Your Online Reputation: Understanding and Managing It

Online reputation

People are talking about you.

This is true even if you do not know it.

And what they say about you or your company matters. Now more than ever.

Digital reputation

The sum total of those opinions make up your reputation. With the ease of access to information that was brought about by the internet that perception about your company will have a major impact on the success of your business. This is why, from marketing to user experience and customer relations, online reputation management should be a key component of your overall operational strategy.

But… What IS Online Reputation?

Your online reputation is made up of all the opinions generated by your company, creating a general perception about your business, its credibility, and its trustworthiness. Because the web provides a wide array of channels to make those opinions public, it is up to you to keep tabs on all the conversations happening that involve your brand.

The very first step in gaining a grasp on your online reputation is establishing boundaries, which is achieved by controlling the amount and type of information you make available. Remember that absolutely everything you do or post online leaves a digital footprint which can become permanent and have a lasting effect on your online reputation. Making sure your company is on top of its content generation process will be vital. This is true as much for businesses as it is for individuals.

Once the information is out there, though, the real work begins.

There are usually three main areas that impact your online reputation, with degrees of weight depending on the type of business:

  • Social media
  • Search results
  • Website comments/reviews

Understanding these three areas, monitoring them, and ensuring the process of communication in each is frank and effective will be the deciding factor when it comes to managing your online reputation.

Hold On. I Get It: People Talk. So What? Why Should I Care?

Because if people do not trust you, they will stop doing business with you. It really is that simple.

And what others say about you online, repeated enough times, will be perceived as true even if it is not.

Edelman’s Trust Barometer has consistently shown the weight search engines have on public perception, with trust for results through that channel ranking as high as 65% in 2019:

Think about that. Search engines are toe to toe with traditional media. Given that visible trend, do you think those numbers will go down over the next few years?

And if you are thinking that because social media ranks low on that chart (though 43% is still a significant number), then think again. Social media still matters for your business for two very important reasons:

  • Conversations had about your brand can still reveal areas where your company is weak and can grow.
  • Matters brought up on social media have the potential to go viral, which, if negative, can deal your online reputation the kind of damage that takes years to recover from.

Finally, do not underestimate the power of comments and reviews, which several prospects point to as influential in their eventual decision of whether or not to proceed with a purchase or business. In fact, according to BrightLocal’s Consumer Review Survey, 68% of users said that positive reviews are more likely to make them buy a product.

Numbers do not lie. By now it should be clear that proper online reputation management is necessary to stay ahead of your competition or even stay afloat, depending on the situation.

So, What Can I Do To Help My Online Reputation?

Once proper controls and measures are in place to effectively filter your online actions and the information you generate and promote, the actual work of managing your online reputation comes into play.

Social Media

Social media is all about the conversations being had with or about your company. This means that the key to success in managing your online reputation is effective and timely communication.

So, first things first, you need an active social media presence. Having one will make it easier to monitor those conversations, to respond quickly, and to create a loyal audience that is both interested in what you have to say and that feels valued enough to trust it. Even if other sources claim otherwise.

Here are some best practices you may want to keep in mind:

  • Always be true to your voice
  • Be transparent and sincere
  • Respond politely and in a timely manner to any comments, good or bad. This one is important. Never, ever lose your temper if you feel offended or attacked. An overreaction could lead to more negative attention, which would spell disaster for your online reputation.
  • Be consistent with your generation of positive and key messages

If you stay on top of social media conversations, you will be among the first to learn if something is going wrong and fix it, which will prevent further damage down the line.

Search Engines

Search engines now enjoy as much credibility as traditional media in terms of the information found and how trustworthy it is, which means using Google to look up your company is a very effective way of measuring your current online reputation.

The real challenge here is the fact that search engine results can in fact be manipulated, which means your company better have an impressive SEO strategy in place to stay ahead of any potentially negative exposure and to properly manage crises should they arise.

Much like any proactive content marketing campaign you may be engaged in, it is important to remain proactive and consistent with the generation of material in order to conquer search engine results.


When it comes to comments or reviews, there are two main types:

  • Sincere opinions, which reflect what users or customers honestly feel about your services or products
  • Insincere attacks, which are created specifically to damage your reputation

You can usually tell these two types apart by the quality and detail of what is written or said. Attacks are usually repetitive and short, because they are only there to bring your numbers down. The best way to deal with the latter is to report them. Review websites are often good at filtering out bots or posts that are clearly meant to damage online reputations. If it is happening on your own website, you can clear them out yourself, though be absolutely sure they are indeed attacks or you might risk conveying that your company wants to silence critics.

In the case of honest reviews, the key is to listen/read. If these users had issues with your business, this is an opportunity to address them, show them you care, and learn from their feedback in order to improve your own quality of service.

Again, never lose your temper and remember that the best way to squash negative perception is to show people you respect their opinions.

Online reputation management can be tricky business, which is why it should be taken seriously. How others perceive you will define how they interact with you, which is quite important if you are a business looking to grow your customer base.

Find the right way to address your business reputation – whether through online reputation management services or an in-house team of seasoned professionals – and always remember that, as long as you remain vigilant, you can ensure your standing with the digital world remains at its best.


The 10 Reasons You Will Need to Outsource Your SEO Work


So much to do, so little time to get it done.

This is true for any digital marketing effort your business chooses to undertake, regardless of company size or industry.

Busy work

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be particularly complex because of the fierce competition surrounding those top spots on results pages. Juggling expectations about time, money and human resources devoted to this service can be one of the most difficult challenges for anyone trying to break through and excel in a saturated digital landscape, which is why companies often choose to bring in outside help to get things done faster and at lower costs.

There is often some amount of apprehension and worry when it comes to outsourcing any aspect of a business, because it means you will need to deposit your trust on a third party that you might feel does not feel as passionate about your goals as you do. Concern is understandable, but that just means that any company considering this very productive alternative should contemplate only qualified and proven providers.

Because it is worth it. It really is. Outsourcing something as monumental as SEO will have an incredible impact on your business and the levels of productivity for your in-house marketing team.

