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Holly Yalove, president of AMA Knoxville, welcomed participants to our May luncheon featuring Jill Werderitch, SEO Manager for Discovery, Inc. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Holly recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

AMA Knoxville also offers certificate programs through the University of Tennessee which are excellent for increasing your knowledge and building your resume. You can sign up for those courses here: http://noncredit.utk.edu/

About the Presenter 

Currently leading the global SEO content strategy for Discovery, Inc. as SEO Manager, Jill Werderitch champions organic traffic growth for lifestyle and entertainment brands like Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Investigation Discovery, TLC, and the DTC streaming platform discovery+. With over 12+ years in digital content and SEO, she has conquered the search marketing game. That is, until it changes, and it’s always changing. A midwestern transplant, she resides in Knoxville, TN where she’s likely to be found front stage at a concert, taste testing the city’s latest culinary creations or on a hiking trail with her corgi, Opie.

What is SEO?

If you’ve been in marketing for any length of time, you know that SEO (or search engine optimization) touches nearly every aspect of your website and online presence. Put simply, it’s the process of building organic visibility of your website in search engines like Google.

SEO’s essential factors includes:

  • Indexing content with tools like Google Search Console
  • Written content on your web pages
  • Site speed and performance
  • And more!

Where Does SEO Happen?

Most companies, including Discovery, Inc. choose to focus their SEO efforts on Google which drives the most searches across the web with over 70,000 searches each second. Other search engines include Bing and Yahoo, although their usage is significantly smaller.

Recently, Google has shifted to a mobile-first search algorithm which prioritizes the mobile version of your site over the desktop version as the majority of searches are happening on mobile devices. It’s important to keep this in mind as you develop content for website users on both desktop and mobile devices.

Essential SEO Considerations

Although search engine optimization is no simple task and requires ongoing attention and improvements, there are a few things we’d recommend keeping in mind as you work to improve your ranking in search engines.

Backend considerations:

  • Use a secure domain (https:// vs. http://)
  • Don’t put important text in mediums that Google can’t crawl (like images)
  • Don’t use complex JavaScript or Flash that Google can’t crawl
  • Condense media sizes so they don’t impact page load
  • Use schema markup where appropriate
  • Use Google’s URL inspection tool to find out where you might have issues that need to be addressed

Frontend considerations:

  • Build a clean and easy to use site architecture (not too deep in subcategories) and keep it organized well so Google can crawl it easily
  • Include target terms (keywords) in your URL and title tag
  • Use alt tags on all images (this tells Google what the image isn’t about since they can’t crawl the image itself)
  • Use headings, lists, etc.. where possible to make content easily scannable and break up large blocks of text
  • Don’t use duplicate content on your site or across the web
  • Include internal links in your copy to other relevant content 

External considerations:

  • Social sharing and engagement can factor into your search engine ranking
  • Backlinks from authoritative or similar websites can increase your domain’s authority
  • Promotional messaging offsite can generate uncharacteristic spikes in traffic

How to Stay Agile in the Search Industry

Keep up with the latest technology and tools that are at your disposal to diagnose and improve your site’s search engine performance. This includes things like:

  • Google’s Core Web Vitals Report which allows you to inspect your site for performance metrics that impact your ranking like cumulative layout shift, first contentful paint, and more
  • Google Search Console which allows you to monitor your site’s performance, submit your sitemap for consideration by Google, and understand how your site is indexed
  • Algorithm updates which are usually not announced, but, in the event that you do have advance notice, be sure you pay attention and prepare your site and content accordingly to ensure to traffic is lost

Develop a content strategy that is based on topical and keyword research. You can use tools like Google Trends to understand what people are searching for in your industry and understand which topics offer the highest potential to boost your rankings. You’ll want to pre-plan your content calendar but ensure that your topics are timely. As you plan out your content, be aware of Google’s new passage indexing function (instead of needing several different URLs for different keyword targets, Google can now understand and index several keywords in a single page and bring searchers directly to the passage that’s relevant to their search.)

Take advantage of available tools that can direct additional traffic to your site. This might include things like Google Discover and Google News. To make sure your content is optimized for these spaces, you’ll want to be sure that you’re using high quality images that will attract searchers to your content. 

Follow these recommended blogs and informational outlets to stay up to date on the latest developments in search engines:

Use available analytics tools to understand your own performance and that of your competitors. Free tools like Google Analytics are a great way to start collecting data and analyzing your site. As you grow, however, you may want to use a paid tool like SEMrush or BrightEdge that allows you to track more customized metrics and even understand the performance of your competitors.

Thanks for joining us! If you enjoyed this event, we’d love to see you at our upcoming luncheons and events including:

6/8/2022: Media Consumption: Trends before and after Covid

Keep an eye on our Eventbrite page for more information on upcoming events: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/ama-knoxville-4371428287  

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