Most individuals have heard of search engine optimization. In its most basic form, the main focus of SEO is to help your website get found by Google and other search engines when potential customers or clients search for keywords related to your business.
Why Is SEO So Important?
Search Engine Optimization is crucial for any and all digital marketing strategies. Let’s take a look at a few numbers.
Over 50% of ALL online sessions begin with an organic search. That means half of the time someone logs onto the internet from their computer or smart device, the first thing they do is search Google.
What’s more, is that 75% of Google users will never go past the first page of Google results when looking for information or an answer to their search query.
This led to possibly the most staggering statistic of them all: Over 40% of revenue is captured by organic search traffic.
Your website being able to be found by potential customers and clients is crucial for the overall success of your business. Search Engine Optimization is no longer an option in digital strategy — it is absolutely imperative.
What about a true definition of SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is an ever-changing field of strategy in which SEO Specialists work across many different areas of web development to help a business’ online presence exist in accordance with what the algorithms of major search engines value.
Why Is SEO Strategy Always Changing?
SEO is a fluid field of strategy as major search engines such as Google and Bing routinely update what their algorithms value. So while the core values of what is effective in SEO stays mostly constant, the nuances can change at a rapid pace. What works great for one month might actually be counter-effective the next month.
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What Are The Different Types of SEO?
Search Engine Optimization can be broken down into three strategy types. These fields include on-site SEO, off-site SEO, and technical SEO. It is worth understanding each of these and how they interact to gain a crucial understanding of how we conduct our search engine optimization strategy for each client.
On-Site or On-Page SEO refers to the search engine optimization strategy which can be conducted on your website’s specific pages. On-Site SEO is commonly the most discussed type of search engine optimization, as it is the most easily understandable for the general public.
On-page SEO includes:
Structuring content by using the correct header tags in the right locations
Featuring copy in digestible paragraph lengths
The constant creation of informative content
The proper use of internal linking
Correct URL structuring
Well designed metadata
And, of course, a coherent keyword and keyphrase strategy
About 10 years ago, in the earlier days of search engine optimization, on-site SEO was incredibly effective on its own. While it is still of paramount importance, on-page SEO alone can longer net-front page ranking results.
In order for the best possible position on a search engine ranking page, an SEO strategy must include technical SEO and off-site SEO, as well as on-page SEO.
Mobile-friendliness and screen size responsiveness of specific pages and the overall site
The availability of the website and its pages to be indexed by search engines
Third-Party Robot crawlability
The overall website architecture and structure
Security measures such as the inclusion of a secure socket layer
Technical SEO includes much more than just the basic aspects listed above. It is named as such because much of the strategy in technical SEO cannot be easily learned by the general public. It involves a knowledge of different coding languages and different areas of web development.
Technical SEO is the most overlooked type of SEO, as many self-proclaimed search engine optimization specialists do not have the necessary skill set to optimize a website from a technical standpoint. With both technical and on-site SEO explained, we move onto what is widely considered the most important type of SEO: Off-Site SEO.
Off-site SEO, also known as Off-Page SEO is commonly thought of as the most important type of search engine optimization. While that is true for many reasons, just like the other two types of SEO, Off-Site SEO is pointless when not conducted in accordance with technical and on-site practices.
Off-Site SEO includes:
The accumulation of high-quality backlinks
Natural Links: when other websites link back to yours naturally
Manual built links: links that come from contacting others such as influencers or bloggers to link to your web content
Self-created links: links created through practices such as adding links to directories like Google My Business, Yelp, or in the form of press releases that are distributed manually or through the newswire
Social media marketing
E-Word of Mouth: When local customers share your business organically on social media or other channels
The main focus of off-page SEO is backlink building.
Having a strong backlinking profile is the most important ranking factor for any website. At GriffinWink, we work tirelessly to make sure our clients have an impressive backlink profile that focuses on quality instead of quantity. This differentiation of quality over quantity leads into our next portion of search engine optimization: the different schools of thought.
Schools Of Thought Of SEO: Black Hat vs. White Hat vs. Grey Hat
Just as there are different types of search engine optimization, there also exists different schools of thought. While the types of SEO explain what is being optimized, the schools of thought explain how each of these aspects are being optimized.
There are three schools of thought of SEO:
In short, Black Hat SEO refers to tactics which Google does not approve of and can ultimately penalize a website in the long run. Black Hat is still practiced by some specialists because of its high risk, high reward offerings.
White Hat SEO refers to practices that work alongside the Google algorithm rather than trying to trick it. White Hat tactics can take longer to see effects from but run absolutely no risk of penalization.
Grey Hat SEO is a bit more difficult to define. This school of thought includes some questionable tactics which blur the lines between what is acceptable to practice. While Grey Hat tactics carry some weight in terms of reward, they also hold serious risks for websites. Let’s take a deeper dive into each, so you can understand why GriffinWink only practices White Hat SEO tactics, and so that you can also identify when you might be being sold snake oil from other SEO providers.
Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving. Google uses an enormous team of individuals as well as deep machine learning to continually create an algorithm that searches out the best answers for search queries. This means that trying to “trick” Google has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible.
Black Hat SEO specialists will try tactics such as buying backlinks in bulk, stuffing sections of websites with keywords that sound unnatural, or even creating hidden pages on your own website that link back to their other clients without your knowledge!
When Google uncovers the use of any of these tactics, and they always do, your website can suffer penalties such as a severe drop in rank to being removed from Google’s index permanently.
White Hat SEO
This is the school of thought we practice at GriffinWink. White Hat SEO is a school of thought which is categorized by relying on sound search engine optimization practices which Google entirely approves of conducting.