These are the reasons why any company serious about their digital marketing should consider outsourcing their SEO efforts:

1. It will save your company a lot of time

2. It will save your company a lot of money

3. It will let your business hit the ground running with your optimized content

4. There is little to no learning curve, as you will be working with seasoned experts

5. You will have access to a greater network of marketing professionals through your service provider

6. You will spare your in-house team a large amount of tedious work, which will help prevent burnout

7. It will free your in-house team up so they can focus on other projects

8. You will have people at your disposal who keep up with the trends and changes that often affect SEO performance

9. You will enjoy faster results

10. You will get expert advice from an outside perspective

With all these benefits at hand when outsourcing SEO services from an agency, the pros far outweigh the cons. Let us take the time to explore each of these at length:

A Real Time-Saver

This is the first and most basic benefit of outsourcing your SEO efforts, because optimizing those pages and the content to rank higher on result pages takes time. It takes a lot of time. Especially if those handling it are not that experienced. Having seasoned professionals assume this role for your digital marketing campaigns will save your company some much needed time. And time is money.

Speaking of money…

A Real Money-Saver

Money saver

As mentioned, SEO is difficult and complex. If you want it done right and fast, you will need someone with years of experience backing him or her up, or a team of diverse professionals that specialize in specific areas. This means that handling the work in-house will cost a pretty penny. Outsourcing SEO services will provide your company with an entire team of experts for considerably less than it would cost to house them within your own walls.

Agencies can afford to provide clients with lower prices because their work model has them encompassing a large body of clients, which means they can run costs down in order to become the most viable alternative for companies wishing to adopt a more austere financial posture.

Hit the Ground Running

Digital agencies – and, in this case, SEO service providers – have large teams with years of experience to their name. They also have a model of work that allows these experts to quickly absorb the information needed and immediately put their ample skillset to the test.

In other words, by outsourcing SEO you know that the work will begin at once, instead of facing the usual delays that come from pre-planning and planning before execution.

After all, less experienced professionals will still need time to learn and work things out before they even start, whereas proven SEO professionals face…

Little to No Learning Curve

If your company is just starting out with SEO and you can’t afford to hire a seasoned digital marketing veteran, chances are the people who take on the task will spend some time learning the ropes, not only about content optimization but the generation of material in general.

SEO experts are, well, experts. They know their way around SEO and all its common challenges. This means they will not waste time having to learn anything new. They are ready right off the bat.

[Need some help learning the basic components of a digital marketing strategy? Check out our guide on how to craft a profitable plan!]

A Large Digital Marketing Network at Your Disposal

Digital network

SEO is usually part of a larger set of services offered by digital marketing agencies. In most cases, these agencies employ professionals with different areas of specialization who work together. This means when your company outsources SEO services, it gains access to a whole network of digital experts who are helping out with your needs.

Sparing Your In-House Team a Large Amount of Tedious Work

Burnout is a real problem. Overworking people and forcing them to do menial tasks repeatedly can and will have an emotional and psychological impact on their state of mind and productivity.

After a while, SEO work can in fact become monotonous. Keyword research requires long hours combing through pieces of content about the same topic and running through huge lists of phrases, investigating their search volume, and how they perform. Over and over again.

When you have a full team handling the work, you resolve the issue by rotating them every so often. But what happens when the team is small or composed of only a single individual?

Sparing your in-house marketing team from this type of work by outsourcing SEO will make them happier, and it will let you assign them other tasks.

Free Your Team to Work in Other Projects

There are several other areas of digital marketing that also require your team’s attention. By removing the tedious demands of SEO from their table, you can have them focus on those other things, further optimizing the use of your in-house resources.

Keeping Up With Trends and Tools

Marketing trends

Proper SEO requires the use of several different tools and an understanding of shifting trends. For example, Google changes their search algorithm around 500 times per year. In most cases, the changes are minor, but still important.

SEO agencies are always keeping up with changes in the industry or all the new tools available. They have to. This is their bread and butter. By outsourcing, your company gains access to a constantly updated source of information.

You Will Enjoy Faster Results

SEO can take time – research, implementation, and then waiting for the results to actually show will put your patience to the test.

Outsourcing your SEO services will not mean you get instantaneous results, but having a barrage of experts working for you will definitely reduce the time so you get them quicker.

An Objective Perspective and Impartial Eye

It can be easy for people wearing a company shirt to lose themselves in passion for the brand. This is not a bad thing, but it can lead to some problems when evaluating work objectively. When you are too close to something, actually recognizing cracks and flaws becomes more difficult, especially if they relate to your own work.

This is probably one of the most understated benefits of outsourcing your SEO services to an agency: you will have people committed to sincerity. Someone from your in-house team may choose to or be consciously unable to perceive mistakes in his work, because his job depends on it, whereas agencies need to be impartial and get results because it is their reputation at stake.

This means you will be able to get thorough, efficient and detailed assessments of what is going on from objective third parties.

Outsourcing SEO services does not need to be a risky proposition or a wild gamble. It can be a positive turning point for any company, as long as they take the proper time to investigate and evaluate available providers.

Weigh all the options, make an informed decision, and watch your costs lower and your results soar.

Are you worried about outsourcing SEO or any other digital marketing service? We understand. Feel free to get in touch with us with any questions or concerns. We’re here to help!


Contact us today to see how we can help you with SEO!



Boosting Your WordPress SEO

Boosting your WordPress SEO

SEO has become a vital part of any digital strategy used by marketers to increase organic traffic to websites. With the growing popularity of content management systems (CMS), efforts have been made to adapt these tools so they can provide easier management of all the technical aspects surrounding optimization.

If you have a WordPress website, you know how important it is to optimize it for search engines. Regardless of how beautiful your website is, or how fast it loads, it becomes inconsequential if it fails to attract potential customers. Leveraging WordPress and its multiple features and plugins will help boost your website so it has a better chance of appearing on the first page of search results, generating constant traffic to your website, and making this is one of the best long-term investments in terms of marketing.

Here are some tips that can help your website obtain better organic search engine rankings.

1. Check your URLs

Google prefers URLs that are easy to read and user friendly.

For example, an address that follows the more common “/friendly-url/” format is much more attractive than a more complex alternative such as "/999/15/1/id123?var", so be aware of the permalinks for your pages and try to keep them self-explanatory.

To change this parameter, go to Settings → Permalinks and select Post name:

2. WWW or non-WWW

This is a very common question for both new sites and site redesigns and the basic answer is quite simple: though the decision will have an impact on technical issues such as how cookies are managed, there is no SEO benefit to using one version or another.

In general terms, www was more common in the past, so many sites continue to use it due to its familiarity. Therefore, unless there is a technical reason to use the naked version of the domain, it is recommended that you use the www version to avoid any future problems with cookies.

