Membership Call Recap: Where is SEO’s place in digital marketing?

Feb 19 2023

by Katelyn Whelan


Where is SEO’s place in digital marketing?

Presenters: Grant Burrows and Janine Albrecht at Acadia
Notetaker: Andrea Wightwick of Hapsy

Within Digital Marketing, there are 3 big buckets: Paid – Owned – Earned
SEO straddles between Earned and Owned Media


SERP – Search Engine Result Page – 4 things to rank for

  1. Organic Result (this is where you type something into the search bar “iPhone”, and what is returned is Apple and then maybe Verizon, AT&T, etc.)

  2. MAP Pack – 3 options in the return – sometimes an ad (laser hair removal near me) – will give options based on location. But, generally speaking, if you can get the first three, google has decided you earned that rank

  3. Featured Snippet – if someone googles a question and your website comes up with the possible answer, this is the snippet answer and link to your site.

  4. Knowledge Panel – when you google “Coca-Cola”, it will show on the right-hand side of the result page, where they give you a panel of information on the result/company.


When localizing your SEO strategy, Google My Business is still the most significant signal, followed by reviews, links, and on-page 


Three Pillars of SEO

On-page (what a user reads themselves)

Off-page (backlinks, GMB, guest blog posts)

Technical (page speed, site security)


Keyword Strategy 

Topical Relevance

Search Intent

Keyword Difficulty

Search Volume

Do all of these and it will increase your feasibility to rank


2-fold approach to ranking for SEO

UPward – increasing your ranking for those core keywords across your pages.

ONward – continually trying to find new terms for new pages and driving top-of-funnel traffic to your site.


Onsite Optimization

  • You can use your own website’s title page and meta description (160 character limit)

  • Headers – only use one H1 header per page

  • Keyword Placement – strategically use keywords on your page, meta description, etc.

  • Internal Linking – keep linking around from internal page to page keeps people on your site longer but also helps your bounce rate stay low.

  • Content – key content relevant to your site and don’t keyword stuff.

  • Alt Tags – google can’t read images but they can read the alt text behind an image (this helps you pop up on google images)

Offsite SEO

  • Backlinks – any other website that is writing about your website

  • Referring domain – an individual domain that refers to your website.  

One referring domain can have multiple backlinks. If you have spammy backlinks, you can remove the referring domain (use Google Search Console to do this)


Technical SEO

  1. HTTPS – ensure site security! 

  2. Desktop and mobile page speed – Google will fluctuate the value on which it indicates on a scale of 1-100 how fast your page or website loads

  3. Mobile friendly – google is a mobile-first platform.  Your site needs to be built in responsive design to help your site factor into indexation 

  4. UX – User experience – users need to have a good experience.  Is it designed beautifully and user-friendly?  

  5. Structured markup / Schema – quick synopsis of your relevant page.  If someone googles “what is Acadia’s phone number?” does your website pull up with the search result immediately?

  • Crawl Accessibility, Compelling Content, and Keyword Optimization are essential to rankings

  • Great User experience, share-worthy content, Title, URL, and meta description, Snippet/Scheme markup – this will help improve your ranking with competitiveness

  • Sitemap – this is like a google map for google crawler.  You want this clean, easy to navigate, with no broken pages, and no redirects. 


Meta description – update as you need to.  Optimize it for Keyword Searches, and update it when it is deemed necessary.


Alt image keywords – you want to describe the product but in the way of using keywords (“single strand bead bracelet in red and black” vs. “single bracelet made in alternating UGA red and University of Georgia Black beaded jewelry”)


Keyword Selection

  • On a page, choose one primary keyword and 2-3 secondary keywords

  • These are always changing – this is an edit and update process continually

Keyword Distribution – focuses on placing keywords throughout your site strategically


Keyword research tools – keywords everywhere, SEMrush, AHREFS, Brightedge

Don’t forget to look at Google Trends to get ideas on what people are searching for and using that to optimize your keyword SEO


Blog frequency – it depends on what you’re doing and how much you want to write (or pay guest post writers).  But it is better to write quality content than frequent content.


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Katelyn Whelan View More Blog Posts from this Author

Katelyn is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a dual degree in Marketing & Visual Communication Design. Settling in her hometown of Savannah, GA, she has spent the past 5 years building a career working with female owned small businesses. From events to retail, she has learned the art of translating ideas into action. Specializing in digital marketing, she seeks to bring the passion of her clients to life through the power of social media & e-commerce. She is the digital arm of a design firm founded with her two sisters, The Whelan Girls.

When she is not working, you can find her at the beach. She loves spending time with her family and can whip up a killer batch of chocolate chip cookies.

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