You know the song, it goes something like this: ‘So, tell me what you want, what you really really want’ and then it goes on to explain levels of engagement to its listeners. Now that the song is safely on repeat in your head, let me touch up on its first verse: ‘Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want’ because it helps quite a bit when we talk about SEO.
Many a time businesses are not aware of the variety of opportunities to reach their potential clients because their products often require quite a bit of ‘splaining, from financial products to your kitchen appliances. In terms of data, social security and a broken ice maker are the same.
Positioning your website on top of the search results is a great mission to have. Why, then, asking about search engine optimization (SEO) is wrong in that context? How should you approach SEO? Quick answer: search engine optimization is a multi-discipline approach and focusing on individual elements of SEO may give you better results. Divide and conquer.
Trying to encompass all of SEO at the same time is the wrong path to take. To climb a page and reach the top, in other words, you need to start by researching your goals, needs, capabilities, resources, knowledge, competition, and more. Your ice maker is not much different. Built out of many smaller parts it may work longer than two years, fingers crossed. Once it does not work, you know you have a problem, and you need to do your research.
CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus once said: “I applaud everyone’s creativity. We’re all trying to reach and expand our audiences. You have to work hard to reach them and use as many platforms to accomplish that. There is a lot of competition whether it is news or sports.” As if having prime content is not enough.
The Current Explanation of SEO on Wikipedia
You could skip the next two paragraphs explaining SEO, and that is, in short, how SEO works: make it useful for me, no need to focus on all of the data.
“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic (known as “natural” or “organic” results) rather than direct traffic or paid traffic. Unpaid traffic may originate from different kinds of searches, including image search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.
As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, the computer-programmed algorithms that dictate search engine behavior, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines, and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. SEO is performed because a website will receive more visitors from a search engine when websites rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP). These visitors can then potentially be converted into customers.”
Take, for example, the title of this book: ‘Digital Marketing: Email Marketing, Google Analytics, Search Engine Optimization, Website SEO, Inspirational Change, Data, Content Writing, Online Business, Advertising Strategy and Growth Hacking’. It took three lines of text in this document to reach the end of the title and may take longer on your device. I almost lost you as a reader.
It is like a family photo when people keep joining, and you have to step back more and more in order to capture all of the family members in the photo. At some point you can barely recognize your family members – that’s how far back you had to go. Well, aunt Dorthy is unique, kind of stands out, but you get the picture, right. In terms of data, it is those small pixels in the photo that matter, just like many words in the book title may matter when you research digital marketing, email marketing, google analytics…
SEO Questions in the Way
Some common SEO questions are: How do I get my website or my product up there, on top of the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs)? How do I accomplish getting my website on top of Google Search Results through search engine optimization? Is there a better way to do SEO rather than spending hours on modifying content to accommodate what Google is looking for?
SEO is a discipline sometimes so complex that it is better to view it from distance. At the top of your list are all SEO questions, and that is where most people start. A mountain may not look so impressive from the distance, or in pictures, but once you want to climb it, hopefully, the need for right paths is what gets on top of your list. Meaning, you need a decent amount of research to approach the SEO mountain.
KPI – Key Performance Indicators
Performance indicators (Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, is more common) are one way to approach your SEO project. With a number of set objectives in mind and on paper, it is easier to divide and conquer your objectives. What we want here is to divide SEO into a set of objectives. At that point we are no longer talking about SEO. We are talking about more specific objectives that feed this behemoth called SEO.
The idea that there is only one solution to one problem is becoming outdated. Connecting the dots of intricate business relationships may be a better way to approach it. Basically, ignore the problem and focus on its elements. Some of those elements are actually parts of the solution. Just amplify them. It worked in politics for so long.
Nowadays, we can hear it almost from everyone, how things were great before, and today everything went to [expletive]. “In my time…” the story goes. Facebook is full of nostalgic posts reflecting the OP’s age and what they think was cool. Sorry, not cool, it’s satisfying*. Cool is actually not cool any longer. Please note.
The story – in my time, when I was young – in many cases will try to reflect on some qualities from the time before the media consumer was born. As technology moves and develops faster and faster, the greater the divide between the narrator and media consumer.
The story will actually reflect an inability to transfer the knowledge to new generations. The knowledge that has become obsolete with no use for it. The knowledge that was consumed, digested and discarded. At this point people simply have no way of reflecting on it and transferring it. The knowledge used to last longer, transferred from generation to generation, and it was a source of pride and economic advancement – writing, anyone? – but it is extremely segmented nowadays. Facebook is providing content and people are outgrowing it.
What matters in this case is the amount of data that simply starts to be in the way, grabbing and segmenting attention at levels not experienced before, and somehow SEO is in charge of connecting all the pieces for you and providing you with the right information when you need it? It’s a bit difficult, eh.
You don’t control your business anymore.