Either way, be sure to standardize access using one of the versions through redirection. To do so, go to Settings → General, and enter the URL of your site the way you want it to load:

3. Install a SEO plugin

Although WordPress already benefits from an efficient native structure for SEO, a specific plugin for this very purpose will make everything much easier. While there are many plugins that can potentially help with SEO, for the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on Yoast SEO, which is one of the most popular and effective SEO tools for WordPress, and is essentially a de facto standard.

Yoast SEO has several features that will help your pages rank, ranging from content readability to a handy “stop light” indicator for confirming keyword use. The Yoast plugin will auto-generate XML sitemaps (very helpful guidance for Google and other index crawlers), add social and schema markup that helps clarify the purpose of your content, enable breadcrumbs and even give you real-time feedback on how to further optimize the post for search engines.

The steps below demonstrate how to quickly install Yoast SEO:

Step 1:

Navigate to Dashboard → Plugins → Add new.

Step 2:

Write “Yoast” in the search box and click the Install Now button.

The plugin will automatically be downloaded and installed within a few seconds. All you have to do is click on Activate.

4. Build out a list of target keywords

If SEO is a priority, you want to elaborate a list of keywords and phrases that describe your products and services. These are the phrases users are most likely to search for, so ranking for them will increase the likelihood that they will be attracted to your website.

These terms should be relevant and as specific as you can make them, rather than broad terms that would be nearly impossible to rank for. Three- and four-word phrases (often referred to as “long-tail” keywords) will be more focused and likely more representative of search intent.  Increasingly, these may take the form of questions. You can use free tools like UberSuggest as well as paid tools like SEMrush, Moz or Ahrefs to research keyword candidates and get ideas for variations, along with search volume and ranking difficulty, both of which should be considerations. Ideally, your search terms should have a reasonable monthly search volume and low-to-moderate competition.

Google Trends can be a very valuable tool at this point. It can provide you with an overall idea of the search volume for  certain terms, assuming they have sufficient search volume (it’s less helpful for niche keywords and phrases). It can show you at a glance which searches are trending higher or lower, and which search variations or more popular. Search for issues your audience possibly has, and use the insights  to inform your keyword strategy and build out your list.

As a reality check, run searches in Google and Bing for your target keywords and see what comes up on the first three pages of results. Does your site? Competitors? Big media or government sites that will likely be hard to outrank? Do the results look on-topic for your content?

This keyword list is not one-and-done, but rather a starting point. As you continue to develop content, you will research new keywords and add them to the list. Why go through this exercise? So when you are writing content, you are clear on which keywords represent the best opportunity.

5. Focus on what really matters

Keep your master keyword list close at hand as you develop pages and posts for your site. Think of the most important keyword/phrase in your post, the one that is both most relevant and represents your best opportunity for traffic. You will add it as your Yoast focus keyphrase. The plugin will automatically evaluate all the content of the post and provide you with a feedback of its quality based on the main keyword (Focus keyphrase).

6. Add Tags to your Posts

WordPress is ready – straight out of the box – to welcome search engines. The tags' features are one of those easy-to-use SEO features that you should take advantage of.

Tags are basically keywords used for smoother navigation, listing identifying characteristics or topics for every page. These sort of labels are meant to be short words or expressions. Search engines pay attention to them, which in turn has an impact on the overall rank for the pages.

7. Title Tags

The title tag is the first information a user will see in the search results before accessing your page. For this reason, it is one of the most influential SEO ranking factors. When choosing the ideal title tag, you must keep in mind that both Google and users will be reading that sentence, so even if there is a good ranking, a poorly written title can lead to a low click-through rate (CTR).

It is recommended that you add your focus keyword at the beginning of the title tag whenever possible, as this plays a role in the assessment search engines carry out to determine rank.

The title tag can be easily configured using Yoast SEO. Keep in mind that there is a character display limit on 65-character Google searches, so try adapting your title within this range. It’s worth mentioning that this limitation is currently done per pixel, but the measurement per character continues being very close to the real limit.

8. Meta Description

The meta description displays below the title in organic results. It should succinctly and accurately describe the content that will be found on the page, and pique the interest of users, inviting more click-throughs. By incorporating the focus keyphrase, it reinforces to the searcher that your page is indeed on target for the search intent, which in turn can positively impact click through rate (CTR). And since a higher CTR does contribute to your page’s ranking, you could say that the meta description indirectly contributes to that.

The available size of visibility for the meta description is based on pixels, which works out to just under 160 characters for desktop. But since the mobile limit is 130 characters, it’s best to focus as much content as possible to attract users within this limitation, as anything beyond that is likely to be truncated. Also remember to add the focus keyword in the meta description.

It’s worth noting that, depending on the search, Google may or may not use the provided meta description, instead constructing a description from relevant copy found in the page. But nonetheless, it makes sense to provide a well-crafted meta description for each page.

9. Header Tags

Header tags are also prime resources for improving the SEO of your site. The H1 header tag visibly represents the main topic of your page, while H2-H6 are used for sub-headers.

Almost all updated and properly coded themes automatically identify the title of the post as H1, so you only need to create section headings. Google and other search engines assign more weight to the header tags (H1 in particular) than they do to routine body copy, so whenever possible, incorporate focus keywords into the H1 and/or other header tags.

10. The First Paragraph

The structure of your first paragraph should contain everything that your post is about. This introduction is where the reader will make the decision to continue reading or search for the information elsewhere. As for search engines, they do process the information differently, evaluating words that are relevant to certain searches. So, make sure to place that focus keyword in there. And because the search engines crawl through the page like humans do, from top to bottom, search  algorithms will give priority to content closer to the top.

11. Long Posts at Longer Intervals, or Short Posts Frequently?

Research by SEO expert Brian Dean of Backlinko determined that the average first page result contains just under 2,000 words.  This notwithstanding, the most important aspect will always be the quality of the content, because that’s what gets clicks and backlinks.

Source: Backlinko

Your overall content strategy plays an important role in this decision. Your choice of how often you wish to publish content, and the size for that piece of content, will no doubt depend on the topics you cover and your audience’s interest level. A blog offering that quick takes on news and politics, might prefer short, frequent posts; one that discusses wine tasting and features in-depth reviews might choose longer, detailed posts, spread out over time.

In terms of SEO, the impact will come based on how astutely the keywords are used, and how effective the strategy is at attracting and keeping user interest. But based on the research in general, longer, meatier posts will tend to rank better than shorter, more superficial posts.

