Photographer/Designer Keith R. Stevenson sits down at the mic with ENX2 Director of Communications Wendy Lindars for an informative and fun explanation of search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing.
Keith R. Stevenson: Hello and welcome to five questions with ENX2. My name is Keith R. Stevenson, photographer and designer and a newcomer to the world of digital marketing. I’ve got a lot of questions about the ins and outs of the business so I’m sitting down with the member of the ENX2 team to pick their brains and learn more about this dynamic industry. My first guest is Wendy Lindars, Director of Communications for ENX2. Thanks for joining me today, Wendy.
Wendy Lindars: Nice to be here. Is it like the world of digital marketing?
Keith: The world of digital marketing.
Wendy: Is there like sparkles that shoot out?
Keith: It should be. There should be. We’ll get somebody to work on that.
Wendy: Well all right. I think we got a guy.
Keith: All right, so, you know, I’ve been in a lot of meetings here today and I’ve heard a lot of words and phrases and acronyms being thrown about. So my first question for you is WTF is SEO?
Wendy: It’s okay. Keith, it’s okay. I’ll walk you through it.
Keith: Well, all right.
Wendy: That’s what I’m here for. So SEO stands for search engine optimization. So what you do is when you go on Google and you have to look up something let’s say you’re buying a pen, not just a random pen — you want a specific pen. So you say, “I want a purple pen” and you type that into Google. And then all these listings come up of where you can buy a purple pen. You have ads over here and you have all these listings. My job, as a search engine optimization specialist, is to get my listing for the purple pen that you’re looking for to be at the very top of that search engine.
Keith: So, Wendy’s purple pen goes to the top of the listings.
Wendy: Yes. So, you if you’re looking for a purple pen that will write red ink, let’s say, then boom! There’s my listing right at the top, If I did my job correctly.
Keith: So why is this so important? Like why can’t I just, you know, sell my purple pens willy-nilly?
Wendy: Well, you got to be found. It’s that simple. Search engine optimization works in many ways. When you’re talking to Google, when you’re looking at Google, you want somebody to find you online and the best way to do that is through search engine optimization. And you don’t have to pay any money. You don’t have to do any social media or anything like that. Search engine optimization will give you the audience that you’re looking for.
Keith: All right. Well, can you give me an example of how a business you’ve worked with? Maybe that benefited from proper SEO?
Wendy: Well, we work for lawyers, which is you know, fun, I’m sure you can all imagine. But it’s a very challenging field. It’s very competitive, like every lawyer around the block is trying to get to the top of the search engine for personal injury lawyers, let’s say that, and obviously you’re going to use your advertising budget. But if it’s a small law firm, sometimes they just don’t have the money to compete with the bigger guys, right? So you might be able to do it through search engine optimization if you, once again, optimize the page correctly.
One of our first clients was The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone. He’s a solo attorney and he is located in Jersey City, New Jersey, which is just a hop, skip, jump away from New York. It’s extremely competitive — like he has a personal injury lawyer right next door to him.
Keith: He has to talk really quietly so the guy next door doesn’t hear who he’s talking to.
Wendy: Exactly. So, in order to get him to rank for like slip and fall, he has to have blogs, he has to have pages, he has to have backlinks. He’s got to have his website go really, really quick. That’s an important thing.
Keith: The actual speed of the site?
Wendy: The actual speed of the site because people, they have short attention spans. If your website doesn’t come up within five, ten seconds, boom! You lost that person, gone, poof!
Keith: Kind of like the trash cans and Disney World. You have to have a trash can within five steps or somebody’s just going to throw it on the ground.
Keith: So, if your website doesn’t load in five seconds right now, they’re going to the next site.
Wendy: Oh, God, yeah. Yeah. It’s so quick. The competition’s getting fiercer and fiercer. It used to be just three seconds. Now, it’s like a second and a half if it’s not loaded properly by that time.
Keith: It’s a dead link.
Wendy: Yeah, it’s true. It’s pretty much the person’s already moved on to somebody that’s much faster.
