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Comprehensive guide to exact match domains in 2020

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Exact match domains (EMDs) are domain names that incorporate the exact keywords that you are trying to rank for in Google’s SERPs.

Examples of exact match domains include:

  • carinsurance.com
  • buygroceries.com
  • dogfood.com

In some industries, people will call their company’s name after the product that they offer, for example, Window Cleaners London.

But in the competitive world of SEO, EMDs are commonly bought by webmasters to gain a quick advantage when it comes to ranking on search engines.

Other studies have shown that having an EMD can help clicks with PPC, given that it targets a particular search enquiry.

The history of exact match domains

Looking back at the evolution of SEO over the past 20 years, having an exact match domain was originally a sure-fire way to rank top of Google.

Even dating back 10 years ago, many SEO practitioners benefitted from just buying an exact match domain, adding a bit of content and getting links from directories and this was enough to secure a page one position.

A new market emerged from domain-name selling. Many entrepreneurs were eager to get their hands on a valuable domain name, whilst thrifty businesspeople held onto domain names hoping to ‘flip’ them at a higher price.

This market continues today, with companies like GoDaddy and 123 Reg offering a marketplace for buying and selling domains, amongst other products.

But webmasters holding onto domains for their potential value has seen the most promising businesses never seen to be made, with websites such as cars.com, food.com, loans.com offering affiliate sites but not transpiring into major brands.

With long-winded exact match domains starting to rank such as buybluejeans.com and carinsurancequotesonline.com – Google responded with an EMD update in 2012 to penalize and filter these out.

Is using exact match domains a problem in 2020?

Not necessarily, there is a place for EMDs in 2020 and the right level of SEO can make it successful.

You do not get penalized just for having an EMD and in some cases, you will get a boost.

However, for the larger part, using exact match domains is going to be like walking on thin ice and could make you very prone to Google penalties.

For instance, creating new landing pages becomes an issue and you risk the possibility of keyword stuffing or over-optimization.

Your homepage should be the welcome page for your website and you should have nicely optimized landing pages coming off it and this where a lot of your SEO traffic will go to. The issue is that if your homepage is homeinsurance.com, using the right words for landing pages becomes tricky. Would you realistically create a page homeinsurance.com/home-insurance and would Google rank this?

When your homepage is likely to have more links pointing to it initially, there will be difficulty in ranking for other landing pages for that exact match keyword.

However, it is link-building that really becomes tricky.

Whatever anchor text you use, you risk the chance of using too much exact match anchor text – and this is a simple way to get a penalty. There are ways around this, such as using a wide range of anchor text, but finding the balance is tricky and it only takes one link of yours to be shared numerous times to make it look like you are running an exact match anchor text campaign.

The role of partial match domain names

Partial match domain names are a combination of the main keyword you are trying to target and something that is not related. A number of successful brands have used other words with the main keyword such as “hut”, “hub”, “network”, “market”, and so on.

Some examples of partial match domain names:

  • suitsdirect.co.uk
  • booksetc.co.uk
  • brownsfashion.com
  • sunglasseshut.com

These brands only use half the target keyword, service or object, such as “sunglasses” or “fashion”.

This approach means that natural landing pages can be created without the risk of keyword stuffing and there is no risk of anchor text causing penalties when the brand name is linked.

Another partial match option is that you take a different word, which is more of an adjective or selling point.

A good example is a price comparison site, Forces Compare, which benefits from having ‘compare’ in its domain, and therefore gets a boost for every product it compares across cards, accounts, loans, and more.

There is also the business provider, Funding Invoice, which benefits from having the word “invoice” in its domain.

Some smart uses of partial matches could involve using words such as “free”, “cheap”, and “best” or locations such as “London” and “California”.

Using the right words by association

If you want to generate brand value, but do not want to risk the chance of a Google penalty, you can use a domain that has an association. You do not gain any immediate benefits from Google, but it will certainly look good from a user’s perspective and gaining a good click-through rate (CTR) will notably benefit your rankings.

This includes the infamous doorbell company, Ring.com, the dog food provider, Paws.com and the dating site, Match.com.

Are some industries better than others for using exact match domains?

