Is SEO Black Magic? In a word, No.
A new video has been released by Google titled, “How to Hire an SEO.” The video presents Google’s own Maile Ohye sharing her advice for hiring an SEO (Search Engine Optimizer). Her particular focus is right where it should be: on how SEO can be utilized to improve the searcher experience on your website. Clocking in at just over 11 minutes, the video is chock-full of solid advice for business owners of all sizes, and after seeing far too many customers pay dearly for SEO efforts that have offered little or no ultimate value, I was glad to listen to these tips “straight from the horse’s mouth” that ring true to my own experience.
In just the first two minutes of the video from Google, Ohye addresses some common misconceptions about SEO. She says:
- SEO is not black magic.
- If you want long-term success; there aren’t any quick magical tricks that an SEO will provide so that your site ranks #1.
- In most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefit.
My own thoughts on these are as follows:
1. SEO is not black magic.
There is an art and a science to good SEO practice, starting with the art of listening. First and foremost, I employ the art of listening. I need to understand each business and rely heavily on my customers as the subject matter experts in their fields and their businesses to answer questions such as:
“What makes your business unique and valuable?”
“Who is your target audience?”
“What are all of the services and tools you are already using to establish a strong web presence?”
“What does the competitive landscape look like for your business?”
There’s also a deep science to SEO. In an age where data analysis tools are improving daily, there are a wide range of tools available to SEOs to analyze a website, and looking at this data and suggesting improvements is a key factor in successful SEO. I’ve seen many people install an SEO plugin without configuring it carefully or revisiting it after initial set-up. Many folks install Google Analytics code in their website and think that’s enough. It’s not.
2. If you want long-term success; there aren’t any quick magical tricks that an SEO will provide so that your site ranks #1.
For one thing, no SEO should be promising you the #1 spot in any search result on any search engine. If an SEO does make such a promise, run – do not walk — in the other direction. SEOs do not and can not control the search engines, and certainly can’t promise what those engines will display at the top of their results.
Equally important, though, is the understanding that good SEO takes time. There are many factors that impact SEO, and they range in complexity from quick adjustments to more site-wide recommendations that take time to implement and even more time to propagate across the web. Again, we can’t control what search engines do with the information you provide or when they will take notice, but a good SEO will ensure that your website is sending the right signals to those search engines and that those signals are being sent properly and expediently.
3. In most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefit.
SEO is not a quick fix, but it is an important practice for anyone who is serious about how their business appears in an increasingly crowded web. From the initial point of engagement, a good SEO project is going to include stages of information gathering and web presence audit, data analytics, ensuring that a solid website backbone is in place, implementation of key technical SEO elements, and then a longer period of analysis and adjustment. In short, it’s a process, not a switch.
This is a great video full of practical tips, and I encourage anyone considering SEO to take the time to watch it in its entirety. If we can help you with your own web presence, reach out. We’d love to hear from you.