SEO is one of the oldest and most sought-after strategies for any web site owner. Offers for “being #1 in Google” and being listed on the first page are very common in many SEO pitches, and there are many companies who will “guarantee” your ranking results.
Many companies consider SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, to be a monumental challenge, and in some instances a scam. They’ve invested considerable money into having their sites optimized and refined and given significant trust to companies to produce these results and the results never materialize, or worse, hire a single person to become an SEO expert and task them with the challenge of making an existing site SEO ready.
SEO Is More Than One Person
Companies will approach SEO and its potential without really understanding what is happening or why – they’ve heard the term, they know it is importance, but lack a clear direction on how to start or engage in SEO.
The main reason Search Engine Optimization is confusing and bigger than one person is because there are multiple elements involved and many elements affect each other:
- code elements such as microdata, meta content, and clean HTML (which can be affected by IA and content)
- information architecture (or IA) and organization elements such as site heirarchy, categories and , URL structure (which can be affected by keywords and content)
- design parts such as user experience (which can be affected by IA and content)
- content and keywords parts such as keyword usage, unique and non-duplicate content (which can be affected by IA and design)
Trying to focus on one single element of this fragile matchstick house can yield disaster. It’s also difficult and expensive to consider SEO an “add-on” to an existing site. Audits have to be performed to ascertain what state things are in, and it requires a commitment of time and resources to create that baseline understanding.
SEO Should Be Baked In From The Start
With these SEO elements complimenting and overlapping one another, it’s clear that “painting the ship while it’s flying” can be a very risky scenario, and to further the metaphor, having the pilot abandon the controls to paint is a guaranteed way to crash. It’s why a team is needed instead of a single person – and our team at Red Clay Interactive understands the need to have SEO baked in from the very start.
SEO Is Dead (Well, The Old School Ways Are)
The truth is the term “Search Engine Optimization” has a sort of pretentious air about it – it’s the “optimization” part. The word comes across as something that’s transparent, understood, and able to be manipulated. The “manipulation” part was true enough and mostly obtainable in the early 2000’s, but that is not the case any longer.
Old tactics such as keyword stuffing, comment spamming, and unnatural link building (such as link farms and purchased links) would have once provided a bountiful harvest of rankings. Now those same tactics produce little to no fruit and can instead poison the bounty, and with good reason. They were designed to manipulate an algorithm – and the algorithms have evolved.
SEO isn’t dead. It’s evolved.
Search engines are constantly adapting and changing their ranking algorithms – Google alone had 15 updates in 2014, and 17 updates in 2013. These updates began a fundamental shift in how rankings are calculated and applied, and also a shift in how sites should be promoted or demoted.
Strategies such as inbound marketing, content marketing, and others have became powerful and specialized segments of the mighty SEO tree. These strategies require you to invest time in understanding your audience, understanding their needs, and creating appealing, interesting, and unique content.
Today’s SEO is about quality content over quantity of content, site usability and user engagement metrics, proper coding, and social signals. If it looks a lot less like a get-rich-quick scheme and more like good old fashioned creative digital marketing – well, that’s because it is. And we can help.