Whether you think SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization” or “Screwing Everyone Over”, you don’t even need a website to learn valuable life lessons from SEO. It’s one of the most confusing, jargon-riddled, important, and lucrative IT fields in existence—and it’s not going anywhere.
Even though the majority of small businesses in the US don’t have a website (even though they really should), there will come a time when you need to be online or shut your doors.
And when you’re online? SEO determines your popularity, customer reach, and ultimately how successful your business will be.
However, the evolving best practices of SEO are actually great business lessons beyond optimizing your website. Here are a few things to learn from SEO to become a better entrepreneur:
Stop with the Black Hat Trickery
Black hat tricks are basically ways of falsely (and sometimes illegally) bolstering your website up the rankings. Usually, this is a short-term approach because the algorithms are getting better, which means you will get caught. Depending on the severity of the, “crime,” Google might penalize your site or even remove you entire from the search engine results.
My friend Murray Newlands always warns entrepreneurs “Messing with Google isn’t worth it. The best and easiest way to rank these days is to keep 100% of your efforts with your customer in mind. Black Hat isn’t what your customer wants, nor Google. Always think with your customers in mind and you’ll never have to worry about Google.
Shortcuts are for amateurs and it’s not worth it in the long haul.
People Search in Dumb-Smart Ways
When a person types a search into Google, their choice of words are likely to query, “electric blankets Anchorage” and not “Buy an electric blanket in Anchorage”. This means you need to come up with creative ways to include keyword variants naturally and organically even when they are really awkward.
Give the people what they want, even if it’s not easy and even if it seems stupid in the beginning. Keep in mind that they are paying the bills.
Panda is Always Changing
Google rolls out hundreds of updates each year, and only smidgen of them are officially announced. However, SEO experts are guessing that Panda updates will now happen every quarter. I would say that it’s happening daily, though we don’t see all the major changes as they are small. Depending on the update, your industry, and your site, you might need to make major tweaks or minor ones. It’s going to always be evolving.
Business is never at a plateau, and you need to adapt as circumstances dictate.
Content is King
This is the unofficial rally cry of SEO gurus. There might be a lot to a great SEO campaign—but nothing trumps quality content. It’s the bread and butter, what draws people in, and ultimately there’s no way to get around it. Professional writers rejoice, because this is where your English degree really pays off.
How you communicate is critical, and in the digital era that’s more and more often going to be in written form.
Not All Links Stay Good
Link building is another big part of SEO, but here’s the catch: Even if you have great quality links one day, there’s no guarantee they will be the same caliber tomorrow. This requires constant checking, research, and changes.
Not all partnerships are forever, and sometimes needs a change. Change with them.
No matter where you are in the real SEO strategy, don’t bypass crucial lessons. SEO lessons can teach you in all parts of your business.