Intentions – good or otherwise?

SEO prospect intentions

Despite all the chatter about AI and big data a lot of the basis for success in online  marketing comes down to sussing out your prospects’ intentions. This is a very human process. 

People can be characterized into a number of personality types. There are a number of well-defined systems for analyzing these types. One is the DISC system. 

This system is useful both for its simplicity and accuracy even when you have little observational data to work with.

Your online presence can satisfy the needs of all of the different personality types with the proper strategic planning. Carefully oversimplifying would mean: Be succinct and clear about benefits everywhere for D types. Be upbeat for I types. Cultivate your business on social media for S types. Provide information about your business with microscopic granularity buried on your website.

How do you gauge your prospects’ response to these items?

  • Website analytics: Look at the webpages your visitors visit, how long they stay on, and their activities. Patterns and trends can indicate your visitor’s goal. For example, pages with high bounce or exit rates may indicate a mismatch between content and visitor expectations.
  • Surveys and market research: Ask questions about customer preferences, needs, and motivations.
  • Customer interactions: Analyze customer service logs, call center recordings, and online chat sessions.
  • Visitor identification data: See who’s visiting your website and what they’re doing there.
  • Buying signals: For example, when prospects sign up for a free trial or complementary offerings, it’s a clear sign of their interest in the product.
  • Clicks a link in your email: Analytics of their behavior on where your link directed them to can show their buying intent. For example, if they click on a link like the content of your email but may want some time to do some research on their own before speaking with a sales rep, you can follow up with them relatively quickly while their attention is focused on you.

This is an overview of the process that we follow at sem[c].

Contact us for greater detail or to get started.

The Importance of Technical SEO for Business Growth

sem[c] perfect SEO performance

Technical SEO Overview

In today’s digital landscape, a business’s online presence is crucial for success. A well-optimized website can attract potential customers, increase brand awareness, and generate leads. However, without proper technical SEO, a website may struggle to achieve its full potential. Most frequently when we begin an SEO project at sem[c] we find that we are working with a slowly loading website. This is true regardless of what platform the site is built upon. Technical SEO focuses on whatever the underlying infrastructure of a website might be, ensuring that it is easy for search engines to crawl and index. One of the most critical aspects of technical SEO is site loading speed. A slow-loading website can lead to a higher bounce rate, reduced user engagement, and ultimately, lost revenue.

Five Benefits of Improved Technical SEO and Site Loading Speed

  1. Improved Search Engine Rankings: Search engines prioritize websites that load quickly and provide a positive user experience. By optimizing site loading speed, businesses can improve their website’s rankings in search results, leading to increased organic traffic.
  2. Enhanced User Experience: A fast-loading website provides a seamless user experience, keeping visitors engaged and reducing bounce rates. When users can access information quickly and easily, they are more likely to return to the website and make a purchase.
  3. Increased Conversion Rates: A study by Google found that the probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds. In addition, a one-second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% decrease in conversions. By improving site loading speed, businesses can increase the likelihood of visitors converting into customers.
  4. Reduced Bounce Rates: A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page. Slow loading times are a major contributor to high bounce rates. By optimizing site loading speed, businesses can reduce bounce rates and keep visitors engaged for longer.
  5. Improved Mobile Friendliness: With the increasing prevalence of mobile devices, it is essential for websites to be mobile-friendly. Site loading speed is particularly important for mobile users, who may have slower internet connections. By optimizing site loading speed for mobile devices, businesses can ensure that their website provides a positive user experience for all visitors.

Optimizing Site Loading Speed for Technical SEO Success

There are several techniques that businesses can use to optimize site loading speed:

  1. Image Optimization: Optimize images by reducing their file sizes without compromising quality. Use appropriate image formats and dimensions for the intended use.
  2. Minify Code: Minify code to remove unnecessary whitespace, comments, and characters. This can significantly reduce page load times.
  3. Leverage Browser Caching: Enable browser caching to store static content, such as images and CSS files, on the user’s device. This can reduce the amount of data that needs to be downloaded each time the page is visited.
  4. Utilize a Content Delivery Network (CDN): A CDN distributes website content across multiple servers worldwide, reducing latency and improving page load times for users across different geographic locations.
  5. Choose a Reliable Hosting Provider: Select a reliable hosting provider that can handle the traffic demands of your website and provide adequate bandwidth and server resources.