12. Use ALT Text for Images

For each image you use in your post, you must add the alt tag to better rank them for searches. This is a great place to post relevant keywords.

Google has a search function for images that works in much the same way as searching for web pages with keywords and relevance. When you add alt tags, Google can search and record your images when someone searches for images.

13. Image File Names

Even the smallest details matter. The name of the image files are important to Google, who will always read them and make ranking decisions based on this factor. So, instead of uploading an image with the name 1815200.png to the server, rename it to image-file-names.png (always using hyphens as a space for better understanding by Google). Try also to use the focus keyword in one of the post images, if possible.

14. Use of SSL

Google views SSL as a security priority and therefore has begun to point out that https is a ranking factor. Because many websites do not yet use this, you can take advantage of that and migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS.

For this we recommend using the Really Simple SSL plugin, which will force the use of HTTPS and correct mixed content.

Step 1:

Navigate to Dashboard → Plugins → Add new.

Step 2:

Write “really simple ssl” in the search box and click the Install Now button.

Step 3:

The plugin will automatically be downloaded and installed within a few seconds. All you have to do is click on Activate.

15. Block Spam Reactions

When people leave comments on your blog, this counts as content for Google. Keeping a close watch on the quality of discussions and the type is crucial. Spam – especially the kind unrelated to the subject matter in the page – will impact SEO. Blocking spam on your blog will indeed improve your SEO - and make your readers happier.

16. Internal Linking

An easy way to get more traffic is to add internal links to your blog posts.

For example, if you have an article about overcoming your resistance to writing blogs, you can post links to "Other related articles you can use" at the bottom of this article: 4 Content marketing trends for owners company in 2019 and other related items.

17. Sitemaps

Sitemaps are used by search engines like Google, Bing, and Yandex to identify the hierarchy and structure of your WordPress site while ensuring better exploration. The Yoast SEO plugin has the ability to generate your sitemap file for you automatically. To do so, follow the steps below:

Step 1:

Go to Yoast SEO → General → Features.

Step 2:

Click the question mark for the XML Sitemap. After that, just click in the See the XML sitemap to view how it is structured.


WordPress SEO might seem like an instructional procedure, it is very important to implement it. If you want to cut ahead of the competition, you need to get it right.

As long as you follow the above recommendations, you are well on your way to having a blog that search engines like to pay attention to.



Risky Website Redesigns and Tanking Organic Traffic

Tanking Organic Traffic after a Website Redesign: Why Evolutionary Redesigns are Optimal

People buy based on emotion. A redesign can be a sexy idea, sold to you by a creative agency that knows how to wow and amaze. But, it's rarely in your best interests. Sure, sometimes you reach a point where things are so bad that you have to scrap everything and start over...but how do you know how bad is too bad?

Radical website redesigns are modern-day one-night stands for marketers.

The following graphs show what happened to a new client of ours earlier this year when their previous vendor launched their radical redesign.

Organic SEO traffic tanking after website redesign

Here's another view from SEMrush, based on number of ranking organic keywords, for mobile devices (site launched in late April): 

Another view of website SEO traffic tanking after website redesign

Organic traffic (SEO) was already declining. The client surely panicked, the older site was indeed quite outdated, and yes, they panicked with good reason. It's hard to stay calm in the face of tanking traffic. Panicking, and going to a vendor who played into that panic, was part of the pitfall.

The creAtìve AgénCy elixir surely tasted good in the moment, and scrapping that outdated site surely felt like the right thing to do...but this radical act under pressure actually did more harm than good.

The agency they chose not only massacred our client's business by improperly handling post-launch SEO planning, they created a broken user experience that is impacting commerce on the site, not to mention that the information architecture and navigation are botched, the value proposition is unclear and in bits and pieces around the entire site, and user engagement is deeply impacted by all of this as well as a slow-loading site and a fancy but not performant inter-page browsing experience that has to be devastating to conversions.  

The new website is pretty, but it's not doing anything. It should be working hard for the client's business, but it's not.

Yes, it is possible to do revolutionary redesigns right. But, it's hard, and requires a lot more data than most are willing to wait for and collect. And even then, you're still gambling, depending on how revolutionary you are with the extremely sensitive components of the redesign (navigation, expected user journeys, calls to action, microcopy, content, keywords, visual hierarchy, and the like).

How many times have you seen radical redesigns on 

You don't see them, because they do evolutionary redesigns – continuous, incremental improvements along the way.

Evolutionary website redesign

Image source

If you're feeling like sexy will win, it's an urgent need, and will appease your management team, then just reskin what you have as a first step. Design is incredibly important in instilling trust, and yes, good design – no, great design – is extremely important. It effects conversions and website engagement, and thus your business profits. Then, make incremental improvements from there.

Another way to think of it visually is this:

Origin Eight approach to continuous incremental improvement

This is a good cost/benefit results visualization of the concept as well: 

Origin Eight approach to continuous incremental improvement

This is difficult stuff to grasp, but indeed a very powerful concept. We coined the term Digital Impact Optimization™ for this idea that "incremental improvements can lead to exponential demand", and also the idea that "redesigns don't have to suck, especially if you consistently keep up your optimization game" – but the following is also true:

Incremental improvements can save you from exponential losses.

It's not a new concept in its entirety, but how we incorporate it into a full-picture offering and analysis is. Here's a diagram of how we see it:

Digital Impact Optimization


Learn more about Our Approach



Lean Thinking Applied to Digital Marketing Agencies: Article #1

Lean Thinking Applied to Digital Marketing Agencies: Article #1

The core idea behind lean thinking is maximizing customer value while minimizing waste, or creating more value for customers with fewer resources. It comes from the manufacturing industry in the early 20th century, stemming from Toyota's innovations (who borrowed from Ford's first attempts), but is now applied to many industries worldwide. Check out for more information.  

The key starting point here is value. In the context of digital marketing, what does "value" mean to each customer? It varies greatly. To extend this metaphor, the digital agency is the "producer", and the client is the "consumer." As an agency focused on lean thinking, the first step with any new prospect or customer is a conscious attempt at precisely defining value in terms of specific products or services with specific capabilities offered at specific pricing structures, stemming from specific conversations with individuals. 

