Actual excerpt from my Job Interview:
THEM: So you know what SEO is right?
ME: (heavy breathing)
THEM: Because it’s pretty central to this job.
ME: (no breathing at all)
THEM: It’s Search Engine Optimizatio…
ME: Searchengineoptimization! Yep, I was gonna say… Very important!
When I entered Fpweb.net, a few things got placed on my to-do list: Fill out some tax forms, learn how to use the coffee machine, program my laptop, set up a Twitter account ( holla! ) etc. After establishing that I can read and write, the next step was to gently usher me into the magical world of Search Engine Optimization.
SEO is basically all about getting your website seen. Seducing Google with your sexy keywords and fresh content. The endgame is getting your site moved up the search results page. Even climbing one rung up the ladder can mean a world of difference in traffic to your site. For instance, being the Number 5 option (SERP) on Google’s search results will bring you St. Louis style traffic. Getting up to Number 3 is more like LA motorways during a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert traffic. And if you snag the Number 1 spot, we’re talking about Ho Chi Minh City roads where motorbikes with refrigerators strapped on the back are tearing across lanes into oncoming traffic while their six passengers are high-fiving each other. That’s traffic, baby!
Obviously, it’s important to employ proper SEO skills to ensure a healthy web presence. But what I found is that I’m actually turning into a SEO machine!
Artist rendering of what SEO Cyborg could look like…
We’ve all started new jobs, visited new places or met with new people. There’s a learning curve. You begin “editing” your day-to-day “content” to make it more relevant and popular to your surroundings. Just like the computer machine does! You’re just adjusting to the interests of your job, significant other, etc. Maybe you suddenly start liking Jason Mraz because your new girlfriend does. Maybe you start carrying around an umbrella because it’s been raining the last ten days. And maybe your new job deals pretty heavily with techy speak so you start absorbing the language.
I absorb like a sponge, but like a sponge, if not rinsed and wrung out properly, I start to smell. It’s easy to get brain-freeze with geek-speak overload in the office. I’ve poked my head into the Fpweb.net Web Developers’ office to say hi and just see programming all over their screens. It’s impressive and frankly I’m a bit jealous because, with my limited (none) knowledge of coding, I just assume everything they’re working on is related to the Matrix. Surely it’s not that serious…
“Hey Mike, you want a sandwich?” “No thanks, just had one.”
I look forward to the friendly trash talk in the afternoon Foosball game because at least it’s familiar! But I’ve found my solution with SEO. Mind spiders are crawling through my brain while I converse and they’re highlighting the relevant jargon that I need to focus on and, like little Google bots, indexing them.
Take this conversation with my boss for instance:
“Hey Peter, blah blah blah SharePoint yada yada yada Hosted Solution hippety-doo-da FLEXible Customizationboop boop-be-boop Into the Cloud.”
“To the Cloud, my good man!” I give him the thumbs up as I walk away knowing that I’ve grasped the most relevant words of his sentence and looked super smart with my response.
But seriously, I’m optimizing my training on the job because when I’m in the office, I have several people and programs coming at me in every direction with copious amounts of creative energy and information. If I’m going to catalogue it all and be able to reference it in my workspace, I need to keep track of the most relevant and popular topics. The more I hear about a certain product or a particular conference that our Road Warriors are attending, the more importance I throw at it and the more likely I am to zone in when I hear it again. Words like Hosted SharePoint, Reseller Programs, Payday, etc. They’re moving up my ladder of relevance.
Once a word has relevance, it’s kind of like a backlink. Backlinks are used on the web to establish credibility and authority – so more links to a particular page means more people trust it. In the same way I can trust that a particular topic is important the more times it’s repeated, and as it’s repeated I think back to when the topic was mentioned last, what it pertains to, and if it will buy me lunch.
All the while, I’ve learned to be very wary of “Black Hat SEO” – when certain keywords are force-fed in excess and jeopardize the quality of the user experience with the search engine. So when I hear Aaron, our Creative Director, constantly referencing his dog, I know it’s irrelevant and I remove it from my brain. Problem solved. Pretty much just like how Google will drop kick you to the curb if you try to “spamdex” in their house. Not up in here!
SEO is like Iambic pentameter. We use it all the time and never know. The irony is, of course, that I’m using SEO tactics to better understand SEO. So while I use it in my work life to optimize my training, I’ll undoubtedly develop insane SEO skills along the way that’ll have Fpweb.net clawing up the Google SERPs in no time.
Or. I’ll make my own search engine and no matter what people try to search – everything’s coming up Peter!