I’d never heard of SEO before working for Giant Donut Marketing. It’s not necessarily some extremely complicated wizardly at the base level. It’s just something that often occurs under the hood.
After a few minutes of explanation, I understood why it was so vital to any kind of digital marketing strategy. When boiled down to its true basics, SEO involves a very short process:
1. Google offers a service
2. Managing a website’s SEO helps google offer that service
3. Google rewards the well-maintained website.
So how does each of these work?
The service that a search engine offers the world is not necessarily even seen as a “service” anymore. It’s almost a requirement to browse the web.
I can’t think of a situation wherein somebody looking for something online just types in URLs until they magically find the website they want. How many iterations of “cdacutepuppies” “cutelocalpuppies” “cdadogs” can anyone try before just getting bored or frustrated? Typing “adopt a dog in cda” into a search engine does all the hard work for you. Now THAT is the service.
If you were to type that into a search engine and not get quality results, you’re unlikely to revisit that search engine in the future. So it’s in Google’s best interests to make your searches fruitful and fast, to keep people using their product.
This is where the second step comes in. How does Google even know which website involves adopting local dogs? They may have a lot of employees and time, but not enough of either to manually browse the entire internet.
Google employs bots that “crawl” the world wide web and index websites based on keywords and content. This is where SEO comes in: Google has guidelines and advice for webmasters to follow in order to make indexing websites as easy as possible. Having your website sorted in a fashion that’s user-friendly. Having appropriate keywords on applicable pages so that when a customer goes to a page specifically looking for dog adoption, they don’t accidentally get police dog training or the homepage of a dog washing establishment.
This is the heart of SEO and if it could be summed up in one line it’s “Making sure Google knows exactly what your website and web pages are about so any searcher is properly guided.”
Finally, the sweet, sweet reason we do any of this as Search Engine Optimizers: The rewards. Google rewards well-optimized websites with priority positions in search results.
If my dog adoption website is exactly what Google is looking for, I’ll show up first on the list when someone local searches for dog adoption. The statistic I’ve heard is that searchers click on one of the top three search results 90% of the time. That’s huge for businesses, from a marketing and traffic standpoint.
If two businesses in a town are directly competing, and one of them is on the 2nd page of Google due to a poorly optimized website, I can almost guarantee you they’ll go out of business, or at least suffer.
Basically, SEO is becoming more and more of a requirement for any kind of online presence. As more people look to follow Google’s guidelines and keep themselves on the top of search results, those who do not will be increasingly pushed out. I, for one, accept our new Silicon Overlords.