SEO is a term that a lot of people throw around. It is a term that is commonly used to describe every aspect of digital marketing.
In light of this misunderstanding, I wanted to stop and give you the lowdown on what SEO means, how you can use it, and how to view it.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
Search engines, such as Google, take websites from all across the internet and match them to what someone is searching for. The way they do this is by running algorithms that filter results.
So then Search Engine Optimization is the act of optimizing your website for certain search terms.
Let me give you an example:
Let’s say you sell kitchens, and everything that has to do with a kitchen. When people search “kitchen cabinets,” you want to show up on the first page of the results.
SEO means that your site has been optimized to show up for that keyword when people search for it.
Each search engine is different, and how pages get ranked on each search engine is different. From Google, to Bing, to Yahoo, and more. There is even such a thing as Amazon SEO. When you talk about SEO remember that it doesn’t just involve Google, it can involve multiple different search engines.
When you are looking to hire someone for SEO there are a couple things you should know:
First, how are they getting you on the first page? Was it by using irrelevant keywords or search terms that have no competition because no one is actually searching them?
If you’re on the first page of Google for a keyword no one searches, does it even matter?
Second, what types of practices is the company using?
There are three types of practices: white hat, gray hat, and black hat.
White hat practices are what a reputable SEO company uses. White hat practices that don’t try to trick your users. They don’t use bait and switch tactics, keyword stuffing, or other things that cause a bad user experience.
Gray hat practices are the ones that are iffy, such as writing low quality content that receives an SEO penalty. These practices skirt the line between white and black hat, and should be avoided.
Black hat practices are bad practices that can actually result in getting your site banned from Google. Black hat is when someone is trying to game the system or hurt a competitor. Black Hat work includes invisible text, bait and switch tactics, keyword stuffing, and other actions that can hurt people, trick them, or give a bad user experience.
A good rule of thumb is to just simply follow what we have coined, “the SEO Golden Rule”:
“It’s all about the user experience.”
Third, SEO is a monster to handle when you think about the amount of work that you have to consistently do each and every month in order to rank and stay on top of your game.
There are hundreds of tasks that range from content, code, backlinks, page authority, business listings, and much, much more. SEO is not as simple as it seems and it takes a lot of consistent work for it to pay off.
Finally, one size does not fit all. There are a lot of companies that continually repurpose old campaigns. That works for some people, but every business is different and it has different needs.
The market is different, and the people you are trying to connect with are different. If someone is selling you a one-size-fits-all package, it most likely doesn’t really fit.
If you think about the point I just made about how there are hundreds of tasks for SEO, one size really doesn’t fit, because order matters.
I hope that this helps you get an understanding of what SEO is and what it pertains to.