Search Engine

Strategies, techniques, and tactics to improve your ranking.
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No matter how well-designed, informative, and cutting-edge your website is, if no one can find you online, it’s not doing you any good. Search engine optimization (SEO) is not a luxury in today’s competitive market; it is critical to the future of your business.

Today’s SEO landscape is fiercely competitive. It is a digital battleground filled with ever-changing algorithms, sophisticated technologies, and too many fad-chasing, self-proclaimed "gurus." At Twelve Three Media, our marketing experts know how most digital marketing agencies do the bare minimum to achieve mediocre results. We’ve seen firsthand how agencies farm out work and cut corners to save pennies at their clients' expense. Our agency is built on the principle that there is a better way.

Twelve Three Media is an SEO company that serves as your in-house agency. Our tight-knit team of industry experts doesn’t outsource any aspect of website design, SEO, or paid advertising.

We demand the best and we prove our value. Your company’s dominance is our sole mission, and at the core of every tactic, strategy, and decision we make. When you dominate your market, we dominate ours.

Our SEO experts meticulously analyze your market, execute the most effective SEO strategies, and implement innovative solutions to help your website dominate in search. We are passionate about winning, and it shows in our results.

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It describes the multi-disciplinary process of increasing the quantity and quality of website traffic through non-paid search results. SEO marketing companies improve website rankings so their clients stand out in organic search. This involves a wide variety of tactics, including:

  • On-page optimization of all content on your website
  • Monitoring keyword rankings
  • Original, quality content providing the best answers to user questions
  • Backlinks from authority domains pointing to pages on your site
  • Fast, secure, and error-free on all devices
  • Consistency in name, address, and phone number (NAP info) across the Internet
  • Schema markup to tell search engines what your page and business is about
  • Verified and optimized Google Business Profile listing
  • Google Analytics setup to monitor performance
  • Reputation management on third-party review websites

You may not know how important these tactics are. If your SEO company isn’t telling you about them, you’re certainly not hitting the rankings you want.

SEO is not a one-and-done operation; it requires ongoing measurement and improvement to achieve first-page rankings consistently. As your full-service SEO marketing company, Twelve Three Media will plan your search marketing campaigns, target them to your audience, then validate the results. Our seasoned team of SEO experts will help you stand out in search and grow your business.

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Why is
SEO Important?

Search engine optimization offers a wealth of benefits and opportunities to businesses of all sizes. Just some of the reasons why SEO is important include:

SEO Builds Trust and Credibility

When a site ranks high in search engine results, it is generally a sign that the search engine considers it to be informative, trustworthy, and high-quality. This, in turn, boosts the credibility of your business.

SEO Helps You Reach More People

While many marketing campaigns focus narrowly on specific target audiences, SEO casts a wide net to attract a range of prospects at any point in time, regardless of what stage of the buying funnel they are in.

SEO Helps You Rank Higher in Local Searches

Local SEO strategies attract searchers when they are ready to buy. Local searches such as "mechanic near me" are increasingly more common, which is great for businesses, because nearly 80% of local searches on mobile lead to conversions.

SEO Improves Website Usability

While SEO focuses on making a website search engine-friendly, it can also improve a user’s experience when visiting your site. Factors that enhance a website’s usability – such as improved load times, site structure, and navigation – fundamentally improve the user experience.

SEO Improves User Engagement Rates

Optimized sites can attract quality traffic. When searchers arrive at a website with quality content that matches their search intent, they are likely to spend more time browsing, which can ultimately lead to higher conversion rates, increased ROI, and long-term customer advocacy.

SEO Provides Quantifiable Results

SEO offers the ability to track changes in rankings, website traffic, and conversions. The robust suite of information provided by platforms such as Google Analytics allows you to drill into data at a remarkably granular level. You can see the buying journey of every visitor, including the keywords they used to search, the pages they engaged with, and what specific actions they took on your website.

SEO Gives You A Competitive Advantage

Businesses that invest heavily in SEO are more likely to outrank their competition in search engine results and increase market share. Your competitors are most likely investing in SEO, which means you can't afford to not have a digital marketing agency doing the same for you.

