Thursday, January 26, 2017

Three Common SEO Concepts That Apply to Real Life

To understand SEO, many believe, one must first adapt to the language, which is replete with words so often dismissed as technobabble. Keyword density. Title tags. Gateway pages. But for many, even the language, as obscure as it might seem, is not as inscrutable as SEO itself. Many website owners see SEO as technocentric, an inscrutable art practiced only by development experts.

Certain parts of the SEO community affirm this perception. For those in the SEO community, Rand Fishkin's "Whiteboard Fridays" are the most astute and legible SEO lessons available; for those outside the community, however, Fishkin's lessons can seem esoteric:
A recent image from Rand Fishkin's "Whiteboard Fridays" for Moz

Taken at face value, we believe Fishkin's lessons are fairly straightforward. However, we often hear from website owners who find writing like Fishkin's and others to be discouraging.

"It's just too complicated," we've heard, again and again.

We don't buy it. SEO is not complicated. We started writing the Organic SEO Blog four years ago, in fact, to combat the perception that SEO is an inscrutable art practiced by experts. As much as possible, we try to write for the laymen, the website owner who may not understand the meaning of terms that seem obvious to the SEO community.

"SERP," for example, stands for "search engine results page." Yet this acronym is only obvious once you know it. Too many SEO articles assume prior knowledge of the relevant terms. We try to define each term in each and every post. Perhaps the SEO experts find this style tedious--we find it helps those who need it most: small to medium-sized website owners.

Beyond the jargon, though, SEO is straightforward, as self-evident as any marketing practice. To emphasize this point, we can draw three connections between common SEO practices and modern day-to-day life.


In SEO, obviously, the name of the game is "optimization," "the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource."

Optimization should be familiar to anyone who has studied self improvement of the type promoted by Timothy Ferris, the author of The Four-Hour Work Week, which shows readers "how to live more and work less." On the other hand, optimization will be familiar to anyone who has tried to find a better solution, say, to roasting potatoes or dressing well (or for the ladies).

Our world is obsessed with efficiency. We crave simple solutions--hacks, as they're now called, that can easily optimize our day-to-day routines.

This article, from Lifehack, the "Top 5 Tools To Optimize Your Life," suggests both Evernote, the digital note-taker and organizer, to a crock pot.

This article from Time, "Optimize These Three Areas in Your Life for Highest Productivity," suggests optimizing your environment by clearing distractions and finding your flow time (the time you work best), optimizing your mind by taking breaks, meditating, and treating your body good, and optimizing your process, the way you plan and execute.

Most of us have tried these techniques, to varying success. If you look, you will easily find ideas for optimizing each and every aspect of your life.

The central idea of SEO, then, should be familiar to most people. In the SEO world, optimization is simply about looking at all aspects of a website, from the code to the content, with the goal of making the best or most effective use of the website. To do so, we write unique content, of course, but we also make sure the content is easy to read, easy to find, and clearly tagged for appropriate keywords.

By optimizing websites in this way, we satisfy a search engine's goal to deliver the most relevant results for any given search--which, of course, is also all about optimization.


Once the domain of Twitter and Instragram, the hashtag has now gone viral, and nearly everyone understands how to use hashtags to optimize social media posts. In this way, many people practice SEO without even knowing it.

A hashtag is a keyword, and it serves the same purpose on social media as it does for SEO: to attract a specific audience to a specific search.

By using a hashtag like "Instababy" on Instragram, for example, you empower  users to easily discover your pictures of your baby.

In fact, by studying how people use keywords to attract attention on social media networks, one learns the central SEO principle: Relevant keywords attract people to you, your product, and your service.

In SEO, we attempt to optimize any given piece of content by carefully selecting the right keywords and placing them in strategic places, like the title tag and meta description.


The Internet, like life, is "a dynamic space" populated by an ever-evolving community of people and information. Online, as in life, the only constant is change.

To succeed in either realm, one most embrace and master change.

To succeed online, specifically, SEO attempts to keep pace with the speedy nature of the Internet by offering fresh content and refreshed website designs.

How often does your favorite website update its content? How often does your favorite website update its design or layout? The answer to both is likely "often."

Beyond optimization, change is the key to a happy, successful life--and SEO.

By maintaining fresh content and designs, a websites attracts new and returning visitors while impressing search engines. From a search engine's perspective, the goal is to deliver relevant results, and to make sure the user is 100% satisfied with these results. People's preferences change, so search engines tweak their algorithms to keep pace.

"Everything changes and nothing stands still." Heraclitus [Photo Source]

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