Q&A with Trace Media on SEO

Wow!  Time is flying!  Happy July 4th everyone!  Hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather that summer brings.  How about your website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking — are you ready to bring that to light and get it at the top of the SEO lists?

If so, this post will kick off an enlightening Q&A series about improving your online presence.  We start with Chris Dawkins, founder of Trace Media, experts on SEO services and online marketing.

We asked Chris some commonly asked questions about search engine optimization, and we hope his answers will help you with your own website rankings.  Let’s get started …

  1. How long have you been working in online marketing services?
    About 10 years. I started as a Digital Marketer for an Independent film company. That company downsized and I transitioned to freelance work. A few years later, I founded Trace Media.
  2. What are the main types of projects that you’ve had over the past year?
    During the past year, I’ve started working with a few international firms … e-commerce websites looking to launch or break into the US market. We’ve also started working with some tech companies based in NYC and partnered with a couple of startups, helping to develop their website and business models.
  3. Many of our readers are interested in SEO, Search Engine Optimization. In your own words, what exactly is it?
    Technically, SEO is the process of increasing rankings for a particular website in search engines. It includes On-site SEO and Off-site SEO. On-site SEO involves any changes made to the website being optimized. Off-site SEO includes placing links to the website on a variety of external sites … article databases, Press Release sites, industry-specific sites, social media, blogs, forums, community sites, etc.

    To me, SEO goes beyond improved rankings. It includes optimizing the Conversion Rate. (% of visitors who make a purchase/subscribe/call/ email … whatever the desired action). Without conversions, the highest rankings don’t mean anything, so the two go hand-in-hand.

  4. In doing our research, there was some common SEO terminology that we wanted to learn more about. Will you please give us some quick explanations of the following items: a. Keywords b. Search phrases
    These two terms are really interchangeable. “Search terms” is also used frequently, although “keywords” is the most common.

    “Keywords” are simply the phrases for which you want to appear in search engines. For instance, my own company provides SEO services and many of our clients are based locally. My keywords therefore include terms like “New York SEO” and “SEO NYC.” Extensive keyword research is always an early step for any SEO campaign, so this is not something the client has to decide alone.

    c. Internal links and link text
    Internal links are the links that a visitor uses to navigate within a website. The navigation (ie. Home | About US | Services | Contact Us | etc.) is one example of internal links. Links within the body of the text are also important internal links.

    Links from other websites pointing to your own site are referred to as “external links,” “inbound links” or “Bank-links.”

    d. Page element organization

    Page elements include anything you see on a web-page … images, text, graphics, buttons, etc.  The organization or layout of elements is something that is considered and analyzed during Conversion Rate Optimization.

    e. Links to other sites
    Links to other websites (also known as “outbound links”) include any links from your own site to another website. For SEO purposes, you want to avoid having too may outbound links. By linking away from your own website, you are essentially telling Google that other websites may be as useful (or even more useful) than your own website with regard to particular keywords.

    If outbound links are necessary, we often us a “no-follow” attribute which tells search engines to ignore selected links to other websites.

  5. When you first work with a client, how do you kick the SEO process off?
    Client consultation is always the first step.  We need to understand the client’s business objectives as much as possible. This includes understanding the target audience, ideal customers, competitors and the client’s business model.  From there, we begin Competitor Analysis and Keyword Research. These are all necessary steps for all SEO projects.  After that, the next steps vary from project to project, depending on our findings and the client’s objectives.
  6. What are three basics people need to know when trying to improve SEO? 1. Content – the text on the page. It needs to be informative, optimized for keywords, and easy to scan/read.  Most importantly, the content must influence visitors to take the desired action(s). 2. On-site factors – the website itself needs to optimized so that search engines have all the information they need to rank the website appropriately.  There are literally hundreds of factors that are considered as part of On-site SEO. 3. Off-site SEO – the way the rest of the internet relates to your website.  The more links and the more often your site is mentioned on the internet, the higher your site will rank in search engines.  Every time Google finds a link to your website, for example, it considers that to be a vote of confidence for your website. The more votes you have, the higher your rankings will climb.
  7. How do you know you’ve been successful in improving a client’s SEO rankings?
    Firstly, we monitor the Google rankings consistently and track the progress for all keywords.  Google Analytics are the second measure of success. Analytics are used to monitor keywords that are effectively delivering visitors, and more importantly, visitors who convert into sales/leads. This information is used to fine-tune the keyword strategy as we progress with the campaign.

    The bottom line is revenue. If your SEO campaign doesn’t generate enough revenue to create a profit, we have to determine the reason. That is the objective of most businesses, so it’s the ultimate measure of SEO success.

  8. Which part of your job do you enjoy the most and why?
    I like analyzing the usability of websites to improve conversion rates. It involves a lot of psychology, which I have always enjoyed.  And I obviously like hearing from clients when they’ve acquired new business.
  9. What is the best compliment that a client of yours could give you?
    I’d like for people to think that Trace Media takes the time to understand each client’s business and objectives and that we provide a candid and honest approach to improving online presence.

We hope you enjoyed hearing from Chris and learning about his experience in online marketing.  If you would like to know more about his company, Trace Media, read a little below or check out his website.

As we look to the next blog, it will be about Search Engine Marketing, another aspect of digital media.  And of course, if there’s anything in particular that you would like to learn about, let us know, so we can research it for you.  In the meantime, if you would like to learn about some interesting summer gardening, check out Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Chris Dawkins founder and CEO of Trace Media…
As founder and CEO of Trace Media Marketing, Mr. Dawkins has worked as an Internet Marketer since 2001. Through 2003, Chris worked with the Digital Marketing team at Lot 47 Films. After leaving the film industry, Chris began work as a freelance Internet Marketing Consultant to small and startup companies in NYC.

In early 2006, he founded Trace Media Marketing, a full-service SEO & Internet Marketing firm. Since 2006, Trace Media has become one of the top-ranked SEO firms in New York City.

Currently, Trace Media works with a combination of both domestic and international e-commerce companies and several NYC-based businesses.

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