Friends, we’re getting back basics today.
This is the beginning of a series I’m going to call “SEO essentials”. In this series, I am going define in detail everything you need to know about SEO so that you can turn up your megaphone and get your voice heard! Notice that I said ‘need to know’. There’s waaaaaay more to SEO than I can teach in just a few blog posts, but I’m going to make sure to tell you the essentials of what you need to know so you can rise above the clutter on the web.
So, what is SEO?
Most of you probably know that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.But most people stop there because they think SEO is too overwhelming, hard to understand, or confusing. We hear you, loves!
Let’s break this down:
SEO is an Art
Once the ‘science’ bit is done, the fun part comes in: the art. The core of this part is creating content that inspires people to comment, read in entirety, link to, and share. In other words, this is ‘engaging content’. Google looooves this and sees it as a sign that you’re trustworthy, reliable and reputable.
The best part?
You get to connect with your audience by providing head-turning, fist pump worthy content. Not only does Google trust you more, your audience will too, and that’s more important than anything.
SEO is a Science
The science of SEO is an ever changing algorithm of about 200 factors. While no one really knows the exact secret recipe search engines use, people have been able to figure it out over the years through trial and error with SEO strategies. We’re kind of like Phoebe and Monica trying to recreate a cookie recipe just by taste (only unfortunately for us, we don’t have the recipe printed on the back!).
The Science of SEO is everything that happens on the backend of your site (the part that visitors don’t see). This is usually a fair bit of work, and most people hire someone to do this initially and to maintain this for them.
Ideally, this means first page, right? The most clicked spots are spots 1-3, or the highly coveted Google Business and Google Box. When you put the practice of the art and science of SEO into action, you’ll rank better than before. Always. If you work consistently enough at SEO for a long enough amount of time, you will end up on the first page for your targeted keywords.
In other words, for free. You can show up on the first page if you pay for it, which you may have done if you’ve used Google Adwords. There isn’t anything wrong with paid marketing, it’s an essential part of any business. However, SEO can be a more sustainable option, and when it’s done well, can get you found for many relevant keywords. Also, if you maintain your SEO, you have a higher chance of keeping your spot at the top.
How you Want to Be Known
That ‘how you want to be known’ bit is an important distinction–it’s highly likely your site is getting found for things totally unrelated to your business. A law office client was getting found on the first page of Google for a local restaurant–all because they blogged about a team dinner there. (This is an example of bad SEO–we got them turned around and now they are getting found for lots of relevant terms!)
When you have good SEO, it means that you’ve built a reputation with Google. Google sees you as trustworthy, relevant, reliable, and helpful. As a reward, Google puts you at the top of the list for all things related to your business.
Sounds great…but how do I actually get good SEO?
We’ll dig into the details about the ‘how’ in a future post in this series, but the core philosophy is this:
Google (and other search engines) make it their mission to help people find exactly what they are looking for. When you create content that is useful and easy to find, Google rewards for helping them on their mission by putting you at the top.
PS– We love this quirky video from our friends at SEO Land comparing Google to a librarian and SEO to a recipe and your site as the ingredients.
So, how much of SEO is an art, and how much is science?
It’s hard to say! Algorithms (the science) does change on a daily basis in minor ways, but the heart of SEO is always the same. If you keep the core philosophy of SEO in mind as you work hard, you’ll succeed at it.
Keep the Cycle Going for Great SEO
Once you have great content up, make sure it’s optimized for SEO (the science), then continue to write great content (the art). Rinse and repeat, repeat, repeat. Over time, you’ll get excellent SEO, trust and authority in the eyes of your audience and Google, and a thriving business. Hooray!
What steps have you taken to get great SEO? What do you not understand about SEO?
Did you know that we conduct SEO audits or as we like to call them Findability Reports which basically means that we will scour your site to determine what Google thinks you are all about–