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Can I Do
SEO on My Own?

Yes. You can definitely do SEO on your own. In fact, Twelve Three Media is committed to helping you do just that.

It’s important to understand that the fields of marketing and advertising are ever-evolving and often complex. To do SEO on your own, you will need to hire an in-house marketer to stay up-to-date with the latest best practices and execute a well-rounded SEO strategy.

While many large corporations employ robust marketing departments, most small and mid-sized businesses have one employee dedicated to marketing and advertising, usually with support from freelancers and contractors. With only one marketing employee in your company, it is very likely that many opportunities will be missed, and you won’t achieve the maximum ROI for his or her efforts.

The other option is to hire a digital marketing agency. Marketing agencies offer a number of advantages. They generally have multiple employees with real-world knowledge and experience in a variety of marketing and advertising channels. They already know what data is most important to track and are adept at pivoting when strategies aren’t achieving the desired results.

What’s more, hiring an agency is probably more cost-effective than you think. When compared to the average salary of an in-house marketing manager – and the related expenses of recruiting, benefits, and necessary equipment – hiring an agency is often a much more budget-friendly alternative.

If you aren’t ready to hire a digital marketing agency or in-house marketer just yet, there are many things you can do on your own that won’t cost you anything but thoughtful planning, time, and effort. To get started, focus on the basics:

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO involves the elements on your site you can control. These include:

  • Website structure:
    Strike a balance between a visually aesthetic website and a structure designed for usability and search engine visibility.
  • Content:
    Create written and visual content that answers questions and demonstrates authority in your field. Utilize relevant keywords and queries that your audience is searching for.
  • Metadata:
    This is information that is not displayed on the page itself, but is read by search engines and web crawlers. Search engines use this information to rank websites and display snippets in search results.

Local SEO

If your business has a physical location or if you just want people in your service area to find you, you need to focus on local SEO. When you search for terms like “donuts near me,” the box you see displaying nearby business information is called the local SEO 3-pack. When you click on the results, you see information for even more companies that match your search.

To maximize your impact in local search:

  • Claim your business profile (Google Business Profile, Bing)
  • Maintain consistent NAP (name, address, phone number)
  • Publish pictures of your location and products, if applicable
  • Offer incentives
  • Manage your reviews

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO, sometimes referred to as off-site SEO, involves efforts taken outside of your own website to boost your search engine ranking. These efforts can include:

Frequently Asked Questions About SEO

You may find a multitude of terms used to describe metadata. Some terms are used interchangeably (both correctly and incorrectly) and some describe distinct forms of metadata.


In the simplest terms, metadata is “data about data.” Viewed through the lens of search engine optimization, metadata constitutes specific HTML elements that tell search engines what your website content is about. In this context, metadata plays a critical role in SEO.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are elements of metadata that describe your page content to search engines as part of the HTML code. While this metadata is not displayed on the page itself, it is read by web crawlers and search engines, telling them what your page is about.

Two of the most commonly used meta tags for SEO include:

  • Title tag: Search engines view this as the title of your page. It is the text displayed in the SERP and at the top of your browser.
  • Meta description: A brief description of the page that accompanies the title tag in search results.


Similar to the definition of metadata, meta-information is “information about information.” Documents, for example, can be considered forms of information. Therefore, the title of a document and its subject lines would be examples of meta information.

The terms metadata and meta-information are sometimes used interchangeably. However, as someone focusing on SEO, it's best to make a distinction between the two terms and refer to metadata by its name.

Keywords are the phrases targeted in an SEO strategy. They are based on the products and services your business offers, and they make it easier for search engines to rank your pages in results. The term “keyword” is often used interchangeably with the term “search query”; however, while similar, the two terms are not the same. Queries refer to the words and phrases users type into search boxes to find what they’re looking for.

The primary difference between search queries and keywords is who uses them. Searchers type search queries into Google to locate information online, while digital marketers use keywords to develop focused SEO and PPC campaigns.

