SEO Is A Process, Not A Product
One of the most common misconceptions in the world of online marketing is that search engine optimization, or SEO as it’s commonly called, is a product–a clearly defined and self-contained deliverable that an online marketing agency or web designer can provide for a fixed cost.
The reality, however, is that SEO is actually a process. It’s a way of doing things to a piece of content, like a website or a blog post, that makes that content more likely to rank well in search results. Most importantly, once something has been optimized for search, it doesn’t need to be re-optimized unless analytics data suggests re-optimizing is necessary.
What Is The SEO Process?
Despite how it’s often presented, the SEO process is not secret knowledge deliberately kept hidden away by mysterious tech guru gatekeepers. Search engine optimization is really just a set of best practices developed by search engines (mostly Google) and freely disseminated to encourage and help web developers and online marketers to make their content better.
These best practices include things like:
- Having a clearly defined subject and/or keyword phrase
- Using headers to outline content subtopics
- Linking to internal or external resources and references
- Writing optimized titles and meta descriptions
- Adding images to provide additional context
The complete list of optimizations that can be done to a given piece of piece of content is quite long, but not every piece of content needs to check every single box on the list every time.
In fact, one of the most popular and widely regarded tools in the SEO toolbox is a free plugin that analyzes the content of a page and provides a score based on how well the page content is optimized. It’s called Yoast SEO and it looks like this:
As good as Yoast is, it’s important to remember that what the content you’re publishing is about is even more important that how well optimized it is. Which leads into another important point about SEO.
Great SEO Requires Great Content
It is absolutely possible, and sadly very common, to apply the SEO process to a bad piece of content. When this happens it’s no different than putting a new coat of paint on a broken down car: it looks good, but it won’t get you anywhere.
For SEO to be truly effective, the content that the SEO process is applied to needs to be the best it can possibly be to begin with. Over time, experienced content writers learn how to write with SEO in mind, which makes additional optimizations more effective.
Finally, it’s important to know that “content” can mean anything published online. Whether it’s a website, blog post, slide deck, white paper, social media post, video, or something else–the SEO process is applicable to all digital media in some way.
Using SEO And Content Together
The ultimate goal of search engine optimization, of course, is to get the content you publish to rank well in search engines. What many people don’t know, and some marketers won’t tell them, is that it takes a lot of well-written, well-optimized content to start climbing up the search ranking ladder.
Search engines look at all the content on a website to help them determine what the website is about and how useful the content on it will be to their users. For this reason, having a great website, even one that has gone through the SEO process and is as well optimized as it can possibly be, is usually not enough to get on the first page of search results.
Getting Help With SEO
We speak with a lot of people who are frustrated that their website isn’t generating the kind of additional business they hoped it would. Many of them have spent a small fortune over several years on web design work that ultimately produces little to no results.
As important as having a good website is, the content that’s on it is what actually drives its performance in search results. Understanding the role that web design, content, and SEO play together is crucial in delivering the kind of results most organizations are seeking.
If your business is struggling to get traffic, or create content that readers are attracted to, please contact us. We’re happy to discuss your current situation and how we might be able to help.
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