Explaining SEO to my Mum
Trying to Explain SEO
It’s really easy to get on the front page of Google for some things and really hard for others.
What on earth. Yep. Exactly. (with apologies to my mum in advance).
We’ve had a few people ask us about how they’d approach SEO for their business lately, so I thought I’d write this brief explanation as to the two ways we approach it.
So what is Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO?
It’s the process of appearing on the Search Engine Results Page like on Google or Bing. Sometimes it’s referred to as ‘organic search’, or ‘organic traffic’.
If I were to explain it to her, I’d say something like this: “You know when someone searches for something on Google? Well, “SEO” is what a company can do to make sure Google finds and displays that certain someone or company in the results. “Good SEO” means you’re on the first page, “bad SEO” means you’re not.
I’d also throw in: “Please don’t confuse SEO with with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Pay Per Click (PPC) - This is where you pay Google or Bing money to be featured on an ad on the first page”.
Approach 1: It can be easy
If you want to rank for your brand, business name, or particular product - optimising for SEO is really, really easy. If you do the simple things like putting the thing you want to rank for in your URL, Headings, site content and CMS settings - and have a couple of backlinks from reputable sources (like Google My Business, Facebook) - then, so long as these things aren’t too generic, I’d be happy to bet that you’ll be on page one for your brand within a few weeks.
It’s easy, when you’re looking to rank for things like:
- The name of your brand (provided it’s a little bit unique)
- A product name (again, provided it’s a little bit unique)
- A long-tail keyword (I like to think of this as a combination of words that are less likely to be used, like "My Friend Greg is a Potato Skin".
My Friend Greg Is a Potato Skin?
Basically, the more unique it is, the easier it is to rank for.
Approach 2: It can be really really hard
If you want to rank for more generic terms, or for high-competition keywords - then, it’s a lot harder.
Because you need to convince Google that your page is better than the competition.
How do you do this?
Technically, you would have to win the algorithm - which takes into account a bunch of metrics. Things like accessibility, bounce rate, stickiness, domain authority, backlinking, page speed, length of content, keyword relevance, keyword clustering, social shareability, and having a heap of traffic visit the page - to name a few.
But, another way of thinking about it is you have to be more relevant than the competition.
What is relevant?
Adopting something from Dave Trott, the Marketing maestro, relevance has to be something that people find useful, entertaining or beautiful.
Should be easy right?
Well, not really. It’s actually really, really hard and, potentially, very expensive to rank for:
Generic words like “digital agency”
Commonly used or high competition keywords; like “small business help”
Because you have to either invest in creating something useful, entertaining or beautiful.
And for that, you have to have a good SEO strategy, and you have to constantly be monitoring, improving, and investing in your approach.
Thanks for listening, mum. Wine?