What is SEO?
August 7, 2012 - Posted by Shama Kabani
“What is SEO?” video transcription
Shama: Hi, this is Shama Kabani, CEO of The Marketing Zen Group. One of the questions we get asked often around here is, What is SEO? Specifically, What is Search Engine Optimization?
I’d like to give you a very simple definition, a very simple way of looking at it that I discovered a few years ago, and it’s helped me many times when explaining what is search engine optimization to people who may not be familiar with it.
So very simply defined, SEO can be broken down into two parts: one, it’s what you tell search engines you are. So I might use Google and search engines interchangeably, but it really means the same thing. So Google is one of the main search engines, there’s others like Bing and Yahoo, but for the most part, it’s what you tell search engines you are. The other part of SEO, searching optimization, is what other people tell Google or the search engines what you are.
Why does this matter? Let’s step back for a second and look at why SEO matters. Why does is matter if you optimize your website or not?
Well, you see, search engines just have one specific goal, and that is to make sure that consumers like you, when you’re searching for things, that you’re finding the things that are most relevant.
So imagine doing a search for something you’re really looking for, like let’s say a local restaurant and finding anything but. So, search engines have a pretty tough job, because they have to make sure that you don’t get spammed, that you get relevant results so you keep coming back.
Now, on the flip side, if you have a website, you have to really work hard to make sure that you earn the trust of the search engines to show them that you are relevant to your audience. If you do it well, you’ll be rewarded with lots of great traffic and lots of hopefully new customers and clients.
So let’s look at some of the factors. So what you tell search engines you are. That really consists of your content, your meta-tags, and your keywords. So let’s say you sell soccer balls. The content that you use on your website tells search engines, hey, we are about soccer balls. If someone is searching for this product, you should lead them to us because we’re a great find.
That’s not enough because any spam site could stand up and say the same thing. So search engines verify it by using something called what others say about your website. This is where we come into links, also known as link building.
When other websites tell Google, hey, if you’re looking for a good search result for soccer balls or buying a soccer ball, then make sure that you send people to this website because that’s a great resource for it.
So that is search engine optimization in its most simplest form. What you’re telling search engines you are and what other people are confirming or not confirming, in some cases, about what you are.
Hence, rankings, traffic, and all the other good stuff.
Now, let’s go over to Idan Shnall, our VP of Search Engine Marketing here at The Marketing Zen Group.
So I’m here with Idan Shnall, our search engine marketing expert and team lead here at Marketing Zen Group. Let’s see if we can’t convince him to share some of his SEO secrets.
Shama: So you can maybe help educate us a little bit about search engines because I know one of your greatest pet peeves is when people don’t understand how SEO works and you’re very passionate about it, which is something we love and we love you for it.
So tell me, I know search engine optimization has changed a lot in the last year especially a lot of websites especially after the penguin update saw their rankings tank, their traffic drop, so what’s going on? What’s going on with Google and the other search engines?
Idan: Well, there are a lot of changes as we can see. The websites that we’re able to get away with, some of the spammy techniques that they were using a while ago just simply doesn’t work anymore.
Shama: Like keyword stuffing?
Idan: Keyword stuffing. Bad link strategies that you just build 25,000 links all from different sites that are pointing to your site within a couple of days, that’s really bad for SEO.
It’s really bad for companies like Google to list legitimate, as you said, authoritative websites.
Shama: Right, because their job is to serve the end user. If they’re not doing that, then guess what, it’s just a matter of time before someone else takes them over.