the official definition
Here is an official definition from MOZ: SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid (also known as “organic”) search engine results. There you go, lesson’s over. What’s for lunch? If only it were that easy. Let’s dive a bit deeper and find out what it means to you.
DIVING DEEPER DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
Give your creative grey matter free rein for a minute here with me, and imagine the following scene as vividly as possible.
The year is 1978. You pack up everything you own and move away from the hustle and bustle of big city life to a cosy little town out in the country. Somewhere you can breathe the clean farm air and buy fresh local produce from the market every Saturday, at the crack of dawn. The town is quiet and peaceful, and everyone knows everyone else by name. There is only one of every kind of store: a bakery, a dairy, a general merchant, a butcher, a post office – you get the idea, but the one thing that this town is most famous for, and that people come from miles away to visit, is the book store with its amazingly knowledgeable owner, Mrs Watson.
Mrs Watson is like the modern-day Melvin Dewey. If Hollywood ever decided to make a movie featuring a female superhero called Library-Lass or Bookshelf-Babe, the story would be loosely based on Mrs Watson’s life. There simply isn’t a topic that she doesn’t know about! And when anyone from 100 miles around finds themselves stumped about what to do about a certain dilemma they are faced with, they drive into that town and head straight for Mrs Watson’s. Of course, after hearing them out, she walks straight to the right shelves and pulls out the exact books they need to demystify their little conundrums. People never leave Mrs Watson’s without a big paper bag full of freshly acquired wisdom!
WHY MRS WATSON? WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT HER?
So why do people drive past 3 or 4 other towns with similar-sized bookstores to get to Mrs Watson’s? The answer is straightforward: It’s because they always get what they need from her, the first time, every time. The extra time and expense it takes to drive to her makes it worth it, knowing that you’re leaving her store with exactly what you need to solve your problem.
And that, my friends, is exactly how it is with Search Engines and SEO marketing.
So how about Mrs Watson? You guessed it – she’s none other than the Search Engine Giant – Google. The reason why Google is the giant that it is today is that out of all the available search engines to choose from. Google consistently delivers the best quality search results. The bookstores in my little fairytale represent the search engines, the paying customers flocking to one specific store are the cyber info junkies that we have all become, and the books themselves represent the 1.7 billion live websites hanging around in cyberspace. Websites that are easy to understand and navigate, with high-quality content and no technical issues.
BACK TO SQUARE ONE
SEO then, in a nutshell, is making sure your website falls into this category. If Google is going to recommend you to one of its 3,5 billion daily clients, you need to be the creamiest cream of the crop. Google needs to understand what your website is about before it can recommend it to anyone. It wants to know that your website content is of the highest quality. That clients will have a positive experience while visiting, and very importantly – that the service will be prompt and speedy.
SEO marketing is the process of ticking all these boxes to make sure Google loves you and promotes you regularly on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) as the best solution to someone’s dilemma. Not too complicated then, right? Wrong! Becoming a teacher’s pet in Google’s eyes takes truckloads of strategic planning, hard work, and a never-ending supply of caffeine. Ironically enough, there is an easy shortcut: You can always just “bribe” Google to promote you on the SERPS above the websites that have gone through all this heartache.
AND WHAT IS SEO MARKETING NOT?
Now that we know what SEO is let’s take a very brief look at what it’s not. If you take this valuable info to heart, SEO fraudsters won’t easily be able to pull the wool over your eyes.
- It’s not a once-off exercise that you can pay someone else to “take care of” on your behalf.
- It’s not a quick fix for instantaneous, free website traffic.
- Most importantly, it’s not a separate, compartmentalised animal that needs to be fed and kept happy. Still, it’s more like an entire ecosystem with many different species that need to grow and co-exist together.
- And lastly, SEO is not too difficult for any normal human being to master, but it will take a lot of time and resources for you to see worthwhile results if you go at it alone.
SEO is a lot like fitness. It takes a long time, lots of hard work and heaps of dedication to get results. And if you stop, you lose all that progress almost overnight. But, like most things in life, if you have enough time and willpower anyone can conquer this giant. The catch is you may end up spending more time on SEO marketing than actually running your business, and end up with no more business to promote! But don’t stress, you can always get a super-fit SEO athlete to help you on your journey.