Yes, we have to accept that Google treats some sectors very differently and when it comes to very competitive industries such as fashion, insurance and finance, they do not want to give anyone a quick advantage just because they own an EMD.

The best approach is to look at each industry and the SERPs that you are targeting. For some industries such as loans and insurance, there are very few (if any) in the UK search results, where “loans” and “insurance” are mentioned in the domain and they are positioned on page one.

However, if you look at the key term “casino bonuses”, around seven to eight sites on page one have the word “casino” in their domain name – highlighting the importance of researching each industry.

For industries where there is less competition and fewer penalties handed out (and this is particularly in local listings), there is only going to be a handful of people searching for “good plumbers in Orange County” or “pizza places in Brooklyn”– you are more likely to be successful using an exact match domain.

Is it too late to change my exact match domain?

No, if you have started with an EMD and have struggled to get it to rank or have been subject to penalties, you can look at changing the domain and you will still hold a lot of the good SEO you have built up.

Doing a 301 redirect to the new domain will hold 90% to 95% of the SEO value and also have a very quick turnaround time, providing that you have good content and UX to back it up.

A recent rebrand of the company Bridging Loan Hub to Octagon Capital showed that the rankings were restored within two weeks and continued to grow back to their original positions, and higher.

 

 Conclusion: Do your research and focus on the brand

Exact match domains (EMDs) still have a role to play in successful SEO and this includes some target industries and local searches.

One has to be careful if they have a large SEO strategy depending on optimizing an exact match domain since this could see initial growth but also be high-risk in the penalty department.

The best advice is to research the industry and see who is ranking on pages one and two of Google. Do they use exact match, partial match or neither?

Either way, Google does not want SEO to be easy and they want it to be earned through other factors such as good design, UX, content, and link-building.

Every time, the most effective and risk-free approach will be to create a keyword-free brand name and build an online brand using good, clean SEO. This should be complemented with other traffic sources such as direct, email, referral and social media to see the maximum effect.

Daniel Tannenbaum is co-founder of Tudor Lodge Consultants.

The post Comprehensive guide to exact match domains in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.



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Marketing During COVID-19: 4 Essential Copywriting Guidelines

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The COVID-19 outbreak has affected all aspects of our lives, including marketing. Even if your business is not health-related, you are most likely incorporating the pandemic into your content and messaging. Yet you are also most likely trying to figure out exactly how to stay relevant while also appropriate during such an unprecedented time. This guide was written to help you with that. It includes:

  • Guidelines for staying sensitive
  • Resources for ensuring accuracy
  • Suggestions for modifying your offers
  • Tips for keeping track of it all

COVID-19 has not only shifted business trends, but also consumer priorities and the entire marketing landscape. The goal of this guide is to help you adapt your messaging accordingly so you can continue purposeful, quality communication with your audience and stand strong with your customers. Let’s start with the most important one:

Being sensitive

COVID-19 has impacted individuals on a personal level world-wide, so the risk of inadvertently coming off as insensitive or even exploitative is higher than ever right now. And with social media communication at a peak, one small mistake could mean far-reaching and long-term consequences for you. Follow these guidelines to make sure you’re communicating appropriately during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Better too serious than sorry

While it’s normally common and effective for brands to keep a conversational tone, it’s best to steer clear of using humor or wit to accomplish that right now. Even being overly casual can be off-putting. Your content may not be as colorful or aligned with your brand personality, but it’s far better to be more serious than you want to be than to be more sorry than you can express.

We recommend keeping a positive, inspirational, and helpful tone. Avoid being humorous, witty, or casual.

marketing copywriting during COVID 19 dennys

Denny’s provides a good example of deviating from their normally playful
and pun-filled tone (see left) to a more serious one (right).

There’s a right way to make light of the situation

Being more serious doesn’t mean somber. You can still stress the bright side; just know the difference between positivity and humor, and between being uplifting vs dismissive of the situation.

marketing copywriting during COVID 19 stitcher

An appropriately uplifting email relevant to COVID-19.

