By Melanie McCraney
SEO: It’s one of those “techie” terms that is annoyingly overused by some who want to keep the web mysterious. Is every CEO tuned in to SEO? Well, no, but your CEO should know about SEO, and that’s where the fundamentals of SEO come in.
SEO means “search engine optimization.” Lots of people simply call it “search”. Like Agent Gibbs on NCIS when he tells his high-tech agent McGee, “In English, Tim,” in English, SEO means making your website more likely to turn up when someone searches with Google or another search engine for the kind of products or services you offer.
How do you do that? It’s not magic – it involves skilled use of keywords and phrases for starters– and there is an elaborate art and a science to it. Watch out for cold calls by “SEO Pros” who want to charge you an arm and a leg and guarantee “front page of Google.” Did you know you can pretty much guarantee you’ll turn up on Page one of Google all by yourself, simply by setting up a (free) Google Plus account? Google your name and there you are. Where’s the value in that? Good question.
It’s great if you’re only trying to get in front of people who already know your name. In fact, everyone should use the free social media tools available to help control on line image and reputation. Google +, Facebook and Linked In are masters of SEO, and when you index your name with them, you have the benefit of riding along with their search savvy for free.
But if you’re seeking to use SEO to build audience and increase visibility for your business, you need to take it a step further. Google, Bing and the other search engines constantly change their algorithms (the metrics that determine who lands on top in search) and it is critical to have an informed strategy to take you where you need to go.
A digitally savvy public relations professional can help put the art and science of SEO to work to enhance your business. PR firms that don’t have search experts on board full-time frequently partner with digital pros . Search strategy is complex and there’s much more to it than tags and keywords; the good news is that a digital professional can build you a successful SEO strategy with measurable benchmarks on most any budget.