SEO in 2022.

Things to Consider Before Starting Search Engine Optimization.

WHERE WE ARE | THE LANDSCAPE

It’s hard to imagine the times that preceded the internet. Our everyday lives are spent interacting with its nearly infinite resources. The internet has expanded scientific research and development, increased productivity, and opened windows into the lives of people from every walk of life.

As a direct result of the internet’s fruition, businesses from across the globe have been working around the clock to determine the best way to utilize the power of its communicative capabilities to better engage with their prospective audiences. This has resulted in major corporations like Google and Yahoo to flourish as purveyors of information. Our ever-inquisitive minds compelling us to ask any and every question we desire answers to, landing at the doorsteps of these internet titans in milliseconds, and the subsequent answer delivered to us before we take our next breath. There’s a problem, however.

Because of the internet’s proliferation, every company, every person, whether informed, or merely possessing a thought that rattles and pings off the otherwise vacant inner walls of their skull, is not only permitted to publish content, but seems compelled to do so. We live in a time of misinformation, disinformation, and it’s entirely due to the openness and ease of publication that the internet provides. In an attempt to muffle the noise and nonsense, Google and other search engines spend an inordinate amount of resources and time working to cultivate search engine responses for those who seek information. This has led to the world of search engine optimization (SEO).

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW | SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION OPTIONS

On the surface, SEO is nothing more than the actions that a company or individual takes in an attempt to be recognized by the search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) for the content that they’ve created for the world. If your company sells custom furniture, you ultimately want to be seen as the last word in custom furniture. You want the search engines to recognize the effort that you put into your work, the value you bring to your customers, and reward you by putting your name at the top of the list. This isn’t an uncommon desire, however. Your company, along with every other furniture store in your area —whether custom built furniture or not— is vying for the exact same real estate on the search engine results page.

In order to stand out on the search engine results page, in your chosen vocation, you have a few options available to you. First, you could spend ungodly amounts of money in an attempt to outperform your competitors’ SEO measures. This is certainly doable if you have the funds. Keep in mind though, depending on your specific industry, this number can shift wildly. For instance, imagine that your company engineers products from rare materials that make it vastly superior to the rest of your industry; you likely won’t find yourself struggling as much to set yourself apart from your competition.

The reason this is the case is simple on its face. The amount of people searching for a specialized product or service is going to be substantially smaller than if the product or service you’re selling/providing is in great abundance.

Take for instance the music industry. Everyone with a computer and a few pieces of software can put together a piece of music. In simple economic terms, this devalues the industry on the whole, because while there’s still a large demand for music, there’s an even greater supply. When this occurs, the value of the product devalues.

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER FOREGOING ADVERTISING IN 2022

Another option you may consider would be to advertise. While advertising can play a role in your marketing or search engine optimization methodologies, it shouldn’t be looked at as a silver bullet. As a society, we’ve become utterly numb to a lot of advertisements. Why? Simply because we’re inundated by them everywhere we go. Every YouTube video that we watch with the five second ad at the beginning (that we’re all dying to skip), to the thousands of billboards that riddle every major street. There’s nowhere we can look without being bombarded with someone, somewhere, trying to sell us stuff.

What we’ve found from our decades long experience in this realm, is that advertising has become burdensome, and rarely garners the results our clients are looking for. If you were running a large corporation and had endless funds to throw at advertising, it could make sense to go this route. This is because at a certain point it all becomes a numbers game. The question being, “how much money can we spend to maximize our revenues, engagement, and eyes on product?” This mentality again works best if you have an enormous budget. Without this kind of budget, you can pretty much toss this idea to the side for a bit.

A third option is to hire a traditional SEO company. This is a completely reasonable step for businesses of all sizes, and in many instances will garner decent results. The caveat to this is, you have to be willing to spend around fifteen hundred to three thousand dollars per month. Not to mention search engine optimization will genuinely take time to take hold. You could very well be waiting for half a year before you see your company on the first page of the search engine results page.

There are other drawbacks to SEO companies that you should be aware of. Most SEO companies will be able to show you staggering results in the first few months, but likely only on keywords that are either less competitive, or that have been relegated to a page deep in the search engine results pages. If you find yourself on page twenty on Google, and an SEO company gets you to page three in a few weeks, it’s not because they’re godly. It’s not because they’re so great that they willed the Google gods to realize your company’s potential and value. No, it’s because you were so far down that any effort put in at all was going to result in a bump up through the rankings.

Another issue that I see with SEO companies is their approach to article writing. While I understand the importance of article writing, I think it’s important to note that there’s a difference between hiring some guy on Fiverr, or outsourcing article writing to someone in another country, and having a well-crafted, spellchecked, proofread, substantive article. The issue is, there’s no money in writing articles. Good writers charge between eight and fifteen cents per word, and marking that service up is really difficult to do. So what’s an SEO company to do? They go out and find the cheapest, most remedial writer who can deliver a fraction of what they requested. At this point, they post this article, with your name attached to it, and make a few bucks in the process.

Paying for quality is important in virtually every respect when it comes to your business, so why do so many businesses write this off as unimportant? The answer is likely that there’s just not enough time or available bandwidth to deal with things of this nature. The idea of set-it-and-forget-it is largely adopted when people or companies hire an SEO firm.

Another common answer I hear is, “we don’t understand this stuff, so we’re entrusting you to take care of it.” While you don’t have to know the ins and outs of SEO, it should be noted that if the company you’re working with is using terms that are overly complicated, it’s a trap. I can say this definitively, because while there are a lot of behind the scenes measures that need to be undertaken, SEO is effectively putting quality content in places that get traffic; thereby increasing your company’s exposure and reputation; thereby increasing the value that Google bestows upon you. Content can be anything from a dog shit article, to pictures of you and your staff posted on social media. Thus… Not complicated.

CONSIDERING SEO? ASK YOURSELF THE FOLLOWING:

First, ask yourself, do you believe that the internet is evolving and changing? If you’ve actually read this far into this post, then I suspect you just answered yes. You’d be correct. In under twenty years we’ve seen the internet go from infancy to a ballooned-up universe unto itself. We’ve seen the rise of the big social media platforms, the fall of some. We’ve seen the days of chatrooms and Netscape Navigator, and we’ve seen how much the world wide web has shifted into its own unstoppable, astronomical entity.

The second question I want you to ask yourself is, with an ever-changing internet, am I pursuing contemporary methods to compete with the rest of my industry? The answer to this is likely no. That’s ok, you’re not alone. The fact is, most SEO companies are not adapting to the average internet users’ wants and needs. They focus largely on the illusive Google algorithm, and try to retrofit antiquated measures to a living entity. While this has continued to garner results, this has diminishing returns. This is because the average user is engaging with the internet in ways that just a few years ago they were not. Take for instance TikTok. While this platform isn’t for everyone, there’s no denying that the power of thirty second videos has skyrocketed over the course of a few years. The audience is changing. Their habits are changing, and the world of SEO is as stuck in the past as it gets.

CONSIDER ALTERNATIVES TO TRADITIONAL SEO

What makes The Grey Matter different is that we focus on contemporary methods. We know that the average user isn’t going to read a fifteen hundred word article. We know that the average attention span is three seconds. We know that users are more likely to engage with a company when there’s something in it for them aside from the product itself. What can you teach? How can you entertain them? What’s going to leave a lasting impression? These are the questions that we ask ourselves every day. These are the matters that keep us up at night. And this is why we work to engage your audience in a way that gives them a reason to come to you.