Mike Shoun, CEO
Affordable Image
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A New Year and a New Marketing Strategy
By Mike Shoun, CEO

It’s a new year, and the thought of trying something new might seem a little overwhelming. But Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, isn’t exactly newfangled. Considering John Audette brought us the first SEO in early 1997, SEO really isn’t new, but it might be original to you. I would like to go over the importance of SEO so you may see how it can fit into your 2015 marketing plan.

What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization allows the different search engines to index your site, which results in your Search Engine Results Pages, better known as SERP. The better optimized your site is, the better page rank you can receive. With a higher rank you can be found easily by the consumer looking for your products or services.

What is needed in Optimization?
Optimization is really about making your relevant content easily read by search engines. The name of the page, the structure of your code, the descriptions of your image files and even which HTML tags you use can affect how your page is viewed by search engines and if they will deem your content relevant enough to show.

How do I know I have this on my site?
You probably wouldn’t know unless you are a web builder. You need to have your site thoroughly checked and analyzed by a professional to see if it was built correctly. If there are issues they can be caught and corrected.

Why do you like SEO?
Considering every company needs to market, I find that SEO really is an inbound marketing strategy. You don’t have to interrupt patients in their daily activities, instead they search you out when they are in need of the services you offer. It is definitely a non-intrusive way to be in the minds of a consumer. And when you optimize, you show up higher than your competition.

I hear about something called Algorithms - what does this mean?
Algorithms are computer programs that look for clues to give you back exactly what you want. Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a "major" algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that effects search results in significant ways. Having a professional help you understand these algorithms can be to your advantage for proper SEO.

My SEO is working, now how do I turn the visitors into new patients?
Consistency in what you do is the single most important thing in any marketing strategy. Make sure you have a plan of action to market your website. My motto is the 3 B’s - Brand, Brand, Brand yourself. Your website needs to be first and foremost branded to you. Never mind those template sites that look like all the others. Forget the new wave looks that some young kids come up with and say is the best thing to do. If it isn’t easy to navigate and doesn’t scream your brand, then don’t do it. Once you get the brand down, the content is the most important. If visitors go to your site and click away after a few seconds because they don’t like what they see, it won’t matter how high you rank. With a custom site you are in charge of your relevant keywords for the search engines.

Why should I brand first then content? 
SEO is about getting higher rankings in the search engine, but without targeting the right audience you will never make a return on your investment. By developing your brand first, you will know what kind of content to provide for the audience that will become your new patients. I truly believe the experience of recognition will give the user the satisfaction of knowing they can trust you. All great companies have a brand, and when we see it, we trust it. See golden arches, we all know we get French fries and a hamburger. See a swoosh, and we all know it relates to a sporting activity of some sort. See an apple with a bite out of it, we know it is computer related. You get the picture. Once you like what you see, you will continue on with your exploration until you are either satisfied in your search or need to click off and begin again. Having relevant content keeps them on your site, but your brand is what they believe in.

What type of content do I need?
Content that is relevant to the user. They come to your site for a reason – they are looking for answers. To best optimize yourself, make sure your structure includes items that you know they came to you for in the first place. A streamlined site with great content that is easy to navigate allows the user to explore your site and stay there. No matter how high you are ranked, these items do matter. Remember, they are putting words of their needs into the search bar, and your site should reflect the thought process of the user. Anyone can have a site, but one that is optimized gets seen.

Mike Shoun is the President and Owner of Affordable Image Dental Marketing Solutions - a full service marketing company dedicated to the client's overall success. 

Mike can be reached at (602) 265-2299 ext. 211, or email mike@affordableimage.com

Visit www.affordableimage.com for more information

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