What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and why does it matter to you in 2022?
SEO is a popular marketing acronym. Often it can just start to feel like marketers are just throwing out slang to try and confuse you and make you feel inadequate, which is a conversation for another time... However, SEO is one of the few phrases that I’ll agree you should not just know, but know what to do with it!
That said, let's define what SEO is, why it's important, and then offer a few strategies for using it this year and next!
Search Engines & Content
Search engine optimization, or SEO, as I will refer to it for the rest of the blog, is basically the game that we play when we are putting out content or information into the internet. This could be via video, text, website, social media, etc. The idea is, I'm going to put this content out in a way that the search engine, which could be Google, Bing, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, etc., can index and understand this information and prioritize it as the best information to display for a specific request from a user.
Let's say I go into TikTok or YouTube, and type in “how to do SEO on my website.” The search engine is going to look for videos that 1) contain that phrase, and 2) have good watch and listen times. This way the platforms can then prioritize showing that video because they're saying, “Hey, this video talks about this, and other people have found this video to be helpful.” So, me, the user is probably going to find this video to be helpful as well. This is what search engine optimization is. When we create content, we aim to create something that makes sense to search engines. The search engines are going to answer the question to the best possible capacity, so that the viewer or the user can use that information. From this point, the content will get served up to more people and more people.
Keeping Content Organized
The reason SEO matters so much in 2022, and will continue to be crucial in 2023, 2024, and beyond, is that there's more content on the web than ever before, with even more being added every moment. It is important that all these websites can index all their material in a way that is searchable and relevant. It's kind of like having a filing cabinet; they're trying to make sure that they can organize all the data in their office. If you have that as your filing system that is disorganized, it's a lot harder to find information, right? Whereas if you have a plan, and you're like, “Okay, I'm going to clearly label this folder, and we're going to put it in this section.” When that content and folder are clearly labeled, it's easily organized.
The “New” Search Engines
We have our traditional search engines like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, and so on. However, we must start thinking about SEO across other platforms as well. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, counting the second most searches behind Google. So, now we must incorporate that information into our marketing. We must create SEO-optimized videos, blogs, and other content for all the social media platforms.
TikTok is putting a lot of emphasis on SEO, which makes a lot of sense, as they have so much content being added. Now, they must categorize the content beyond what their algorithm does to deliver it to the people who have similar interests and likes, giving YouTube a run for its money. We also have examples like Facebook and LinkedIn, which aren’t the greatest search engines; that's not really their goal. However, they are indexing information along with pretty much every social media platform.
We must keep SEO in mind if we want to be seen. Using hashtags is one of the easiest things you can do on these platforms. When we use hashtags, we tell the search engine what our content is about and allow it to categorize that content. The search engine will categorize the material based on the hashtags we use. Now, they're still going to look at whether people are engaging with that content. If you put out a video that has great hashtags, but no one is watching it, the search engine is still not going to show the video to people. They don't want to show people stuff that they think isn't quality content, and if no one's engaging with it, they will consider it either poor content or not relevant.
It's crucial to ask yourself what sort of content you should create when composing a blog, video, or social media post. Are you thinking about what kind of hashtags you want to use to connect your content to the questions people are asking? Now, build the video, the blog, or social posts around answering these questions. Then you want to take a key phrase, in this case it is” what is SEO and why does it matter?” And we want to build this phrase into that blog or piece of content multiple times so that our search engine can then see it is built into the piece of material, and it's getting engagement. Now you’ve optimized your SEO!