What is SEO, anyway?

SEO defined for landscapers, general contractors, and home builders

Let's take a step back together. You've been hearing this acronym (SEO) for years now. You know that you need to make sure your website is SEO'd and all that good stuff. Heck, everyone's paying a lot of money for this stuff. Maybe you're even thinking that it's been awhile since your website was redone so you need a new website to help with SEO (see #10 below to learn more about this). But what exactly is SEO? It's really not all that mysterious. 

SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is indeed something you need to make sure is at the top of your priority list, when it comes to driving leads. We'll help you understand why.

SEO is...

  1. SEO is a marketing approach for websites to improve the way that search engines interpret the website in an ultimate attempt to increase traffic by improving search results.
  2. SEO helps search engines index your website's content to align to specific searches, to answer questions.
  3. SEO supports search engines' goal of bringing useful content to people (let's not forget what search engines are for!)
  4. SEO is the science of bringing organic, free traffic. SEO is not about PPC, such as Google AdWords. (Related: 5 top Mistakes that Contractors Make with PPC)
  5. Includes high quality content, such as a frequently updated blog. 
  6. Not poor quality, keyword stuffed, non-human friendly content. If you're paying $25 for someone to write you a blog post, you're likely hurting your rankings more than helping! 
  7. SEO includes knowing who you are trying to attract your website; really understanding their problems and what they might search for. Related: How to Attract a New Type of Customer.
  8. SEO is having content about solutions to problems. For example, a blog post on choosing a landscape contractor when someone searches something about how to choose the right landscape contractor. 
  9. SEO includes backend technical detail. Per Google, "Make sure that your <title> elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate."
  10. SEO is about frequent updates. Search engines place higher value in recent information versus outdated stuff. In other words, a website redesign is just the start to SEO. The value diminishes if there is a lack of ongoing updating or blogging.
  11. SEO isn't about lying to search engines regarding what your website pages are really about. The less that people click on your website when they see your site in search results, the lower your site will be ranked.
  12. SEO is not witchcraft. SEO includes clear, proven methods that search engines value in the current time. 
  13. SEO is not IT work. Most of SEO isn't technical at all, its marketing. This means that an IT person without marketing skills will not deliver on today's SEO requirements.
  14. Speaking of today, SEO is about knowing what the different search engines (google, bing, etc.) look for. Algorithms change all the time. SEO experts can differentiate today's requirements from last year's. Related: Google's Algorithm Changes.
  15. SEO includes proper content organization to help search engines index information and understand the different purposes of your pages.

Most importantly, let's make sure we get something straight: having a website does NOT mean you have SEO. A website can just exist with a URL and never show up in search results. In fact, this is the case for many websites.  Learn more about the old SEO ways of the past in this MOZ article we love

Want to learn more about SEO'ing your site? Read this related post: 5 Tips to SEO Your Landscaping Website.