It’s always amazing to see the level of understanding the general public has when it comes to SEO and the search marketing industry as a whole.
Some people know all about it. Some people know Google has something to do with it, and others are left scratching their heads wondering, “Ummm…What did they say/what does that mean?”
Instead of explaining and going into the definitions of various SEO strategies, I wanted to try and see if we can put the world of SEO and search marketing into real life scenarios and situations, as they apply to most people’s experiences in the work force.
In the following examples, I have listed three of the most prevalent aspects of a search engine optimization strategy today and applied them to real-life scenarios to see how they measure up or relate to common SEO jargon.
1. “Always Dress For The Job You Want” – On-Page Optimization
How It Looks In Real Life:
When you are heading out to a job interview, any intelligent person understands that there is a basic correlation between how you dress and how others view you. The same interaction takes place when Google’s search spiders crawl the content on your brand’s site.
If you show up to an interview for an executive position wearing jeans, a Dave Matthews Band t-shirt and ripped up Converse All-Stars, you are most likely going to be viewed as inappropriate and unqualified to meet the job requirements.
However, if you are the person who shows up in a professional suit wearing a few “business” accessories and remember to comb your hair, your interviewer will have a positive first impression of you even before the interview begins.
How On-Page Optimization Looks In SEO:
Search engines are now becoming much more technical and sophisticated in how they crawl and evaluate a particular brand’s site.
On-page optimization refers to a site’s ability to ensure that the basic Web page elements are “SEO-friendly.” Technically, these elements are in there anyway, even if not optimized. This includes, but is not limited to:
Including a target key phrase or word in various strategic locations Adding inbound/outbound links Adding a clear call-to-action with a targeted key-phrase included Having social media icons appear above the fold, at the top right corner of the screen
The goal of on-page optimization is to increase your authority page’s credibility and relevance for a target keyword, and ultimately improve the page’s search visibility for that target keyword.
By making sure that you address the on-page optimization points, you are basically setting your site up to show search engines that you know who you want to attract, while providing an aesthetically pleasing user experience.
How Your Poor Appearance At Work Affects YOU:
How Search Crawlers Judge Poorly Optimized Sites:
|Inappropriate for the job||Irrelevant, outdated content|
|Unable to meet the employer’s requirements||Search engines find your site/content to be meaningless to the searcher|
|Unable to produce the type of results the employer is looking for, since the very first step of the entire process is out of sync with the expectations of the position||Site is missing specific target key phrases, the site’s search page listing doesn’t match the content within the site and thus, online users immediately leave your site due to unmet expectations|
2. Guilty by Association – Link Building
How It Looks In Real Life:
Most people understand that they’re going to have to deal with office politics regardless of their industry. Whether you’re managing your image and reputation or trying to figure out the best people to align with, everyone has to play the political game on some level.
Even if you are a snappy dresser and you’re able to manage your personal image successfully, a positive image of yourself can change instantly if your co-workers and colleagues see you strolling into the office with say, a group of hard-core criminal thugs.
By showing everyone that you are friends or associated with such a bad company, you are likely to get a negative reaction as your co-workers start to associate the actions and negative image of the thugs, with those of yours. As the saying goes, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.”
However, if you are known to have connections (links) with people of authority or well-respected groups, then you will most likely be viewed as having similar, if not the same positive traits that allow people to trust and respect you.
How It Looks In SEO:
Link building is the process of acquiring links from credible third-party sites that relate directly to your audience/industry.
Gaining credible, relevant links means that you are actively associating your site with other authorities within YOUR industry. If you are in the business of selling toothpaste, relevant sites would include dentists and online medical dictionaries and references; but NOT sites selling “car repair manuals.”
The more links a particular brand site acquires from well-known, respected sites like CNN or The Wall Street Journal, the more likely your site will experience a significant increase when it comes to the following:
Search visibility Online authority Search engine listings Traffic Conversions Keyword authority
However, if your brand site has numerous broken links or has acquired a ton of links from irrelevant, untrustworthy, and/or low-quality websites, then systems like Google’s Penguin Update can ensure that your brand’s site is never found by online users again. Just like how all of your friends will stop hanging out with you if you start associating yourself with heroin addicts or something.
How Shady Friends Affect YOU At Work:
How Bad Links Affect Your Site:
|Disassociation from your professional peers||Loss of traffic|
|Possible termination||Search engines de-index your brand’s site or forms of content|
3. You Have to Be At The Party To Make Friends – Social Media Development/Engagement
How It Looks In Real Life:
You are new to the area and just started a new job. You are eager to create a social life for yourself and there just happens to be a holiday work party coming up.
You show up to the party, mingle with associates, eat with friends, and try to get a drink in with the boss.
By the end of the night, you went from knowing a handful of people to setting up plans for weeks ahead!
When you start seeing everyone one-on-one, you begin to develop and strengthen your personal relationships with people. After a while, you have had such a great time hanging out with your new friends, that they then tell THEIR friends how awesome you are, and the cycle of making new friends continues to develop!
But in order for all of this to take place, YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP TO THE PARTY FIRST!
How It Looks In SEO:
Social media is quickly becoming more critical to the SEO experience!
Now more than ever, online users and consumers base their opinions and financial decisions on forms of user generated content like peer reviews and testimonials.
According to a 2011 Nielsen report on social media, “Consumer-created reviews/ratings are the preferred source for information about product/service value, price and product quality.”
With this in mind, the amount of active followers (those who actually engage with your brand by talking to you, asking you questions, forwarding links, etc.) your band has on Twitter, the number of “likes” of your Facebook business page, and even the amount of connections of your business’s LinkedIn profile, all lead to the idea that you brand must be credible, otherwise, how did you manage to get thousands of people to follow you?!
Setting up a social environment where your brand singles out individual users and speaks directly to them, answering their questions and offering advice, allows you to manage, strengthen, and keep your online relationships.
In addition, it also supports the advancement of word of mouth advertising from user to user.
An excellent social media environment that engages your audience in a fun and meaningful way, can be an enormous asset to your brand’s SEO experience as far as the following:
Increasing credible links Increasing positive peer reviews Increasing positive PR image/efforts Expanding online reach Increasing online conversions/sales
How Positive Relationships At Work Affect YOU:
How A Developed Social Media Strategy Affects Your Brand:
|Increase personal relationships||Increase online audience|
|Invite to more out-of-office events||Increase word-of-mouth advertising rate|
|Develop your personal reputation||Enhance brand’s reputation and image through peer reviews|
|Collaborate easier with others in and out of the work place||Create relationships that see your online audience continuously return to your site|
As It Is In The Real World, So Will It Be In SEO:
So the next time you have a meeting with your SEO agency to go over various strategies and metrics, don’t stress out wondering the whole time what the heck they are talking about when it comes to these three crucial aspects of search engine optimization and marketing! Just pretend your website is a virtual representation of a person and that search engines are trying to figure out who that person is, and what they have to offer.
If you are able to think about SEO in relation to common, every day experiences, while also understanding what effects or reaction they cause, you will have an easier time understanding what the SEO and search marketing experience is all about!