My goal with this article is to help you develop a winning philosophy and mindset for SEO. If you can develop a positive SEO philosophy this will steer you away from the myriad time-wasting tasks that suck up time and deliver little results and will help you easily focus on the jobs that will make a real difference.
The fundamental backbone of this philosophy is simple – give and you shall receive, but give me 5 minutes and I may be able to change your outlook on this often confusing and misunderstood marketing tactic.
What do I mean by SEO philosophy?
Well, I am no philosopher, but I have spent a lot of time working with businesses over 20 years and helping them generate exposure on and business from search engines. So, I have seen this done right, and I have seen SEO done wrong. So, I would like to think I have developed some wisdom about the right way to tackle an SEO project and, like many things in life, starting with the right mindset is fundamental to your success.
Philosophy is the study of underlying things. It is the means by which we try to understand the reasons or basis for things. Philosophy is the process of understanding fundamental truths about the world we live in (or the search engine we market on).
So, it naturally follows that philosophy for SEO is a way to understand why certain sites rank over others. Ultimately, an SEO philosophy should be a set of ideas that govern our approach to SEO and provide us with a guiding light in what can be a dark and cavernous subject.
SEO – Give, and you shall receive
“Give, and you shall receive” – Luke 6:38, The Bible
Now, I am not a religious man, but I do believe there is a lot of wisdom to be taken from the past. And certainly, when it comes to SEO, the old proverb “give, and you shall receive” is a solid analogy for what an SEO philosophy should look like.
In life, reciprocity, the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, is a social norm where the response to positive action is another positive action. You scratch my back and I will scratch yours. That is how the world works, or at least how we would like it to.
So, ‘give, and you shall receive’ and reciprocity – how does this apply to SEO?
Think about it like this: Google wants to show the best results to its users. That is it. Plain and simple. So, to rank highly, you have to aim to be the best result. But what does that really mean? The best to who?
You need to be the best result for your prospective customer. You need to provide all the information they need to help them make a decision.
Be the best within whatever category and you should rank highly.
If you want search engine traffic you have to give Google a reason to return your site at the top of the results. You have to give value to your potential site visitors. This often means creating the best resource that helps your customers achieve their goals. You have to sacrifice your own time to craft the most valuable answer out there to whatever questions your prospective customers are asking.
You are the expert
You are an expert at what you do. There are a thousand little things that you know and do every day that would benefit your audience. Your customers need your knowledge and help. By sharing this knowledge and helping your customers then you will generate more exposure and rank more highly.
Google’s own Webmaster Guidelines has a line that demonstrates this well:
“Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.”
Those three points here are key:
If you can work this into your SEO philosophy, look to be the best result out of your competitors and provide a website with content that is unique, valuable, and engaging, then you will be ahead of the pack.
The Webmaster Guidelines really are worth a read as they help cement the point I am trying to make here and this is guidance right from the horse’s mouth: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/webmaster-guidelines
Putting this into practice
The practical application of this philosophy varies but some simple examples include:
- Detailed case studies that show exactly how you solved your customer’s problems.
- Providing additional information about your products to help a customer make the right purchase decision.
- A landing page that clearly provides all the information that a customer needs to choose your business: services, prices, testimonials, case studies, staff, etc.
- The creation of content that helps potential customers solve their problems – much like this SEO guide helps educate our potential customers and Google rewards us by showing our answers (and business) in the search results.
The specifics here vary yet the philosophy is the same. Be the best. Provide value. Give something. Ensure your site deserves to rank highly. Be a great business in the real world. Be an expert. Be an authority. Be the business that customers can trust.
To look at this from the other direction – don’t just copy what is already out there and be yet another generic, cookie-cutter result. Be unique, valuable, and engaging.
Give and you shall receive.
Give value to the world, share your knowledge, and you shall receive highly relevant traffic.
There are real people who are struggling with the problems you can solve. Better still, their first exposure to you is as a highly credible expert who can help them get to where they want to be.
Another way to think of this is as a form of reciprocity – you give your customers what they want, and Google a solid page to return in their results, and they give you visibility and traffic.
The in-person networking group BNI has a similar motto – ‘Givers Gain’. That is if you give, you shall receive. It works online. It works offline. It works on Google.
If you can apply this mindset then the rest of your SEO will get orders of magnitude easier.
But what about…
Yes, there is more to SEO than just creating a unique, valuable, and engaging website. You have to worry about technical SEO a bit, you have to ensure that the basic nuts and bolts of page optimisation are taken care of, and yes, you have to think about keywords.
But, the issue is that these aspects of SEO get nearly all the attention and often end up taking up all of your SEO time when they should be 10% of how you spend your time.
Focus on adding value and making sure your site is better than the competition and you will see your site rise up the rankings.
That is a wrap folks – any questions drop a comment below or get in touch – always happy to help! 🙂
If you are still confused and need a helping hand, drop us a line and we can review your site and create a battle plan showing you exactly how to improve your SEO.