I really enjoy SEO. Not because I’m a technophile or because I enjoy chatting about java script and HTML5. I enjoy it because it makes sense and because it forces us all to do what we say we do, to do it well and to get other people to recommend us for it too.
So when a content manager told me they don’t believe in SEO or ‘content for SEO purposes’, I was confused.
SEO is the consequence of what users want. It is the output of user searches which are themselves the result of a need or desire, and to suggest any lesser value to content which is born from SEO findings is absurd. Indeed, you might argue that content without SEO foundations is of very little value to everyone because if no one seeks to find it, it’s purpose is entirely questionable.
So for all the marketers, all the content managers, all the SEOs, all the product managers, all the commercial execs, all the finance people…. for everyone who works in anything, here are 5 reasons why SEO is simply awesome:
1) It’s all about The Truth
SEO is sometimes seen as incredibly technical with a constantly moving goal. But at it’s very core, it’s never changed. It’s about telling people what you do, being really good at it and getting other people to say you’re awesome too. In this way, it forces us to be true to who we are and what we do; attempting to fool search engines or users is nigh on impossible.
2) It helps us to be what we need to be for our customers
No SEO worth their salt will attempt to sell their clients ‘rankings’. Yes, a higher ranking results from good SEO but what is ranking without custom? In working to improve our rankings we need to establish what our value is to our customers and how they perceive it, empowering us to better understand who we are and also what they want (and adapting our offering when appropriate).
3) It puts expertise at the core of everything
So SEO is about telling people what you do. But ‘telling people what you do’ could take many forms. SEO forces us to tell people what we do by fully explaining our expertise – and to explain our expertise, we must possess that expertise. No update has been more indicative of this than Google Authorship; we must be the experts in what we do. Good news for existing experts. Good news for customers. Bad news for anyone who’s not very good at what they do…
4) It repositions content as king
In a world where web editors had started an unsavoury trend of cutting content down for the web, SEO and, in particular, Google’s Panda Update have halted proceedings and said ‘hey, no! Content is king and it should stay that way!’. High quality content spread around the web (in a natural way of course) will always win out.
5) It binds together everything we do
Of course, all businesses have a common goal – to make money. But SEO gives increased focus to that goal. It encourages every department, every team member to understand how they contribute to the expertise of the business and everything we do can be tracked to its SEO benefit. SEO is no longer something to be controlled by a collection of people who are perceived to hold an almost magical power over the Google beast – it must be embraced by everyone in the business if the business is to succeed.
Today, SEOMoz announced their rebranding to Moz. It’s a big move for the company but one which seems founded in very valid reasoning. It is a sad truth of the SEO industry that the very term could well be its downfall; people hear SEO and think ‘black hat’ or segregate the activities to a separate area of the business – or as Rand Fishkin says, “SEO is seen as a narrow set of activities that move rankings up and bring search visitors in”.
As the term ‘inbound marketing’ continues to do the rounds, I’d suggest you keep watching; SEO as term might die out but the inherent value of SEO must be embraced.