If not having an SEO campaign in place is bad, not knowing its basics sets you back in your marketing game – way back. It doesn’t take a marketing expert to realize this. No modern customer would open a phone book to look for services if they had something more convenient in hand: their iPhones.
Mobile devices, like iPhone and tablets, and laptops provide access to the world’s biggest library, Google. If your SEO game is strong enough, users may find your services in the first few shelves.
Let’s put it this way: you want to be in one of those shelves, where people can easily see you and read your content, and SEO can put you there.
Why Google Matters
Trust us, you don’t want any other shelves more than those of Google’s.
Google is the answer machine of the 21st century. So are other search engines, such as Bing, Yahoo! Search, AOL Search, Ask, and others. But once you’ve pleased Google, the number one search engine, you’re all set.
In December 2012, Google garnered 114.7 Billion searches, accounting for 65.2% of the shares and outperforming its competitors by a long mile. Baidu, the Chinese-language search engine, followed behind, garnering 14.5 billion searches with 8.2% of the share.
Google’s supremacy remains today. At a Google Adwords event last year, the search engine revealed that it generates a whopping 3.3 Billion searches every day. To put that into perspective, if someone gave you a nickel for every time a Google search is done, you’d be a millionaire in nine minutes.
We get it, Google is popular. So if your business is, say, offering catering services in Tulsa, and if your SEO efforts are optimized, you’ll be the first to appear in Google’s coveted results page when someone types in “catering services tulsa”.
But how exactly can you optimize your SEO campaign?
How SEO Works like a Courtship
Lately, SEO has been less about directly pleasing search engines and more about pleasing the users to please search engines. Basically, it’s pleasing everyone at once.
While the goal is to get higher rankings, the objective is to make Google trust your brand enough to put you there. This means Google needs to get to know you more and decide if you’re a qualified prospect.
Thanks to its algorithms – which get smarter and more ruthless each time (much like the parents of the girl you’re trying to woo) – Google gets a good set of metrics measuring your value. Enough metaphors, we’re talking about your web pages.
Lately, Google has shifted the focus to user experience (UX). Your objective is to provide content that your users understand, find useful and interesting enough to keep them reading. In other words, you need to make everything about your user. Now that SEO and UX are tightly intertwined, you want to provide a relatively seamless and satisfying experience in terms of content and website navigation.
This presents the challenge of optimizing your content, making your website mobile-responsive, building quality links into your website – the list extends, as seen in MOZ Search Engine Ranking Factors 2015 Study.
That’s where SEO experts come in. They know the unspoken rules, the ins-and-outs and intricacies of the mysterious and imperfect art that is SEO. Because SEO is part-skill, part-guesswork, experience in the discipline certainly puts someone at a significant advantage. Small-to-medium businesses looking to dabble into this strategy can use the technical expertise and intuitive talent of an SEO professional.
To succeed in SEO, it’s not about necessarily having the best products to offer, but having a Google-approved presentation of those products. If you do it right, you gain the visibility you need and the edge you want.