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Dean Ronnie
Dean Ronnie 17 August 2015

What Is SEO And What Does An SEO Agency Actually Do?

They are questions that can have both a very simple answer and also a much more complicated answer.

These are two questions that anyone working in this particular area of digital marketing will hear a lot. They are also questions that can have both a very simple answer and also a much more complicated answer.



To start off we will look to answer the first of these questions. So what exactly is SEO?

What Is SEO?

On a basic level, SEO stands for “search engine optimisation”. Wikipedia describes this as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results”.

But What Does That Really Mean?

 

Whatever it means, it definitely doesn’t actually explain what SEO actually is. One thing it does say however, is that SEO is a process. And that is right, SEO is a process. It’s a process, albeit a process that is long, complex and has become a catch all term for a multitude of skills and techniques.

Of course it wasn’t always this way. SEO used to be as simple as the Wikipedia definition. It used to just be a way of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results.

When SEO first came about there was really only one priority: getting your website to the top of Google for hundreds of search terms. For anyone using the internet before Google existed (these times did exist!), it was a jungle out there. Websites were out in the wild roaming around with no keepers.

Unless you were told to go to a specific address, it’s highly likely you wouldn’t find the website. And the addresses were messy. A nice example of this comes from DJ Peter Tong introducing his website address like it was some kind of alien creation back in 1995, check it out here.

Now that was a mouthful right? A mouthful that you would have to get right, as back in those days you couldn’t just type “Pete Tong radio show” into Google, because it didn’t exist! So if you wanted to check out the details of the latest “essential mix”, you had to get that web address right.

With the emergence of various search engines, including Google, people were given a new way of finding what they were looking for. A way that matched specific search terms with specific websites. Websites soon caught on and realised there was only a very limited number of “top spots” available on Google…and so SEO was born.

Agencies found ways of getting websites to the top, using both “ethical” methods and methods that cheated the system. And companies were prepared to pay big money to get them to do this. In most cases, these agencies would be optimising these companies websites to appear for hundreds of (not always relevant) keywords and the companies would be happy with this.

Then Google cracked down on the ones cheating the system and the smiles disappeared off a lot of faces.

Since then, Google has continued to evolve the algorithms they use to look at websites and decide what is listed where. And these search signals continue to change.

In the beginning, all you needed was a page stuffed with keywords. If you were looking for a painter in Birmingham, you’d often read something like this on somebody’s homepage:

Are you looking for a painter in Birmingham? We’re a painter in Birmingham. We’ve been a painter in Birmingham since the phrase painter in Birmingham was invented. There isn’t a better painter in Birmingham than us. To contact a painter in Birmingham then call us and this painter in Birmingham will be in touch to give you a quote from the best painter in Birmingham.

Google soon put a stop to this…those poor painters in Birmingham.

They didn’t stop there. Google have vilified all kinds of animals (pandas, penguins and pigeons are all evil to anyone working in SEO) all in the name of being ethical.

Google’s constant evolution is a great thing, as it continues to refine the process and has turned SEO into a proper marketing channel. All the cowboys who have jumped on the bandwagon along the way have started to fall off and only the good, ethical agencies are left.

Businesses are a lot more aware of SEO now and, even if they don’t fully understand what it is, they know what it’s benefit is, if it is done well.

The focus of SEO has changed, it’s had to. As Google has evolved, so has SEO.

It’s no longer just about getting a website to the top of Google for hundreds of keywords. The aim now is to feature as prominently as possible for highly targeted keywords and make sure you encourage visitors to do something next.

The Evolution Of SEO Can Be Explained Like This...

 

Think of a website as a shop that you’ve opened but it’s hidden off the high street down an alleyway. Nobody knows it’s there. So you hire a man with a sign. In it’s previous form, that’s what SEO was. One of those people who stands on a high street with a big sign saying GOLF SALE THIS WAY.

That was great. A massive arrow saying there’s a golf sale. Hundreds of people might follow the sign, go to the shop, but then what?

They get there, realise there’s nothing they like and leave. They might browse for a bit, find something they like but there’s no price on it so they put it back down and leave. How about this – what if someone looking to buy a VW Golf thought you were selling them? They went down there only to find out it was a load of nine irons and checked trousers. What if your shop looks awful and nobody even goes in. You’ve paid that guy to stand there with a sign, but you have no idea if you’re making any money from him standing there.

SEO is different now. You’ve still got the man with a sign, but now he stops and talks to people and tells them that you’ve got a great offer on golf clubs today. And, no, it’s not VW Golfs you’re selling. That’s immediately obvious. He asks your potential customers if they like golf and, if they do, he explains that the clubs you sell improve their swing and help make them better at golf. They walk into your shop and it’s easy for them find what they want to buy. And you know that sale came from your helpful man with a sign.

 

SEO, when done right, is a brilliant way of promoting and marketing your website. It’s not just optimising your site for Google, it’s optimising it for the user too. It’s a way of making your website relevant and as easy to use as possible. It doesn’t matter if you sell a product or a service, you can measure the results and see a proper return on the money you spend on SEO. If it’s done right.

So, What Does An SEO Agency Actually Do?

An SEO agency does SEO the right way. It’s not enough anymore to sit in a room with a client and tell them they’re on page one of Google and their traffic has increased by 150% since you started working with them. That doesn’t cut it.

Imagine the following conversation:

Me: “See your empty shop over there? I got 500 people to go into it last month.”

You: “What did they do when they went into the shop?”

Me: “Ummm. Well…it’s 150% more people than went into the shop this time last year.”

You: “Did they buy anything? Did they ask to speak to me or leave their name and number?”

Me: “I have no idea. BUT 500 PEOPLE THOUGH! IMPRESSIVE, ISN’T IT!”

No, it isn’t.

Good SEO is more than that. It’s finding out what really matters to your clients and measuring yourself against it. It’s putting a value on your service by showing your clients the tangible results they get from working with you.

For more useful information like this and to find out how good SEO can work for you, Visit Miromedia

 

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