Producers tend to continue producing what they are already making, and consumers tend to ask for products they are already getting. Consumers understand "SEO", and know that's a good thing, but it's only a small part of the digital marketing ecosystem. What happens if that SEO traffic lands on a website that is not optimized for conversions, i.e. a website that is optimized to convert visitors into customers, or, more generally, to take any valuable action on the website? If the website is not optimized, or, even worse, if it simply is not built or designed to play a valuable role in the organization's sales process, all the SEO traffic in the world is not going to bring value. Thus, we as digital marketing agencies must precisely define value for each client as a first step in becoming lean.

Another lean concept is waste reduction. One area of waste that we see are agencies that offer a small slice of the digital marketing pie, such as "SEO", or "web design" without full-picture services. Each agency may eliminate waste internally as part of their process, but that does not mean they are eliminating waste for the client. We've seen clients with ten different vendors all doing a small slice of the digital marketing, and nobody is able to get anything done or have vision and guidance over the entire picture, because there is no thought leader, no process leader, no lead waste minimizer and advocate for the client. We've arrived at new clients who have just fired all vendors, and the entire marketing team, and just started over. 

We've also worked with clients as the sole web and digital marketing agency who have a relationship with another highly-specialized agency, say in SEO, who have created waste by interfering with the web design and development process, even offering to own part of the process. When ownership of something as complex as a website redesign is split into multiple parties, waste abounds. A thorough content strategy, user experience design, information architecture and design, among other strategic phases, really should be owned by a single agency, otherwise fragmentation and waste are almost always introduced into the equation. 

To be continued. Lean concepts of "flow", "pull" and "perfection" will be covered in a future article.

Drupal SEO Series: Increase Your Conversion Rates With These Pro Marketing Tips

Drupal SEO Series

Now that more consumers than ever are going online to get information about products and services, search engines have become the new gatekeeper, your website the new storefront and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) something akin to a next generation salesman. To reach online audiences, you not only need to sell what you do, but make it easy for people to find you. The good news: there are many proven techniques and online tools that you can capitalize on now, and we’re going to go through 7 key SEO strategies in this blog post:

  1. Why Relevance Matters
  2. Anticipating Customer Needs
  3. Social Media’s Impact On SEO
  4. The 7-Second Rule
  5. Optimizing Your Drupal Site For Google
  6. Landing Pages
  7. Preventing SEO Problems

Drupal websites already give the organizations that use them an edge over the competition because of their built-in SEO tools, such as faster pages, an advanced taxonomy and tagging system, superior naming conventions and many accessibility features. These tools help increase your page ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP): the page you see after entering text into a browser when conducting an organic search. Most organic searches today use Google’s search engine and, as we discuss below, Drupal makes available several modules to simplify integration with Google services, such as Google Translate and Google Analytics.

In this blog post, we’re going to go over some foundational and more advanced SEO approaches to help your organization stay ahead of the curve and become an online authority in your field.

1. Why Relevance Matters

Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo rank content based on an evolving set of criteria. So webmasters and marketers need to be nimble in order to keep pace with the ever-changing SEO landscape. That said, one of the most important things to bear in mind when thinking about strategies to optimize your website content is: relevance. This cannot be understated. The days of keyword stuffing are over. Google’s web crawlers have grown wise to many black hat practice and spammy pages are getting pushed way down the SERP list.

Tip 1#:

Find a key phrase or a selection of keywords that accurately represent your brand and that aren’t used by so many other sites that yours gets lost in the noise. Long-tail keywords can be especially useful here when you’re working on distinguishing your brand and capturing a niche market.


Google’s indexing robots look for keywords used frequently in blocks of content that contain full sentences and proper grammar for the given language. So repeat your key phrase and keywords throughout your site, but do so using quality, focused content on landing pages, blog posts, customer reviews, etc. And don’t overuse keywords, as that can hurt your ranking.

Tip #3:

Relevant keywords and long-tail keywords can only go so far if your content isn’t up to snuff. Spend time filling your site with quality content – whether in the form of information about your product or service, blog posts, feature stories, press material and landing pages that link to your main site. Readers may find your page because of your exceptional SEO strategies, but they won’t stay long if they don’t find what they’re looking for. And because Google favors websites with fewer bounce rates – more on this in the next section – having quality content can have a significant impact on your page ranking.

2. Anticipating Customer Needs

Quality content is essential for SEO and converting customers. You increase your chances of both when you remove hurdles that could prevent customers from making the next click along their path to a purchasing decision. But, what’s the best way to strategize the flow of content on your site?

Here’s where having a firm grasp of your audience is particularly useful. Ask yourself:

  • What kind of content does your audience need at each stage of their decision-making process?
  • How can you walk you customer down the path to conversion?
  • Are there other mediums you can use to diversify your content, such as blogs, videos, audio, social media, etc.?

Let’s say, for example, that you sell ice cream and you know the vast majority of your customers just want to buy ice cream when they visit your site. You might try:

  • Having information about how to buy your product front-and-center on your homepage,
  • Featuring testimonials from happy customers below your main body content and
  • Including videos about making toppings for ice cream in a sidebar.

Once a visitor moves onto purchasing your ice cream, you could then include information about the ice cream accessories your company also sells.

Google looks at bounce rates when determining its SERP ranking. So if someone goes to your site, then almost immediately clicks the back button on his or her web browser and clicks on a another result on the search results page, Google might assume that your website doesn’t contain quality content and could lower your SERP ranking. The simple solution? Fill your site with quality, relevant content that meets your audience’s needs throughout their decision-making process.

3. Social Media’s Impact on SEO

Organizations wanting to boost your SEO should consider incorporating social media networks into your portfolio. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. can help you reach your targeted audience and increase the likelihood of organic search hits.

To give you a sense of just how big social networking sites have become, in early 2017 Facebook had upwards of 1.86 billion monthly active users. Similarly, WhatsApp had 1 billion, Instagram had 600 million and Twitter had 317 million. According to Statista, social media users worldwide almost doubled from 1.22 billion in 2011 to over 2.3 billion in 2016. And that number, they predict, will increase to over 2.9 billion by 2020.   

But what does this have to do with SEO? Simply put, getting your content on Facebook can increase your search page ranking. That’s because, as of 2010, Google crawlers started indexing Facebook posts and adding them to their SERPs. They did the same for Twitter posts in 2011. So diversify your content!

Think of it this way, if your organization has a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat account, you’ve just increased the number of pages that can be used to engage your audience. Make these into authoritative pages and link them to your website and you’ve just increased your site’s SEO. It’s that simple.

