Advertising
Advertising

5 Ways Search Engine Optimization is Vital

5 Ways Search Engine Optimization is Vital

To many, search engine optimization is a hokey term that is something marketing teams use to make themselves more prevalent in the digital era. Meanwhile, in reality, it’s a dynamic and powerful tool that is a necessary part of every successful marketing firm’s repertoire.

In order to enlighten the casual reader about the specifics of search engine optimization, we have compiled a list of five ways in which search optimization is crucial to getting articles out in the public domain.

Advertising

Search engine optimization is not new.

Search engine optimization is the practice of strategically altering internet-based content so that major such engines (primarily Google) pick up that content. It started in the early 1990s when the internet was new and just barely beginning to get cluttered with information and pages. Essentially, what companies would do at that stage is find ways to repeatedly place high value keywords throughout each page, which was an essential strategy to tricking Google’s early algorithms into placing that page higher in generic search results. It evolved from there.

Search engine optimization is constantly evolving.

While the early search engine optimization strategies mostly just involved keyword repetition, once Google came on the scene, that changed drastically. What Google did different was that it introduced “Page Rank,” which was a way of calculating how many other sources linked to a certain page. From there, Google became the de facto search engine. They have constantly innovated and expanded their search engine algorithms over the years. As such, simply keeping up with Google has become a large industry in itself. Hundreds, if not thousands, of companies follow Google’s every move religiously, trying to glean some information on their search algorithms, but, like CocaCola, Google will never divulge their secret recipe.

Advertising

Search engine optimization is easily learned.

Search engine optimization is not some sort of wonky technical ability that only guys who drink Red Bull and stay up all night on their computers know of. Really, at its core, it’s aiming to understand what drives a page to the front of Google’s search results, and then tailoring pages to appeal to that. Because 75% of search users only click on results displayed on the first page, getting on Google’s first page is hugely valuable. Doing so only requires knowledge of a few technical terms like “metatag” and “link farming.” You do not need to understand HTML coding, or even any other type of coding, to engage in search engine optimization.

There are a whole amount of tricks devoted to “cheating” at search engine optimization.

Like anything else in the world, if something becomes a competition, people are likely to cheat at that competition. Therefore, dozens of “black hat” strategies have been developed that allow web developers to artificially rise to the top of page rankings. “Link farming” (referenced earlier) is the practice of creating whole dummy webpages that link to a page of which you want to boost the ranking.

Advertising

“Keyword stuffing” is repeating a highly valuable phrase over and over without context. For example, a website reading “baseball cards baseball cards baseball cards baseball cards.”

Even on this very post, we might eventually experience one of those ways to cheat. Have you ever noticed those “Make thousands of dollars working at home” comments that often have a link in them? Well, those are likely artificially generated in order to drive the host webpage’s page ranking up.

Advertising

Oh yeah, and if Google catches you engaging in one of these tactics, you will be removed from their results, which is essentially like being wiped from the internet.

Small companies can indeed “win” at search engine optimization.

You might think that Google’s algorithm’s are naturally geared towards promoting the products of multi-national companies, and in a way you are right. If you search, “soda,” you are indeed likely to find only results about Coke – or maybe Pepsi. However, if you search, “soda bars in Chicago open late on Tuesday,” it is very possible that a search engine optimization firm has worked with your local soda bar to get their results up to par. So, it’s not just a marketing tactic used by the powers-that-be, but also by the powers-that-want-to-be.

Featured photo credit: Free – IT consultation and Assessment/ Dave Forsyth via flickr.com

More by this author

25 All-Time Best Inspirational Sports Quotes To Get You Going 10 Signs You Are Probably An Ambivert 4 Ways Extreme Races Change Your View 4 Ways Baseball is the Perfect Metaphor for Life 5 Reasons Why You Should Have Total Strangers as Roommates

Trending in Communication

1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

Advertising

1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

Advertising

3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

Advertising

It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

Advertising

Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next