Ben Hirons, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in Brisbane, is founder and CEO of Due North, a digital marketing agency that engineers strategic, growth-focused systems and products. We asked Ben about the importance of Search Engine Optimization and got a surprising answer. Here's what he shared:
Despite what should be a maturing market, where people are clear on what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is and achieves, the question, "What is SEO?" remains largely unanswered.
Let's take a step back to examine SEO and the role it plays in Google searches.
Google exists to index, categorize and rank information. When someone searches Google, it's Google's job to show the most authoritative, expert, and relevant website first, and then continue down the list. To determine this ranking order, Google uses an algorithm.
To perform well in organic search results, Google must see you, your website, and your business as an expert in your field with relevant and authoritative content. It needs to see that you're great at what you do, market your business well, and deliver the value that you promise in order to list you in the top five spots.
What is SEO?
SEO is the work you complete to ensure Google or other search engines sees your business in an ideal light and thinks you are more important than what your current digital footprint might indicate. Specific tasks are done in the hope that Google will see your business as the superior expert over competitors.
The Problem with SEO
In most cases, SEO tasks are done for Google and nobody else. They are completed to impress an algorithm, yet nobody knows exactly how that algorithm works.
By "doing SEO," you essentially pay someone else to make you look good in Google's eyes. You take your focus off the most crucial part of your business--your marketing--and pay someone to sort it out for you. But you haven't earned it!
You haven't earned the right to be called the leader in your field or the expert that people trust, admire, rave about and learn from. You're only trying to make your life easier, with no intellectual investment in growing your business.
It's Just Not 'Googliness'
I love the show The Interns and its idea of "Googliness"--meaning in the spirit of Google. Doing SEO is not in the spirit of Google, as they have come out and said.
Think about it. When you "do SEO," you aren't showing how you are an expert in your field or answering questions your target audience is asking, or being a thought leader. Essentially, you aren't showing any Googliness.
So, the simple solution is:
- Build your Googliness.
- Communicate your expertise with great marketing.
- Become the thought leader your peers revere.
- Answer every conceivable question your audience is searching for.
It's time to ignore SEO completely. That constraint will force you to do great marketing. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. Do great marketing and your SEO results will go through the roof--today, tomorrow, and over the long term.
SEO tasks only need doing when it's necessary to clean up mistakes and laziness. When marketing is done well, there are no SEO tasks to do. If you build a great website, it won't require onsite SEO work. It will load quickly with the right headings and titles. Visitors will navigate seamlessly through the website with great intuition.
If your web presence is up to scratch, you will have a good business listing on all of the main directories. Your online maps including Google my Business and Apple Maps will be set up properly and appear on relevant industry websites. You'll also be part of your industry association with a good listing on their site.
If you market your business well, you will generate content that engages your audience. You'll share it on social channels and build relationships. Loyal followers will share your information with others, producing the viral effect that Google loves.
If you are a thought leader, you will share information, ideas, and advice that betters your industry and helps those you serve. This will be approved by your peers and the wider media and be rewarded in trade and industry magazines.
If you deliver on your promise, you'll have happy customers. Those happy customers will refer more customers and write great reviews. As your brand ambassadors, they will share great stories with potential clients.
When you do good marketing, no SEO tasks need to be done. The result? Google will reward you beyond your wildest dreams, as will the queue of customers wanting to work with you.