under pressure, most companies are discovering new, efficient, cost-effective ways to operate. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts will close 450 locations by the end of the year. Companies who relied on a handful of employees or who had low product costs find it easier to stay afloat, unlike companies with greater expenses.

Only time will tell what trends businesses may start to follow, but don’t be surprised if they don’t return to their typical operating procedures.

5. Sometimes You Have to Make Hard Decisions

Being a business-owner can bring you to both the highest and lowest places of your life – that’s part of the deal. Because of COVID-19, business-owners are having to make difficult decisions that normally they wouldn’t choose to make. 

For example, businesses are having to shutter their doors because they can’t ensure guest safety. They’ve also had to lay off hard-working employees whom they can no longer afford to pay.

It can be easy to see your employees as more like family than what they are – employees. At the end of the day, you have to run a profitable business. Times like these really test your mettle as an entrepreneur, and force you to make the toughest choices.

As a business-owner, you have to do what's best for the survival of the business.
As a business-owner, you have to do what’s best for the survival of the business.
  • Do you need some help figuring out the best way to market your organization or business? Check out PivotPath’s valuable services here.

Our world is changing, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Flexibility is essential to survive in the competitive world of business. More than ever, we need to support our favorite businesses and think outside of the box. Nothing like the COVID-19 pandemic has happened in recent history, so we would all do well to pay close attention to what’s happening around us.

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. She can often be found practicing creative writing, playing guitar, reading voraciously, or jamming to her vinyl collection. 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.

Why Consumer Behavior Is Essential to Marketing Research

Did you know that in most cases, customer loyalty is worth more than the price of a single purchase? That is because marketers are fervent to meet the needs of their customers at a high degree. How do marketers make that happen? Well, one thing to consider is that marketers continuously do research on consumer behavior. Yes, you want to sell a product, but adding value to your customers’ lives hits one out of the park.

Consumer behavior is all around us and it is important to know what drives us to purchase a product.

First, every organization should understand the power behind their research on consumer behavior before launching any product. Knowing your audience is important to tailor your buyer persona. Before making any final decisions on how you would market your products or services, your understanding of your target market should be secure.

In that case, keeping consumer behavior as your main focus on marketing research is essential to understand customers’ buying decisions and how they look at products.

Additionally, conducting research on consumer behavior will provide better ideas on your marketing strategies to move ahead of your competitors. Keeping consumer behavior in mind when studying your marketing analytics reports is vital to meet the expectations of your customers.

Three main factors that influence consumer behavior are cultural, psychological, and personal factors. Incorporating these three points into your consumer behavior research will help you gain valuable information, and understand who your potential customers will be. Here’s how conducting research on consumer behavior helps you with your overall marketing strategy.

1. Helps Refine Marketing Strategy Analytics

When it comes to marketing decisions, analytics is an influential factor when determining if your strategies are helping to push your company forward. Doing research on the performance of your display ads, website content, and search ads can tell you a lot about what your customers are engaged in.

Also, the analytics of your website shows how consumer behavior affects search engine optimization. Research on consumer behavior is crucial to acknowledge if your consumers are responding positively to what you wish to market.

2. Expands Your Awareness on Globalization

The study of consumer behavior is vital if you decide to expand your product or services to non-domestic markets. In addition, conducting marketing research on those who have different cultural backgrounds is essential for your business. This shows if your product or services best serve the cultural norms and values of a particular country. Applying this type of research to your marketing strategy will make you stand out from your competitors.

Learning about consumer behavior in foreign markets will expand your awareness of helping reach non-domestic needs.

3. Gives You a Better Outlook on Customer Preferences to Design Your Marketing Mix

Understanding your consumers’ preferences on a particular product provides a narrower scope to design your marketing mix (the four P’s).

When conducting research, a consumer may be interested in the design of the product yet may shy away from purchasing it due to the product’s high-end price. Or, selling a beach-like product in Southern California may reach more sales than selling the product in Eastern Texas. Acknowledging this type of behavior provides a better outlook on how to better your pricing strategy. Here are some questions to consider when correlating your marketing mix to consumer behavior.

  • Does the price of your product match the income of your target market?
  • Does the design of your product attract the audience whom you wish to target?
  • Is the product marketed in locations where people would wish to buy the product?
  • Is the product useful and/or is it in demand to solve a problem in the market?

When customers decide to buy your product, it is essential to grasp their thought processes when they make their final purchasing decisions. By doing so, you will know the types of strategies that will work to boost sales.

Where should you begin to collect research on consumer behavior?

Create an appropriate survey design that will best gather your consumer insight data. Are you gathering data based on your participants’ responses towards your product and/or service? Use a rating scale question from 1 to 100.

Are you gathering data based on your participants’ feelings or opinions on your product and/or service? Use a Likert scale question such as “strongly agree to strongly disagree”.

Be sure to include demographic questions (age, income, race/ethnicity, gender, occupation, location, etc). This will help you better understand the demographics of your participants, and it gives you sharper information on how it correlates with consumer behavior. Also, you can determine how a product’s usefulness correlates with the needs of a particular demographic.

Conduct an online survey through your website or conduct a face-to-face survey of a focus group.

If you decide to resort to an inexpensive and quicker route to gather more information on customer experience, you can conduct online surveys through your website. In most cases, conducting online surveys will only provide you with anonymous participants which hinders you from gathering specific demographic data. With that said, utilize online surveys for your current customers to uncover what they think about your products and/or services so far.

To gain a thorough analysis of your product/service research, conducting a focus group on your customers or tailored buyer personas is the best way to analyze and gather consumer insights. Focus group research allows you to gather more information from your participants because it takes more time to gather data from their in-depth interviews.

76% of consumers expect businesses to understand their expectations and needs.

Conducting surveys of your current customers or groups that show interest in your product is vital to understand when wanting to meet the needs of your consumers. At the end of the day, your mission is to add value to your customers’ lives. This can only happen by taking time to learn more about your customers. Taking the extra mile to know more about your customers will reap good benefits to maintain your overall business health and gain loyal customers.

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.