We want to talk a bit about Search Engine Optimization to provide some background, as well as provide some actionable items for your business. Reach out to Idea Kraft if you have any questions or want to see how this pertains to your actual business.

A decade ago, Search Engine Optimization was something only technologists and marketers deep in the emerging Internet Marketing field really understood and valued. Many agency meetings were spent in an often-futile attempt to gain buy in from decision makers to allocate advertising dollars to optimizing websites for Google and other search engines. Today, SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a buzzword thrown around by almost everyone within different levels of organizations, from content creators to CEOs, salespeople to Chief Financial Officers.

While what was once a niche digital marketing field is now on the tongues and in the minds of almost all small business owners, the previously bullish Digital Marketing Directors of the world may have moved on to the popular “SEO is dead” trend, instead pushing time and dollars to more directly measurable digital advertising where effectiveness can be proven and defended.

While an understandable angle for those needing to hit KPIs quarterly, removing SEO from the marketer’s toolbox can negatively affect the overall growth of a business in the long run.

What is true: SEO has changed and shifted over time. On one hand, it is incredibly important and often critical to online business success. On the other, it’s no longer the panacea that it once was. A whole new process for optimizing websites both on page and off page has emerged, with different techniques taking the place of legacy tactics.

To really understand what is effective in Search Engine Optimization, it’s first important to understand why it exists in the first place. SEO is essentially a method of increasing ranking in search engines, primarily Google. It can be viewed as gaming the system, or as setting yourself up for success. But why does the system exist in the first place? Google realized that in order to be the go-to search engine they had to provide valuable website results to its customers. Algorithms were created to best return search results that give customers what they want: an answer to a question, the restaurant that fits their current desire, the closest and best dentist, a store they want to buy from.

The vast majority of the philosophy around SEO is proving to Google that you have a legitimate and valuable website that they should show to searchers.

What is “valuable” has shifted over time, but is generally a website with significant and updated content, that many other websites are referencing, that is engaged on social media, and is locally relevant to the user.

When trying to improve ranking, or optimizing for search, the tactics are generally broken down into three main areas: On Page, Off Page, and Local SEO. A note – when getting started on search engine optimization, focus on Google. Sure, there are other search engines out there, but really, there aren’t. Google makes up a vast majority of the marketplace, and almost all of the most highly valued B2B or B2C customers are using Google. Further, the tactics that work on Google will also generally work elsewhere. Sure, if you are already ranking in the top spots in Google and have a marketing department with resources to spare – break out that Bing strategy. But until that point, focus on where the majority of traffic is.