4. The 7-Second Rule

A good test to see if you’re content is going to succeed is the 7-second rule. When you visit your site, if you can’t see the most important information about your company in 7 seconds, you’re going to lose customers. The reality is that the human attention span dropped to 8 seconds in 2015 (from 12 seconds in 2000). Because of that, your website needs to give your audience the information it needs before they click away to the next shiny object.

Although it’s not clear if visitor time, or the time people spend on your website, improves your SERP ranking on Google, what we do know is that anything you can do to edge your site above the competition, while staying true to your brand and company goals, is probably not a bad idea. Optimizing your website for increased visitor time could do a lot to increase your bottom line when visitors become invested in your brand and start sharing information about your amazing organization and opening their checkbooks to support what you do.

Some important questions to ask when assessing your website’s readability:

  • Is your biggest selling feature front-and-center?
  • Does the information provided clearly explain what your organization does and the benefit to customers?
  • Is important information easy to read off mobile and desktop screens?
  • Does your messaging use clear and engaging language?
  • Does your sidebar, header and footer content entice your visitors to get more information?

Try this out…

Ask someone who doesn’t know your brand to look at your homepage for a maximum of 7 seconds and then describe your organization and your value proposition in a few sentences. If they get it wrong, you know you have some more work to do. If they get it right, give them a high five.

5. Optimizing You Drupal Site For Google

Google is currently the top-ranked search engine globally. This means that being at the top of your SEO game will, for the most part, require playing by Google’s rules.

Here’s what you should know…

Each year, Google changes its search algorithm: the criteria Google’s web crawlers use to index and rank pages, somewhere between 500 to 600 times. Most of these changes will be minor tweaks that shouldn’t affect how your website’s pages are indexed and where you land on Google’s results page. However, sometimes Google rolls out major changes that can have a big impact on how it ranks websites and the order it lists them on the results page, which can greatly impact the visibility of your site and your click-through rate. For example, Google’s AdWords update of 2016 saw right-column ads replaced with four top block ads for many commercial searches, which pushed down organic search results lower on the results page. Also in 2016, Google updated its mobile-friendly ranking to further reward websites with mobile first or responsive design, and further penalize sites that lacked a mobile-friendly platform.

Why does Drupal excel?

Drupal 8’s built-in mobile- and tablet-friendly responsive design makes it a leader in the CMS field. Here are a few other ways Drupal sites are optimally positioned to meet Google’s search algorithm:

  • Fully responsive design in core (Drupal 8 only)
  • Built-in page translation with Content Translation to reach broader audiences (Drupal 8 only)
  • Drupal SEO Checklist creates a to-do list of modules and tasks to amp up your website’s SEO capabilities
  • Drupal SEO Tools gives you a dashboard filled with SEO information and tips tailored to meet your SEO needs
  • Fix any URL/link problems with Global Redirect, Link Checker, Pathauto and Path Redirect 
  • Drupal knows the importance of optimizing for Google and is compatible with Google Analytics, integrate that with Google Search Console for even more SEO power
  • Send a sitemap of your website directly to search engines with XML Sitemap
  • The H1 and H2 tags on your taxonomy term page are extremely important for SEO; Taxonomy Title lets you control your titles


[Choosing the right CMS is vital in terms of how your website will perform. For a more in-depth analysis of how to go about making this decision, please visit our post Choosing the Best CMS for Your Website]


Word to the wise…

In early 2017, Google started cracking down on sites that have aggressive pop-ups and interstitials, such as advertisements or information request pages that appear before a website’s homepage, because they believe this could negatively impact a mobile user’s experience. Google penalizes pages with aggressive pop-ups by pushing them down the SERP ranking. Don’t get caught with aggressive interstitial-itis! For the sake of your page ranking, get familiar with Google’s guidelines for interstitials.

6. Landing Pages

Landing pages, or pages with information that has a targeted focus, give you the ability to make maximum use of long-tail keywords and individual keywords that Google’s indexing robots look for when ranking pages. By tailoring your landing page keywords towards a specific audience, you increase the likelihood that your site will be placed near the top of the list for organic searches using these terms. In addition, pages that optimize the experience of your visitors get fewer bounces and, as mentioned in Section 2 of this blog, that’s a good thing for your SERP ranking.

Landing pages should have a clear, focused message and call to action. While sometimes used as a jumping point to another webpage, such as your organization’s main page, you’ll improve your SEO if you give your audience a complete experience on the landing page. There’s a chance that the person visiting your landing page hasn’t made their purchasing decision already, so providing information about other products or services they might be interested in can also increase your conversion rate.

7. Preventing SEO Problems

Lastly, it’s important to get a customized solution to meet your SEO goals. You could be faced with a world of problems and endless headaches if your Drupal website isn’t designed to fit the requirements of the platform. Drupal is a powerful, versatile CMS with endless opportunities to connect you with effective SEO tools and functionality. Working with a development team that does it right the first time can dramatically increase your chance of success.  

Need help optimizing your Drupal site? Contact Origin Eight for a free consultation: 612-276-5880 or leave details on our contact page

Drupal SEO Series: 9 Critical Steps to Drive Drupal SEO Rankings

SEO for Drupal image

Building a strong online presence is a preliminary step to increasing your Drupal website’s click-through rate and conversion rate. You also need to make it easy for your target audience to find you online using proven Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools and practices.

So how do you get to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) of Google, Bing and Yahoo? What are some unique SEO considerations for Drupal websites that will help you increase your page ranking? How can your development strategy and process give your organization an edge over the competition?

9 Critical Steps for Drupal SEO 

  1. SEO Basics
  2. Drupal’s Taxonomy System
  3. Inbound And Outbound Links
  4. Optimizing URL Appearance In Drupal
  5. Structuring Your Drupal Pages
  6. Metadata And Metatags
  7. Optimizing For Facebook’s Open Graph
  8. The Future Of Voice Search SEO
  9. Get A Higher Page Ranking With XML Sitemap

Optimizing your website can have a significant impact on the visibility and profitability of your organization. So, it’s worth spending some time getting familiar with the principles behind SEO. Drupal’s open source platform offers a lot of versatility, making it a great SEO and Content Management System (CMS) solution for organizations looking to boost your page ranking.


[Choosing the right CMS is vital in terms of how your website will perform. For a more in-depth analysis of how to go about making this decision, please visit our post Choosing the Best CMS for Your Website]


1. SEO Basics

Definition: Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is the process of improving the visibility of your online content based on search terms entered into a web browser’s search engine.