Keith: So, that kind of brings me into the next question: What are some of the challenges involved in working in SEO? Like, what’s the hardest part of your job?
Wendy: The hardest part of my job is the search engines. They have an algorithm and they don’t tell anyone what this algorithm is. It’s all mysterious.
Keith: So, what’s an algorithm?
Wendy: An algorithm is machine-learning. The machine takes different triggers and it combines all those triggers up and if it’s successful enough, it’ll give you the top of the page score. So a lot of things go into SEO. For instance, you have to have quality content. You got to have the right markup on your pages. You have to have pictures that are compressed but look great. They have the right markings on that. You got to have titles. You got to have meta descriptions. You got to have a sitemap on your website. You have to have speed as we said before. The coding all has to be compressed, so it goes faster. You got to have all these components to make your website as optimized as possible. If your websites as optimized as possible, you’re going to rise in the search engine.
It also helps with PPC, which is what Robyn’s doing. If I did my job correctly when she’s bidding on keywords, which she’ll explain in a later podcast, when she’s bidding on keywords, then the cost per click goes down. So she’s not spending $70, $80 per click on “personal injury lawyer” because I optimized that page correctly. We’re only going to pay — well, we’re probably going to pay $50 or $60 because it’s so competitive, but it’s not as high as it could be.
Keith: So that it kind of goes all hand-in-hand then?
Keith: You making the website optimized, the search engines find it easier and make sure the website moving along quickly and then if you take that great setup, and then apply, what did you call it?
Keith: Pay-per-click. If you apply pay-per-click to that, that actually boosts it even more to the top.
Wendy: Exactly. Yes, exactly.
Keith: Okay. Well, that makes a lot of sense. All right.
Wendy: All right.
Keith: I’m learning things here, guys. I hope you’re learning something. All right, so our fifth and final question for our little session here: What’s in store for SEO for the next few years and what does that ENX2 doing to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to this?
Wendy: Well, I think one of the biggest things that’s happening right now in SEO is voice search.
Keith: We have your Amazon Alexas, your Google Assistants.
Wendy: Exactly, the Google Assistants, your Alexa, Apple Siri. It progressed … and people are using it more and more often. I just bought a new car, for instance, and I have an Apple phone and it connects to the car. It reads my text messages and if I wanted to search, all I had to do is say, “Hey Siri, where’s the best pizza joint?” And people are asking more questions now. In the past, it was just “personal injury lawyer” and you just rank for those keywords. But now, you have to think outside the box. How is the searcher going to be searching for your listing? You got to think of a question now instead of just regular keywords.
Keith: So with the voice search people are actually talking to their car?
Keith: So you need to think about, “Okay, how is this person going to ask this car right now how to find their way to the best pizza joint in the Poconos?”
Keith: Yeah, so okay. Yeah. So that makes a lot of sense.
Wendy: Yeah, that’s one thing. There are always changes in the markup of SEO to make it rank better. Like Google now has all these feedback questions that show up. So you want to target your pages to those questions. It’s ever-changing. And so what I’m doing is I’m writing more questions now in my pages and in my blogs that I am keywords.
Keith: How so?
Wendy: Like for instance, when I’m writing a page and I’m writing the heading, I put in the heading the question that I think somebody’s going to look for. So if I was looking for what do I do after I slip and fall, that might be a question that I make sure is on that page. That might be the question that I am focusing on so when somebody’s searching on Siri, saying, “Hey Siri, I just slipped and fell. What do I do now?”
Keith: And then Siri says, “Hey, you know, Michael Carbone says…” And then people say “Hey, this is Michael Carbone. He looks like a good guy.”
Wendy: And then they go to the site and then I did my job correctly.
Keith: There you go. All right. Well, I’ve learned a lot today.
Wendy: I hope so.
Keith: So we’ve gotten through our five questions very quickly here, but we’re going to be having several of these podcasts for your enjoyment, and if you wanted to learn a little bit about digital marketing, you should definitely subscribe. Again, my name is Keith R. Stevenson, and this is “Five Questions With ENX2.” And thank you so much for listening. Bye-bye.