My dad asked me the other day what SEO was (and to be clear, he didn’t use the term “SEO,” it was more of a “What do you mean I should get my company page ranking up? What the heck does that mean??). I then proceeded to (try to) explain the basic concept of SEO to him.
I thought the dumbed down version of it might be helpful. It’s on the shorter side, because my dad’s needs for his company website don’t extend much further than that. I would love for people to add their own versions or additions to other aspects of SEO if they want to.
So here it is:
“Dad. Let’s say someone searches for your company online. You’ll pop up (hopefully!) on the first entry. Great, but how many people do you think are going to find you using your company name? Those people will probably already know you and what you do. But what if someone was looking for a product that you produce, let’s say tracer wire. They’re going to type in “tracer wire.” So what search engine optimization does is it makes it so your company ideally pops up on the first page, if not one of the first few entries. Most people don’t look past the first page of what a search engine gets for you, so you need to be right there, and in their face.”
“How do you do that Katie [he calls me Katie]?”
“Well, an example of what you could do is to “tag” your website, which means you associate it with key words that you think likely customers might search for. For instance, you tag your company with “copper wire” and there’s at least a potential that you’ll pop up at the beginning of their search.
“The idea is to make your tags a good mix between both broad and narrow terms so that you remain competitive. There are a lot of firms that might be in the “copper wire” industry, and you may get lost somewhere in the mix of so many firms. But there are fewer firms in the cooper wire industry that make “tracer wire”.
“Another way you can give your website some juice is by linking out, or putting links on your sites to other sites. The search engines are like little worms with many heads, and the more pathways you offer them to your site, the easier and more often they can get to you. ***[Sidenote: this worm analogy could be gross, I'll have to come up with something better for future explanations, but, oddly, it's what popped into my head at the time.... please offer your suggestions below for other analogies]*** And the more times they get to you, the closer to the top of search results you will be.
“For the same reason, it also helps to have other websites that contain links to your website. Good opportunties might be if you work with partners that could put a link to you on their sites, or if you’re a member of an association that features member sites. Things like that.” ***[Sidenote: as you may have gathered, my dad is not in an industry where blogging/commenting/social media is used at present, and also note, he doesn’t know how to use a computer, so there’s no chance that he will be leaving comments and his website information on any blogs, but this is another way to go about this).