One of the most frequent questions I hear from potential clients, business owners, website owners and even the people I meet day to day is, “What exactly is SEO anyway, and why do I need it?”
Unfortunately there is no easy one liner answer here, the answer is actually very complex. When I am in a situation without time or place to explain in detail, I simply say “A website without SEO is like a business with a CLOSED sign on the door”. If you do not use SEO “properly”, then your potential customers can not find you.
The internet does not work on the WalMart principle of “build it and they will come”, where everyone knows the brands, observes the construction and eagerly awaits opening day. For small business owners, placing your business in a position on the internet where it will be found, is more of a challenge than any other they may encounter in their business model.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of building credibility, identity, recognition and authority in your industry. This process can be from a local, national or world perspective of search.
Done properly, Search Engine Optimization will position your business or your business website at the top of online searches in the industry. And, even more importantly, web traffic from an effective SEO campaign will even target specific customers as well as target customers who are ready to buy instead of just curious.
The day of newspaper advertising and other print media driving traffic are gone but not dead. These media are still effective, but only when they are used in conjunction with highly targeted SEO campaign.
I must stress here the importance of proper SEO. When a SEO project is not done properly, it can actually do more harm than good. Search Engines, such as Google (and primarily Google), use an “algorithm” process to search websites and to measure their authority for search terms. In other words, the process of search and search results is very specific and if the process does not meet the guidelines, the website will never come up in the search results.
No longer can you use hundreds of keywords, link wheels and duplicate content postings to drive traffic. Black hat tactics such as these will have a huge negative effect on your website. A good SEO professional will have a “hands on” specific plan to drive traffic and rankings to your website, not a software generated program.
Google and others frequently change their algorithm and SEO professionals will keep up with these changes and be prepared to change their clients’ websites to prevent a “slap” in authority.
So, to answer the question, “what is SEO”…
It is a necessity for your business success.