The internet has fragmented information about your business into smaller and smaller pieces, basically trolling the internet with your own information. Think travel industry, layers and layers of companies trying to sell the same room or a trip to more customers. Nothing wrong with that, you may say. More people may get to know about my offerings.
More and more companies will offer reviews, blogs, images, videos, everything Google loves to put in front of you, over and over again. All these layers of data will stand in-between you and your customer making a decision or, more importantly, a purchase.
With data segmentation, your potential clients get to be behind an increasing amount of data, and further away from your product. Just like that family photo. Add a couple of in-dept bad reviews, and your business may be doomed even before anyone actually contacts you or sees your website.
You live under the rock.
When a Texas-sized winter storm hit Texas in February of 2020, people were frozen in so many ways. It was so cold; we were about to have our own glacier in Texas. Up north, they called it Monday. It was unexpected for many. We were officially in the ‘not a typo’ territory from the media, primed for the ‘we are all Fargo’ hashtag. So cold, tollway prices, with no traffic, were below ‘an arm and leg’. Spinmeisters were only ones providing large amounts of hot air needed. Unlimited supplies of hot air. Their pipes do not freeze.
The word about the winter storm was out early on, but people didn’t hear it. How come they didn’t hear about the Arctic storm coming down to Texas for a visit?
The local media went through stages of the storm, at first pointing to numbers on the screen, how low they were, and later on they were trying to make some sense out of it and warm-up some hearts, as they always do. It is good for ratings.
Somewhere among these stories there was a young couple, wondering how they didn’t get more advanced warning about the storm. They were saying it in front of cameras of the local station who has been warning their viewers about the impending end-of-the-world freeze. What happened here? So many weather people were screaming into cameras about the winter storm, but still, the word did not come to everyone. How come?
Actually, the answer is much simpler than it seems. During the same sequence with the young couple asking about advanced warning, viewers could see little babies in the background, crawling around. People have lives and responsibilities, and just can’t always afford time to watch local TV. Or any TV or news for that matter.
Case in point.
After my tween babies were born, I didn’t know good sleep. I could only dream about it. Add a second job to it, driving 100 miles back and forth to work, going to stores on a daily basis and when urgencies happen. Apparently, there is no enough diapers in the world to cover the needs of little babies. Walmart. Why do they put everything people need at the back of the store, and once you reach it, find out that the shelves were not restocked?
I think it takes about 1.5 people per baby, so with two babies we were 1 person short. All that time has to be taken out of our non-existent rest time. I could fall asleep while standing. I could fall asleep anywhere, anytime, unless I was holding one or two babies, or steering the wheel. I was never tired this much, before or since.
This meant that I just could not devote my attention to anything else, other than babies and work. TV? Frozen and other kid shows, all the time. Funny thing, they didn’t want to sleep, and I could not wait to fall asleep. Babies like to be held while they are going to sleep. That was my only time to catch up with a book on my mobile device, a page or two.
One day I walked out of the bedroom, carrying two babies with me. TV was on and, strangely, no kid shows. The always-on TV said, “Unless you live under the rock, you haven’t heard the developing story about Malietau Louis Teʻo.” I stopped in front of the TV, turned towards it and looked at Cynthia Izaguirre, WFAA, sadly looking away from the camera, explaining the story I was not aware of in slightest**. Well, I could not stop looking at the TV, apparently my provisional window into the world from under the rock, and the TV host who could not stop faking sadness around the developing story about Malietau Louis Teʻo being duped into believing he has been communicating with a real person, instead of prankster pretending to be his newfound girlfriend. I looked like this in front of the TV:
And here was the biggest point about SEO (Life, Universe and Everything): Don’t insult your audience if you want them to point their eyeballs, attention and clicks towards you. You don’t want to treat your audience like they are Malietau Louis Teʻo, because that will make you look like the fake girlfriend, and that is difficult to watch. Right, Cynthia Izaguirre?
Knowledge not required
To sum it up, SEO is just like any other set of data, except it keeps changing more than Kanye West’s upcoming albums. Deep down, it is all about technology, communication, attention and possibilities. Google provides the technology and we lack communication skills and attention, as if we are afraid to zoom in on particular sets of data, because we just don’t have time to research any of it. Then, in terms of possibilities, everything is possible. Extended warranty calls, anyone. Can’t stop them.
* Satisfying is the current in word, across different media platforms.
** This will definitely clear the confusion: After receiving an anonymous email tip in January 2013, reporters Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey of the sports blog Deadspin conducted an investigation into Kekua’s identity. On January 16, they published an article alleging Kekua did not exist and pointed to a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo as involved in the hoax of a relationship with Te’o. Tuiasosopo has been described as a family friend or acquaintance of Te’o. Pictures of Kekua that had been published in the media were actually of Diane O’Meara, a former high school classmate of Tuiasosopo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manti_Te’o