There are many that will have you believe that search engine optimization is a complicated science, which it certainly can be at it may be at its highest level.
However, that is true with just about any endeavor. Just because you are not a culinary genius doesn’t mean you cannot cook a satisfying meal – and you do so because you have to eat.
This is why small businesses can and should master the basics of search optimization – to control their online destiny.
To become overly dependent on others to manage your search optimization is the same as putting your fate into the hands of an attorney – while remaining ignorant of the law.
If the attorney fails, it’s your business that is at risk. There is even an expression that was handed down by the United States Supreme Court that captures this: Ignorance of the law is no excuse
And so it is with search optimization.
Search Engines Think Like Regular People
As search capabilities improve, SEO will more accurately reflect the nuances of human behavior that pertain to search.
In the meantime, SEO is really a pretty simple game that you can excel at if you learn to think like regular people – the common man and woman.
Most people respond best to simple language. They are engaged by clear headlines, descriptive subheadings, and phrases that are highlighted in bold.
People also respond favorably to images and videos that communicate a message within seconds.
They also enjoy original stories, especially if they are not too lengthy, and written in bite-sized paragraphs that allow for quick and easy consumption.
Is it any wonder that Google also favors these same qualities when ranking online content?
If you think about it, people have been conditioned to respond to specific types of information since childhood.
There is probably a trick or two that one could learn from the writers of children’s books to better optimize online content.
How Google Reads Body Language
If you are good at reading body language, then you will do well with SEO. The reason is that while some things are obvious, those that are not can often be the most powerful.
Regardless of the quality of the message, it is suspect if there is something about the messenger that gives you reason to doubt its validity.
Students of body language understand this, and so does Google. Google downgrades sites that are cluttered with ads, have a spammy looking url that masquerades as a prominent one, or follow all of the links that follow it.
Of course, we are all a little bit weird in our own ways. Our friends have learned to overlook our quirky traits – and Google will do the same by reconciling negative qualities with active social sharing.
The search engines have no choice but to interpret social sharing as a vote of confidence. It’s one more way to align digital behavior with reality.
Use your intuition with SEO – just as you would with body language and in regards to what the community at large is saying.
Quality Never Goes Out of Style
SEO experts focus a great deal of their attention on what is trending because they are working on the edge. For them, SEO is a game of inches.
The objective for your mainstream small business should be developing sustainable SEO practices, such as implementing a consistent content marketing strategy that builds your relevance and authoritity over time.
Last year Google implemented their Panda or freshness update, which effectively killed websites that were repurposing data from other sources, as opposed to creating fresh and relevant content.
This created a new opportunity for virtually any small business owner that is willing to take the knowledge and expertise that presently resides in their gray matter – and get it into a format where it can be shared with Google and those that can most benefit from it.
Good quality information that helps your community will never go out of style. It is evergreen content – information that will be just as relevant tomorrow as it is today.
So, what makes it fresh? Quite simply, your timely perspective – one that is relevant to your industry, community, and customers.
As a professional speaker, I give nearly a hundred presentations a year. The core messages I deliver are evergreen – they are just as relevant for 2012 as they were last year, and even the year before.
What makes them fresh and original is the advance preparation for adapting them to an industry event, and more specifically, by responding in real-time to the body language of the audience.
Whether you are presenting live or online, the principles of human behavior apply – as are the qualities of SEO that are closely aligned with them.
If you have learned how to run a successful business, you have what it takes to master the essentials of SEO.
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Until next time, Jeff