Check for insensitive words

You know not to use overt puns, but keep in mind that there are several words and phrases that prior to COVID-19 were completely harmless. For example:

  • Killer (as in a “killer deal”)
  • Contagious (“how to create contagious content”)
  • Health or checkup-related terms (“give your budget a pulse check”)
  • Spread
  • Contagious
  • Infectious
  • Viral
  • Gather
  • Event

Take a neutral or supportive stance

If your business is still operating and relevant, be careful with your positioning. For example, among the Federal government’s COVID-19 measures is a steep interest rate cut. For mortgage brokers, “Take advantage of the low interest rate now!” conveys an inappropriately exciting message. On the other hand, “Let us help you navigate the unstable economy” offers security and respects the gravity of the situation.

Similarly, marketing and advertising agencies reaching out to these businesses should take a position not of helping businesses to “capitalize” on the current times, but rather of helping them to make themselves as visible/accessible as possible right now to those who need them.

  • Use: “contribute,” “connect,” “play a role,” “navigate,” “cope,” “respond”
  • Do not use: “capitalize,” “advantage,” “offer,” “gain,” “profit”
  • Be careful with: “opportunity,” “make the most”

Think contribution, not conversion

If you’re one of the less or non-essential businesses with respect to COVID-19, there are still ways to stay relevant. However, your motive here should not be to get more business but to continue offering value to your audience. People are just trying to say afloat right now, so think contribution, not conversion.

I recently received an email from CodeAcademy that embodies the contribution approach. Here is a snippet from their email:

marketing copywriting covid 19 example codeacademy

This is not the time to convert customers but to contribute to the COVID-19 response.

Ensuring accuracy

Now more than ever, taking the extra steps to stay accurate will help you to maintain the trust you’ve worked so hard to build with your audience. It will also help you to keep up with changing search trends and even filter out any unreliable COVID-19 resources of your own. Here are some guidelines and resources to help you stay accurate.

Use credible COVID-19 sources

Effective copywriting provides information while simultaneously delivering a greater message. Your intended message may be “I am here to help you,” but if your information is inaccurate, this is not the message that will come through. At best it will say “I’m careless,” and at worst, “I can’t be trusted.”

Inaccurate information about the coronavirus is everywhere, so make sure you get your facts straight when copywriting—especially for social media captions or ads that can get shared. The best places for reliable information are:

In an effort to minimize the spread of inaccurate information, Canva came up with a range of free print and social media templates using information from the World Health Organization. You can access their Coronavirus Awareness Collection here. Their messaging around providing these templates is also on par with the suggestions in this guide:

marketing copywriting COVID19-conscious copywriting canva message

Canva demonstrates sensitive messaging, contribution-focused positioning, and accuracy of information.

Employ proper grammar

Checking for grammar is a no-brainer when it comes to copywriting, but it’s especially important when it comes to COVID-19. Improper grammar can undermine the validity of your facts, and even alter your message. For example, “the governor put a shelter in place for the city” actually means a shelter was put into place and even implies a gathering. Small details matter. To clarify, for this example:

  • Shelter in place is a verb (action): “We advise you to shelter in place.”
  • Shelter-in-place is an adjective (description): “We’ve instated a shelter-in-place policy.”

And for your coronavirus-related copywriting in general, there are two great tools that we can suggest:

  • Topical Guide on COVID-19: This simple yet super-helpful guide was created by the Associated Press to help with coverage of the coronavirus.
  • Grammarly: This is a contextual editor that catches important fixes that slip past regular spell check. It’s a free plugin you can download and use across all applications.

Checking up on details like this takes some extra time, and maybe your audience will know what you meant, but better to be safe than sorry. Plus, COVID-19 isn’t a trending topic; its effects are going to be long-lasting, so your content is likely to stay relevant for a while. Make sure it’s as up to standard as the rest of your copywriting.

Stay optimistic, but don’t overpromise

It’s important to inspire hope and forward-thinking through your copywriting, but remember that this is an unprecedented situation; even expert predictions have questionable accuracy. All that you can promise your audience is that you’ll stay committed to handling the situation and serving them the best way you can. Ensuring anything else, even if to keep up morale, could backfire on you.

Modifying your offers

Google has banned advertising on travel-related services, but there are still a lot of businesses that can, and should, advertise relevant services during COVID-19. Just make sure to modify your copywriting so that calls to action are appropriate. Also, keep in mind that things are evolving fast, so keep your messaging as versatile as possible so you don’t have to be constantly updating your copy. Here are some guidelines and suggestions for CTAs with respect to COVID-19.

