• FAQs

          Search engine optimization (SEO) helps businesses drive visits to their website through organic search traffic. Given that the top organic search results receive a third of the clicks, a decline in ranking could be detrimental for your business. Implementing SEO best practices on your website will help to ensure that your web content is seen by as many potential customers as possible. The more visitors you have, the better your chances are of converting those visits into sales!

          Local search engine optimization (SEO) helps local businesses gain visibility by optimizing their local business listings for local search. A business that leverages local SEO will include its address, phone number, local opening times, and exact location in the form of a local citation. The goal is to rank for local searches which are usually performed by people in a specific geographical region looking for a business near them.

          We typically see results within the first 30 to 60 days, but when it comes to SEO, there are many factors at play. It's important to remember that SEO is a long-term strategy and results may not come as fast at you wish.

        • FAQs

          Digital advertising uses the internet to send advertisements to customers who are online through different websites and social media platforms like Google, Bing, LinkedIn and Facebook.

          The price for Google Ads management depends on the monthly ad spend. For accounts with $1,000 in monthly ad spend, the price is $550/month. Between $1,000 and $5,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $950/month. For $5,000 to $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $2,000/month. For more than $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $4,500/month.

          The price for Social Media Ads management depends on the monthly ad spend. For accounts with $1,000 in monthly ad spend, the price is $550/month. Between $1,000 and $5,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $950/month. For $5,000 to $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $2,000/month. For more than $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $4,500/month.

        • FAQs

          This depends on the complexity and size of a redesign and if eCommerce is needed. On average, it takes around 14-18 weeks from the web design intensive stage to launch.

          If your website experiences the following issues: it’s not responsive on all devices, has a slow loading speed, the design appears old and tired, users don’t spend long on the site, sales are stagnant, or your business is going through a rebranding - your website needs a redesign to boost your brand awareness and sales.

          Sometimes there’s no need to rebuild a website. Minor edits, refreshing page content and images, or restructuring page layout for SEO best practices can boost traffic and sales.

        • FAQs

          Semantic search launched in 2013 with the release of Google's Hummingbird update. Since then, Google's search engine has become more complex. The integration of machine learning, with RankBrain, and NLP, with BERT, has enabled the search engine to better understand the context of a query and deliver more personalized and targeted results. Semantic SEO is the process of creating machine-readable content using structured data and linked open data to help search engines better understand your content.

          On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page SEO refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals. From meta tags to page content, website structure, and HTML, on-page optimization services are focused on making your website more visible to search engines.

          Structured data refers to any organized data that conforms to a certain format, such as information in a relational database. When information is highly structured and predictable, search engines can more easily organize and display it in creative ways. Structured data involves using a piece of code that is laid out in a specific format easily understood by search engines. The search engines read the code and use it to display search results in a more dynamic way.

        • FAQs

          An SEO agency has experts in different areas of search engine optimization that may be out of the realm of your marketing team's abilities. SEO can be very complex and time-consuming. Furthermore, as search engine algorithms change it can be difficult to stay current on the latest ranking factors and strategies for improving online visibility. You will likely see a greater return on investment and better results from using a professional SEO agency than you would from tackling this on your own.

          As a digital marketing agency, SMA Marketing provides products and services in four areas: SEO, Local SEO, Digital Advertising, and Web Design

          We focus on building authentic, long-lasting relationships with our clients. We’re goal oriented and results driven and believe in doing good and making a difference in the world.

  • Contact

Learn to Write Like a Spy or Die Trying: What the CIA Can Teach Us About Content Marketing

Even the CIA knows the value of well-crafted communications to educate and inform (if not entertain). When I stumbled upon the student version of the CIA-style manual, I couldn’t help but want to learn how this esteemed organization trains its analysts to write. After all, if it’s good enough for Jack Ryan, it has to be good, right?

It turns out, the CIA’s style manual is a wealth of helpful info that’s relevant to content marketers. The Analyst’s Style Manual, published in 2008 by Mercyhurst College Institute for Intelligence Studies Press, and developed from the CIA Writing Manual, thoroughly covers writing essentials like capitalization, grammar, and punctuation (it’s excellent info if you need a refresher!). Then the guide takes it a step further, providing instruction on effective written communication.

When you’re writing a report for the head of the CIA, you had better know how to get your point across quickly and accurately.

Whether you’re a special agent or a content marketer, you’ll find these tips helpful.

The CIA’s Rules for Effective Intelligence Writing

Put Your Main Point Up Front

The guide advocates the BLUF (bottom line up front) approach. Use a clear, descriptive title. Get to point early and place key points in the first two paragraphs.

Content Marketing Takeaway: Help the reader make decisions fast. Give readers a preview of what your article covers so they can decide whether or your content provides the value they are seeking.

Write Short Paragraphs

Help readers understand the information presented by using short, well-organized paragraphs that hold the reader’s interest. Paragraphs should be no more than six lines and should be structured to include the main idea and supporting facts, then conclude with an analysis.

Content Marketing Takeaway: Structure paragraphs to support an idea. Use lists to help keep facts and supporting data organized.

Use Active Voice

Passive voice drags down your writing. Active voice makes your writing sound more alive and interesting. Put the subject and what they are doing up front. Here are some examples from the manual:

Put the doer up front: Passive: The report was submitted by Jones. Active: Jones submitted the report.

Drop part of the verb: Passive: The meeting was held at the hotel. Active: The meeting was at the hotel.

Change the verb: Passive: He will be required to attend. Active: He will have to attend.

Content Marketing Takeaway: Avoid using “was,” “were,” and “will be” followed by a verb ending in d, t, or n. Those are the biggest passive voice offenders and the easiest to detect.

Use Short, Conventional Words

Aligned with using active voice is the use of short words. Strive for a conversational, light tone that keeps the reader engaged. Avoid vague words and legalese. If there is a short word synonym for a long word, use it. (Why write “civilian residence” when “home” will do?)

Content Marketing Takeaway: Avoid jargon and SAT-level vocabulary words that send readers to Google to search for their meaning. Such words turn off readers and do the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish, which is to build trust with your audience.

Write Short Sentences

Keep sentences to around 12 words maximum. If you can say the sentence aloud in one breath, you’re on the right track. Edit out about 30% of the words from your first draft, removing unnecessary words or phrases that don’t add meaning.

Consider these examples:

  • “make a decision” vs. “decide”
  • “His actions are not behaviors I condone.” vs. “I don’t condone his behavior.”
  • “There are many followers on his social channels.” vs. “He has many followers.”

Content Marketing Takeaway: Ever forget what you read by the time you get to the end of a sentence? Don’t make your reader work so hard. Short sentences flow better and give the reader time to process what they’ve read before moving onto the next idea.

Be Correct, Credible, and Complete

Errors cause distraction and distrust. Readers will question your credibility if your writing is full of mistakes or is missing source citations.

Content Marketing Takeaway: Use grammar and writing tools to check your work. Check facts and include links to sources. Have someone proofread and edit your writing before you hit “Publish.”

What the CIA Can Teach Us About Content Marketing

Although their audiences and subject matter are vastly different, CIA analysts and content marketers have something in common. We both aim to communicate effectively with our readers, sharing helpful information from which people can learn and make decisions.

Guidelines for effective writing are universal ~ be concise, get to the point quickly, and make it easy for readers to understand.

And, edit, edit, edit.

New call-to-action

Search by Topic

  • All Resources
  • SEO
  • Digital Advertising
  • Content Marketing
  • Web Development

Get Up-To-Date Digital Marketing Tips Delivered Straight to Your Inbox!

SMA Marketing Digital Marketing Agency Giving Back to Kiva Making Loans