To use an analogy, SEO to a website would be kind of the card next to a painting at a museum with information about the author, materials, technique used, year and so on. That card contains the metadata of the painting. If the painting is for sale, it would probably increase the chances of selling if it has a price and contact info.
Without such metadata -the card with info next to the painting- it would be nearly impossible for people to know that information including it is for sale.
With SEO there are some standards about where that information or metadata would go -such as the card- in your website, some is in the background between the code as well as the in the actual copy, image names, site categorization structure, etc.
In order for your website to rank well on search engine rankings, robots (scripts designed to go to your site, process the information they find and report it back to the search engine to include your site in relevant search results listings) have to be provided with specific information about your business by using such agreed upon standard and feeding the robot data related to what you offer. Otherwise the robot comes to your site, processes for example an imaged named “IMG0001.jpg” reports it back to the search engine, which in turns ignores your website as it well knows you are not selling or renting IMG0001.jpg’s, as a result that image will not help your site get listed, a loss of opportunity.
On the other hand if you name the file “picasso-painting-sale.jpg” the robot would report that information back and the search engine will show your website whenever someone types something exactly the same, or vaguely different such as “Pablo Picasso paintings for sale” or “Picasso paintings on sale” in the search prompt box. We have a qualified visitor, someone who is pre-qualified to buy, it would be a matter of how good our engagement strategy is weather we make the sale or not.
Kind of unrelated, it made me think about the whatever % of businesses that fail within x time of starting, how many could have be saved.
Back to the main topic, it could be that the robot is smart enough to somehow guess what your site is about by going deep in your copy content, but it is not optimal as it tends to grab information randomly -like going to a wedding and grabbing whatever cloth you see in your closet first, no matter if it is ironed or stained- when you implement SEO on your site, you are spoon feeding the robots precisely what your site is about the way search engines expect it.
Why is SEO So Urgent and Important, Especially In the First Phase of Building a Web Site?
In my experience, planning SEO work before I even build a website helps me create a clearer site structure that serves as a road map for further work down the line, such as designing intuitive web analytics reporting systems. It is also easier and more efficient to implement SEO on the fly than building a website that is not optimized, and having to go back and change links, files, etc, it is a more productive use of the hours spent, less tedious, and saved hours for my clients.
Why I shouldn’t Wait to do SEO to my Site?
I don’t want to be an alarmist but I talk everyday to people who disregard this vital acquisition channel, here are some thoughts on the reasoning:
- For some businesses SEO is the best performing acquisition channel
- SEO is an organic acquisition channel, the only investment is implementing it, and once search engine robots find your website, you’ll compete in the rankings without paying for clicks, the only drawback is that it may take 3-4 months to be listed therefore the urgency, and depending on your competition’s investment in SEO, it may require additional work and time
- If you are running paid advertising campaigns such as AdWords, the cost of the click is in part determined by the keyword or topic match between your ad and the landing page -promise and delivery- if you do not have SEO implemented, it will not fully know that you are fulfilling the promise, will let you run it, but charge you a bit higher (Quality Score). When you are heavily relying on paid advertising, such losses add up.
- Starting doing SEO as soon as possible will also help you have a better understanding of the competitive environment you are facing, and testing discovering new keywords that will help you attract desired visitors, specially if you are in a niche, and start experimenting with long tail keywords
Corporate world aside (and even some), most people seem to fail to understand the urgent need to implement SEO, without it, your website is no more than a virtual catalog where only people you gave the URL in a business card or flyer sees it, you are denying yourself connecting with those who thought about your business when entering the key phrases on their search engine, a very important audience that contributes nicely to your current acquisition channels.
Going back to the analogy, it is very important to place the card with info next to the painting you are selling.
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