What is SEO?

It’s a common term thrown around by people with business websites who are concerned about their online presence, but many are a bit blurry on the details of the acronym SEO. All of us experience the daily barrage of emails and spam from SEO companies claiming they will get your website on the first page of Google in 30 days or less.

And most of us promptly delete these emails as we clean up our daily collection of digital junk mail. As a web developer, I’ve wondered if anyone actually falls for these claims. SEO spam emails represent a large portion of the 100 billion spam emails that are auto-generated on a daily basis.

In this article, I’d like to shed some light on the SEO world, simply as someone who works with clients that need help getting their website ranked as high as possible in Google. Yes, there are other search engines, but let’s face it...Google is currently the top site for SEO.

What is SEO?
SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimization." It sounds straight-forward enough, but what this really boils down to is how well does a website rank in Google during organic searches. Rank is determined by the page a website shows up on, with the first page results having an excellent ranking.

Showing up on page 10 is not so good. Organic search results mean that one is not paying Google to promote a website. You can tell the difference between an organic listing versus a paid one, as the paid listing will note that it is an ad.

The processes involved in getting a website optimized for search engines is a lengthy topic well-beyond the scope of this article. However, I will say that to do it correctly will take a lot longer than 30 days! And of course, the idea that everyone’s website can be on the first page of Google for their niche is obviously not realistic.

The process can take 6-12 months to get momentum going, depending on how much competition there is within the niche and the geographic area an organization is targeting. Obviously larger metro areas present a greater SEO challenge than rural areas with smaller towns.

Even if a business is in a large city with heavy competition, it is still very important to make sure that a website has been SEO optimized. Over time the investment one has made in a website will eventually bear fruit in the form of passive lead generation.

For most business owners, one of the main reasons for having a website is to create more business opportunities, leading to more revenue! One of the primary aspects of maintaining a good ranking in Google search engines is content.

In real estate, the mantra is location, location, location. In the SEO world, the same could be said with the mantra “content, content, and more content.”

Although it can't be just any content, it must be original and relevant to the target audience. Google can tell if content has been duplicated or plagiarized from other websites and sources; there is no way to trick Google's algorithms. However, when one takes the time to do SEO correctly and with integrity, his or her website evolves into an extremely valuable asset that enables web presence to grow over time.

As a web developer, I understand that content is king when it comes to maintaining a website, which is why WebWorm encourages business owners to make a habit of continually adding fresh content to their website on a monthly basis...forever! More content creates the opportunity for potential landing pages where target audiences find services or products; an added benefit is increasing ranking in Google.

Here at WebWorm, we recommend a monthly plan for adding a steady stream of high quality, original content to your website regularly, along with the knowledge of how to optimize that content for SEO purposes. This is the recipe for a solid foundation to build your web presence.

Keep in mind that building a web presence should be one of the highest priorities when thinking about where to invest an advertising budget. Remember, unlike traditional advertising that ends when the ad campaign ends, the investment one makes in a web presence is an actual investment. It is an investment in an organization’s digital property, that it owns, and will continue to bring benefit long after the SEO work is completed.

Tony Culjis is the Director of Web Development at Webworm.

Make Business Development Your Most Loved Activity

Some may consider business development as a dreaded activity, but it’s a necessary evil for any size of organization. Non-profits call it “development”; corporations may include biz dev within their sales departments. Wikipedia defines it as “the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.”

For this blog, I’ll make it simple: Business development is any activity one can do to bring home the bacon. It’s a different animal for products companies versus solutions providers. And we’re focusing on solutions providers who might find it tricky to discover new and exciting ways to generate business.

Behold! Our tried-and-true list of the top ten business development strategies for solutions providers follows:

  1. Referrals. Don’t be afraid to ask employees, friends, vendors, past customers, and current clients for referrals. If you bring value to those you serve, others will be happy to recommend you to others or refer their contacts who need what you offer. And while you’re at it, make sure to showcase your best.

  2. Sharing. Are you an expert in a certain field or industry? If you are, sharing information that is pertinent to your prospective or existing clients can be a worthy initiative. As you do, make sure you’re making it valuable to your audience.

  3. Education. Instead of selling, why not inform or educate? Consider a whitepaper or blog that has the sole purpose of teaching and bringing the reader fresh ideas and information.