Definition: On-page SEO is specifically the practice of optimizing individual pages so that they’ll show up higher on the search engine results page (SERP) and increase traffic to your site from relevant searches.

The Main Search Engine Players

Google’s search engine claims around 80 percent of the market share, followed by Bing and Yahoo, with around 7 and 5 percent market share respectively. In other words, for your website to get a higher SERP ranking – unless your target market only uses Bing, Yahoo or another search engine – it makes a lot of sense to focus your SEO efforts on playing by Google’s rules and optimizing your site to suit its search algorithm.

Google’s Role In Shaping SEO Practices

Before Google’s page ranking system – that took off with its search engine technology in the early 2000s – optimizing for the web was a bit of a free-for-all. Without any restrictions to rein in black hat practices, websites used keyword stuffing and spammy backlinks to rank higher on the SERP and improve the visibility of their web pages. Today, Google’s search engine algorithm places stringent rules on how pages rank on its SERP, and that’s really why SEO is such an important part of doing business online.

The Drupal SEO Advantage

Drupal’s architecture is constructed from its foundation to be conducive to SEO. As well as key SEO modules built into the core software, it also works with a number of optional downloadable modules that make it easier to improve the SEO functionality of your website. As we’ll discuss, there are many techniques you can start using right away that give Drupal sites an added advantage over other CMS platforms.

2. Drupal’s Taxonomy System

Drupal has a competitive edge over other CMSs when it comes to its taxonomy system, which makes it possible to keep even older content on your website near the top of the list where search engine crawlers can find it. Drupal’s taxonomy system accomplishes this by using keywords/ categories/ tags/ metadata to connect, relate and classify content on your website into structured hierarchical groups.

For example, keeping nodes about three clicks away from your home page will make even older content on your website look relevant to search engine indexing robots. With Drupal 8 it is possible to combine advanced taxonomy features with Drupal’s Views and Entities to boost your ranking for long-tail keywords.

3. Inbound And Outbound Links

Another thing crawlers look for to determine your site’s credibility is backlinks, also called inbound links.

Definition: Backlinks or inbound links are hyperlinks on other websites that link to your site.

If the site that links to yours is high-ranking and authoritative (This is determined by a number of factors, including that it has many credible inbound links) your site will garner even more link popularity, which can boost your Google SERP ranking. Inbound links that include key phrases from the page being linked to on your site can also increase your ranking.

To get the best SEO results, aim to get links to your web pages from pages that:

  • Have a high SERP ranking
  • Are authoritative
  • Are popular
  • Are followed by other high-ranking sites
  • Have content relevant to your content
  • Aren’t spam pages

Likewise, Google looks at whether pages you link to from your page, called outbound links, are to authoritative sources. Linking to popular pages with high authority has been proven to boost SEO.

Another major SEO best-practice for links is to give your website some hyperlink love by linking to your own pages. This can improve your page ranking and will have the added bonus of increasing the amount of time people spend on your website.

Pro Tip: Include at least 2 embedded links within the 100 words of main body text on your pages for an added SEO advantage.

Be careful not to go overboard with your outbound links, but do embed a few links to authoritative websites and to your own website to get more eyes on your pages.

4. Optimizing URL Appearance In Drupal

How URLs appear on your page and connect to your content is can have a significant impact on whether or not the search engine crawlers like your page or shove it way down the SERP list. The following are three important tools to optimize URLs on your Drupal site.

Clean URLs

Versions of Drupal 7 and older automatically generate pages with URLs that contain the additional text “?q=” that can make URLs hard to read and could prevent some search engines from properly indexing pages on your site. Drupal’s Clean URLs module fixes this problem by removing the additional text.

With this module activated, a URL that once appeared as:

would now automatically be:

Clean URL’s are enabled by default in Drupal 8.

Redirect module

Duplicate content can really hurt your SEO and should be avoided, although it is sometimes difficult to manage, so it’s good to know about Drupal’s Redirect module. The Redirect module allows you to add 301 redirects on old URLs so that they link your content to the new URL and avoid users receiving a 404 or Not Found error. This module comes in handy, particularly when migrating content from an old website to a new website.

Pathauto module

Just having readable URLs is important for SEO and for your audience’s expectations that they going to the right page. Drupal’s Pathauto module is a URL/ path alias automation tool that puts you in charge of how your website’s URLs are automatically generated so that you can keep consistency throughout your website and maximize URL readability and SEO potential.

For example, with Pathauto you can set rules that will automatically change one of your site URLS from:

to the more descriptive: category/your-node-title

Pathauto works with a pattern system, which uses Tokens, and can be modified by a website administrator. Once your parameters are set, the Pathauto module makes it easy to automatically generate clean-looking URLs that fit well into your site architecture, and contain the keywords Google’s crawlers are looking for to properly index your pages.

5. Structuring Your Drupal Pages

Getting a higher page ranking is a proactive measure. You should determine how to make it easy for Google to recognize how authoritative and relevant your content is when it is sifting through a multitude of competitor websites.

At a basic level, you can make Google’s job easier by ensuring that your site uses proper HTML semantic markup, such as having a header tag for headers, a footer tag for footers, labels for tables, title tags for images, etc. This starts with a good document outline that creates a clear map for structuring information on your pages.

Information that’s properly structured is easier for web crawlers to find and increases the chances that your page will be properly indexed and ranked by search engines.

6. Metadata And Metatags

A key part of properly structuring your page involves using metadata and metatags.

Definition: Metadata and metatags are pieces of information that help search engines identify and index the content of your pages.

Google uses metadata and metatags to create your search listing and describe your page on the SERP. Getting this information right is crucial for being properly indexed by Google’s web crawlers and increasing your site’s click-through rate.

Pro Tip: Drupal’s Metatag module lets you add custom browser titles, page titles, keywords, description and some advanced search options on your pages to improve the ranking of your site. This should be standard practice for your content creators.

7. Optimizing For Facebook’s Open Graph

Drupal plays well with all the major social media giants, and there are ways to make better connections with them using Drupal settings. Facebook is a great example. With over 1.86 million monthly active users, Facebook’s information-sharing platform offers a lot of opportunity for organizations to get eyes on your content and increase click-through and conversion rate, but because most content on Facebook is shared using a URL, you need to make sure that your site gives the Facebook Crawler enough information to properly display your page. This is where having great metadata comes in handy.

Facebook’s Open Graph Markup is a tagging system that helps Facebook identify information on your website, such as titles, images and videos. These tags are then used to determine how to display your content when someone enters one of your site URLs into his or her Facebook post. It gives you more control in how Facebook interprets your content to its vast audience.

