SEO Enlightment
It's complicated

Optimizing content for search engines is not rocket science. Anyone with enough time on their hands and knowledge in their head can do it. Yet it an activity that is at once more intricate, and far less technical than most specialists would like you to believe. The simple truth is: doing SEO is not, in and by itself, complicated. The cutomers are what complicates things.

Take keywords, for example. The “science” of search engine optimization is all about publishing good content and targeting the keywords are most likely to help that content climb up the charts.

This is how the SEO recipe goes:

  1. Pick keywords that match your page or your business and for which you can rank
  2. Spice up your content with the chosen keywords
  3. Let the search engines do their work and simmer for a while
  4. You, your SEO or your marketing team feast on the results every few weeks
  5. Make adjustments as needed, then start over

This simple strategy works. Sorta. It will accomplish its stated goals: ensuring that you (the customer of the SEO activity) ranks as high as possible on the results pages you are aiming for. What is the problem, then?

The problem is that such a strategy is unlikely to drive much return on your investment — in terms of both times, resources and money. In other words, you are unlikely to gain much from the activity. That's because, as is often the case with technical optimization, traditional SEO is a business model built on a soft lie. It's a trap.  The scheme is an oversimplification designed by SEOs to make it easier for you, the client, to swallow their progress reports. Assuming you are paying for an SEO team to optimize your content, then someone is spending most of your hard-earned money on preparing and building reports, and only a little on the work itself. Let me say again: in most cases, reports are what you’re paying for. Honest optimization requires a much deeper understanding of the market than most people care to grasp. So how do we solve that?

As Bruce Clay’s recent article puts it:

[...] you are not your target market. You might be in your pickup with a truck cap and eating a donut, while your reader is driving around Seattle with a truck canopy and trying to find a doughnut.

It may be worth slipping Google Trends into your next conversation with your SEO specialist. As with everything marketing in 2019, successful endeavors rely on a few key vectors: personalization and the ability to change with the times, which are, more than ever, changing. Don’t take it personally.



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