Because SEO is like a parade
What the heck does one have to do with the other? (I hear you ask.)
Well, I know it seems like a strange comparison, but I can explain, unlike the Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, asking why a raven is like a writing desk.
First, why do you need SEO?
Many people get a new or redesigned website, and then, after some time, realize – or get told – they need SEO and wonder, why? They spent time and money on that shiny new site! However, not all sites are optimized. Some have the basics, but few designers are also SEO experts.
Sometimes, well-established site owners get complacent and don’t stay on top of the ever-changing landscape of Search user-centric web design. And suddenly find their traffic dwindling.
From the day you launch your site, to the day you retire it or sell it, optimization is not a one-and-done; it takes time and effort – or a comparable amount of money.
Where does the parade come in?
Think of SEO as a parade and your website as an entry – a float with many pretty tissue paper colors and a banner along the side. You and your designer worked hard to make it attractive and to decide what the banner should say. It’s probably pretty nice!
You’re excited for people all along Main Street to see it. (“Main street” = page one of the Google search results”).
But wait! Main Street is only a few blocks long. The parade only lasts a few minutes. Oh, and only about ten to twenty floats can go down Main Street before people go home.
One more detail…there are hundreds to millions of entries!
Enter the Parade Master
(Parade Master = Google)
With so little space and a short time allotted for the parade, Google (ahem), the Parade Master, must eliminate all the floats that aren’t right for this particular parade. Then, re-route most remaining entries to side routes (page 2 plus of the Google Search Results Pages.)
The Parade Master alone decides whose entry is worthy of Main Street. Just having a nice-looking float is not enough. A good theme and banner aren’t sufficient to stand out among so many others like it. The PM wants the chosen floats to give spectators the very best experience.
What gets your pretty little float to Main Street from all the thousands who want to be there?
- A fast, well-functioning float. (no slowdowns or breakdowns on Main Street!)
- A float with a carefully worded banner and other features that resonate with and satisfy the viewers along the route better than the others.
- A float that people recognize, trust, and possibly voted for in previous parades.
No matter how attractive, your float won’t get seen in the parade if it doesn’t pass those three tests.
Once your float makes it to Main Street, the crowd’s visual and emotional reaction to it becomes critical to getting them to vote you best-in-show.
It’s just the same for your website!
- Your site should load fast and work well. Your visitors need to have a good experience using it.
- The message and words on your site must match your prospective visitor’s search words and answer their questions.
- Your site needs to build popularity over time.
And always, once visitors find your site, they need to engage with it and like it well enough to become your clients or customers.
Not every site needs to do the same thing to optimize.
Every site has strengths and weaknesses. Some older sites may be popular but need a redesign for better engagement. Some sites may be attractive but have the wrong message and wording to connect with the right visitors. Some may do both things right, but technical errors make the site slow, hard to use, or even pose security threats, driving visitors away.
When you optimize, you correct site issues and errors and focus on the things your ideal visitors are looking for. When it is visitor-friendly and helpful, you promote the site on any “street” on the internet where those ideal visitors are hanging out. Your Main Street.
So, optimize your site!
Now you understand why you need SEO and the steps to achieve it, you can better work with your SEO Pro to choose what you need to focus on first. Then, identify projects you can work on to keep your site at the front of the parade!