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Are you missing all the fun? Start using SEO and let your business be found. A lay-person’s view of SEO without the technical geek-speak.

SEO has a somewhat mystical and intimidating aura for the average person. 

Let’s crack it into simpler chunks so you know its importance, how to use it and have some fun doing it.

Let’s pretend you’re at a party with hundreds (nope, thousands) of others.

As usual there’s people at the party who are the centre of attention. Others are trying to be near them, wanting to talk and connect. Within this huge party are smaller clusters of partyers – where people are mingling and talking.

And then – there’s the others who are the majority of party goers.

These folks are lingering in booths, or in the shadows. Maybe they’re leaning on the bar watching the fun the ‘popular’ folks are having.

These are all very nice smart people but there’s nothing to make them noticed in the crowd.

The ones who are in the midst of the fun, surrounded by everyone, know how to be found.

This is the same with SEO.  When you use SEO to it’s best advantage, you become the centre of attention.  Without it, you’re still really nice, kind and smart – but no one is noticing. No one cares because no one knows.

Not being noticed is the death knell for a business.

When you use SEO properly you can stop being the wallflower at a party.

Using SEO is your invitation to others to come to YOUR party.  

“If you’re not meeting your visitors’ needs, it doesn’t matter how ‘optimized’ your site is.” — Stoney deGeyter

How to write the invitation: what is SEO

Before going on, one critical point needs to be remembered – all the time.

You can optimize, use SEO forever BUT unless your content is useful, it won’t matter. People search the web for answers.

Be sure everything you write and everything you post, answers your customers’ questions, enlightens and helps your customer. 

Ok – remembering that well written content is critical to the search engines, let’s move into SEO.

SEO is ‘search engine optimization.’

It simply means when content is written for online use (websites, blogs, landing pages, visuals,  etc.) the right words and phrases need to be used to ensure the content is found by the internet.

Google runs the show with this because it’s the largest search engine. Google creates it’s own rules and algorithms of how it looks for information. 

Google recently changed how it searches for information.  The updated search method is based on natural language programming (NLP).

Meet your new best friend and party organizer – BERT

Google has named this update BERT (which is friendly shorthand for some technical terms – Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers).

BERT is your friend and soon to be your bestie.

BERT’s friendly because it uses natural conversational language.  It searches key words intuitively and looks both forward and backward in a sentence.  

This means, you can write all your online content as you would talk. Then, with a little fine-tuning edit your content to best match BERT’s reading ability (more about this in part 2).  

Using natural language is going to be much easier, and feel more natural, than other algorithms Google developed in the past.

“BERT will impact around 10% of queries. It will also impact organic rankings and featured snipped. So, this is no small change!” (Search Engine Journal – SEJ – November 2019)

Why does BERT matter?

It wasn’t too long ago that writing SEO rich content meant stuffing keywords into the copy and content as much as you could.  

It was sometimes challenging for the average businessperson to create readable friendly content.

When keywords had to be maximized as often as possible on every page, and the more pages online the better, the time and energy to write effective copy was a big commitment. 

And stuffing pages full of a handful of keywords led to repetitious, wordy and sometimes silly-sounding copy. 

With the birth of BERT, this is changing.

The old keyword SEO formula looked for key words. 

BERT looks for keywords and similar words within the framework of a sentence.

An example:  “3 cheap tips to improve the value of your home” can be interpreted the same by BERT as  “3 inexpensive ways to improve the value of your home.” 

This ability gives the content writer more flexibility to be conversational.

Most words we use have multiple meanings. It’s how they are used that givens them meaning. BERT’s ability more effectively to screen for meaning than other search engines of the past.

Why is SEO important to you as a businessperson?

This answer is easy.  Using SEO effectively lets your online information be found by folks who are searching online for information.

It won’t matter how brilliant and useful your website and online content is if it isn’t found by people who are looking. Thse are your future customers.

“The beauty of SEO is that, instead of pushing a marketing message onto folks who don’t want to hear what you have to say, you can reverse-engineer the process to discover exactly what people are looking for, create the right content for it, and appear before them at exactly the moment they are looking for it. It’s pull vs. push”  Cyrus Shepherd

Without strong SEO you’re invisible in the online world.

Looking forward to Part 2

Technology changes quickly, even though there’s years of research behind the change, it leapfrogs faster than before.

With BERT now at the party, as its used more and more, Google will keep refining and adjusting it.

Anytime you’re writing content, you need to give some serious attention to the influence good SEO writing will have in your rankings and visibility.

This includes any content for all your website pages, your blogs and social posts. It includes scripts and visuals for podcast and video.

You probably have oodles of great content. You can go back and tweak it for improved SEO ratings and going forward, blend in SEO as part of your process.

In the next part we’ll look at keyword searches and how to capture your customer’s roving eye.