When we mention SEO (search engine optimisation) to prospective Clients, we usually receive one of two responses:
- “I have absolutely no idea what SEO is”
- “I’ve heard of SEO but I’m not sure how it works.”
If prospective Clients aren’t able to fully understand what SEO actually is then there is no surprise that they can’t appreciate the value of the service and how it can help their business.
We’ve tried using graphics, videos and long-winded documents to try and help business owners gain a firm understanding of SEO but the problem is that none of these methods clarify concisely what SEO is at its most basic level. Clients don’t want or even need to understand the minutia of SEO; the vast majority simply want to know what SEO actually is.
Think about it – if you take your car to a garage to get a problem fixed, you want the Mechanic to tell you what the problem is and how they can fix it in a way you’ll understand. You certainly don’t need to be given a lecture on the inner workings of the combustion engine do you?
So whilst talking to one particular Client, we randomly used a particular analogy then all of a sudden, the lights came on for that Client. We’ve since used the same analogy to help other business owners get a quick, clear idea of what SEO is in a way they can truly understand.
So look at a simple analogy of what SEO actually is…
When you want to find something on the Internet, you’ll typically go to a Search Engine (the ‘SE’ bit in ‘SEO’); the most popular one being Google so we’ll use that for our analogy.
For the purposes of this example, we going to try and find information on the following subject:
‘How to play the Guitar’
Now think of Google not as a search engine but as a Library that you’ll (currently) find in most towns. And rather than websites, let’s think about books.
So we go to the Google Library and tell the Librarian (Google’s search box) that we want books which will help us to play the Guitar.
The Librarian then gives us a huge pile of books which he thinks are going to be of the most use to us. He helpfully stacks the books with the ones he thinks will be most relevant to us at the top, and the ones less relevant at the bottom.
But how did the Librarian decide which books were going to be most relevant to our particular needs? He obviously can’t have read every book in our huge pile so he had to use a system that quickly allowed him to decide if a particular book was going to help us play the Guitar, or not.
Well, our clever Librarian has developed a system which allows him to make a quick judgement on the authority of a particular book by looking at some key factors.
Using the Librarians system, we going to show you which books made it to the top of the pile (the Good) and which ones were dropped to the bottom (the Bad).
Here are the key factors that the Librarian scanned when considering each book…
The Book Title
It seems obvious but the first (and most important) factor the Librarian considers is the actual title of the book and how relevant it is to our specific search for information.
The Good – ‘How to Play the Guitar’
The Bad – ‘The Smith Method of Guitar Tuition’
The Book Content
The Librarian wants to ensure that the books he is considering are going to provide both the quantity and quality of information to help us with our query.
The Good – A 300-page book with lots clear, well-written instructions, pictures, tips and even a DVD with video demonstrations.
The Bad – A 30-page book which only provides the most basic of information and no pictures or other useful content.
Recommendations & Reviews
The Librarian’s selection can be influenced if a particular book provides references or reviews from notable individuals associated with the subject matter.
The Good – A Guitar tuition book that is endorsed by a famous music school and has a number of glowing reviews on the back cover from leading Guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.
The Bad – A Guitar tuition book that doesn’t provide any evidence that the content is relevant or useful from figures of authority within the Guitar world.
The Librarian’s selection can be made easier if he knows that a particular book is already popular with other Library users.
The Good – A book that has a lot of date stamps on the inside cover showing that it’s been borrowed many times.
The Bad – A book that has only been borrowed a few times in the year and doesn’t appear very popular at all with other Library users.
Optimising Your Book
So if you were going to write a book about how to play the Guitar and wanted to ensure that the Librarian at your local Library always put your book near the top of the pile, you need to ‘optimise’ your book based on the four key factors outlined above.
By making it easy for the Librarian to understand what our book is about, that is has great content, is endorsed by third-parties and is popular with other readers, he is far more likely to place is nearer the top of the book pile when somebody is searching for relevant information.
These exact same principle are used in SEO but rather than a book, an SEO Expert will ‘optimse’ your website so that it appears near the top of the pile in Google’s search results.