The term “SEO” seems relatively new. We tend to associate it with the search-engine boom in the last decade. In fact, SEO has been around ever since the internet became a mainstream technology. People differ over when the concept of SEO was born or even the first appearance of the term. There’s a general consensus that it was introduced in 1995 or sometime around then.
If that’s the case, then SEO is an old technology. It has been around for over two decades. Only now has it gotten the recognition it deserves. SEO has been important ever since the first search engines came into existence. Yet for the longest time, the practice itself was not known to many. Today, companies will devote an entire line item on their budget to SEO, and those familiar with the inner workings of SEO and able to take advantage of them are highly sought after. It’s a major shift. Ten years ago, I would have gotten a confused look if I mentioned the term.
On the other hand, while SEO has finally been recognized as an indispensable component of online marketing, it’s also become notorious for a number of reasons. There are of course those SEO practitioners who recklessly spam the Internet and black-hat practitioners who use dishonest methods to improve rankings. It is on account of these practices that SEO on the whole has been regarded as a shifty enterprise. Google is then forced to respond by introducing new rules and penalties, and companies that had been reluctant to take on these newly penalized practices but did so in order to compete in the fierce jungle of search engine rankings suffer as a result. It is a vicious cycle, and it has forced many smaller enterprises out of the business. That is why many SEO practitioners may currently find it difficult to market themselves as a reliable and legitimate resource.
Does this sound discouraging? It should not, and I’ll tell you why. Many of the stalwarts of the SEO industry are leaving the business. They have had a good run for the most part. They brought SEO into the very forefront of online marketing technologies. On the other hand, for the very reasons mentioned above, companies all around the world are seeking for those who can reinvent SEO and its possibilities. Like the internet itself, SEO does not and cannot remain static. It constantly needs people who can innovate—and in a way that matters. The time is ripe for major changes, and we need people who can lead the way in the next SEO revolution.
What this means is that now would be a very exciting time to get into SEO. You might feel like it is impossible for you to break into the industry. How could anybody stand out in a job market as competitive as SEO? In this article, I’ll give you my take on the essentials of SEO as well as my perspective on how you can make yourself an exceptional SEO practitioner.
1. SEO: A Tool for Marketing:
Despite all the bad rap, there is nothing inherently suspicious or devious about SEO. That’s because when it comes down to it, SEO is simply an element of marketing. Just as companies can use marketing to inform or to deceive, SEO too can be used for either good or bad reasons. At the end of the day, it is only a technology—a means to an end.
And what is marketing? Marketing is working to sell the product. As a marketer, your goal is to communicate the value of a product to customers and potential customers. SEO is no different. The aim is to transmit information about a product to those who would likely benefit from using that product and to as many of those people as possible. In the end, you’re equipping them with the data they need to determine whether they should purchase the product.
For the very same reason, SEO isn’t a fraud or just an easy way to make money. False or empty advertising will no longer get you anywhere as it might have in the early days of the internet. Once again, SEO is a marketing strategy, and marketing strategies can only go so far. Marketing requires a solid product, a product that is actually worth something to the customer. Without this, SEO is just fluff, and these days, fluff is easily detectable.
2. SEO and Staying Relevant:
Contrary to popular belief, SEO is not just a matter of arithmetic. It is more than just coming up with the right keywords. It is more than just inserting a magic number of those keywords into a site’s text. That isn’t enough. SEO is much more complex than that. Search engines are ever-changing battlefields for relevance, and the best way to come out on top is to provide a product that is genuinely relevant to the keywords in question.
Beyond that, presentation is key. You have to offer to your customers a concise, informative, organized, useful, and accessible website. See to it that your website reflects the quality of your product. Make sure that you reach the widest audience possible by making your site mobile-friendly. Don’t waste any opportunity to make customers satisfied. Be proactive and anticipate what concerns they might have. Organize targeted e-mail campaigns. Launch coupons and discounts from time to time. Customer satisfaction is one of the most important factors in SEO.
3. SEO and Strategic Thinking:
Technology never stops. It is constantly changing, innovating, leaping into the future. Just think about how rapidly social media has changed the entire landscape of the internet. Likewise, SEO is subject to a shifting and dynamic system. No longer does it only apply to search engines. It has already moved onto sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, and so on. You can be certain that it won’t stop there. Soon it’ll move on to things we never imagined was possible—such as virtual worlds and wearable technology.
You won’t keep up if you only “play by the rules.” You will not win by only trying to work the system. Search engines are always changing the game—not just to counter those who reverse-engineer their algorithms but also to genuinely improve the quality of their search results. If you only work according to a static model of SEO, you are going to quickly be left behind.
Instead of focusing exclusively on algorithms and data, think about the function of your product or service, what market niche it inhabits, what needs it caters to, and its advantages over similar products. Don’t just make your product look unique—make it actually unique. Make your product or service responsive to new technology. Once again, make it relevant. Make it stay relevant. Make it new.
4. SEO and the Importance of Semantic Relations:
Search engines have moved well beyond the idea of just searching for “strings,” or units of data. They’re now working on the “semantic search” method of improving search accuracy by seeking to extrapolate user intent from the query. In other words, his or her goal is to determine what someone is searching for by finding out why or in what context someone is searching for that particular query.