  4. LinkedIn. Have you ever considered reaching out to your potential clients via LinkedIn? Or keeping up with past colleagues or industry experts on the professional social media site? A personalized note with your value proposition can be an interesting way to harvest new relationships.

  5. Handwritten Notes. After almost 20 years in sales and marketing, I’m amazed at how much people appreciate handwritten notes. When I was in my first sales job, I sent a superintendent of a school district a note to thank him for meeting to review the contract I wanted him to sign. The next time I called him to get on his calendar for the school board meeting, he referenced the thank you card and told me how much he appreciated it. And then, he put me on the agenda (and the contract was signed).

  6. Telling. When I started my consulting business, a friend and mentor shared a Harvard Business Review article that said, “When You Start Freelancing, Let People Know.” This is sound advice.

  7. Gifting. Just today, one of my current clients thanked me in person for the holiday gift I sent. (If you’re curious, it was a bottle of wine from my favorite Sonoma winery, personally signed by the vintner.) Consider not only sending thoughtful gifts at the end of the year, but to celebrate Valentine’s Day (We love our clients!) or even Halloween (My job would be scary without amazing clients like you!).

  8. Mini-Campaigns. Go digital. Or traditional. Get a good database and target people that you’d like to work with in the future. Catchy mailers or value-added digital correspondence can be a great way to get in front of the right people.

  9. Beyond Budget. I am enrolled in a program at Cornell, and the most significant takeaway so far is the thought of not offering clients what you think they’ll pay for but figure out how to bring them the most value. Let them decide what is best for their budgets, not the other way around.

  10. Community. Get into the community. Serve. Network. Learn. Find an organization in your town that grows leaders in your field and roll your sleeves up. Not only will you develop as a person and professional, but you will meet new friends and potential contacts. In Las Vegas, the definitive program is Leadership Las Vegas. I can’t say enough about how it impacted my life for the better.

I hope this list brings you ways to grow your business as you strive to communicate with clients and your target audience—and that business development is now your favorite activity.

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The Written Word

Why is writing so important? Like all forms of communication, it is essential for expressing ideas, cultivating creativity, discussing points of view, and reaching common goals. The caveman may have used drawings as a form of language, but the written word did not come into play until roughly 3500 BC in Mesopotamia.

Fast-forward several thousands of years, and the written word has evolved many times over. From Gutenberg’s Bible and Shakespeare’s sonnets to today’s short-form text messages and emojis, the way our words appear on paper—and now screens—has certainly changed! But while the method and language have seen many different iterations, the power behind words is still a fundamental part of humanity.

The Written Word in Business
A friend who is a senior global communications leader once shared a quote her mentor said to her, “Most people are only operating on a C-minus level.”

“Most people are only operating on a C-minus level.”
-Anonymous Mentor

If you’re like me, after you read this, you’ll commiserate and go about your day. But then, this might creep into your thoughts almost daily. You might recall this on your commute to work or while on hold during a call to customer support. Hopefully, you don’t encounter this theory of barely passable performance within your workplace, but I promise you’ll start to think about it.

Which is why it’s crucial to have strong—not just above average—communication skills in your marketing efforts. The cornerstone of any cohesive strategy is good writing. I will repeat: without proper grammar, articulation of key points, compelling narrative, and a direct call to action, any initiative is lacking.

“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” 
- Ludwig Wittgenstein

This is the reason that we love the phrase “Strategic Storytelling,” and we’ve written about it in the past. It encompasses the best information presented in the most interesting way to the appropriate audience; it’s the heart and soul to any brand. A client has mentioned several times that she appreciates the way we “get it” so quickly: the information, the story, and the best way to tell it across multiple channels. And the written word—at an A-plus level—is a critical part to high performance.


Get the Write Stuff
There are many solutions to get strong writers on your team—whether it’s scouring journalism graduates as interns, bringing that talent into your group, or partnering with a consultant who specializes in strategic communications. And selfishly, our vote’s on the third option, as that is what we do every single day!

No matter how you fill this void, we think it’s just what is needed to set your message apart from all of the information your clients sift through daily. To learn more about how we can help your written communications perform at an A-plus level, please click below for a free initial session. Now, that’s bringing your A-game!