Why SEO is like farming, but not the genetically modified kind.

Why SEO is like farming, but not the genetically modified kind.

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If you’re sick of paying through the nose for advertising, it’s time you tapped into Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO.

SE-huh?

Oh dear. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

When we think of marketing there are a lot of different segments that come to mind, like PR and advertising. These often work in sudden bursts or campaigns driven by budgets and short-term goals.

SEO, on the other hand, is an organic approach to marketing. Like farming, but not the genetically modified kind.

SEO is not genetically modified

SEO is both technical and organic; it’s evaluated by machines and humans.

It’s ongoing because search engines, like Google, are constantly trying to access the popularity and quality of your website.

Popularity is largely based on natural growth and improvement. They then determine where to rank it amongst the keywords you are targeting.

Google is not a fan of artificial growth designed to manipulate the search results — for example, sudden growth in links to your site that look unnatural – so a short term approach will not work with SEO.

Seasonal changes and SEO results

When a farmer ploughs the soil and sews his first seeds of the season, he has a goal in mind to grow a crop. He works the whole season maintaining his crop, however, at the end of the season he may have a bumper harvest or the crop may be devastated by drought.

SEO is the same, with search engines being the unpredictable force. A company wishing to make the most from SEO needs to put in the effort and expense like the farmer. But there is no guarantee of a specific result. If you’re given a guarantee by an SEO company, you’d better think twice. It’s as legit as a farmer assuring a bumper harvest. With SEO it’s the quality of ongoing improvement that’s important; the bumper harvest will come when the time is right.

Is it working already? Evaluating SEO

The best way to evaluate your SEO efforts is to track key metrics with great website tracking tools such as Google analytics.

The most relevant stat is how many un-paid visitors are coming from search engines; a gradual increase here indicates you are on the right track.

Tracking ranking in specific search engines is less important now due to the high level of personalisation of results according to geography and social circles.

Winning points for SEO

Short term marketing is quickly forgotten. When the budget dries up so does a customer’s memory of your message.

Not so with SEO. Visitors will still come to your site from organic search a long time after you began your SEO efforts.

Did we mention SEO also reduces PPC costs? And another winner, if you’re paying high PPC costs to Google AdWords think Quality Score! SEO will increase your site’s quality score, making the pages more relevant and so reducing PPC and getting you a better position in sponsored listings.

With SEO being so natural, organic and straightforward there’s no reason not to be making the most of it.

Who has jumped in the water with SEO and what is your experience?

Got another opinion? Let me have it in the comments below…

Scott Donald provides premium web design and ethical SEO services. Scott is the owner of Creative Digital, a full service digital marketing agency.

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