One of the most common questions we hear from clients on a regular basis is: “What is SEO and what should I be doing about it?”
This question is usually accompanied by a certain amount of anxiety, or at the very least, frustration and confusion.
SEO (which stands for Search Engine Optimization) is a phrase that has certainly become a “buzzword” in business circles during the last few years. The overall impression is that without this elusive thing called “SEO” in place, no business can hope to be found online at all, much less actually be profitable.
With so-called “SEO gurus” contacting business owners on a daily basis to say they can “easily” improve the business’ website rankings, get them to the top of the list in Google searches, and/ or increase the number of blog readers they can expect, it’s certainly tempting to hire someone—perhaps anyone—to do something about it, even if the service being offered is ambiguous and extraordinarily expensive.
The sinking feeling that the services offered by this self-proclaimed “SEO guru” is what’s missing from one’s website or business success is understandable and it has pressured plenty of well-meaning business owners into throwing a bunch of money at an unknown but highly-confident “expert,” typically with less than desired results. In the meantime, the exchange puts a huge dent in the typical small business’ marketing budget. When this scenario is layered with unfamiliar technology and intimidating vocabulary, the feeling is overwhelm, followed by action not grounded in a strategy of any kind.
Around here, we call this type of activity “Random Acts of Marketing,” and one of our passions is preventing clients from getting caught up in it−especially losing precious time and hard-earned money to it−by demonstrating that there is a more productive, small business-centric solution for the “SEO problem.”
When clients ask for our SEO advice, our response is very different from what they’ve typically received, particularly when its come from someone who has had no ongoing relationship with them nor familiarity with their actual business.
True, our answer may not offer the same allure as a simple equation like that of the SEO “expert”:
You/ your business
+ SEO guru’s mysterious activities
= Top of Google search rankings.
Instead, we take our clients back to the SOURCE of all effective small business marketing: STRATEGY.
Just like the process of creating a brand that captures your ideal client’s imagination and makes him want to give you a call, or a website that that will get her to take immediate action, it’s natural, organic, content-rich, sustainable, and effective SEO tactics that we recommend. These activities might not come with guarantees and they will require you to be involved. It’s not a “one and done” solution; rather, it requires creating a strategic foundation for sharing what you do with clarity and authenticity, followed by regular maintenance and monitoring.
The foundation of great SEO is a strategy that is clear, authentic, and powerful.
The purpose of SEO is to help the search engines find your content. You want them to know what’s on your site, that it has value, and that it should show up in the search engines for those who are looking for what you offer. Stuffing your site with the “right” keywords—while ignoring the far more powerful path of accurately describing who you are and how you make a difference through your business—has limited sustainable impact and it may even leave you in a worse position than when you started.
Many SEO experts will espouse their super secret knowledge, knowledge that enables them to “work” the search rankings in your favor. However, Google doesn’t want you to know how to manipulate the system. That’s why the system (i.e. search algorithms) is always changing. What does Google want? They want you to put great content on your site and let them know what content you have. That’s it.
And that’s the truth about SEO.
We help our clients apply a customized marketing strategy to a comprehensive set of business activities in order to create naturally powerful SEO for their websites.
Below are a few quick tips. If you are looking for more information regarding what we teach our clients about SEO and why, best practices for designing your website, or if you are just wondering how to find solutions to your website and SEO challenges, join us on Wednesday, February 1st, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm for WINNING WEBSITES, led by a panel of experts and followed by a Q&A.
We’ll discuss the strategy, planning, design, and SEO tactics that go into making your website work for you–and the search engines. More information on this expert panel can be found here and a list of all our workshops can be found here.