Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short) isn’t what the blogosphere would have you believe. It is not some unstoppable big bad monster lurking in the shadows trying to destroy your company and everything you hold dear. At its core, SEO is simply the process of making sure that the people that need to find you can find you. As long as you focus on these two key components of any search, you and your beloved will be just fine (no pitchforks and torches necessary).
The Human Aspect
Each search is done by a person looking to achieve a certain goal. This goal could be to find your business, to find out about the products and services you offer, or even just to get directions to your doorstep. As a brand, your goal is to make sure you are easier to find than your competition while making sure all the information potential clients would require is available to them.
The most important step to doing this is to view your company from the perspective of a customer to figure out what it is your clients look for when they look for you. One you have channelled the inner client within you write down a list of words that people would use to find you (hold on to these). These “keywords” form an essential basis for your website. Sprinkling them in a frequent manner on your website makes sure that when people look for you, they find what they are looking for.
The Cogs in the Machine
Working on SEO without understanding how search engines work is like going monster hunting with a quiver full of arrows and no bow. You may get lucky and prevail in the end but it is ill-advised, so please sit back and allow me to string your bow.
Search engines are software systems that scour the world wide web for information which they display in Search Engine Result Pages, or SERPs for short (we digital marketers are obsessed with abbreviations). Basically, search engines find the stuff they think you are looking for. To do so, they crawl through your website and find as much information as they can about it from each page. The search engines scrutinize every aspect of each page from the visible content to the media. Like a mother-in-law, search engines are very judgmental, looking at every tiny aspect of code behind your webpages.
Search engines are however text-based systems making text-based content your best friend in SEO. For these, the best policy is to regularly sparingly add the keywords in the text where they make sense; search engines penalize web pages that just stuff keywords in illogical places especially in page descriptions that are just keywords with no context. When it comes to non-text elements such as images and video content, search engines rely on the descriptions of them in the website code. To optimize non-text content, you should use the relevant keywords to name your files as well as use keywords to describe them in the meta-tag (it’s like a description that only the search engines see).
The monster hunting world of SEO is vast with many tools and methods to achieve your goals. The process is long, arduous and recurring but it is very effective and with the rewards being more than worth it. We hope this at least helped you get to know the monster a little better. Go forth and HAPPY HUNTING.