Conclusion on the Importance of Technical SEO for Your Website

Technical SEO is essential for businesses that want to maximize their online presence and achieve their business goals. By optimizing site loading speed and addressing other technical SEO issues, businesses can improve their search engine rankings, enhance user experience, increase conversion rates, reduce bounce rates, and ensure that their website is mobile-friendly. In today’s competitive digital landscape, investing in technical SEO is a wise investment in the future of your business. Your best choice in improving your site’s technical SEO is sem[c] so contact us today.

Introduction to Google’s Generative Search Experience

Google SGE screenshot

Google’s Generative Search Experience (SGE) is a new feature that uses artificial intelligence to generate informative answers to search queries. It is still in beta testing, but it has the potential to revolutionize the way people search the web. You will see it in some results, be given the opportunity to generate in other circumstances or you might see a more traditional search return. This will change as the feature gets more fully deployed which is expected to happen sometime in 2024.

For businesses’ search presence, SGE presents both opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, it could make it more difficult for websites to rank for high-volume keywords, as Google may be able to provide users with the information they need without them ever having to click on a search result. On the other hand, SGE also creates new opportunities for websites to be featured in Google’s search results, and to provide users with more value.

How SGE Works

SGE uses a variety of AI techniques to generate answers to search queries. These techniques include:

  • Natural language processing: SGE is able to parse and understand the meaning of search queries, even if they are complex or ambiguous.
  • Machine learning: SGE has been trained on a massive dataset of text and code, which allows it to generate answers that are both informative and accurate.
  • Knowledge graphs: SGE uses knowledge graphs to understand the relationships between different entities, such as people, places, and things. This allows it to generate answers that are more comprehensive and informative.

How SGE Impacts SEO

SGE has a number of potential impacts on SEO, including:

  • Increased competition for high-volume keywords: As Google is able to provide users with the information they need without them having to click on a search result, there will be increased competition for high-volume keywords. This means that websites will need to produce high-quality content that is more informative and engaging than ever before.
  • New opportunities for visibility: SGE also creates new opportunities for websites to be featured in Google’s search results. For example, websites may be featured in SGE’s answer boxes, even if they do not rank for the specific keyword that the user searched for.
  • A greater emphasis on quality content: As SGE is able to generate answers to search queries, Google will place a greater emphasis on the quality of websites’ content. Websites that produce high-quality, informative, and engaging content will be more likely to be featured in SGE’s results.

What sem[c] Is Doing to Help Our Clients Get Ready

Some best SEO practices will continue to be important for SGE:

  • Produce high-quality content: This is more important than ever before, as SGE is able to generate answers to search queries without requiring users to click on a search result. Websites need to produce content that is informative, engaging, and relevant to the needs of their target audience.
  • Use structured data: Structured data helps Google to understand the content on websites. This can make it more likely that websites are featured in SGE’s results. SEO consultants can help their clients to implement structured data on their websites. Google has recently stated that this will not be a determining factor by itself.
  • Optimize for conversational search: SGE is designed to answer natural language queries. This means that we will help our clients to optimize their websites for conversational search. This can be done by using natural language keywords and phrases in website content, and by creating content that is structured in a way that makes it easy for Google to understand. AIs like Google’s Bard, Bing GPT4 Chat and ChatGPT are helpful in this proces.


Google’s Generative Search Experience is a powerful new feature that has the potential to revolutionize the way people search the web. sem[c] is staying on top of the potential impacts of SGE, and we are prepared to help their clients prepare for it. By producing high-quality content, using structured data, and optimizing for conversational search, sem[c] is helping our clients to succeed in this new era of search.

If you have any questions about SGE and the impact of AI on search returns please contact sem[c]

Google’s SGE – What is it and how will it affect SEO?

Google Search Generative Experience SGE

The Google search returns page has a new addition at the top as illustrated in the screenshot of its search return for “best delis in Manhattan” on this page. It is referred to as SGE for “Search Generative Experience.” In some cases it appears automatically, sometimes there is a prompt asking you if you would like to see it. This one of the most radical additions to the Google search returns page and is just rolling out. It won’t be fully deployed until 2024.

It significantly changes the was search results are displayed and, consequently, will have an effect on SEO.

Google’s use of its Search Generative Experience (SGE) will affect SEO in a number of ways.