Ease up on urgency

“Call now” or “Book now” buttons are fine; but excitement- or scarcity-driven copywriting, like “Don’t miss out!” or “Grab your spot before it’s too late!” is not going to resonate with consumers or businesses right now. Nothing is as urgent as COVID-19, and this type of tone is more likely to cause you to come off as unaware or ignorant.

marketing copywriting covid fantastic sams

A nice example of adjusting messaging away “book now” urgency

Adjust for relevance

Check your offerings and make sure your copy is aligned with COVID-19 safety measures and lifestyle changes For example:

  • Change irrelevant value propositions like “more dog walks” or “more diners in your doors” to something more neutral, like “more leads,” or more timely, like “more online orders.”
  • Reword inapplicable CTAs, like “join now” for facilities that are closed. “Learn more” could work here.
  • Use words to reinforce the safety of your audience, such as “contact-free,” “virtual,” “remote,” “in-home,” “downloadable,” “delivery,” “online.”

marketing copywriting during COVID 19 sweetgreen

Sweetgreen has modified #sghacks to #sghacks from home

marketing copywriting during COVID 19 coolidge yoga

Coolidge Yoga has made appropriate COVID-19 adjustments with a virtual offering.

Check your scheduled content

Don’t forget to check your automated emails or scheduled posts for relevance and appropriateness. This may include:

  • April Fools humor
  • Easter gathering-related content
  • Birthday or anniversary offers
  • Automated nurture campaigns

Staying on track

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the changes you need to make to your copy, just remember that you’re not alone. Everyone is having to make adjustments right now and settling into new rhythms. Here are some tips to help you through.

  • Prioritize. You won’t (and shouldn’t) make the above changes to all of your copy. Start with top-trafficked content and new content moving forward.
  • Track your changes: Create a spreadsheet of the changes you make so you can keep track of what to change back when things start to settle out.
  • Don’t delete anything: Save your good ideas and well-performing campaigns for reinstatement in the future when they will be more effective. Things will return to normal someday. A new normal, but a normal nonetheless.

Maintain your copywriting standards while marketing during COVID-19

COVID-19 may be a new era, and your messaging and offers may change, but your copywriting standards should be the same. At the end of the day, you are still supplying information, adding value, and conveying to your audience that you are in tune with their needs.



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But what could you learn instead?

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The other day, I was talking to a friend in college. He was complaining about a lousy class he was taking, one that was now significantly worse because it was online. I asked why he was even taking it, and he looked at me like I was nuts.

He’s in it for the education, not the learning.

A colleague, recently graduated from a famous college, told me about the regime of clickers, used to make sure that students actually come to class and don’t fall asleep while they’re there.

The degree is what’s on offer, not fundamental change.

For a semester, I taught at the esteemed Stern business school at NYU, regularly ranked in the top twenty of all business schools. In every class, students angled for a way to do less work and have less engagement. One skill they had mastered was relentlessly narrowing the scope of their responsibility.

Compare this to the courses I taught at Mercy College, a local community college where most of the students had day jobs or small businesses. In every single session, they demanded more from me. More insight, more learning and yes, more homework. They made me stay late after every class. The difference was stunning—they were there to learn something.

None of this is surprising once you see how we got here.

Labor struggles with management. Management wants people to put in more effort, and never has enough to be satisfied—because productivity goes up if there’s more output for less money. In response, labor goes on defense and pushes to do less, because if they don’t, management will simply use them up and toss them out.

Organized education was built on this same model. There is a regular regime of measurement and testing. There are promotions, demotions and the risk of failing out. And at the end, the prize is a certificate that proves to management that you’re a suitable candidate for labor.

Contrast this with the joy of creativity. Of making something magical. Of art.

The artist rarely says, “I’d like to do less.” Instead, she wonders how to contribute more, because the very act of creativity is the point of the work.

You can learn just about anything now. Thirty years ago, that statement was ridiculous. In just one generation, we put everything you need to know about anything you want to know just a click away. The hard part isn’t access to it, the hard part is finding a cohort and a system that helps you do it. Because learning comes from doing.

