I’m tired. I’m SO tired. Damn if I didn’t have this implication in my name people might stop saying I do SEO.
Someone can’t do SEO for you. I don’t do SEO. I know a lot about how search engines work, I’ve been involved in a few search startups, and I’ve helped more companies than I care to admit, but here’s the thing, everything you think about SEO is wrong because of one simple distinction that eludes most people. When you budget some money for “SEO,” look to someone to do SEO for you, or hope an article from someone misleadingly named SEOBrien will tell you all you need to do, you’re doing it wrong.
SEO is a Practice, not a Tactic
If I see another startup pitch or marketing budget that indicates that the business is going to do SEO, I’m going to scream.
Think of it simply this way: you can’t hire someone to do SEO like you might hire someone to do sales, set up your email, or build you your website. Familiar scenarios?
You can hire someone to make you a website, right? That basic premise, that budget you allocate for a deliverable, isn’t what Search Engine Optimization is.
What is possible? What should you be doing? If not familiar yourself with how search engines work, have someone who assists your practice while recognizing that in and of itself, SEO is neither a campaign, deliverable, nor tactic.
Think if it more like law or medicine.
You don’t do medicine or health. You can’t do law. You can’t establish a budget for such expenses and you can’t be certain of any outcome. Your health isn’t a campaign.
You can disregard the law or you health. You can ignore them and you can treat such things poorly.
You can get help from a lawyer or doctor who knows what they’re doing. But they too are practicing it and that word is the word used because we can’t know if we’ll win or lose. We don’t know what is the solution. There are no guarantees because EVERYTHING matters.
- Can a doctor save your life if you don’t care for it?
- Can a lawyer keep you out of jail if you break the law?
So many variables matter, variables that are constantly changing, that you can only practice it – well or poorly.
It’s called optimization for a reason. It’s a process, never ending, and you can’t NOT do it just as you can’t be untouched by the law or unaffected by health. Get that? That’s a confusing concept as most people think of SEO as something you do. No, it’s something you practice.
You can’t NOT practice it because Google and other search engines affect you and your business regardless – the law affects you, even if you ignore it -your health affects you, even if you disregard it. Search engines are a part of your business and even if you don’t do anything, search affects you – you just suck at the practice.
Stop thinking of SEO as marketing tactic, a channel, or a thing you can decide to do to get some business. It’s a practice. You can hire people who know what they’re doing but you can’t hire someone to do it for you because EVERYTHING affects what search engines think of your business – is everything you’re doing consciously practicing what matters?
Truly? Is everything you’re doing consciously practicing what matters?
The key word is everything.
I have only ever worked with one company that understood search engines properly. They raised a small fortune in venture capital as a result of their appreciating that owning search results essentially means owning the market.
Secret to their success? EVERYTHING action they took and every resource therein questioned the impact of their work on search engines.
- Sharing an image? What will Google think?
- Managing our customer support on Zendesk? What will Google think?
- Announcing a new product? What will Google think?
- Is our address accurate? What will Google think?
- Should we be tweeting? Nah… we don’t have any followers… hang on, what will Google think?
- We should update our inside sales cold call script. Yes we should! What will Google think?
- Our developers want to put a new section on the site, on a subdomain. Okay, what will Google think?
- Let’s start writing some articles on Medium. What will Google think?
Seeing the pattern?
Everyone in the company is always asking about the implication of their work on search engines. Mind warping isn’t it? You’ve been hoping your marketing manager handled it or perhaps were considering an agency. It’s not something someone can do, it’s a practice and your effectiveness in the market is measured not by a tactic you take nor keyword you optimize but how well you practice.
The adage that you ‘take two and call me in morning’ is how you should think of having someone help you out with your Search Health.