What Do SEO People Actually Do?

If you are considering “SEO” for your website, you probably have some questions. The first ones might be, “What in the world is SEO and what is it you actually do?”

For the lay person, SEO can be very confusing. Here is a primer to give you some information to make a decision on whether SEO is right for your company. (Hint: It probably is.)

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo have rules about how they rank websites on their search engine result pages or SERPs when a user puts in a search term. If I go to Google and type in “Where can I find recipes for delicious brownies?” I am going to receive a number of results, or “hits.” General wisdom is that most people will not go beyond the first page or two of search results, so if you sell brownie recipes, you better be on page one of Google’s results or most people will not see your website.

SEO experts work for the brownie-recipe company to get the website’s results on the first page of Google. They also pepper the Internet with links to the brownie recipe website through other websites, blogs and venues that will lead potential brownie-recipe customers back to the “landing page” where they can find great brownie recipes and hopefully buy them from your company.

So Why Can’t I Just SEO Myself?

Many people try to do their own SEO. Unfortunately, this is usually not successful as the rules used by Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines for selecting good content pages and ranking them has become very complicated.

In fact, you can easily gain a red flag from one of the search engines and be banished to page 1,074 of the search engine results if you do not know what you are doing. This can lead to months of trying to recover your status with the search engines, all the while losing potential customers who do not see your website.

It is usually best to let an expert handle your SEO marketing. A good SEO firm can not only give you great advice on how to make your website visible but can also help you think of new techniques and ways to get your brand and your message out to the public, whether you sell brownie recipes or perform neurosurgery.

Source: Moz, “An Introduction to Integrated Marketing and SEO: How It Works and Why It Matters,” Stephanie Change, July 29, 2013.