We talk about ‘learning’ as though it’s as easy and natural as shopping or watching or doing errands. But it’s not. It’s a commitment, one that we regularly make up excuses to avoid. This simple idea from John Smith, for example. Easy to imagine, not that easy to do. Because you’ll have to get good at it as you go. Learning doesn’t have to be expensive to work.

Learning takes effort, and it’s hard to find the effort when the world is in flux, when we’re feeling uncertain and when we’re being inundated with bad news. But that’s the moment when learning is more important than ever.

[This week, we’re launching the 40th session of the altMBA. And for the people who signed up for it a few months ago, it will be a chance to actually learn something. Not to grind it out in search of a certificate, not to find a chance to do less, but to use the shift in our culture and the rhythm of our ideas to actually learn something.

Seeing the nearly 5,000 people around the world who have chosen to go on this journey together is thrilling. Year after year, we see the transformations, the shift in posture and possibility that happens after just a month. We’re looking for a few people to join us in July, I hope you’ll check it out.]

This shift is difficult to commit to, because unlike education, learning demands change. Learning makes us incompetent just before it enables us to grasp mastery. Learning opens our eyes and changes the way we see, communicate and act.

“What did you learn today,” is a fine question to ask. Particularly right this minute, when we have more time and less peace of mind than is usually the norm.

It’s way easier to get someone to watch–a YouTube comic, a Netflix show, a movie–than it is to encourage them to do something. But it’s the doing that allows us to become our best selves, and it’s the doing that creates our future.

It turns out that learning isn’t in nearly as much demand as it could be. Our culture and our systems don’t push us to learn. They push us to conform and to consume instead.

The good news is that each of us, without permission from anyone else, can change that.



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The SEO Elevator Pitch – Best of Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by KameronJenkins

This week, we’re revisiting an important topic for SEOs everywhere: how to show your value. In the wake of everything that’s happened recently with COVID-19, being able to describe your worth to potential clients or stakeholders is an integral skill. In this favorite episode of Whiteboard Friday, Kameron Jenkins shares how to effectively and succinctly build an SEO elevator pitch that highlights the value you bring to a business and three warnings on what not to do.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey guys, welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins. Today we’re going to be talking about creating an SEO elevator pitch, what is it, why we need one, and what kind of prompted this whole idea for an SEO elevator pitch.

So essentially, I was on Twitter and I saw John Mueller. He tweeted, “Hey, I meet with a lot of developers, and a lot of times they don’t really know what SEOs do.” He was genuinely asking. He was asking, “Hey, SEO community, how do you describe what you do?” I’m scrolling through, and I’m seeing a lot of different answers, and all of them I’m resonating with.

They’re all things that I would probably say myself. But it’s just interesting how many different answers there were to the question, “What do SEOs do and what value do they provide?” So I kind of thought to myself, “Why is that? Why do we have so many different explanations for what SEO is and what we do?” So I thought about it, and I thought that it might be a good idea for myself and maybe other SEOs if you don’t already have an elevator pitch ready.

What is an SEO elevator pitch?

Now, if you’re not familiar with the concept of an elevator pitch, it’s basically — I have a definition here — a succinct and persuasive speech that communicates your unique value as an SEO. It’s called an elevator pitch essentially because it should take about the length of time it takes to ride the elevator with someone. So you want to be able to quickly and concisely answer someone’s question when they ask you, “Oh, SEO, what is that?I think I’ve heard of that before. What do you do?”

Why is this so hard?

So let’s dive right in. So I mentioned, in the beginning, how there are so many different answers to this “what do you say you do here” type question. I think it’s hard to kind of come up with a concise explanation for a few different reasons. So I wanted to dive into that a little bit first.

1. Lots of specialties within SEO

So number one, there are lots of specialties within SEO.

As the industry has advanced over the last two plus decades, it has become very diverse, and there are lots of different facets in SEO. I found myself on quite a rabbit trail. I was on LinkedIn and I was kind of browsing SEO job descriptions. I wanted to see basically: What is it that people are looking for in an SEO?

