I like to think of SEO like a game, a competitive game like running a marathon, playing poker, or another competitive endeavor in life: the art and science of getting a job. Every game has its rules, of course, and if you don’t know the rules of the game, you surely can’t win. A good way to understand the “game” of SEO is to compare it to the process of getting a job. It has its job desired (your keywords), its resume (your website), its references (your inbound links), and its job interview (your website landing).
I will give you a conceptual framework to understand search engine optimization. Once you have a conceptual framework, you can then refer back to it, as you dive into very specific tasks such as optimizing a landing page or soliciting inbound links. It’s a map that will keep you oriented in the right direction.
Understand That SEO Parallels Getting a Job
Let’s consider the search for a job. How does the job market work? People want to “be found” as the “ideal” candidate for a position. So what do they do? Four important things:
Job Desired – Identify a Desired Job. Job seekers take a look inside their souls and identify the job they want. If they’re smart, they took a look outside at the job market as well, and look for connection points between the job of their dreams, and the jobs that are in demand in the labor market. For example, my dream job is sipping margaritas in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, writing science fiction novels, but the demand for that isn’t so high. So I’ve taken a passion for language and turned that into a job as an SEO writer and consultant. Notice how the “job desired” matches “keywords” as in (SEO consultant).
Resume – Create a resume. Job seekers create a keyword-heavy resume that explains the job that they want to get, and their qualifications for that job. If, for example, they want a job as a BMW auto mechanic, they create a resume that emphasizes keywords like “auto mechanic,” “auto repair,” and even “BMW repair” by prominently displaying them in the right places, including the subject line of emails they send out to prospective employers. And employers “scan” resumes looking for those resumes that “match” their keywords. Notice how “keywords” are embedded in the written resume.
References – Cultivate References. Beyond a great resume, the next aspect of job search is cultivating great references. Knowing the boss’s spouse, having the head of the BMW auto mechanic school, or someone else important or influential put in a good word can elevate your resume to the top of the heap. In short, strong references get your resume looked at, substantiate that your resume is factually accurate, and possibly get you a job interview. Notice how “references” are external validations that you are as great as your resume claims you to be.
Job Interview – Wow Them Face-to-Face. Once you get their attention, what’s next? The job interview is the next step towards landing the job, it’s the “free glimpse” of what you have to offer that “sells” the employer on making a financial commitment by hiring you. Notice how a “job interview” is a “free” taste of you as an employee. The use of something free is obvious, once you notice it, and notice how strong websites usually offer customers something free as well.