What is SEO anyway?

What is SEO anyway?

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  1. What is SEO Anyway?

    SEO is tossed around a lot these days.  Everyone says you have to SEO your site; what are you doing for SEO; are you first page with Google?  What exactly does that all that mean, especially when you are a small company, or trying to promote your first website?  For our purposes, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the activity of optimizing websites to make them more search engine-friendly.  Sites that are search engine-friendly will make them rank higher.  A higher ranking means that when someone searches for a business that does what you do, YOUR site will come up in the top pages of the search results.  These search terms, or what people (read prospective customers) type into the search box, are called keywords.

    SEO is a big part of web marketing, or promoting a website.  Most folks start a business website so it will be seen by people who are currently unfamiliar with their business.  SEO has the reputation of being both technical and mumbo-jumbo; talk about confusing!  It is true that you need to have a little bit of technical knowledge -at least some familiarity with basic HTML-to take on SEO on your own site.  However, don’t be put off if you are a non-techie.  You CAN do it.  The mumbo-jumbo part comes from the fact that the search engines, such as Google, do not publish what their guidelines are for high SEO ranking.  The algorithms that make one site rank higher than another are a closely guarded secret.  SEO professionals give best guesses based on tidbits of information that Google and others release.  This inexactness can be frustrating to the business professional trying to take SEO matters into their own hands.

    What is SEO?

    SEO can drive you mad! Let’s get this out of the way right now.  You can do everything right, and still not be first page ranked.  A lot of that may have to do with your competition.  Are you a newer site trying to go against established behemoths?  Time is on your side, keep doing right and you will rise. Are your keywords highly competitive?  Words surrounding diets, party goods, fashion, current popular trends, etc. are going to be hard to crack through to a top ranking.  However, if your site is NOT SEO optimized, it will never rise, so with this caveat in mind, still forge ahead will making your site as SEO friendly as possible.

    SEO is NOT automatic first page ranking.  A lot of SEO optimization and the resulting ranks have to do with being realistic as well.  Breaking into the first page against a bunch of established sites may be very hard, but being in the top three pages is more doable, still very visible, and will make a difference to your bottom line.  Don’t discount this!

    SEO does not mean trying to rank first page with 100 different search engines.  This is probably the best advice I can give you.  Fly-by-night SEO organizations will guarantee you to be indexed with 100’s of search engines.  Since most engines grab results from the big three, be aware of any company that is trying to inflate their credentials in this manner.  And if you are doing your own SEO, concentrate on ranking well with the big three; Google, Bing and Yahoo as of this writing.  The rest will follow.  

    SEO is not advertising!  The sponsored links that appear in Google listings are not SEO’d.  That business owner had enough cash to pay for a first page listing for that advertisement.  This is also known as paid search results.  The concept behind true SEO is that you rank high, preferably first page, without having to pay.

    SEO does NOT have to be a huge project.  As the business owner, you will know if you fall in this category better than I and lucky you if you do.  If you are in a unique industry, where your keywords are rare, you might be able to do some SEO tweaking on your site in an hour or so, and be good to go with minimal upkeep.  For example, you are a Dog Poop Remover.  You only want to work in the greater Bellevue, WA area.  A couple of website changes, following SEO principals and you are probably going to rank pretty high for your customer’s search terms.  However…

    SEO, in most cases, will require a commitment of time and effort.  If you want your website to have a decent ranking AND if you are like most of us, where you have completion –like most of us do-for search phrases (keywords) you will need to develop an SEO strategy and spend time implementing it.

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