Is SEO some kind of magic? No, really…I’m asking because whenever someone brings up SEO, by the reaction in the room, you’d think it’s some mystical sorcery conjured from rusty cauldron by someone named Gruntilda. And some business people view it the same as programming or web development – an obscure work only done by a techie who labors away in a dark room, pounding energy drinks and listening to dubstep for hours at a time.
It’s no doubt there’s some technical work involved with SEO, but it’s not terribly complicated when broken down into its core purpose. Now, before some SEO specialist reading this gets all bent out of shape and starts a coalition to get me de-indexed…I don’t mean to say that it’s easy. It’s not. What I’m saying is that – if you’re wanting to understand SEO – the easiest way to start is by determining what it’s trying to accomplish.
The SEO Purpose
First of all, the core purpose of SEO (which officially stands for Search Engine Optimization) is to ensure a website attains and maintains the best search engine ranking possible over time. If you start with that as your end goal, then you can start digging into the “how”.
We already know the “why”…don’t we? The “why” is because when a website ranks well, it will:
- Pull in more traffic
- Attain more conversions
- Add more revenue for the business
So where do we start? Well, let’s begin with what happens when a website is first built.
The SEO Journey
Let’s say New York City represents the internet, and your website is going to be dropped out of a helicopter into it. Obviously you’d want your website to land right in Times Square – preferably in place of that famous red and white soft drink sign (You all know which one…but they don’t need any help from me with advertisement).
What will actually happen, is you’ll be dropped into an obscure alley somewhere in the Lower East Side – probably on the corner of Ludlow and Broome Street. From there, your journey begins. It’s the quest of showing the search engines that your site deserves to rank in the “Times Square” of your specific industry…or keywords.
So, how does that happen?
It’s important to note that there are many parts to SEO, which is why I treaded lightly about saying it was easy. It’s not. But the overarching concept itself isn’t terribly complex. Everything from clean pages without duplicate content, to a good quantity of content on each page, to a continuous stream of new and valuable content, and sites with valuable content and authority linking back to your site (a.k.a. backlinks) are all factors that come into play with a site that wants to rank.
I’m sure you noticed that the word “content” was underlined 4 times there. That’s because the search engines care about content. That’s how you earn your cab fare to Times Square. Oh, and when it comes to content…not just any ol’ stuff will do. Remember, you’re appealing to humans here. Developing good content is a job within itself. So make it good.
The SEO Investment
SEO takes time. You almost need to view it as earning trust with the search engines. They don’t just let you into the “cool kid’s club” right away. It can take anywhere from 5-12 months before you start seeing major results. But it works like compound interest, and your investment will eventually pay off in troves if done right. You’ll have a continuous flow of organic traffic for years to come…assuming you keep the valuable content flowing.
So, the best thing you can do? Make sure you hand over your SEO duties to someone you can trust to get the job done. If you’d rather learn it yourself…be prepared for a wild ride indeed.
As I’d mentioned, SEO is not necessarily simple. But the goal of what you’re trying to achieve generally is. If you can grasp that you’re simply trying to add value to the internet — and really…humans — with your website, the steps to reach that goal will reveal themselves. And although it’s not wizardry, having a seasoned “SEO Wizard” as part of your team is only going to help your bottom line in the long run.