The best way to describe SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is to tell what it’s not.
- SEO is not a “computer trick” that involves flipping a few switches or adding some tags and somehow getting amazing results
- SEO is not something that you can automate
- SEO is not something you can do in a few minutes a day
- SEO is typically not cheap
- SEO is not particularly fast
- SEO is not a one-size-fits-all marketing tool – it’s not for every business or website
Finally, and most importantly:
If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO firm, the very best advice we can offer is to learn the basics before you buy. Take a few minutes and scan the Beginner’s Guide to SEO provided by SEOMoz.org. Not only will you learn a lot about what it takes to be succesful, but you will also learn how to tell the difference between a good SEO provider and a scam artist.
What SEO Is
Now, we’re going to climb down off that soap box and tell you what SEO really is.
In order to achieve SEO results, you need three things. In order of importance:
- Great content
- Promotion of your great content to build links to your site
- Good website structure
Please note that website structure is listed third. While good structure is very valuable, it’s not nearly as important as content or promotion.
Great Content – In a nut shell, great content is useful and/or entertaining. It is generally high quality and always unique. Great content takes time and effort to create…it’s not something you can slap together or order in bulk.
Promotion – Once you have great content, you promote that content to build links. You contact bloggers or journalists in your industry, other website owners, influential figures in your marketplace, etc. and encourage them to share or link to your content. Obviously, the better the content you’re trying to promote, the easier promotion will be.
Good Website Structure – If you have a capable website developer, your website should already have good structure – perhaps your site will need some small tweaks, but nothing major. On the other hand, if your current website structure is lacking, you may need to invest in a redesign or a major renovation.
Note: Most website structures are adequate for SEO purposes.