  • It will place more emphasis on user experience and engagement. SGE will be designed to provide users with the most relevant and helpful information, even if it is not from a traditional search result. This means that websites that focus on providing high-quality, engaging content will be more likely to be featured in SGE snippets.
  • It will require a more holistic approach to SEO. Traditional SEO techniques, such as keyword research and link building, will still be important, but they will not be enough to guarantee success. SEO professionals will need to focus on creating content that is both informative and engaging, and that provides a good user experience.
  • It will make it more difficult to rank for competitive keywords. SGE snippets will often be the first thing that users see when they search for a particular keyword. This means that it will be more difficult to rank for those keywords, as users are less likely to click through to the actual website.
  • It will create new opportunities for businesses. SGE can be used to promote businesses in a number of ways. For example, businesses can create content that is targeted to specific SGE snippets, or they can use SGE to generate leads and sales.

Overall, Google’s use of SGE will have a significant impact on SEO. Businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve will need to adapt their SEO strategies to focus on user experience, engagement, and creating high-quality content.

  • Here are some specific things that businesses can do to optimize their websites for SGE:
    • Create content that is informative, engaging, and well-written.
    • Use keywords throughout your content, but don’t overdo it.
    • Promote your content on social media and other channels.
    • Build links to your content from other high-quality websites.
    • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
    • Track your results and make adjustments as needed.

It is still early days for SGE, and Google is constantly evolving the technology. However, by following these tips, businesses can position themselves to take advantage of this new search feature.

Search Engine Marketing Chicago is working with SGE every day and developing procedures to be ready for Google’s full deployment of the technology. Contact us with any questions about the future of SEO.

What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a service that helps businesses improve their online visibility and ranking on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a paid method of driving traffic, such as buying ads against target keyword searches.

SEM is a great way to get quick results and drive traffic to your website. However, it can be expensive and requires ongoing investment. SEO is a more long-term strategy that focuses on optimizing your website to rank higher in organic search results.

SEM can be used in conjunction with SEO to maximize your online visibility. By using both methods together, you can drive more traffic to your website and increase your chances of converting visitors into customers.

When it comes to choosing between SEO and SEM, it’s important to consider your business goals and budget. If you’re looking for quick results and have the budget for it, SEM may be the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a more long-term strategy that will help you build your online presence over time, SEO is the better choice.

At sem[c] we offer a range of digital marketing services including SEO and SEM. Our SEO services include keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and content creation. Our SEM services include paid search advertising, display advertising, and social media advertising.

Contact us for more information.

Want to refine your online presence but not break the bank?

SEO coaching by sem[c]

sem[c] offers a coaching service to give you the flexibility to have a professional review of your marketing at your convenience for a fraction of the cost of a full program.

Many businesses have questions about online marketing. No matter whether you are doing the marketing in-house or you’ve hired a consultant there are times that you’d just like to touch base with someone who knows more about marketing than you.

sem[c] can be that resource for you.

Find out more at

SEO – Five benefits to the website’s owner

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility and ranking of a website or web page in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. SEO is important because it helps to improve the user experience by making it easier for people to find the information they are looking for on the internet.

Here are five benefits to any website offered by effective SEO:

  1. Increased traffic: By ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), you can increase the number of visitors to your website.
  2. Cost-effective: SEO is a cost-effective way to drive traffic to your website compared to other forms of online advertising. Comprehensive SEO as we deliver to all sem[c] clients also reduced the cost of PPC campaigns like those in Google Ads.
  3. Increased credibility: Ranking high in search results helps to build credibility and trust with your audience.
  4. Better user experience: SEO helps to improve the user experience by making it easier for users to find the information they are looking for on your website.
  5. Long-term results: The effects of SEO are long-lasting, as opposed to paid advertising, which stops as soon as you stop paying for it.

Overall, SEO is an important part of any online marketing strategy as it helps to improve the visibility and credibility of your website, which can lead to increased traffic and sales.

What do you know about the SEO of page builders for WordPress?

WordPress is an option when building a new website


Recently, the ‘next big thing’ in web development has been a graphic design layer that enables drag’n’drop editing to your new WordPress site. These software layers or ‘page builders’ go by a lot of different names: Visual Composer, Divi and many more.

Visual Composer

What does this all mean to you?

