SEO Purpose: Does It Really Have One?

Written by Nick Leffler | 1 Comment | 7 min read

Getting traffic to your website is a laborious task. It seems like everywhere you look another company is trying to tighten their grips on organic traffic to your website. SEO is often at odds with search engines but it can work together with them also.

The purpose of SEO should really be about aligning your goals with your customers. Your customers are the ones doing the search and they are the same one’s search engines are trying to help. What does this make search?

What Search Is

Search is somewhere that your customers go to get answers. If they’re not your customer then you’re going to make a great first impression by answering their question and building your brand.

The problem is figuring out a way to align your purpose with the search engines who ultimately want to align their purpose with your customers. In other words, it’s important to directly align your goals with your customer’s goals.

Trying to fool search and take advantage of it to get ranked first is similar to manipulating financial investments to make more money for yourself. Yes, you can game the system and ultimately make money from it, but it isn’t ethical. Oh, and you may get caught and thrown in jail.

Gaming search is possible but it's unethical and will ultimately get you thrown in search jail. Share on X

The same thing can happen with search. People game search results but it’s unethical and will eventually lead to getting thrown into search engine jail.

Search is a place for your customers to find what they’re looking for. It’s a place for you to align your goals with theirs. If you’re successful at it, they’ll hopefully find your helpful content and your business.

One last important piece is that search is unique. A result may be in the first position for you but it could be on page 25 for another. If you’ve been to a website before, it’s likely to float closer to the top of results than for someone who hasn’t visited it before.

Now that I’ve clarified what search really is, the answer to how you optimize for search becomes a different challenge.

Optimizing For Search

We’ve established that search engines aren’t just a thing. Search engines are something people use to answer the questions they have or look for something they need. In order to optimize for search, you have to recognize that it’s all about people.

It should be called people optimization not search engine optimization. Share on X

Therefore, search optimization should be called people optimization.

People are the one’s using the search engines and the search engines try to tweak their results to provide exactly what people are looking for no matter what the context.

Optimizing for search comes down to optimizing your content to answer the questions and inquiries people have. That means it’s not as easy as it sounds to “optimize” a website for search and be done with it, unfortunately.

To truly optimize for search and rank well in search engines, it takes quality content. Not only does it take quality content but it takes time and content that answer the questions people are asking.

With the complex issues of optimizing for search, there’s a possibility for companies to take advantage of people. There’s also a lot of room for interpreting if there’s a real purpose of search engine optimization.

Is There an SEO Purpose?

It seems like with all the uncertainty with search engine optimization, there’s no purpose to spending the time or money doing it. Well, SEO does matter but it’s not a good standalone service. If you try to get SEO services only you’ll likely get a fly by night operation that could end up hurting you more than helping you.

It’s true it may help for a brief period but quick fix SEO will eventually come back to harm your business. The true purpose of SEO comes from building a web site that’s well optimized for search from the beginning, having well-written content, and having regular content published that answers relevant questions people are searching for.

Valuable SEO comes from four things:

  • Quality content
  • Readable content
  • Linkable content
  • Sharable content

I don’t even know if those last two are words but they’re important. Blogging for businesses is popular these days because it’s a great way to get content on your website regularly. A business blog can be a good path to great search optimization.

You know a bit about SEO now and a bit about what’s involved. So, how much work does it really require of you?

What SEO Requires From You

Optimizing for search isn’t something you can go to someone, hand over, and be on the top of search results a few months later. Search engine optimization requires content that is relevant and requires knowledge from an expert. You’re the expert and optimizing for search requires knowledge from you.

Writing quality content and updating it requires the knowledge and background that you have. That doesn’t mean you have to become a writer, though. You can provide an agency with the background, outline, etc. and you’ll get something professionally written by a copywriter or blogger.

SEO requires a lot of work but you don't have to be a professional writer. Share on X

It’s all about delegating jobs to the right people and understanding where your expertise lies. Take advantage and focus on your expertise and your content will be awesome. It takes time and perseverance but with effort put in, you may see results in as little as 3-5 months.

You’re the expert in your field and others are experts in theirs. Let your expertise shine and your website will slowly work its way to become an important resource to your industry and on search engines.

What SEO Really Is

I’ve covered a lot of what SEO really is already, but there’s just a bit more that doesn’t fit well elsewhere. It’s all about becoming an expert in your field.

As you build your content on your website and start to bring in visitors, you’ll build relationships with people. Good content naturally brings about conversations.

Search engines pay attention to quality content and they especially pay attention when people are linking to your quality content. As you show your expertise and build relationships, you’ll be sharing information with them and you’ll naturally accumulate some links to your website.

The links you accumulate are the real power behind search engine optimization. Google and other major search engines pay close attention to content that’s being linked to and the value of those links (yes, there are links that can harm you). Over time with the right approach, your website can become a great source of visitors and new customers.

To SEO or Not

The big question remaining is whether you should spend the money to get your website optimized for search or skip it and save it for something else. There are a lot of variables to think about but it really comes down to the results you are looking for.

Optimizing for search relies on many different factors. First, you have to look at your website. Google, the biggest search engine, is beginning to put a heavier emphasis on well crafted, fast, mobile friendly websites. If you don’t have one that meets all those things, focus on that first. Many new websites created by a reputable agency who is well versed in the industry should give you a well-optimized website.

Make SEO a priority but never pay money for it as a standalone service. Share on X

SEO as a single service isn’t something you should ever spend your money on. SEO should only be done if it’s part of a bigger plan of content marketing, building your brand, and a quality website. If you purchase SEO as a standalone service, you may get a fly by night operation that will take your money and run. Either that or you’ll get a solution you’re not happy with and doesn’t benefit your business.

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