It’s an open source tool that you can use to improve your organization’s Facebook presence and increase the likelihood that your content will be liked and shared.

8. The Future Of Voice Search SEO

This is the new kid on the block, but promises to be very important going forward. Apple’s Siri voice recognition program,  Google Allo messaging app and Amazon Alexa service allows customers to interact with devices using voice commands are all gaining popularity. These services are part of a growing host of voice search services that accounted for 20 percent of US Google queries and 25 percent of Bing queries in May 2016. The voice search trend is also projected to increase to 50 percent of all searches by 2020, driven partly by advances in machine learning technology for voice recognition and the rise of web searches conducted on mobile devices.

So here’s what you need to know when designing your Drupal SEO strategy to account for voice searches:

  • Voice search platforms are often linked to information aggregators like Yelp, so you can increase your SERP ranking by being listed on those aggregators
  • Consider that your brand and keywords may be mispronounced. Add common misspellings of your brand – and key terms used to find your brand – to your optimization strategy, along with negative keywords (excluding certain search terms)
  • Research the conversational language people use to find your brand. Voice searches tend to be more specific than typed searches because of their conversational nature. This is where long-tail keyword research and optimize for common voice queries comes in handy
  • Create a Q&A page that answers common questions. Because voice searches tend to pose a question, this strategy can also improve SEO

Mobile users are on the rise since surpassing desktop users in 2014, and this growing trend towards searching for content in a mobile, versus a desktop, environment will continue to have new implications for SEO, including voice or conversational searches.

9. Get A Higher Page Ranking With XML Sitemap

One main takeaway from this blog post should be the importance of making it easy for Google and other search engines to find and index your content. Drupal has the advantage of being equipped with numerous open source SEO tools that developers can use to increase your page ranking, which is also why so many companies are using the Drupal CMS. Drupal’s XML Sitemap module is one of those tools. It creates an XML document that search engines use to find and intelligently index your web pages. In other words, using this module helps web crawlers learn about the structure, and rank your site more effectively.

Pro tip: XML sitemap can also be directly submitted (and resubmitted) to the top search engines—especially useful if there have been changes to your website structure and content.


Get higher page rankings with a powerful Drupal site. Contact Origin Eight for a free consultation: 612-276-5880 or leave details on our contact page




SEO With Drupal

SEO For Drupal

The Drupal platform is designed to be conducive to solid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) “out-of-the-box” and the architecture encourages site builders to implement good SEO practices in their workflows. SEO-friendly naming conventions, correct tagging of content, and focus on accessibility are all built into Drupal core with the goal of helping search engines find and catalog your site. So, with targeted content, a properly coded theme, and installation of SEO boosting modules your site has the potential to rank very well.

Where to start? Fundamental Drupal SEO checklist strategy:

Start with keyword research. At the heart of your SEO plan is conveying effectively what goods/services you are providing for your audience, and using the right keywords to help them find you. Your site content should then be guided by the primary goal(s) of the website such as education, converting sales, adding subscribers, and so on. Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a good starting point for establishing a keyword strategy.    

Content really is king. There are many factors that play into a good SEO strategy, but ultimately your content will determine how well you rank. If you have well-produced, highly relevant, shareable content that serves a need for your audience, then you are well placed to rank better with Google and other major search engines. If your content is good you should be able to earn links from other websites, and the more authoritative these sites are the more SEO juice it gives to you, although Google has moved on from this and now favors links from a variety of sites of different sizes with good domain authority.

Analyze your data. To keep on top of SEO you should be aware of the numbers in the background that can help you shape your strategy decisions over time. Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools help you crunch the data and obtain key insights to assist you in areas such as audience segmentation, landing page optimization and improving conversion paths.

Don’t forget social media. As we become more connected through the myriad social media channels that weave their influence in our online world, we should harness those connections to market our businesses. Simply put, Google is applying increasing importance to social media in its search algorithm, and social is now a cornerstone of interactive marketing.

[Want to learn more about the basics of web design? Check out our guide!]

Paraphrasing Tom Webster, VP of Strategy, Edison Research @webby2001

“Social is not a channel. It is a layer over everything we do now.”

Drupal modules that help SEO. Knowing the fundamentals is essential, but there are also modules that make it easier for you to structure and maintain your site for optimum SEO. Here is a list of modules to start with.

Google Analytics  - Search data from Google. Requires an account.

Google Adwords Keyword Planner  - A keyword research and planning tool.

SEO Checklist   - Provides a methodical SEO to-do-list for Drupal sites.

SEO Compliance Checker  - Checks node content for on page SEO compliance whenever a node is saved or previewed.

Link Checker  - Detects hypertext links that are broken.

Menu Attributes  - Adds flexibility to menu items by allowing attribute specification such as id, name, class, style, and rel.

Page Title  - Gives you granular control over the html <title> tag for your website.

Taxonomy Title  - Lets you set the title for the taxonomy term page.

Pathauto  - Auto-generates alias URLs to be more SEO friendly.

Metatag  - Fine-grain control of meta tags on your site for nodes, views and categories.

Path Redirect  - Specify redirects for URLs.

Global Redirect  - Turns on clean URLs and Pathauto, does 301 redirects if necessary, and more.

Search 404  - Avoids standard “404 Page not found” messages by searching the url for other possible results.

Custom Breadcrumbs - Set up SEO compatible breadcrumb trails for any node type.

Site Verification  - Helps to verify your website with search engines.

XML Sitemap  Creates and submits a sitemap to search engines.

Site Map  Creates a plain text sitemap.

A couple of parting thoughts:

Play within the rules. In the past, SEO was easier to navigate, and it was not uncommon for organizations to try to game the system with tricks and techniques to boost SEO rankings. However, SEO is harder to manipulate now that Google is taking more of a gatekeeper role than ever, so organizations should be aware that penalties can result from unscrupulous (black hat) tactics for trying to boost rank, and it may be difficult or impossible to overturn them.

Be flexible and accept constant change.  Be aware that the SEO landscape is continually shifting, so what might work now may not be effective in 6 months time. SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. It should be part of your business strategy--supported with sufficient time and resources over the long term. It is also not an independent discipline, but has to be weaved through other digital marketing channels, such as branding, PR, email marketing, content marketing, social media and so on.

[Web development can be tricky, but not if you understand the basics of building a website. Check out our overview here.]