How Does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Work?


If you’re reading this and you haven’t been following me or regularly reading my content already, then: it worked.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it’s so affectionately called in the industry, is a bit of a misunderstanding. All marketers, businessmen and CEOs want to know is, “how can we effectively optimize our search engine standing so that we appear at the top of the search results in Google?” when they should really be asking, “how do I make my company more relevant to the end consumer?”

As such, I’m here to shed some light on this subject by starting off with two quotes that I will never forget after studying both Marketing and Public Relations:

  1. “Anyone who tries to tell you that they can optimize your search engine results using SEO tactics is a snake oil salesmen.” - unnamed professor during my time at Centennial College.

  2. “There is no such thing as a get rich quick scheme. If anyone ever tells you otherwise—run.” - unnamed professor during my time at UOIT.

Anything worth having is worth investing time and energy into. Additionally, you get what you pay for; and in the case of SEO, your payment is the hope that something is going to work right away.

Now, that isn’t to say there aren’t ways to make your search engine standing more desirable, but it’s also not what most people who are asking for SEO are thinking of… let me explain.

Forget the meta-tags, the hidden words, and the algorithm tweaks; what truly works and will afford your company longevity is:

  1. Registering your business on Google.
    This is because, before Google searches externally, it ALWAYS checks out its own database first. As such, you’ll just want to be on there…

  2. Using language that your target audience would use.
    Granted, this will take some market research and effort on your part beforehand, but it works because you will be letting the Google algorithm know, “hey, these two are related!”

  3. Putting out relevant and meaningful content regularly.
    I can’t stress this enough. You can’t market a bad product. Content will always and forever be king! So, be relevant, be meaningful, and be a source of something worthy of being searched for directly.

When hiring for an SEO specialist (either to fill a position at your company or as an outside consultant who will help you externally) realize that—in all honesty—they are probably just taking your money and using bots and various other methods of trickery to fool you into thinking that they’re doing a good job, simply by “gaming” the system to meet your target objectives.

What do I mean by this? Well, let’s say you want your SEO specialist to get your company 1,000 new followers on Instagram. Chances are, the SEO specialist will just add into their overall budget (ie. how much you’re going to pay them) a markup to cover the bot that they will end up purchasing to get you those 1,000 new (fake) followers. However, it looks good on paper, though, doesn’t it?

Or, let’s say you have a new video on YouTube and you hire an SEO specialist to help get you over 10,000 new views. Well, they’re probably going to charge a similar markup just so they can purchase an auto-play bot that will continuously click your same video over and over again to get you those—that’s right—10,000 new (fake) views. Again, it looks good on paper, though, doesn’t it?

The truth is, there are a myriad of other tricks-of-the-trade out there for a snake oil salesmen conning you out of your hard earned money; leveraging your unwillingness to put in the work in hopes that there is something out there that will give you higher numbers by doing very little.

Granted, if higher numbers is all you want, then go for it! But, if you’re looking to build a solid and meaningful audience of customers, consumers, and clients, then you’re just going to have to roll up your sleeves and do the work! Now, that doesn’t mean that you should just put out one great video and bank on that. No, that means putting out regular and great content, because:

  1. Google’s algorithm is always searching for the latest content available.

  2. The more content you have out there, the more chances you’ll have of getting something picked up.

In the end, if you want something real (and not something fake), making sure that your content is both meaningful and enriching to your end consumer is the key. But it takes hard work; it takes dedication; and it takes patience.

No one ever said that it was going to be easy… well, I suppose the con-artists did.

-choose relevancy over optimization, every time.