I’ve learned far more about search engine optimization (SEO) than I ever could have imagined during the last week. In fact, I didn’t even know what SEO meant when I first ran across the term.
“Is this some sort of ranking position that reports to a CEO?” I pondered.
Apparently, SEO is the bread, butter, jelly, knife, spoon and plate of the online business world these days. In fact, SEO has been popular for many years now, but like so many things in the online world, I’m behind the times. I used to do basic web design and follow all the latest trends; however, I left that industry behind to learn more about teaching in a foreign country.
However, within the span of a week, I’ve managed to learn a lot about what SEO is and isn’t, and I feel like I have a mountain of information left to discover. While writing articles for BabyChums.com, creating backlinks for a realtor, and discussing an international planner with a business owner, SEO was always somehow involved.
Basically, SEO is the art of creating and optimizing web content so that it is reached by the largest, most appropriate audience possible, especially after a search query. The biggest player in the business is obviously Google. Most will in fact say that Google is King of Search Engines, and it’s likely true. (Some may question this supposition, just as some may doubt that Budweiser is “King of Beers”.)
As I dig deeper into the mystery that is SEO, I find that many people have tried and will continue to try increasingly elaborate schemes to ensure that their web material tops search engine queries. While some invest only modest time and effort into making their web content SEO-friendly, those who are serious about their content (i.e. those who have money on the brain) will go to an extreme to maximize the SEO friendliness of their web content.
After only a week on O-Desk, an online freelancer’s site, I’ve found out both how popular it is and how cheap it is. While perusing the “Writing and Translation” job section of the site, it’s difficult not to trip over all of the job postings asking for SEO-friendly writers for blogs, business sites and product reviewers. It also has its fair share of people asking for help with posting comments on blogs—comments that include linkbacks to the poster’s site.
What really strikes me is just how cheaply the work is being done in most cases. I’m already starting to feel fortunate making above 10 dollars an hour for what I do, especially when I see so many providers undercut the market and do similar work for close to one dollar an hour. Is this the true cost of getting web content at the top of a relevant (and sometimes irrelevant) search query?
For now, I’ll continue immersing myself in the theories of SEO, social networking and Web 2.0 and hope that in the end, I’ll make myself a more marketable, dynamic writer. If it doesn’t turn out, then I didn’t lose anything by trying.