In the modern world, promoting your online business requires as much technical savvy as writing a smartphone application from scratch. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play.
How do Customers Find Businesses Online?
John is an average, middle-aged man in his thirties looking for a local service. The type of service doesn’t matter. What matters is that he is looking for it online.
John jumps onto the Google search page and types in a few words about the service that he’s looking for. The instant that he presses the “Enter” key, the massive search engine servers at Google process more information that you have ever seen, or will see, in one location.
- The Google Search algorithm flips through a database of every website in existence
- The algorithm cross-references more than 200 different combinations of variables, such as:
- John’s location
- John’s online search history
- John’s online presence (name, age, job, interests, hobbies, etc.)
- And on, and on, and on…
Finally, in a matter of milliseconds, millions of results are tabulated and displayed on the screen. Out of all of those millions of businesses, websites, and endless forms of digital media, John only cares about the first page of Google results. These first ten, (that’s 10!) results, as well as a half-dozen or so relevant, paid ads are all that John will see or care about. In most cases, he won’t even bother to go to the second page.
More importantly, the ads that he sees and the 10 most relevant results, or “organic results,” have been strategically manipulated to show up before yours, or anyone else’s, for that matter. The businesses who are at top of those results have had their online profile “tweeked” by an SEO Strategist.
What is SEO?
This short acronym may be familiar to you, but it most likely is not. Businesses on the leading edge of online commerce have figured out that the search engine is the most powerful tool for marketing any business. The secret to using this tool is Search Engine Optimization.
Search engines, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and more, provide anyone, anywhere, access to whatever they want at a given moment. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a marketing strategy that uses knowledge of how search engines work to put businesses at the top of search results.
If your business isn’t showing up on the first page of Google search results, the chances that your online store will be shopped are minimal, at best.
What’s more, companies that spend hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions of dollars on online ads without employing SEO are literally throwing their money away. This is because they don’t have a savvy SEO Strategist to target their ads to the people who need to see them.
Imagine spending twenty-thousand dollars on a high quality billboard for a restaurant in Los Angeles and placing it in Chicago. The ad isn’t relevant, no matter how great it looks. People from LA won’t ever see your ad, because it’s been put in the wrong place. This is exactly what happens when a website isn’t optimized properly.
SEO Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
The dawn of the internet started in 1991, when it went live. It wasn’t until 1999 that it became “mainstream”  Between 1991 and 1999, the audiences who were watching Coke and McDonald’s ads on TV were now tuning in to the internet.
Marketing online had barely evolved by that time, but it had at least begun. Then came the ad banner, a clickable picture on the top, bottom, or sides of a web page. The concept blew up and the media assault by anyone who could take a picture and put a link on it was advertising.
As the internet evolved, businesses began to see that the 1980’s Nelson TV ratings system was a dinosaur. If you wanted your business in front of the right people, it took a lot more than just sampling an audience.
The progress over the past two decades developed this concept into a highly complex system of cat and mouse strategies. If a business wanted to reach the right people, it would have to chase them and hope for the best. Hit and miss was, and still is, the most popular strategy for the common man.
The modern internet no longer follows the rules of classical marketing and economics. There is a whole new way of doing business. The competition isn’t just the stores in your neighborhood, but a vast, bustling community of anyone selling the same thing you do. It doesn’t even look like the corporate monoliths of the twentieth century.
“Long Tail” marketing has taken over much of the marketing world. This means that Bob’s Cable, the small start-up electronics store down the street, has as much potential to reach customers as Sears. That potential is only reached through solid SEO strategies.
Looking forward, SEO and Digital marketing strategies will continue to evolve. Brick and mortar stores will slowly continue to drift away, and only those who sell online will have a chance. Those businesses who catch and follow the trend of SEO will rise to the top. The rest will continue to advertise in Chicago for their store in LA.
How Do I Find SEO Services?
As of the writing this article, there are only a handful of truly talented SEO Marketing professionals. They are the trendsetters who have established some of the most successful practices for online marketing. I have listed them below with a link to their website.
- Andrea Lynn Drake – SEO by Andrea Lynn Drake
- SEO Experience – 27 years
- John Jantsch
- SEO Experience – 27 years (SEO)
- Bruce Clay
- SEO Experience – 21 years
- Neil Patel
- SEO Experience – 9 years
- Brian Dean – Backlinko
- SEO Experience – 5 years