“I can’t see them. There’s 3 letters and none of them are a ‘C.’”
Exactly. There’s a high probability that you and most people in this world don’t C the C’s…I mean ‘SEE’ the C’s in SEO. Maybe we should call it “SCearCh” for today’s purposes?
Moving onto why you’re reading this…
If you haven’t figured out the two C’s to SEO, there's a high liklihood you are a bit misguided about SEO.
First off, let’s define what SEO means like my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Brawlick would explain. SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” I also call it the most “super efficient opportunity” (in marketing) small (& many large) business owners are failing to use on my radio show on Toginet. And to put it in lay(wo)man’s terms, SEO is an online marketing strategy which simply helps you rank higher in the organic or natural results that search engines display (called the SERP [search engine results page]) after you enter a search keyword or phrase.
(It took me a good 5 years for the light bulb to finally turn on in terms of SEO)
Despite the length of time it took me to truly feel comfortable with the marketing strategy, it won’t take you as long to learn what SEO can do to literally help you do what companies like Amazon.com does in order to leverage the 16 billion or so searches a month by consumers. (Oh, by the way, did you know that Amazon made $400 million in net profits this past quarter in 2010? I’d argue a bit of it is because of SEO.) The reason why you are now going to be able to understand it more easily is because now you have SEO practioners like me who used to be an educator finally breaking it down so simply that a 64 year old Korean woman who’s second language is English and has never googled anything in her life now understands SEO.
SEO, on a high level is very simple. It’s basically Content and Credibility.
It’s “defining your Content” on your website to Google and whatever search engine that has ubiquitous usage on whatever platform people are using to search for things on the Internet. It’s also “building your website’s Credibility” using whatever currency is considered the judge of this second C. Currently, it’s links.
(By the way, did anyone tell you that you need to think about search from google’s eyes? Well, if they didn’t, I’m now telling you that you must be catering to their rules even if your mom works for Microsoft or Yahoo. They represent at least 65% of all searches in the U.S. and an even higher share internationally.)
Obviously, effective SEO is much deeper and the tactics are more specific than the 2 C’s when you’re practicing true search engine optimization. But if you didn’t even understand SEO from this higher level, there’s a huge chance when asking your web developer about how to make your website more “SEO Friendly”, you’ll be trying to pull some lever that works some days, but fails on others. If you think a single tactic within the 200+ factors that google’s judging your website is going to better your rankings, you’re dead wrong. It may work for a while, but you’ll fail over the long term. You’ll be joining the many who didn’t see the “Farmer update from Google” coming or the many local businesses who had no idea that Local Search would start to displace all their hard work in the organic listings.
As you know, to achieve a perfectly humming business running on all cylinders and for you to be able to put food on the table for your family and friends, you have to be doing MANY things right. The finances have to be managed by your bookkeeper. The marketing has to be done well by your marketing person (and I’d argue at least part-time by an SEO obviously). And the management of all your staff has to be carried out in a way that they love you and they want to take care of your customers. However, it’s my belief that there is a general principles you need to operate by that encompasses the 200+ factors in running a successful business: Cuality and Care ( since we’re sticking to the C’s, let’s have a little fun and spell ‘quality’ how it should have been spelled ;)). "Build Cuality Products and/or Services” and make sure you “Care how they are delivered to your clients.” “Cuality Client Management.” “Cuality Marketing.” “Cuality Management.” Again, I think you can run a successful business on a day to day basis, if you stick with a few stronger overall principles and constantly remind yourself to follow them. Ask Jim Collins and all the “Great businesses” that have been around for ages.
Unfortunately, in today’s article, I can't detail all the attributes which actually do tell Google what your content is. I’m sorry I can’t tell you how to build those links to improve your website’s credibility for now. However, I will do my best to come back and explain it here like I’ve done for the great non-profit Seattle Community Capital Development or the American Institute of Building Design at the University of Washington. And if you’re really curious, you can read my boring SEO blog which I’ll try and explain things even more simply (but in too much detail ;)). (Ask for my “the Internet is a library analogy.” Your socks might literally get knocked off while hearing it; 7 hosts from my radio station think it’s the bomb). I also have an SEO radio show on Toginet if you want to hear me rant about it with other SEO's. Just search "seo radio" and it will come up on the 1st couple of pages.
At the same time, if you understand SEO from this top level, you’ve done yourself a huge favor in your business. You’ve also equipped yourself with the best questions to ask when your web developer changes something and it fails to either a) define your content (of your website) or b) create credibility to the people who are judging your website on the internet.
Matt Cutts, the public face of Google at SEO conferences will probably tell you something very similar. It’s what Rand Fishkin, the CEO of possibly the best resource on the Internet for SEO would tell you. If you are always focused ONLY on those little details that you think are going to move your website up to the first page, you are probably one of those many websites you got hit significantly by the “Farmer update.” You’ll also be one of the websites that will lose again when Google decides to arbitrarily place listings into the SERP with another special type of result they deem is important similar to Google Places/Local.
I truly believe if you know how to define your content and create credibility via links or whatever currency is working at the time, you will create “relevance” on the Internet and you will be happily rewarded (from an SEO perspective) & very likely in your pocketbook where it ultimately matters.