There are several types of keywords:

  • Short-tail keywords: Broad phrases that only consist of one or two words, such as “xeriscaping” or “cold symptoms.”
  • Long-tail keywords: Longer, more specific keyword phrases, such as “How do I do SEO on my own?”
  • Short-term fresh keywords: Words and phrases related to very recent news or trends, such as “weekly forecast.”
  • Long-term evergreen keywords: Words and phrases that are relevant all the time, such as “human foods that are safe for dogs.”
  • Product-defining keywords: These are keywords that describe or explain your company’s products or services, such as “weather-resistant patio furniture.”
  • Customer-defining keywords: These are keywords that involve customer-related qualifiers, such as “kids’ backpacks” or “womens shoes.”
  • Geo-targeting keywords: Especially useful for smaller, local businesses, these keywords target specific cities, states, or even neighborhoods.

The importance of keywords and phrases cannot be overstated. In order to survive in today’s competitive market, your business’s customers and target audience must be able to find your company easily online. If your website is marooned on page five of search engine result pages (SERPs), you will lose business to companies that prioritize SEO.

To succeed, you must develop strategic SEO practices, starting with keywords and phrases. They are the connection between the person doing the search and the search engine itself.

It’s important to understand that keywords have as much to do with your audience as they do about your content. It’s important to know what your audience is looking for and the questions they ask to find it; you may describe your products or services differently than people search for them.

To create high-ranking content that drives visitors to your website, you must understand the needs of your potential visitors, the type of content they seek, and the language they use. A great place to start is with your existing customers: What questions do you hear frequently? What are your customers’ biggest concerns?

You can also do your own keyword research with online tools such as:

  • Semrush: Offering a comprehensive suite of tools that include the Keyword Magic Tool, Keyword Gap Tool, and Position Tracking Tool, Semrush allows you to accomplish everything from content ideation to optimization while benchmarking yourself against your goals and the competition.
  • Google: Google Trends is a free data exploration tool you can use to explore and analyze real-time and historical search trends. Google Ads is an online advertising platform that features a Keyword Planner that enables you to research keywords and place bids on them to show ads in search results, mobile apps, websites, and online videos.
  • Keyword Tool: This tool utilizes autocomplete data from multiple search engines including Google, Bing, YouTube, and more to help you find and target long-tail keywords, hashtags, and products.
  • AnswerThePublic: This tool aggregates Google autocomplete suggestions and helps you find long-tail keywords related to a topic.
  • QuestionDB: Instead of focusing on keywords, QuestionDB identifies popular questions asked on forums and websites to assist with your content development strategy.

The term keyword stuffing describes the practice of packing as many keywords into a website’s page or blog post as possible. Instead of trying to provide value to a website’s visitors, the objective of this outdated SEO strategy is simply to rank high in SERPs.

Keyword stuffing grew popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s when search engines relied heavily on keywords to rank websites. People would cram an excessive amount of keywords into their pages, blog post, and meta tags in an attempt to improve their website’s rankings. It didn’t matter if the content they posted read like spam or didn’t make any sense at all, as long as every possible keyword made it onto the page.

Today, keyword stuffing isn’t only useless for SEO, the practice is penalized. A website’s pages and blog content can lose their rankings or even be removed if Google determines that keywords are being stuffed into the content. If Google penalizes your content, trying to climb back up in the SERPs can be a long, arduous slog. The best strategy is to write premium, original content and avoid stuffing keywords in the first place.

First off, there is not a rigid keyword percentage that guarantees high SERP rankings. Ideal keyword density can vary depending on the area, other pages that are ranking on a topic, and more. There is no hard and fast rule.

That said, a good rule of thumb for the maximum threshold of keyword density should be near 1.5% to 2%.  Even half a percent may seem low, but only using a keyword in the heading and once at the top, middle, and conclusion of content reads naturally and doesn’t come off as spammy.
Google wants to provide its users with helpful content that answers their questions. While keywords are a useful tool to achieve that goal, modern algorithms rely less on matching exact phrases; matching intent is much more important. Search engines are increasingly more able to understand the meaning of searches and match results to that meaning.