How do they describe it? What are the characteristics? So basically, I found a lot of different things, but I found a few themes that emerged. So there are your content-focused SEOs, and those are people that are your keyword research aficionados. There are the people that write search engine optimized content to drive traffic to your website. You have your link builders, people that focus almost exclusively on that.

You have your local SEOs, and you have your analysts. You have your tech SEOs, people that either work on a dev team or closely with a dev team. So I think that’s okay though. There are lots of different facets within SEO, and I think that’s awesome. That’s, to me, a sign of maturity in our industry. So when there are a lot of different specialties within SEO, I think it’s right and good for all of our elevator pitches to differ.

So if you have a specialty within SEO, it can be different. It should kind of cater toward the unique brand of SEO that you do, and that’s okay.

2. Different audiences

Number two, there are different audiences. We’re not always going to be talking to the same kind of person. So maybe you’re talking to your boss or a client. To me, those are more revenue-focused conversations.

They want to know: What’s the value of what you do? How does it affect my bottom line? How does it help me run my business and stay afloat and stay profitable? If you’re talking to a developer, that’s going to be a slightly different conversation. So I think it’s okay if we kind of tweak our elevator pitch to make it a little bit more palatable for the people that we’re talking to.

3. Algorithm maturity

Three, why this is hard is there’s been, obviously, a lot of changes all the time in the algorithm, and as it matures, it’s going to look like the SEO’s job is completely different than last year just because the algorithm keeps maturing and it looks like our jobs are changing all the time. So I think that’s a reality that we have to live with, but I still think it’s important, even though things are changing all the time, to have a baseline kind of pitch that we give people when they ask us what it is we do.

So that’s why it’s hard. That’s what your elevator pitch is.

My elevator pitch: SEO is marketing, with search engines

Then, by way of example, I thought I’d just give you my SEO elevator pitch. Maybe it will spark your creativity. Maybe it will give you some ideas. Maybe you already have one, and that’s okay. But the point is not to use mine.

The point is essentially to kind of take you through what mine looks like, hopefully get your creative juices flowing, and you can create your own. So let’s dive right into my pitch.

So my pitch is SEO is marketing, just with search engines. So we have the funnel here — awareness, consideration, and decision.

Awareness: Rank and attract clicks for informational queries.

First of all, I think it’s important to note that SEO can help you rank and attract clicks for informational queries.

Consideration: Rank and attract clicks for evaluation queries.

So when your audience is searching for information, they want to solve their pain points, they’re not ready to buy, they’re just searching, we’re meeting them there with content that brings them to the site, informs them, and now they’re familiar with our brand. Those are great assisted conversions. Rank and attract clicks for evaluation queries. When your audience is starting to compare their options, you want to be there. You want to meet them there, and we can do that with SEO.

Decision: Rank, attract clicks, and promote conversion for bottom-funnel queries

At the decision phase, you can rank and attract clicks and kind of promote conversions for bottom of funnel queries. When people are in their “I want to buy” stage, SEO can meet them there. So I think it’s important to realize that SEO isn’t kind of like a cost center and not a profit center. It’s not like a bottom of funnel thing. I’ve heard that in a lot of places, and I think it’s just important to kind of draw attention to the fact that SEO is integrated throughout your marketing funnel. It’s not relegated to one stage or another.

But how?

We talked about rank and attract clicks and promote conversions. But how do we do that? That’s the what it does.

But how do we do it? So this is how I explain it. I think really, for me, there are two sides to the SEO’s coin. We have driving, and we have supporting.

1. Driving

So on the driving side, I would say something like this. When someone searches a phrase or a keyword in Google, I make sure the business’ website shows up in the non-ad results. That’s important because a lot of people are like, “Oh, do you bid on keywords?”

We’re like, “No, no, that’s PPC.” So I always just throw in “non-ad” because people understand that. So I do that through content that answers people’s questions, links that help search engines find my content and show signs of authority and popularity of my content, and accessibility. So that’s kind of your technical foundation.

You’re making sure that your website is crawlable and it that it’s index the way that you want it to be indexed. When people get there, it works. It works on mobile and on desktop. It’s fast. So I think these are really the three big pillars of driving SEO — content, links, and making sure your website is technically sound. So that’s how I describe the driving, the proactive side of SEO.

