This post was originally published on LinkedIn.
If you follow news in the online marketing industry, then you’ve no doubt seen dozens (or hundreds) of posts about SEO being on its way out the door, dying, or already dead. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
As a matter of fact, Google (you’ve heard of them, right?) is hiring for the position of Program Manager, Search Engine Optimization. Yes, the global search giant is hiring an individual to optimize web properties and increase organic traffic and sales.
Take a look at the listing for yourself – https://www.google.com/about/careers/search#!t=jo&jid=120105001
Technical SEO & Content
The listing does a pretty good job describing the job duties and qualifications. If you read it, you may notice it doesn’t talk about link building, but it does talk about technical SEO and content.
That’s a tricky little detail. Google is actually giving us a profound hint here: Search engines care about being able to find and crawl websites, and they want to see content when they get there. Spider can’t find your site? That’s a problem. Thin content? That’s a problem.
This is a point I’ve been trying to stress to clients, colleagues, friends, family, and anyone else who cares about SEO for years. It’s not just about links, ranking, or even simple traffic anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, that stuff is all important in the right context. But when they become the end-all-be-all of metrics, we all have a tendency to put our blinders on and forget about the stuff that seriously matters.
These metrics should all be indicators of whether or not our content is working for us. Let me break it down how the content on your site *should* work:
- You create awesome content. It’s noteworthy in some way, shape, or form.
- You share this awesome content with your colleagues, industry influencers, press, friends, family, etc.
- The people you share the awesome content with like it so much that they share it with people they think will find it interesting or valuable via social media, links on blogs, news articles, etc.
- Search engines see your content is awesome and other people think your content is awesome, too. They decide it deserves to show up highly in organic search results, since it’s probably one of the best pieces of content on its topic.
- You see an increase in links, traffic, conversions, sales, and bottom line revenue. You congratulate your team and yourself on all that hard work that paid off, and continue on.
That’s how it’s supposed to work. The problem is that a lot of business have an experience like this:
- You have determined you don’t have enough links. You create some “totally unique” content for the purpose of “attracting links.”
- You tell your friends you have been creating content to help with your marketing, but you’re sort of embarrassed to actually show them, so you don’t tell them where it is, or what you really plan to do with it.
- You push links to your content through social bookmarking websites, directories, and link to your content through a few blog comments.
- Search engines see your content, don’t really think much of it, and notice that nobody else really seems to think much of your content. They decide the many other valuable resources deserve to show up higher than yours.
- You see an increase in links and a slight up-tick in traffic, but conversions, sales, and revenue are mostly flat. You decide this SEO stuff is garbage. You chastise your team and yourself for wasting all that time and money on such a dumb idea.
If You Thought You Were Special, You’re Not.
One bullet point of the job listing stuck out to me as very interesting – “Advise, collaborate with, and synthesize feedback from Marketing, Product and Engineering partners to push for technical SEO best practices.”
If you’ve ever worked to implement changes with a large organization, you know that sometimes the process is awful at best. Apparently this isn’t a problem the best of the best can avoid. You might think that the largest search provider would be able to implement search engine optimized web properties with no problem, but it’s a good time to remember that even Google needs someone specialized in what they do best. That means designers create stunning & user-friendly design, developers build out the functionality to see it through, and SEOs help direct the content, while making it easy for search engines to find it.
The point here is that every company I have ever talked to think the problems they face are only unique to them. That nobody else faces those same problems. To a degree, they’re right, but for the most part, you have the same problems everyone else does.
Even Google recognizes the importance of SEO. So what about you? Have you let SEO fall by the way-side? If so, the bad news is your competition probably has a pretty good head start on you. The good news is that it’s never too late to start, and since you’re reading this you’ve found yourself one of the most capable people to help you out. Give me a call and let’s get started.