The following article was provided by Brandon Na, an SEO in Seattle and Business Development Officer of the Seattle SEO Network.

forrest gump seoYou’ve all heard the saying “Life is like a box a chocolates” from the very popular movie “Forrest Gump” right? Well, my saying for SEO is “SEO is like finding a book in the library.”

My 64 year old Korean mother’s who’s second language is English one day came to me and asked me, “So, Brandon…what is this SEO thing you do?”  I looked back to her in astonishment not because she was curious about what her son was doing, but because I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh!  This woman hasn’t even done a single search in her entire life and I have to try and explain SEO to her???”  Well, I also thought to myself if I could explain SEO to her in less than 5 minutes, I could possibly become the leading SEO of the world!

So, I came up with this analogy…

“Mom, so think of the Internet as a library.  What are the ‘things’ you look for in a library?”  She replied, “I’m not sure.”  I told her what are those rectangular things we are asked to read often and she immediately said, “Of course, it’s books.”  Well, I told her after that to think of books as ‘websites.’  The little ‘books’ on the Internet have many attributes and in order to figure out what those books are about, we have to define those attributes.

The #1 on page attribute in SEO is what we see every day on every cover of a book.  It’s the title.  However, the irony to the title being the #1 attribute for search engines is that we label it many times our business name or our website name that NOBODY has heard about.  We don’t spend a lot of time or money advertising or marketing it offline, so people tend to not look for what we thought they would be searching for.  At the same time, we also many times don’t even begin to think about SEO when creating the website and as a result, we simply name the title what we think would be best like naming our child: something unique, something catchy or maybe something even friendly.

However, Google and the top search engines in the world are looking for websites that are “relevant” for each search and they can’t equate a “catchy website” with a specific phrase that is incongruent with the searched phrase.  Google, in my mind is looking for 2 main aspects to each and every website.  I call them the “2 C’s of SEO” which I wrote a full article in Biznik earlier this year.  They are “content” and “credibility.”  So, in order to define the content of the website, Google’s looking for different “signals” on your website that define the content and the #1 signal is the title.

I continue to ask my mom what she thinks other people judge books on.  While she’s never heard of the New York Times, she does know when there are recommendations for a book, she’ll tend to buy it.  I tell her that books need “credibility” just like websites do and begin to explain to her that the main currency for credibility online currently are “links.”  Websites that link to other websites provide “credibility” signals to Google and as a result can improve the ranking of a website according to a specific phrase.

However, you need these links to also be sculpted in a way that match the keyword phrases.  So, the anchor text needs to be matching those keywords that people are looking for.

If you can believe it, it’s almost that simple.  For the most part, I did give you in a nutshell what are two of the most important elements to SEO.

At the same time, it’s not just these things us SEO’s work on in order to enhance a website’s presence online and increase traffic to a website as high as 200% year over year like we’ve done with many of our clients.  I wish I could say it was that simple.  However, focusing on these things will at least help you jump from being in the black hole on the Internet to at least better positions that hopefully will get you interested in the field we have dedicated our lives to.

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