It’s a huge improvement from the older model of searching. That older model does not take into account the ambiguities of language. Words can mean many different things. A lot of the time, these differences have to do with where a word stands in a phrase and how it relates to the other words in the phrase. Search engines were not able to account for those differences because they considered words in isolation from one another. They did not account for the relational aspect of language and of knowledge. The problem is that word sense disambiguation cannot be automated. The data must come from natural and authentic human communications. Does that mean that everything has to be manually done? Do humans have to painstakingly tag every possible word that comes up? In fact, it looks like the job could in fact be much easier than that. With projects such as Wikipedia, Google’s Knowledge Graph, Wolfram Alpha, Linked Data, and DBPedia, resources are quickly becoming available to create a reliable semantic search engine that can accurately predict user intent.
Google is paving the way in this revolution in searching. The first major step, of course, was the release of Hummingbird, which affected around 90% of all searches. Yet many people still continue to describe it as merely a penalty or an algorithm update. It was neither of these. It was a complete overhaul of their system. It changed the basic way in which their entire search database was structured as well as the way in which the engine processed data. This was as significant of a change as PageRank. It is absolutely essential to understand this if you want to do SEO in this day and age. With Hummingbird, you have to begin, if you have not already, thinking about search engines primarily as relational databases.
Too many people think that the older ways, such as guest posting, reciprocal linking, and directory listing, are totally dead and gone when, on the contrary, they are very much alive. If you think about the way in which Google is privileging semantic relations, then you’ll understand what role these things play in the way Google sorts through those relations. Guest posts and reciprocal links are used by Google to determine how different things might relate to one another. It’s absolutely essential for them to function.
It’s only excess that will come to bite you in the end. If you abuse the system, Google will fight back and you might end up paying more for it than you originally thought. You shouldn’t try to outsmart the system. The system is already too smart for that. Instead, focus on genuine relations. Be creative about who the target audience is. Think of new and interesting keywords that may be relevant. Research sites with potential customers. Be creative.
5. SEO and Following Rules:
Earlier, I said that you wouldn’t get ahead just by following the rules. What I meant was that is no textbook for optimization. It is something with which you have to be creative. What I did not mean was that you can choose not to follow the rules. You have to. It might be annoying but mostly there is a reason lurking behind it that you do not and cannot see. You really have to adjust to following Google’s relentless policy of change. It’s just a part of technology. Get used to it. Otherwise it might come back later and haunt you.
6. SEO Means Working With Other People:
We’ve talked a whole lot about how SEO is constantly changing. Why is that the case? SEO is part of technology. Technology is about innovation. Innovation requires competition and collaboration. When you’re first getting your feet wet as an SEO, you’ll learn a lot by looking at how other SEOs do things. But you always have to qualify what you read and see. Just because such-and-such an SEO does this thing this way does not mean that it is the only way. People have different ways of doing things, and sometimes, one way is good for one but not for another. Instead of just learning routines, make sure you think critically about the things you learn. Are there any disadvantages to doing something a particular way? Could it be improved? Should it be done every time? If not, under what circumstances should it be done differently? These questions will not only allow you to truly understand the practice of SEO in an authentic way but they will give you the mindset of being a leader and an innovator.
Still, in the end, if you’re an SEO, you have a commitment to your clients and can’t devote all your time to thinking theoretically about different approaches. You have to bring back results. You have to be able to inherit SEO techniques from others and deploy them effectively. You have to balance your time between analysis and implementation.
It’s a lot to think about and you’ll get much further if you connect yourself to the wider SEO community. You’ll find that many of us are more than willing to share our knowledge and experience with you. We take and give back. The collaborative setting really allows us to be constantly innovating. Using a collective wellspring of knowledge, we’re enhancing older techniques and developing new ones. Get on social media. Many of us are on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Quora, etc. We have to be—it’s our job! We are a great resource that you will not want to miss.
7. SEO Means Looking at the Big Picture:
What I’ve tried to show in this article that in the end SEO isn’t about algorithms, keywords, numbers, rules, penalties, etc. Sure, these are all a part of SEO, but individually they don’t get even close to what SEO is all about. Just as search engines are trying to come up with a way to relate search terms and websites to one another in a way that human beings would, SEO too has to move in a way that anticipates these relations. That means doing everything. You have to start with finding and analyzing user behaviors. You’ll want to collect data on conversion quality. Then you’ll want to design your site accordingly. Test the site and start again.
SEO encompasses a huge variety of disciplines: psychology, computer science, graphic design, computer science, creative writing, and more. It is a lot to take on but it also makes for a rich and interesting experience. The many different kinds of skills, experiences, and knowledge that SEOs draw upon makes it possible for each SEO to excel in their own way. It forces everybody to be creative and to really put everything they’ve ever learned to use.
So for all you new SEOs out there, welcome. It’s an exciting time right now, and we’re glad to have you. Every new SEO brings something new and interesting to the table, and I have no doubt that you’ll make your impact too.
Links Web Design Is A Website Design Company In Bangor, Maine.
Links Web Design Is A Website Design Company In Bangor, Maine.