White Hat tactics commonly take a bit longer to reap rewards from, but they carry absolutely no risk. White Hat SEO includes bridging on-page, off-page, and technical SEO practices.
While results may take a few months instead of a few weeks, it is entirely worth pursuing as if Grey Hat or Black Hat tactics get flagged by Google, there is little chance your website will ever recover. Remember, in the world of SEO – if it sounds too good to be true, it almost definitely is.
Grey Hat SEO
Grey Hat SEO is a school of thought which blurs the lines between what Google finds acceptable and what it will penalize websites for practicing. Many Grey Hat tactics find a way to take strategies which are worthy of penalties from Google and do just enough to pull the veil over the eyes of the algorithm.
Some Grey Hat tactics include:
Purchasing old domains which have a level of authority associated with them to form backlinks
Duplicating content from other websites and using “text spinners” to change the content just enough to avoid being flagged for plagiarism
Purchasing backlinks through other means than a cash exchange, such as sponsorships
Social media automation techniques such as “follow/unfollow bots” or straight out purchasing followers
Grey Hat tactics can be summed up as practices which technically do not violate Google’s terms but ethically are viewed as shortcuts to sound SEO practices. While they have benefits of Black Hat practices such as quick jumps in the ranking, they do carry a certain amount of risk.
It is best not to get on the bad side of Google, and with their machine learning becoming more sophisticated every month, it is only a matter of time before Grey Hat tactics are seen as entirely unacceptable.
Local vs. National SEO
At GriffinWink, we have clients that range from local businesses with one location to national entities which are running campaigns across the entirety of the United States.
Practicing SEO for national-level clients is different than working for local clients, and it is worth understanding the differences in how we approach clients who are looking to gain visibility at different levels, as well as the differences in the different markets we currently operate in.
Lubbock is a city undergoing an unprecedented period of economic and population growth. It seems that regardless of the industry, new competition is cropping up every single day. This explosion in growth has brought in many national-level digital and marketing agencies to offer their services to local clients.
At GriffinWink, we have called Lubbock home for over 10 years, and our employees and founders have lived here for decades. We have seen the city change before our eyes and understand the driving force behind commerce in the city. This understanding has created Lubbock SEO practices which are tailor-made for our Hub City clients.
From working alongside local blogs and influencers to craft high authority backlinks, to keeping a finger on the pulse of what your company’s competitors are doing, we know how to help local businesses in Lubbock start to rank for localized keywords and keyphrases.
Albuquerque is home to our second office, and much of our staff have grown up in the shadow of the Sandias. Albuquerque is experiencing an economic redevelopment effort on a scale that is rarely seen in the United States today.
Having an understanding of the driving forces behind the economy and the people of Albuquerque has helped Griffinwink determine specific practices for Albuquerque SEO. These include working with local organizations to craft organic, high authority backlinks, to creating content which speaks the hearts of ABQ residents.
Albuquerque is seeing an influx of national entities throwing out incredulous claims about how they can boost local company rankings, but without an understanding of what motivates the city, their strategy often falls short.
Rest easy knowing that at GriffinWink, our Albuquerque SEO strategy goes beyond what the competition can offer, as we have tirelessly worked to gain an all-encompassing understanding of what drives the digital market.
Amarillo is immortalized in countless classic country songs and still wears its wild west Texas heart on its sleeve. As Amarillo continues to grow, and its local economy thrives, digital marketing has become a necessity for local businesses.
At GriffinWink, we have worked on dozens of Amarillo SEO campaigns ranging from local civic initiatives to new businesses operating in competitive industries. Our Amarillo SEO strategy comes from an understanding of what drives the search queries of the local population.
Through comprehensive research and real-time data analysis, we implement strategies that wouldn’t work anywhere else in the country to help Amarillo businesses find the highest level of search visibility possible.
Amarillo is far from ordinary, and we believe that a cookie-cutter Amarillo SEO strategy does not cut it for a city that is growing at a rate that almost defies logic. We can do the heavy lifting for your Amarillo company so that everyone – from those passing through on I-40 to lifetime residents – are finding your business on the front page of Google.
Midland and the Permian Basin are experiencing one of the largest surges of population growth in the entire nation. Thanks to the oil boom, new residents and new businesses are flocking to the area at breakneck speeds.
While this growth is great for the local economy, it also brings with it a higher level of competition when it comes to small business.
GriffinWink has its roots in the Permian Basin, as a predecessor to our company started in Odessa in the mid-1970s. This history has enabled us to watch the Permian Basin change and grow over several decades. Our Permian Basin and Midland SEO strategies take into account factors that those not intimately familiar with the area would overlook or brush to the side.
From accounting for motivations of local residents to understanding the changing focus of the local business proprietor, our Permian Basin and Midland SEO clients can relax knowing that their organic search presence is being optimized and monitored by a company with a deep connection to the local market.
National SEO campaigns are a different animal than a localized strategy. They require a very in-depth understanding of all aspects of SEO theory as well as constant monitoring of industry trends.
At GriffinWink, we have worked on several national-level SEO campaigns across multiple specific industries. Our national-level clients are consistently floored by our long-term strategies that account for where the organic search industry is heading.
While SEO in its nature is a reactive science, we pride ourselves are staying ahead of the curve and setting trends in the industry rather than only hoping new algorithm updates don’t hinder our clients.
It is this forward-thinking mindset, mixed with an unmatched knowledge base, that helps our national clients consistently rank for high-volume key phrases, no matter where their customer base submits search queries from in the country.