Search Engine Optimization has always sounded techie with that 3+ syllable word “optimization.” To me, it brings back memories of working on DOS 6.22, re-arranging memory configurations so I could run Warcraft 2 on my 100MHz machine. SEO has carried this connotation for years of being a cold type of function where it was only listed in job descriptions for those in high level IT. Now, it is thrown around with little or no real understanding of what it can do. To soften the term, “Natural Search” or “Organic Search” has become popular to use. “100% Fiber Search” isn’t too far away.
What it is … really.
When you boil down the concept of SEO to one word, that word is not “marketing”, it is not “advertising”, it is not even “information” – it is “relevance”. The search engines exist to provide you a set of web pages on the subject you want to know about. In fact, they want to do such a good job that their complex algorithms do an ever-increasing sharp job of weeding out sites that would get in your way of finding your answers.
SEO for the Best Information
Back in the mid 90s, the internet was used mostly for information for information’s sake. If you wanted to be known as the largest movie sound file site – so be it. The novelty was at its apex. The buzzword for it was the “Information Superhighway” (which I still throw around now and then just to bother people). Businesses viewed websites as glorified brochures adding little if nothing to their bottom line. Still today, the value of being found or NOT being found is not fully comprehended. Those companies that don’t employ solid SEO strategies may do well, but they could be doing a lot better by making it easier for people to find their goods that want them.
SEO for Increasing Business
Once companies realized that this “superhighway” was a way to sell their wares, e-commerce started growing exponentially. To keep spammers from exploiting the opportunities to “pocket some cool coin,” the search algorithm started to find these ne’er-do-wells and kick them out. Those companies that could placate the algorithm with offerings of clean and organized code would reap benefits of being close to the top of search results.
SEO for Marketing
SEO actually should be called BO for Business Optimization. Granted, not the greatest acronym, but practicing SEO begins way before a search engine or even a website comes into play. Why? Good SEO is like passive business consulting because it turns the game of marketing on its head. It forces businesses or organizations to think about their product or service from a solution standpoint of desired qualities.
Traditional Marketing can be viewed like this equation:
Brand Name * Marketing Efforts + Quality = Possible Customer
For instance, let’s say Reebok (Brand Name) wants to do an advertising campaign (Marketing Efforts) about Reebok producing the “best running shoes” (Qaulity) on the market. After advertising and marketing for a certain number of weeks, they hope that the number of people who saw it would believe what they were saying and hopefully buy the shoes.
Search Engine Optimization turns this equation around:
Definite Customer + Quality + Search Engine = Brand Name
In this equation we have someone who is actually in the market for running shoes (Definite Customer). She types in “best running shoes” (Quality) into Google (Search Engine) and she gets Nike (Brand Name).
Since Nike branded themselves with “best running shoes” the people who are looking for those will get their page before others. The chance of a sale is much greater.
But what if the customer is already wearing Nikes? She’s looking for something better, so she types in “better running shoes” and the brand that pops up is “Newton.”
Newton? I never heard of them, maybe they found out something in shoe production that Nike didn’t …
And a new customer with new brand awareness is born. Notice that Reebok didn’t even appear in these equations. Rather than fighting for Brand Naming (which is still is important) the game is turned to naming qualities that people are looking for in a product or service. Through the hundreds of thousands of brands out there, people will still type in a solution.
Which brands are known (or want to be known) for these?
Effective Pest Control
Reliable Web Hosting
Best All-weather Tires
The best SEO practitioners concentrate on making your site relevant to search engines and to the searchers, just prepare for advice on BO (again, not the best acronym). If your site is optimized and your links are bringing visitors looking for certain touted qualities, be sure to keep them to your site with a good offer, otherwise they may just go away as fast as they came.