It is estimated that one-third of all web pages in existence are blogs. And that’s no accident or coincidence. Posts that rank highly on SERPs continue to be a significant driver of organic website traffic. Not only that but, companies who blog produce an average of 67% more leads per month.

Blogging is not the be-all and end-all of an effective SEO strategy. Customers consume content on a range of different platforms that include videos, custom graphics, podcasts, and much more. However, if you choose not to blog, you are missing out on countless potential visitors to your site, and you may face challenges achieving the SEO results you desire.

Here are the key components of effective blogging for SEO:

Choose Your Topics Strategically

In order to achieve the results you want, you need to be clear about your objectives. Consider what products and pages you want to support and then determine how best to achieve your goals with blogging.

Don’t rely exclusively on instinct. Compare the ideas you have with actual data. Analytics and reporting are complex areas of digital marketing. Many business owners find it helpful to work with an experienced agency to help them understand the reports and put them to good use.

Use one or more of the online SEO tools mentioned above to drill down into keywords, search queries, and the content on your website to develop new ideas for potential blog topics. This data-driven approach will show you what questions your audience is actually asking; if you haven’t covered it yet, these tools can help you come up with any number of great new blog topics.

Create a content calendar that outlines your topics over several months. Sticking to a schedule is enormously helpful for budgeting time to write, edit, optimize, and incorporate the expertise in your organization while consistently delivering a steady stream of quality content.

Write every blog with a clear focus, a consistent tone, and recognizable brand messaging.

Focus on Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are more limited in scope than high-level keywords. They are specific search queries used to learn more about a topic. They are usually written as questions or phrases in search of a particular answer.

For example, a law firm may target the high-level keyword “Denver car accident lawyer.” Multiple long-tail keywords can support this primary keyword, such as “why do I need a car accident lawyer?”, “what can a car accident lawyer do for me?”, etc.

Use search queries or phrases as the titles of your blog posts. Identify current search results for long-tail keywords, then create content that addresses the topics or answers the questions better than the top-ranking results.

2. Prioritize Quality and Expertise

What separates quality blogs that rank from the vast sea of mediocre blogs that flounder in the digital abyss? Authority. Google wants to give its users the most valuable information. This means your content should provide an original answer (not a rehash or direct copy from another website), convey facts accurately, and demonstrate expertise or knowledge beyond that of a layperson.

More than ever, SERPs reward quality, not quantity. It is far better to publish one or two high-quality blogs a month than seven or eight subpar pieces.

Content cluster strategies center on strategic internal linking. Content clusters involve groups of content that revolve around a central topic and use a pillar page to link to and from. In short, topic clusters are centered around a single topic and offer multiple internal linking opportunities to keep readers on your site.

Make a robust pillar page the foundation of your content cluster. Pillar pages are generally broad and link to multiple content cluster pages. Then, link from that page to all related content that supports the pillar page. Your content cluster content should go in-depth to answer specific questions about your main topic and link back to the pillar page.

  • Improved SEO: Utilizing a content cluster strategy can give your pilar page authority over a particular topic, which can ultimately lead to improved SEO.
  • More comprehensive content: Avoid gaps and overlaps in your content. For example, if your pillar page is about car accident lawyers and it mentions types of car accidents, the cluster content can include blogs focused on the causes of T-bone accidents and rollover accidents. In this way, the blogs will complement the information on your pillar page, which will not go too in-depth on those topics.
  • More organized content: By their nature, pillar pages are designed to organize blogs and other cluster content around your main page.

Schema markup is a form of microdata. It is a structured data vocabulary that enables search engines to better understand the information on websites. Search engines are then able to display this information as rich snippets.

