SEO, or search engine optimization. Friend to some, frenemy to others.
If you own a website or maintain one, consider SEO that super special friend you share your fig newtons with.
Why does SEO matter?
For starters, search engines are crazy about it.
If you haven’t noticed, search engines are way more than just a great big website that lists other websites, though they probably started out that way in the 90’s.
But today they are smarter than your average bear.
Picture Terminator 1 vs. Terminator 3. Yeah, like that.
Just think - there are over 1.5 BILLION websites on the internet worldwide today.
Now, not all of those are online and regularly maintained - only around 200 million of them are active.
But that’s still an avalanche of websites to sort through just to provide you with pages and pages of search listings whenever you click.
And not just pages and pages, but listings where you can usually find what you’re looking for on the first page all within milliseconds.
Even fast food restaurants can’t serve you that fast! (Hmm…should we revoke their “fast” food classification and call them “somewhat faster than not slow” food?)
OK, back to SEO.
checks out your website and looks around … at everything
takes a bunch of technical notes
shares its notes with search engines
It’s like asking a friend if they know any good plumbers and they give you a list of names along with why they’re suggesting each one.
Search engines then:
crunch all the stats SEO gave them
form an opinion of what your website is about
rank your website so people can find it
SEO isn’t just a search engine helper, it’s a people helper.
Remember how we said there’s 200 million-ish websites online right now?
Well just imagine if you had to go to the library and search through 200 million books to find the answer to one question.
There’s one reason you don’t have to do that —
When it hands its notes over to the search engines, it includes things like relevancy. So if you’re searching for dog sweaters it doesn’t give you a list of websites that show dogs sweating.
This is why one of the worst things you can do for your website (and your business) is build it or redesign it, publish it online, and not optimize it.
Optimization gets you found.
And SEO is that loud-talking friend you just cannot ignore if you want your website and other web content to rank higher in the search engines.
The fork in the SEO road
One other thing to know is the road to achieving SEO bliss is forked —
there’s a right path that leads to higher search engine rank …
and a dead end that will land you on page 29 on the results pages
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
And on the web, invisibility is not a super power.
If your website is poorly optimized or not optimized at all, don’t expect to be listed on the first few pages of Google’s (or any other search engine’s) results pages, also called SERPs.
Now, believe it or not, way back in the day some folks tried to cheat this whole process.
They’d take one keyword they wanted to rank for and repeat it everywhere on their website… in the titles, subtitles, throughout the text over and over.
It’s called keyword stuffing…
And back then, it worked and it got you ranked in Google (Terminator 1 version).
But today Google (Terminator 3 version) is hip to that technique and if it were that easy, almost everybody would be listed on page 1.
If you haven’t guessed, this is the dead end road. No bueno.
Fill your website with well explained, relevant, quality content on a a consistent basis and you’ll automatically walk the right path.
Just remember, search engines are the judge and jury who decide whether your site is a reliable and trustworthy match for the exact content users are searching for.
Which makes it well worth the time and effort it takes to make your website presentable so it passes the sniff test.
The first step of your SEO journey begins by diagnosing your website to see where you might be missing opportunities to increase your search engine worthiness.
And don’t worry, not only can I do that for you but I’ll break it down and lay it out in simple explanations without the geek speak.
That is, unless you want that… I can do that too. And if you want it fixed, well, I can do that too.
Before you know it you’ll be well on your way to bragging about how you and SEO are besties.