2. Supporting

Then two, we have supporting, and I think this is kind of an underrated or maybe it’s often seen as kind of an interruption to our jobs.

But I think it’s important to actually call it what it is. It’s a big part of what we do. So I think we should embrace it as SEOs.

A. Be the Google Magic 8-ball

For one, we can serve as the Google Magic 8-Ball. When people come to us in our organization and they say, “Hey, I’m going to make this change, or I’m thinking about making this change.Is this going to be good or bad for SEO?”

I think it’s great that people are asking that question. Always be available and always make yourself ready to answer those types of questions for people. So I think on the reactionary side we can be that kind of person that helps guide people and understand what is going to affect your organic search presence.

B. Assist marketing

Two, we can assist marketing. So on this side of the coin, we’re driving.

We can drive our own marketing strategies. As SEOs, we can see how SEO can drive all phases of the funnel. But I think it’s important to note that we’re not the only people in our organization. Often SEOs maybe they don’t even live in the marketing department. Maybe they do and they report to a marketing lead. There are other initiatives that your marketing lead could be investigating.

Maybe they say, “Hey, we’ve just done some market research, and here’s this plan.” It could be our job as SEOs to take that plan, take that strategy and translate it into something digital. I think that’s a really important value that SEOs can add. We can actually assist marketing as well as drive our own efforts.

C. Fix mistakes

Then number three here, I know this is another one that kind of makes people cringe, but we are here to fix mistakes when they happen and train people so that they don’t happen again. So maybe we come in on a Monday morning and we’re ready to face the week, and we see that traffic has taken a nosedive or something. We go, “Oh, no,” and we dive in.

We try to see what happened. But I think that’s really important. It’s our job or it’s part of our job to kind of dive in, diagnose what happened, and not only that but support and be there to help fix it or guide the fixes, and then train and educate and make sure that people know what it is that happened and how it shouldn’t happen again.

You’re there to help train them and guide them. I think that’s another really important way that we can support as SEOs. So that’s essentially how I describe it.

3 tips for coming up with your own pitch

Before I go, I just wanted to mention some tips when you’re coming up with your own SEO elevator pitch. I think it’s really important to just kind of stay away from certain language when you’re crafting your own “this is what I do” speech.

So the three tips I have are:

1. Stay away from jargon.

If you’re giving an SEO elevator pitch, it’s to people that don’t know what SEO is. So try to avoid jargon. I know it’s really easy as SEOs. I find myself doing it all the time. There are things that I don’t think are jargon.

But then I take a couple steps back and I realize, oh yeah, that’s not layman’s terms. So stay away from jargon if at all possible. You’re not going to benefit anyone by confusing them.

2. Avoid policing.

It can be easy as SEOs I’ve found and I’ve found myself in this trap a couple of times where we kind of act as these traffic cops that are waiting around the corner, and when people make a mistake, we’re there to wag our finger at them.

So avoid any language that makes it sound like the SEOs are just the police waiting to kind of punish people for wrongdoing. We are there to help fix mistakes, but it’s in a guiding and educating and supporting, kind of collaborative manner and not like a policing type of manner. Number three, I would say is kind of similar, but a little different.

3. Avoid Supermanning.

I call this Supermanning because it’s the type of language that makes it sound like SEOs are here to swoop in and save the day when something goes wrong. We do. We’re superheroes a lot of times. There are things that happen and thank goodness there was an SEO there to help diagnose and fix that.

But I would avoid any kind of pitch that makes it sound like your entire job is just to kind of save people. There are other people in your organization that are super smart and talented at what they do. They probably wouldn’t like it if you made it sound like you were there to help them all the time. So I just think that’s important to keep in mind. Don’t make it seem like you’re the police waiting to wag your finger at them or you’re the superhero that needs to save everyone from their mistakes.

So yeah, that’s my SEO elevator pitch. That’s why I think it’s important to have one. If you’ve kind of crafted your own SEO elevator pitch, I would love to hear it, and I’m sure it would be great for other SEOs to hear it as well. It’s great to information share. So drop that in the comments if you feel comfortable doing that. If you don’t have one, hopefully this helps. So yeah, that’s it for this week’s Whiteboard Friday, and come back again next week for another one.

Thanks, everybody.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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