How You Define Search Engine Optimization Matters

One thing that makes the search engine optimization industry so complex is that it’s near impossible to find two people who define SEO the same way. Eavesdrop on conversations taking place in the hotel bar during a trade show and you’ll hear people arguing whether SEO is about rankings or conversions, whether link bait is a viable technique or just today’s buzzword, what exactly qualifies as SEO, who your site should be geared for, etc. Search engine optimization may not be rocket science but it’s not as easy as making a grilled cheese sandwich either.

Defining SEO

It’s why SEO has this weird reputation following it and why we may never come to an agreement on the SEO standards debate. The fact is, the way you define search engine optimization matters. It forms the basis for your entire viewpoint regarding how you look at SEO, and ultimately, how you create and manage a campaign.

When you talk about SEO do you look at it as a one shot deal, a long term investment, a collection of techniques you can use to steal rankings, a combo of all three?

At Bruce Clay, Inc. we believe in search engine optimization as a long-term Internet marketing strategy. And even that is misleading because it suggests that somewhere down the line there’s an “end” to that process. And we don’t feel that there is. Search engine optimization will be a part of your life for the entire life of your site. There may be times when you’ll have to focus on it more or less, but it’s never something you can completely forget about. At least not to us.

But not everyone will agree with that. When you’re judging an SEO vendor you can get a quick glimpse into how they view SEO by looking at the kind of tactics they’re preaching and the plan they’re creating for your site. Before you sign a contract, you better make sure you have aligning viewpoints.

Because we’re about creating and SEOing sites for the long term it means that we’re more interested in helping our clients to create link magnets and resources, than quick linkbait. Even though link magnets may take more time and are often harder to implement, we believe it creates more value for our clients over time. If you go to an SEO firm and they’re talking about getting links quick and don’t seem up to the challenge of ensuring those links stick long-term, then they’re probably a company who thinks of SEO as a quick fix or something you do in the beginning while still fighting for rankings. That may be all you’re looking for, but know that beforehand.

What kind of linking strategy is that SEO firm talking about building for you? When they talk about purchasing links is it about manipulating PageRank or using those links as a traffic source? Is buying links all they’re offering or do they have a competitive link strategy with a clear plan for earning you links from noted authorities in your field?

If your vendor views search engine optimization has a long term strategy, they’re likely open to teaching you best practices and explaining what they’re doing. If SEO is a quick fix to them, then they won’t be. What’s their level of transparency?

Like I mentioned, for us, search engine optimization is a long-term marketing strategy and that has a huge impact on the way we do things. We’re about getting clients off on the right foot and then working with them to maintain that. Before you go with any vendor, ask yourself what you want out of your SEO campaign. Once you know that, make sure whatever principles and views you have regarding SEO are mirrored by those you leave in charge.

Time to take SEO seriously? Contact us.

FAQ: How can I define Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to effectively shape my online marketing strategy?

Search Engine Optimization is essential to any business wishing to thrive online. A proper SEO strategy will enormously impact your visibility online and, thus, bottom-line profits. This whitepaper offers expert insight on defining SEO and applying it in creating an effective marketing plan.

  1. Understanding the Core of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization, more commonly referred to as SEO, involves optimizing content, structure, and online presence of websites to gain higher rankings on search engine results pages. It requires an integrated strategy encompassing keyword research, on-page/off-page optimization techniques, and technical SEO.

  1. Keyword Research:

Effective SEO starts with comprehensive keyword research. Identify relevant keywords that resonate with your target audience and align with your business objectives. Tools like Google Keyword Planner and Semrush can be invaluable in this process.

  1. On-Page Optimization:

On-page optimization involves optimizing individual web pages to improve their search engine ranking. Ensure your content is keyword-rich but also informative, engaging, and user-friendly. Titles, meta descriptions, and header tags should be crafted with SEO.

  1. Off-Page Optimization:

Off-page SEO encompasses building high-quality backlinks and creating a strong online presence through social media and content marketing. Quality over quantity is the rule when it comes to backlinks. Focus on obtaining links from authoritative websites. Ideally, you would use your high-quality content to attract links rather than forcefully building them, which Google could consider a rankings manipulation tactic.

  1. Technical SEO:

Technical SEO involves improving your website’s infrastructure to enhance its visibility to search engines. This includes optimizing site speed, mobile-friendliness, and fixing crawl errors.

  1. User Experience (UX):

User experience plays a vital role in SEO. A well-designed, responsive website with a clear navigation structure enhances user satisfaction and, in turn, search engine ranking.

  1. Regular Monitoring and Analysis:

SEO is not a one-time endeavor; it requires constant monitoring and analysis. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console help track your website’s performance, allowing you to adapt and refine your strategy as needed.

  1. Local SEO:

For businesses with a physical presence, local SEO is indispensable. Ensure your business information is consistent across online directories and that you’re actively seeking customer reviews.

  1. Content Quality and Relevance:

Creating valuable, original, and relevant content is the backbone of SEO. Regularly publishing high-quality content can boost your website’s authority and keep your audience engaged.

  1. Mobile Optimization:

Optimizing your website for mobile users is essential with the increasing use of mobile devices. A mobile-friendly site improves your SEO and enhances the user experience.

Defining SEO effectively involves recognizing its multifaceted nature and understanding that it is an ongoing process. You can develop a comprehensive SEO strategy that shapes your online marketing efforts by incorporating keyword research, on-page and off-page optimization, technical SEO, user experience, local SEO, and a focus on content quality.

Step-by-Step Procedure for Defining SEO Across Your Organization

  1. Begin with in-depth keyword research to identify relevant keywords.
  2. Optimize your website’s on-page elements, including content and meta tags.
  3. Focus on off-page optimization by building high-quality backlinks.
  4. Address technical SEO issues to enhance your website’s infrastructure.
  5. Prioritize user experience and ensure mobile optimization.
  6. Implement local SEO strategies if applicable.
  7. Regularly create high-quality, relevant content.
  8. Monitor and analyze your website’s performance with tools like Google Analytics.
  9. Adapt and refine your strategy based on performance data.
  10. Emphasize the importance of mobile optimization for an ever-growing mobile audience.

Following these steps, you can effectively define and implement SEO to shape your online marketing strategy, ultimately driving more organic traffic and achieving better online visibility.

This article was updated on December 2, 2023.

Lisa Barone is a writer, content marketer & VP of strategy at Overit Media. She's also a very active Twitterer, much to the dismay of the rest of the world.

See Lisa's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (3)
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3 Replies to “How You Define Search Engine Optimization Matters”

Aw, did you hit your head again, Brendan? Be more careful next time! :)

Hi Lisa,

At Resolution Media, we also believe that SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. And if there are two companies out there with this mindset, I’m guessing there are others. What’s to stop all of us who operate this way from standardizing what we do, so that those who want to operate in an ethical, professional way can have a list of guidelines and best practices from the very beginning. As I mention in my response to your original standards rant, there are clear benefits, including solving the staffing crisis, evolving the industry and increasing investment in search. Would be interested in your thoughts.



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