What SEO Is and What It Isn’t: Setting Expectations

Very few marketing methodologies generate instant, sustainable returns. Instead, most become fiscally viable only after continued effort makes them lucrative. For some reason, however, many business leaders labor under the misconception that they’ll somehow be able to make a big SEO push and immediately see profits.

The reality is that although SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has the potential to facilitate great gains, it isn’t some get-rich quick scheme or magic bullet that’s going to suddenly cure your marketing ROI woes forever. Here’s a quick primer on what constitutes impactful SEO and how to leverage its power properly.

What SEO Isn’t

In order to truly understand SEO, we have to disabuse ourselves of a few common misunderstandings. Some may not come as a big surprise to you, but others could totally redefine your concept of how digital marketing should work:

SEO Isn’t a Quick Fix

When users find your page in search results, the experience should be organic, or in general agreement with what they actually intended to find. You can’t determine the best strategies for achieving such interaction without first learning what people really want and how they prefer to engage with your brand. SEO requires research, and effective research takes time.

SEO Isn’t Paid Advertising

While paid advertising has its place in the world, SEO is a totally different domain. SEO techniques are designed to improve page rankings, so they typically revolve around content strategies you’ll apply to your site, not marketing content you’ll pay to place elsewhere online.

SEO Isn’t a One-time Affair

Those who implement successful SEO strategies only achieve gains with continuous effort. Today’s top Internet marketers excel when they implement site changes that drive traffic and search engine engagement, but they also need to analyze the effects of their work and improve over time. As search engine algorithms and page-ranking methodologies evolve, so must SEO techniques, meaning that constant self assessment is integral to sustained success.

SEO Isn’t Alchemy

The goal of SEO is to make pages more visible to search engines and the overwhelming majority of Internet users who rely on them. While the code libraries behind Bing or Google certainly don’t make for light reading, they’re not some mystical wizardry that only a select few can fathom. They employ logical algorithms and well-defined value systems to determine which pages are more relevant to typical Internet citizens, so your SEO strategies must be similarly methodical.

What SEO Should Be

It’s impossible to pin down one single methodology as the best SEO. True, there are definitely some well-tested industry practices, but like many marketing endeavors, the needs of the business in question play a huge role in determining the most appropriate solutions. Here are a few things to look for:

SEO Should Be White Hat

In the software and computing universe, white hat technologies are those that employ accepted methods of good design. Practices like stuffing your site with keywords and using deceptive techniques to drive up page visits are frowned upon by search engines and the Internet community at large.

On the other hand, approved methods, such as organizing and indexing links, restructuring content and utilizing metadata and semantic tags, increase search engine traffic without getting your page flagged for abuse. They also lead to more organic results and better PR.

SEO Should Be Humanistic

While you’re definitely going to be concerned with search engine algorithms, they’re not your sole focus. It’s useless to increase your page ranking if nobody actually clicks on your link.

Organic results facilitate profitable engagement. Your SEO strategies need to cater to search engines as well as the real-life consumers who want to find you. By making your site more useful with well-thought-out content, you can satisfy both.

SEO Should Be Introspective

It’s not enough to generate more traffic via Google or some other search engine. To really leverage SEO, you need to take a closer look at the specifics. Which sections of your page do most of your search-engine driven visitors head to? Can you associate certain keywords with more transactions or cultivatable leads? Asking yourself the tough questions about what your marketing strategy actually does is the only way to determine whether it’s generating sustainable ROI.

There are many ways to improve page ranking and increase organic hits. Your best bet could be to simply publish content on a more regular schedule, or your site might require a complete organizational overhaul before you’ll gain traction. It takes experience and dedication to understand the best strategies for a given situation and see an implementation through to profitability. Discover how SEO can help you build brand strength and increase your market footprint by getting in touch with Coastline Marketing Group, or read some of our other blogs for additional insights.

Coastline Marketing Group, Inc. helps companies stay up-to-date on modern marketing strategies and innovative inbound techniques that provide extraordinary cost-value benefits. Our services include Social Media Management, Local Search Engine Optimization, Powerful Content Marketing, Website and Mobile Web Development.