Seeking a simple metaphor to explain how SEO fits into a digital strategy to a “digitally challenged” client running a successful small business, I struck upon the map of the London Underground.
If you look at the map, there are stations on single lines, stations with several lines running through, and stations with multiple intersections, some to other networks outside the underground, busses and British rail.
At any time, there are people in various stages of a journey. Some are waiting on a platform, some travelling towards the underground entry and exit points, and some on a train going to some predetermined end point of their journey.
Imagine now that every person had a descriptive tag attached, which was stored waiting for a request about that person, that could be read, and communicated to anyone asking.
SEO calls this process of asking for a location and description as “Crawling” and “Indexing”.
Each piece of information, if it has been appropriately tagged, or described by the person putting it onto a site, is “indexed” by the search engines, and when someone types a search request into a box, the engine crawls through the indexed material and returns a link to the location and description of the item to the searcher.
Back too the metaphor.
Each person with the tag on the underground, can be found, and returns the requested information to the enquirer. Location, what they are wearing, who they are, what they look like, with links to others who may be with them, and where they are going.
There are just two dimensions to having an effective SEO strategy.
- Get the technical stuff right, and this can be really complicated, and to the novice, even many professionals, is challenging. Find someone you trust to get it done for you.
- Have a strategy and action plan, without which you will be lost irrespective of the quality of the SEO.
Back to the underground metaphor. You never (perhaps rarely, a late night can make a difference) climb onto an underground train without knowing where you are going, and what the best route is under the circumstances that prevail.
Why should it be any different for an SEO strategy?