What is SEO? | Volume 1: Tell me like I'm 5 years old

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Confused about all the stuff you're reading about SEO online? In this article, we explain it like it is. No fluff. 

What is SEO?

What is “SEO”?

Search Engine Optimization

Great, so what exactly is “Search Engine Optimization?”

(please don’t go to Wikipedia, even though I know you will, because you will become more confused after reading their page on SEO)

SEO = “Activities which (directly or indirectly) improve a website’s ranking.”

In the year 2015, we refer primarily to Google when referencing “Search Engines.” This could change in the future. Thus, “search engine optimization” is virtually synonymous with “Google optimization.”

Activities which have the greatest positive impact on SEO

Content Creation, specifically writing.

Content Distribution (which leads to naturally earned backlinks)

Onsite Optimization

Social Media

Why do these activities improve your rankings?

Google’s algorithm factors over 200+ signals to assign rankings to individual websites. The number of times a keyword is used on a page, how many other sites link back to a page, quality of those backlinks, and the load time of the page are all factors which affect a website’s ranking.

Why don’t you just paste the keyword on my page 100 x million times?

That used to work in the past. Google’s algorithms are too smart. It can recognize spammy content and also duplicate content-- so copying and pasting another website won’t work either.

What’s the big deal about SEO?

The main reason a website owner wants to “optimize” his/her website is to improve rankings. Improved rankings lead to higher traffic, more leads, and increased sales. This leads to higher profit and a happy business owner.

So what “activities” constitute doing “SEO?”

“SEO,” as broadly defined above, allow for many “activities” to qualify as “search engine optimization.” Including but not limited to: content creation, on-site optimization, link-earning, and link-building. There are so many types of content, optimization strategies, and varieties of link earning and link building tactics that listing them all would take at least a few pages.

“Search Engine Optimization” is kinda like “Exercising”

If you jog for a few minutes and ask me “does that qualify as exercising?” I would say “yes.”

However, if you ask me “will jogging for a few minutes help me achieve the body of my dreams,” I would be inclined to answer, “most probably not.”

Jogging endlessly for 3 hours per day probably won’t get you that beach body look either (you’ll end up looking like a skeleton).

Achieving a perfectly toned body requires an integrated strength training plus cardio weekly commitment amplified through diet: controlling protein and carb intake.

It reminds me of a successful SEO campaign-- an integrated content creation and distribution strategy plus onsite optimization amplified through pay-per-click advertising.

Here’s where Personal Trainers and SEO Consultants share similarities: you don’t really need either one of them. Information is free and you can always figure things out for yourself. They both provide luxury services, reserved for those who have the money and want the results.

But doing SEO right is like doing a SQUAT right: perfect form, perfect depth, toes pointed the right way, hip hinge, etc. It might look easy, but it takes years of coaching and hundreds of reps to develop proper squat form.  

And this highlights the problem when trying to define “search engine optimization.”

Similar to exercising, many activities can technically qualify as “search engine optimization,” but it’s not guaranteed that doing any/all of them will produce successful results.

If you tell all your friends about your new website, is that considered doing “search engine optimization?” If you consider the broad definition of SEO stated above, then YES, telling your friends would be considered SEO, because there’s an indirect benefit. Some of your friends might actually visit your site, bookmark it, and/or share your site--activities which have a DIRECT benefit to SEO.

However, pretty soon you’ll run out of friends, so you can’t rely solely on that strategy to keep improving your rankings. Some people might have such an awesome network that they can rely solely on it for marketing; most of us need to build that network.

So now that we’ve got a general idea of what SEO is, and what activities can qualify as SEO, what exactly is an “SEO Company?”

What is an SEO Company?

Your editor in chief.

Imagine your website is both a book and a sales brochure in one.

It's a dynamic book: meaning that the content continually changes. New pages added. Old pages are edited and improved. Images and videos published. Links tie your pages together.

An SEO Company is the editor in chief of your book. Translated, this means your SEO Company should be skilled in web development/design, content creation, and public relations.

The trick to SEO is keeping your "book" relevant.

Some rare books can stand the test of time. The others will require constant updating.

It's difficult to keep your "book" relevant because consumers are spoiled these days. And they have a good reason to be. Information online is plentiful and free. Inbound marketers are spewing content out at an incredible rate.

The content war is brewing and the competition is heavier than ever.

Is My Blog > Your Blog???

Do I publish > You publish???

What does this all mean?

Your "book" needs to be awesome to reach page 1 of Google.

Like a rose garden, you must perform daily maintenance to keep it beautiful.

As an SEO company, we also act as landscapers to your rose garden-- crafting it to be beautiful, so people will stop by and smell the roses.

It means that you need a content creation and distribution strategy. When you write a blog, how do you promote it? What illustrations and infographics need to be designed to go along with the blog? What social media streams get posted to and when?

Google, it appears, rewards those people who care about their business. If you are putting out a lot of quality blog posts, articles, pictures, and videos, it signals to Google that you care about your business.

Yes, in this day in age, you've gotta be doing all of that and more... if you want to dominate your competition.

And why wouldn't you want to dominate your competition?


Stella ClaireMay 17 2017, 12:52 AM Very Informative post.

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