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Has your organization been burned by the smoke and mirrors of snake oil salesmen? Chances are, if you’ve invested extensively in SEO, at some point, you have. If you’re not invested in SEO, will you still be in the game? This dilemma often feels like being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Acronym as Misnomer
The term SEO is an acronym which stands for Search Engine Optimization. We don’t believe Google would let an organization optimize their search engine. The very term itself is dishonest, since SEO providers wouldn’t actually optimize a search engine. That’s the search engines job. At best, SEO is about optimizing a website so that it ranks higher in search by a search engine. Sementics? Let’s break it down a little bit. Here’s what most SEO companies don’t want you to know.
The Broad and Intangible Details
The term SEO doesn’t actually have a standardized meaning. SEO is broad and roomy enough that it’s a relative term. Meaning, it’s realitive to the group offering it to define what they say it means. Perhaps that is why the terminology and dialog around this service seems to be so thick at times that it’s difficult to understand.
To one SEO company, “SEO” may mean proper meta tags or propagating the right keywords strategically within the content of your website. To another it may mean creating inbound links from outside websites and blogs in an attempt to trick search engines into believing there is more value in a site than there actually is. Typically those very blogs and sites are crafted by the same SEO company you’ve hired. That’s the actual work they’re doing.
First, planting stratigic keywords and metatags in a site is a common best-practice for modern web design. It’s a frontloaded effort that will help a search engine determine a site’s value and ranking. Once it’s in place, it shouldn’t require ongoing service to change those words, unless the offering of a company changes. Convincing any given organization that this wasn’t done properly when a site was developed is a standard scare tactic used in “SEO” sales.
Second, and slightly more complex, what is the purpose of a search engine? Every search engine is in business to provide the best possible product to it’s end user, and that product is search results and an ideal user experience. The way to see the overall issue of “SEO”, and to effectively work towards a solution, is to understand that. If the search engine (like Yahoo) fails to do so, it’s users will go somewhere else, there are plenty of contenders fighting for the business.
Because a search engine’s primary purpose is to offer the ideal user experience, they go to great lengths to filter organizations that attempt to skew search results.
Let’s take Google for instance, since they hold the lion’s share when it comes to search. Google knows that you’re looking for several things from your user search experience. You’d like to find places to purchase goods and services, but today’s internet user is also looking to understand thier world, and they want more than products. They want information. Today’s user has many options and understands that they need to be an informed consumer or else the hard earned money will disappear.
Chasing after Giants
Google and other major search engines routinely launch algorithm changes that dramatically changed the way they search, rank and display their results. Google realized that if it wants to stay competitive and provide the ideal user experience, it needs to see through the dishonest search results it was providing to better serve it’s customers. Since the Penguin and Panda updates, organizations that created bad links and built false web content were not only penalized, but often disqualified from search results due to their misrepresentation of identity.
What followed in the wake of these algorithm updates was not only a change in search results, but also the way those results are displayed. What you now find in a search is something quite different. once upon a time, along with paid search ads at the top and right, you would find plenty goods and services above the fold in the organic display of a given search. things have changed, what you now find is miriad of things in attempt to provide that ideal user experience.
What You See is What You Get
The search results page (SERP) you find today, on average, go something like this. Along the top and right are paid ads. Organizations bidding against each other for the opportunity to sell goods and services. Below that are Google+ pages, Google’s business and social network that is intertwined with maps and services. Next you’ll find related YouTube videos, YouTube is owned by Google. Then various results, including Wikipedia pages and other informative content.
At some point, usually well below the top “fold” of your screen, you’ll begin to see goods and services being offered organically. Still want to sign on for a $2K per month with an SEO company? Your choice.