What is SEO?
We are asked so many times “What is SEO, and why do I want it?”
I thought I would take a few minutes and explain what it is. And why it should be important to any business and increase revenue.
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. Let me elaborate, as I am sure that did not fully explain it. SEO is a method designed to raise your rankings on the search engines so your website comes up higher, or at least closer to the first page.
Many of you are asking yourselves, “why do I want that?” Well, in this information age, very few people rely on the old, paper, yellow page type, directories to find products or services. While back in the day, the Yellow Pages were the only method to have a consolidated listing of all businesses, now they are obsolete.
Ask yourself, “when is the last time YOU picked up a phone book and looked up a listing?” Now, people jump on their computer or smart phone to search for products or services.
This phenomena is similar to old folded paper maps. When is the last time you actually unfolded a map and looked up directions? Typically, you jump on your computer, plug in your location and destination and get driving directions to your destination. Alternatively, you use a GPS to achieve the same results. We can not deny that technology is in our everyday lives.
Are you still saying “I have a website, but why do I want SEO?” Let me start by rhetorically stating our motto:
“What good is a GREAT looking website if no sees it?”
Ask yourselves this: When you use a search engine to look up something, how often do you go to the 237th page of the search results to find what you are looking for? Typically people stop after less than a dozen pages, so it behooves a business owner to be near the top of the listing for their keywords.
Let us not forget what the objective of being near the top of the search engines is for. It is to get more people to your website so that you can get more customers, and obtain more revenue.
SEO is not magic. It takes good content, and employing many technical methodologies to get good rankings, and it is not a one time event. It takes constant work, monitoring and tweaking to be effective, as search engines go through many changes. Keep in mind it is a competition with many folks vying for the top spots.
I can not help but share a phone call that we got the other day related to this. We got a cold call from a sales person offering to help us get a video on Google search, “.. since Google had limited space available for videos and that for a fee, we can be on the first page of Google.”
Once they found out that we were a website design and SEO company, they quickly hung up, because they knew they were using FALSE ADVERTISEMENTS! Let me dissect these statements:
– Google has limited space available for videos – FALSE Google has no limitations of this nature. The video to be posted, would either be on your website, or youtube to actually serve out the video.
– They could guarantee that we were on the FISRT page of a Google search – Again FALSE NO ONE can guarantee that you get to the first page. This is because it is a competition. People are all vying for top rankings, and if you make it there today, someone else can do something better and out-rank you tomorrow. In my opinion, they would be using what is called “black-hat” methods to give you a short lived rankings boost.
Black-hat is an un-ethical method of achieving results. This includes:
- link farms (sites that contain thousands of unrelated links for the sole intent of driving your back-links higher) See related wiki-article
- Hidden text repeating your keywords hundreds of times (one method is to put the same color text as your background color
- other unethical BLACKHAT techniques can be found here
All the major search engines have dedicated people whose sole job it is to search out these un-ethical methods and DEMOTE the offenders. The search engines are always improving their ranking engine to only allow valid, ethical websites to get great rankings. That is not to say some do not slip though the cracks, but they will get caught and penalized for these unethical methods.
So in summary: SEO is to get your listings higher on the search engines so people searching for your products or services can be directed to your website and be converted to paying clients.