Tag Archive for: seo

Guest post: Please, Without All That Jargon, What is “Search Engine Optimization”?

Search engine optimization expert Marcia Morgan and I met after a trusted friend recommended her services for one of my clients. I was impressed by how clearly Marcia explained SEO, so I asked her to share her explanation on my blog.

Please, Without All That Jargon, What is “Search Engine Optimization”?

By Marcia Morgan

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about helping Google and Bing (the big Internet search engines) determine which pages to display when someone types in a phrase like “financial advisor.”

You want Google to find your web site and display your web pages ahead of the other 179,000,000 pages that Google finds with content that has to do with “financial advisor.”  Imagine for a moment sitting in a third grade classroom. Your teacher asks a question, you have the answer, and you want to stand out among the dozens of other classmates all raising their hands, all screaming, “PICK ME! PICK ME!”  That’s how it is with SEO.

So how do you do it?

  1. Recognize that Google uses 200+ different factors to determine which page results to display. Some of these factors are in your control, some are not.  Google constantly refines these factors or “algorithms” so they can deliver the most “relevant” and most helpful information to the person searching. The most important criteria appear to be:
    1. Location of the person searching. Local results are often displayed first, depending on the topic.
    2. Quality of the web site. Trusted, higher traffic sites come first.
    3. Relevancy of the content.  Does the term “financial advisor” appear in all of the places where Google looks?
    4. Freshness of the content. Google considers sites with new content to be more relevant than sites whose last update was a year ago.
  2. Optimize each page on your site. “Optimize” in the SEO world means making sure each page on your site is about a unique topic and then telling Google what those topics are so they can grab the most relevant pages when someone goes looking. This is completely in your control.
    1. Decide what each page is about. Every page should be about something unique, and you should not repeat content from page to page.
    2. Ask an SEO expert to do some keyword research to determine how many people are searching about those topics. This will help you prioritize and organize page themes.
    3. Decide where on your web site you want people to go when they search for a topic. If you do retirement planning, you will want to have a page about Retirement Planning so that people who search will arrive on that page, not the home page.
    4. Try to add images and/or video that supports the content of each page.
    5. Ask someone familiar with SEO to write the meta tags and file names. That person will also make appropriate edits to the copy so Google will agree that you have relevant content.
    6. When your SEO expert is done optimizing, make sure your webmaster submits a new sitemap to Google and Bing so your pages get found more quickly.

Since the process of optimizing your site is technical, seek help from a trusted consultant. Your role should be to stand in front of your web site like a teacher in front of a classroom and decide which pages on your site have the right answers to a web visitor’s questions.


Marcia Morgan, owner of Contract Marketing, is located in Manchester, NH. You can find her at www.contractmarketingnh.com for SEO Consulting.

Guest post: What’s your Content Strategy? (You have one, right?)

David Lufkin is a financial writer and Internet marketing manager whom I’ve gotten to know through some interesting exchanges in LinkedIn Groups. He has been generous with input when I’ve posted questions, which encouraged me to ask him to guest-blog for me. David explains below how answering five key questions can help you create a content strategy that will help your website support and build your business.

What’s your Content Strategy? (You have one, right?)

By David Lufkin

Content strategy is a hot topic for people who run large websites, and includes complex tactical concerns such as search engine optimization and user metrics. If you’re an advisor with any size site, having at least a basic content strategy is essential and should include delivery of email and paper marketing as well.

If you like and use a website regularly, it’s probably because of a solid content strategy driven only by what you (the targeted user) want. Remember that online, content is more than words – it includes site navigation and design elements, with colors, images, and page layout all working together. This may seem obvious, but as users, we click right past websites that don’t immediately give us exactly what we want in an attractive format. We need to sense immediately that there is content of interest to us before we will dig further.

For your own site, having a content strategy means having a valid business purpose for everything on the site and an efficient user experience with no loose or dead ends.

When I was in advisor sales training years ago, I learned about the four “boxes” of activity and how they related to a practice. The idea of course is to focus on the activities in the first box, because the other three don’t build the practice, and those activities should have less priority or even be hired out.

Content strategy is similar. You only want content on your site or in electronic or paper communications that focuses on building and sustaining your business. Everything else must go. I mean travel tips and meatloaf recipes – any information that is readily available from other sources. No one, especially your clients, will miss irrelevant content. They want to know about YOU and how you can help THEM.

Web professionals can read books and attend seminars about the fascinating process that is content strategy.  If you own your website, you can keep it simple.  Make a short list of the content that you can’t live without and make sure that you don’t bother with anything else. If I was a successful financial advisor, this is what would be on my list, and it would serve as a filter for everything I post on my site. (I like the 5 W approach I was taught as a high school journalist.)

  1. Who I am and how I can be contacted
  2. What I offer my clients including timely updates
  3. Why I do what I do and how it benefits my clients
  4. Where I deliver my practice (in person, phone, online)
  5. When we need to work together  (regularly)

It’s become easier over the years to build a functioning website. But developing a manageable content strategy, especially with search optimization, usually requires getting some input from someone who does it for a living. Done right, your content strategy will help keep you and your clients focused on the right things.