I have the opportunity to discuss SEO quite a bit, even my mom wants to understand SEO and our newest venture. However, within seconds of me starting the SEO intro, I get the look I give my dentist when he informs me of my next pending root canal. In these SEO discussions rarely does anyone know the first thing about SEO, or even what S-E-O stands for. Those I usually speak with are typically intelligent, tech savvy, amazingly successful business people, and yet they have had little to no exposure with SEO. As a result they do not understand the importance of the SEO process and do barely anything with their sites to help them in the world of search. They literally rely on driving people to their sites by word of mouth, and more traditional forms of advertising, including cold calling, radio ads, magazine ads, TV commercials, billboards, etc. It is mind-boggling just how wide the chasm is between those who understand SEO and those who do not, those who use SEO, and those who do not. In my view, a business site without any SEO applied is simply a grossly missed growth opportunity. Not taking the time, or expending the effort to drive clients seeking your product to your company, makes no economic/buisness sense, so there must be other forces which would cause one to avoid or ignore SEO. I believe the lack of action is partly based on a simple lack of understanding.
I admit, I was, and would have remained one of the uninformed had the concept not been forced upon me. Our existing businesses were doing very well, utilizing more traditional forms of advertising, and word of mouth proved to be our best method of growth. However, through launches of several technology businesses, with online customers being our target market, we decided we needed to be more “visible” online. We started by researching online, reading a few books, read many blogs here and here, and eventually learned what we needed to do, we needed SEO. We then went out and found SEO tools we hoped would assist us get our sites up to speed. It was during this search for SEO knowledge and SEO tools that Michael and I came to the conclusion there just needed to be a system where most, if not all these SEO tools were available in one place, instead of scattered all over the net, on so many platforms. It was here the concept of SoloSEO was born.
So now we find ourselves in a situation where we have a service we need to sell, but we usually have to first explain the industry and why it should be important to business site owners. As mentioned above, this has been challenging. I eventually developed an analogy to assist me in the discussion. I personally love analogies, and many times analogies have helped me learn complex concepts, which have proven too difficult to grasp when I heard them the first time around. To those who already understand SEO this analogy won’t be helpful, unless you are attempting to explain SEO to a potential client, or to others without SEO knowledge, then it might help out.
I come from a long line of builders/land developers, so the concept of building a home or office building is a process I have been exposed to throughout my life, and became the basis of this SEO analogy.
I first start by asking the person to imagine they have started building a building, from which they wish to sell a product or service, and explain that the building represents their website. Some already have a building, some are better than others, some bigger, taller, fancier, but everyone in this example has a building in various stages of completion. Then we discuss the importance of a good foundation for the building/site, such as the proper use and placement of title, header, and description meta tags, internal and external links, and the use of a sitemap. Next topic is the items required to properly finish the building, such as building walls, putting in cabinets, wiring, flooring, painting, finish work, etc. These building steps are also imperative in the SEOing of a site; finding appropriate keywords, creating fresh, unique content, link building, etc. In this analogy the search engines represent the building inspectors. These inspectors all are looking to insure the building is built to code, and of a measured level of quality. Each inspector might value certain aspects of the building, more than the others due to their opinion, but all of them attempt to take these aspects into consideration when determining the overall “quality” of the building/site. Like building a home, one of the most important SEO truths is it simply takes time to do it right, you can’t rush it, you can’t fake it, you must do it right to rank well (organically). Obviously the analogy can continue, but those are the basics, and it continues to evolve each time it is told. I have had good success using this analogy to help others understand how SEO fits with their site, and hopefully SEO is in their near future. Once they grasp the importance of SEO, then we just need to teach them how to get it all done, and sorry mom, that is a post for another day.
If there are other SEO analogies you use, or have used to enlighten the masses, we would love to hear about them.