  • Everyone wants a great looking site. But the reality is that if the pages take too long to load prospects will leave without seeing anything. Google has a tool that will estimate what percentage will leave based on their test of the performance of your site. Achieving a great looking site that is slow will cost you prospects (and your SEO).
  • The developer that builds your site will not be around forever. You, as the owner of your site, should have everything documented so that any transition for any reason will be straightforward. Page builder setups can be very complex.
  • Your developer is responsible for demonstrating the ability to restore your site from the regular backups that he or she is making. Something is very wrong otherwise.
  • One of WordPress’ great strengths is the ability to update its look while keeping all of your content completely intact. If a developer says that they need to start completely over it will damage your SEO. This is only necessary if the previous developer damaged your site or that the new developer is not sufficiently trained.

sem[c] has been asked to optimize a number of different varieties of page builders recently and they all had speed-of-performance issues that needed to be addressed. More specifically, we were engaged to work on a site that we found to be using a suite of plug-ins called Pagelines. Like each of the other page builders it has its adherents but the sheer number of plugins that it uses sent up a red flag from our SEO point of view. The unfortunate part of this story is that the developer was tasked by the client to move this WordPress website into the Visual Composer page builder. Without saying why, this developer used Pagelines instead but didn’t inform the client. In addition, the developer used paid licenses that belonged to his company NOT the client’s. This meant that when he was removed as the administrator the site stopped working. Completely.

It’s not feasible or cost-effective for most business owners to study web development to the level of detail that has been discussed above. That fact should suggest that having a separate SEO consultant on board in conjunction with site development is a good idea. It is.

For more good ideas contact us or call 773.769.7362.

SEO snake oil

SEO-snake-oilRarely does a day go by without my receiving at least one email pitching the benefits of getting my site to the front page of Google.

For example:

My name is David. I am a SEO and Internet Marketing expert. I am in this profession from since last 4 years.

I will be happy to promote your website and bring this on the top page of Google. My plan of action is to promote your website through local Google and your website to be promoted in the combination of Geo location with your selected keywords.

How many things has David got wrong in just four sentences? Let’s begin at the end of his statement and work our way to the beginning.

      1. 1. The idea of “your selected keywords” being the basis of his promotion is an ineffective approach to SEO. When sem[c] begins a promotion we discover which keywords are being most frequently used by a business’ best prospects. These keywords are frequently not obvious. Figuring this out is our job NOT our clients.
      2. 2. The importance of “Geo location” is determined by the nature of the business and is not appropriate for businesses that might be limited by that kind of perception. Recently an sem[c] client in Iowa was approached by two prospects in Ireland and several in China. Their physical location was not important in the least. What would have been the benefit to them of localizing to Iowa?
      3. 3. Does it matter to you that he would “be happy to promote your website”? Of course he would be happy to take your money. How happy will you be?
      4. 4. Does his being “in this profession from since last 4 years” impress you? This sounds like it was written in fractured grammar by someone who is not a native American English speaker. The importance of understanding how people use language to find what they are looking for is of the absolutely highest importance not only in finding the right keywords but also in eliciting buying action from them.
      5. 5. He writes that “I am a SEO and Internet Marketing expert”. I am skipping yet another grammatical error here only to ask the question this begs: In whose opinion? He is writing to me hoping to promote on my behalf. It should be obvious to him that my site is about Internet marketing. He completely missed that point.

His targeting is so wildly inappropriate that he brings to mind the old joke: “The word ‘expert’ consists of two parts, ‘X’ which is ‘the unknown’ and ‘spurt’ meaning ‘a short burst’.”

In the spirit of that joke is this guy’s name even ‘David’? The the reply-to email address belongs to ‘Bob’ at

Who’s managing your online reputation?

Your digital reputation consists of everything about you that is visible online.

SEO by sem[c] is all about getting you found more effectively online. Branded SEO is concerned with how you are found for your name.  Non-branded SEO involves getting you found for what you do. The process of discovering and implementing this is a process of enhancing your reputation online so that it becomes an effective marketing tool.

Online reputation - GradientWhat do you do if a search for your name prominently displays negative comments?  What do you do if the statements are true?  What is they’re false? How do you hide stuff on the Internet?

There are a number of terms for this being bandied about like “negative SEO” but we prefer “digital reputation repair” because we really believe that SEO should enhance your brand by clearly and ubiquitously linking it online with the most relevant non-brand terms in every possible way. These terms are the words that most people use when looking for your goods or services.

One of tricky parts of my writing about clients with these type of needs is that I can’t reveal anything about them other than their circumstances and those only in general terms. One of our clients wanted to erase all trace of themselves; their children, references linking them to specific businesses… everything. Another client found themselves attacked on Yelp! This was a bit unusual since their business wasn’t a restaurant, salon or any kind of retail operation.  They found out the hard way that you can’t ignore it when a very likely prospect was unsatisfied over the initial dismissive approach.

Dealing with issues like these requires a custom strategy in each case that will ease the problems with your online reputation by emphasizing the positive using the target terms from the non-branded identity and exploring all the possibilities for correction.

Anger is not an option.

Contact us to find out more.