Don’t worry. You are not alone.
S.E.O. [ search engine optimization ] has been an essential aspect of creating an online presence (for your business, personal blog, brick and mortar store, non-profit organization, government entity, music video, or collection of silly cat photos) since the dawn of the search engine. Remember Excite, AltaVista or Netscape, anyone?
Everyone that had a pulse wanted to start their own search engine in the prehistoric mid-90’s!
Until Google came on the scene in 1998, with its innocent ad and content free landing page, simple search bar, and two little buttons (“Search” and “I’m Feeling Lucky”). It looked too damn plain to be any good … until you typed in what you were looking for.
Bam! It was almost like it read your mind and pulled up exactly what you were hoping to find– and without all the annoying popups and banner ads going crazy — flashing and popping all over the page like the other sites that ended up making you forget what they hell you were even looking for to begin with.
The bad news is that it has gotten more and more complicated — Google’s algorithm (s) for how and in what order listings will appear when someone enters “keywords” into the search engine is based on everything from how many visitors come to your website, the quality of your content, the length of time visitors spend there, what they ate for lunch that day … the list goes on and on.
There are a couple of hundred other factors that affect your ranking along with 8-10 primary algorithms that Google claims to use (I’m estimating here) — and perhaps a couple of hundred more that are less transparent. To further confound the novice individual or organization hoping to be found in an internet search, these algorithms are constantly changing.
The SEO company Moz estimates that Google had 3234 updates (almost 9 per day) in 2018 alone. So, I would be a little wary of anyone who says that they perfectly understand SEO and can miraculously get you the exact results you are looking for very quickly. It is part art and part science, even the SEO “experts” often disagree on how to improve your rankings in internet searches, attract traffic to your website, increase engagement and sales. This often leaves smaller organizations without in-house digital marketing teams and copywriters in a tight spot.
A Brave New Normal
When the pandemic lock-down spread across the world a few months ago, hordes of office workers grabbed their laptops and commuted home with a sense of uncertainty and doom. Thousands of workers were furloughed or had their hours cut. Public school students across the world abruptly adjusted their routine and pivoted to remote learning. Friends and colleagues had internet happy hours, eCommerce orders skyrocketed, and screen time was at an all-time high.
This event moved digital marketers to the forefront. Businesses and organizations worldwide needed to make sure their SEO was prioritized and working as effectively (and efficiently) as possible.
Today, we must embrace the new normal, and anyone who wants to have an online presence must assess and improve their SEO. From non-profit organizations looking to help communities during the pandemic, to businesses using copywriters and valuable content to market and sell products, to governments alerting their citizens about available resources, and to individual bloggers hoping to share their insight – without good SEO practices, your message will not travel very far.
No one will be able to find it.
You may as well write it all down on a piece of paper, put it in a bottle, cork it, and let it drift out into the wide internet sea.
In our next post, we will discuss some specific concepts to seriously improve your SEO game.
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