What is SEO?

What is SEO Anyway?

If you’re just learning about SEO, you’re behind your competitors. But no worries; we’ll catch you up! SEO is an important piece of your online marketing strategy. It stands for search engine optimization and according to MOZ it’s the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. Organic traffic is the unpaid traffic that visits your site. These are the folks that aren’t directed to your site via advertisement. You could say that SEO is the branch of online marketing that focuses directly on improving organic traffic.

How Search Engines Index Your Site

All major search engines (social media search query functions included) have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos, blogs, other listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Payment isn’t involved in this organic “rack and stack” of relevant content.

In order to be relevant and useful, search engines first “crawl” the site, which prioritizes content based on titles, headings, content, and descriptions. If you create a sitemap, you can tell the search engines how you want your content prioritized. You may want to do this if important content is located under a submenu that might otherwise be a low priority. It’s important to note that the absence of a sitemap -or the omission of content on a sitemap- does NOT remove it from the search engines’ ability to crawl your site. This matters because (a) your site is going to be indexed (and ranked) by the search engine regardless of the presence of a sitemap and (b) if it’s a messy site, i.e. broken code, links that lead to nowhere, and long load times, it will be ranked low. It doesn’t matter if the user interface looks nice. If the crawl turns up a lot of errors, the search engine assumes your site is a poor user experience and ranks it very low. Or not at all. Yikes.

Some insanely successful online marketers -like Gary Vaynerchuk- have suggested that SEO is DEAD just to reverse course and later describe the process as being undervalued and mismanaged. No kidding, Gary. You told people they should trust their gut over metrics, and SEO was ignored by internet newbs to the detriment of their online aspirations.

If you have a rad idea, and you just know that it’s going to be big, it IS worth trusting your gut and plodding through poor performance if you really love it. BUT (and this is a big but) if you have a mountain of data that’s telling you something is ineffective, you should probably address it. Or if you have no data, because you aren’t sure how to get it, that’s a problem too. If you’re passionate about your idea, and you have a means of production and a target audience that’s interested, your problem is probably marketing. You need to get your idea to the masses!

SEO Professionals Can Help

Enter the SEO manager. This is simply a specialized type of marketing manager. Most web developer services will provide an SEO component, but it’s minimal. That type of “SEO” service certainly IS dead. Keeping the code clean and ensuring that headlines are where they’re supposed to be isn’t a web development extra, it’s the minimum for a functioning site. That service is integrated into Wordpress and Square Space, so just do it yourself and save the cash.

Good SEO managers, on the other hand, are worth their weight in gold. Knowing which keywords your competitors are using and comparing that against keywords used in your site to design a campaign that grows organic traffic takes time and expertise. It requires software to crawl your site and index it like a search engine would, identify and fix html errors, and continuously monitor site performance. Then they’ll do content analysis, determine where your hard-hitting content is and what needs to be beefed up. They’ll create design hierarchies, sitemaps, content suggestions, and optimize your entire site to out-compete the next guy.

Successful SEO managers have training as coders, marketers, and often skills in business and computer science. They coordinate the creation and submission of website content, build online community and backlinks, cooperate with multiple team members to get your brand in gear, and compare everything to the latest trends in online marketing (including use of social media and online stores like Amazon or Alibaba.)

SEO is an important marketing tool for online brand awareness. It increases traffic and engagement in order to convert leads into sales. You can do a lot of the basics yourself. For example, The MotoDoll provides a free site audit tool here that crawls your site and identifies errors the same way a search engine does. If you have a lot of time, continue to learn about SEO and implement as many techniques as you can. If you don’t have a lot of time and need effective management (including content marketing and development) to boost your sales, give us a shout.