In 2011, prominent search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo began to collaborate on creating Schema’s vocabulary is formatted to structure data around people, places, and things on the internet (you can find the complete list of items defined by schema markups on

Schema markups are usually used for:

  • Local Businesses
  • Products
  • Organizations
  • People
  • Reviews
  • Events
  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Medical Conditions
  • Recipes

Although there is no evidence that microdata directly impacts organic search rankings, rich snippets do make your webpages appear more prominently in SERPs. This heightened visibility has been shown to improve click-through rates.

According to one study, less than one-third of Google’s search results include a rich snippet with Schema markup. This represents a tremendous opportunity for your website to cut through the noise of online saturation and stand out from the crowd.

Establishing a business location is a cornerstone of your company’s ability to serve customers. In order to succeed online, you need to communicate your business name, location, and contact information to Google. Be aware that Google compares your information against other directories to ensure it has accurate data. If your business has different addresses or phone numbers listed on other web directories, your chances of ranking well are highly diminished.

The three most important details in any online business listing are the name, address, and phone number. Although there is no guarantee that your business listing will be featured in search results, ensuring their accuracy and consistency improves the likelihood that search engines will present your contact information in local search.

Whether you’re looking to switch agencies or you’re just starting your business, we know that finding the right company for SEO and other marketing is a challenge. A lot of SEO companies promise first-page rankings, but they don’t deliver on results.

There is no “secret” to SEO; only researching and adopting best practices, followed by implementation, validation, and reiteration. The best agencies handle this process for you, then present a transparent overview of the results.

In order to find an SEO company you can work with that delivers on its promises, look for the following in your search:

  • Do they offer clear reporting? It is important to understand the value of your investment in an SEO company. By receiving non-cryptic reports, you can get a better idea of how your site ranks, where you are compared to the competition, and more.
  • Is the SEO team transparent? Rome was not built in a day. There are always peaks and valleys. It is crucial for an SEO company to explain what they are doing to increase your rankings and where those campaigns stand. If it is too good to be true, then ask questions.
  • Do they outsource SEO work? Ask if the SEO company has an in-house team of specialists or if they outsource their work to an overseas company. It is beneficial to you as the business owner to work with a company that employs talented in-house developers and SEO specialists. You want a dedicated team that will become familiar with your brand and offerings and integrate those qualities into a holistic optimization strategy.
  • How does the agency measure results? A serious SEO company will be able to track leads and traffic so they can tell you exactly what is working and what needs to be changed. You will benefit from knowing the details of your campaign performance through attribution.
  • Is the company a Google Partner? Google Partner companies demonstrate specialized skill and experience with digital marketing and advertising channels. A Google Partner badge signals that the team understands the complex nature of keyword ranking and knows how to use state-of-the-art Google tools to design and manage successful campaigns.

Many companies struggle with the decision to hire an SEO company. “You get what you pay for” is absolutely true when it comes to SEO. If you only pay a little, you’re not going to get what you need to succeed in search.

Your business is unique. And, with SEO more complex than it ever has been, it takes more than pulling levers and pressing buttons to show up on the first page. At Twelve Three Media, we approach each client with a custom-tailored strategy. We serve as an extension of your in-house marketing department, and we are transparent about the results we achieve.

SEO is no longer a mystery to many business owners. We know that your knowledge of search marketing may vary, and we are happy to be open and honest about what we are doing to improve your rankings. No snake oil here!

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Why Hire Twelve Three Media
for Your SEO Needs?

Twelve Three Media was founded on the belief that there is a common way to do things and a right way. Our seasoned team of marketing veterans, industry experts, and creative mavericks is passionate about doing things the right way. We don’t cut corners and we don’t take shortcuts. From building websites from the ground up to managing engaging social media presences to ensuring your website ranks high in search and attracts quality leads, Twelve Three Media is committed to providing the best service possible and exceeding your expectations.

It’s Time for Your
Website to Dominate in Search.

Contact Twelve Three Media Now for a Free Consultation.

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Featured Publications
  • SEO Intro Guide for Small Business

    SEO Essentials for Small Businesses


    In this guide to SEO, our digital marketing experts show you how to cut through the noise and stand out in search. We explain the basics of SEO planning and discuss the exact tools you’ll need along the way.

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