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What My Grandad and SEO ‘Experts’ Have in Common

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What My Grandad and SEO ‘Experts’ Have in Common

We’re often misled into believing that search engine optimisation (SEO) is a technical beast that only a man can tame.

When the truth is SEO is a process that anyone can learn to do, and do well. Sadly though, a culture exists where men, in particular, take pleasure in posturing and baffling people with confusing terms and language that serves to confuse people to the point where they feel they have no choice but to hand them over the reins.

Sound familiar? Let’s look at the facts about women and tech:

  • We own just 11% of all executive positions in Silicon Valley.
  • We have a quit rate that’s double men in high-tech industries.
  • We hold only 25% of all computing jobs.

So, it’s easy to see why confidence plays a big part in women wanting to learn a new, seemingly technical skill, like SEO. It’s become deeply ingrained into our culture that men are the go-to when it comes to tech. And it’s become commonplace to accept that SEO is a mystery that only a few can unravel.

This reminded me of when I was a kid. One of my most vivid memories is of my grandad refusing the rest of the family entry to ‘his’ kitchen. He would lock himself away with simmering pans for what felt like a full day. I remember being amazed when my grandad would emerge with a pot of his favourite taste of home; Caribbean stew, rice and peas. The whole family would sit and savour the food, and like clockwork, the same question would pop up every week, “Just how do you make it so tasty, Jack?”

Despite being formally pressed by the entire family, his lips would always remain sealed. One weekend, I decided I was going to take a shot at this secret stew. So when my grandad took his usual Saturday afternoon trip to the betting shop, my nana leaked the recipe to me. That night, back at home, and with the help of my amazing mum, I made my first attempt.

It was shockingly average; a Caribbean spew! I reviewed the now scrunched up piece of paper and mentally checked off the ingredients and method. I’d followed it to a tee, yet it was a far cry from my grandad’s culinary delight. And so, my grandad’s kitchen remained shrouded in mystery. In time, I came to accept that I might never know how he did what he did.

Then one day, around four years later he left the door ajar. Just enough for me to let my curiosity get the better of me and walk through. For the very first time, he let me observe his process. I watched as sugar, spices and scotch bonnets got tossed into hot pans along with classified ingredients like tomato ketchup. There was no such thing as measuring jugs, scales and timers. He knew what taste he wanted, and he knew how to achieve it. But none of us had a clue what he was doing.

Now I realise my Grandad was ‘that’ SEO expert who had everyone intrigued and amazed. And when reality hit; I was initially underwhelmed at how easy it was. But it wasn’t long before I realised that there was hope that maybe one day I could be a Caribbean cuisine queen. SEO is no different.

So, what is SEO?

Search engine optimisation or SEO is the process of getting your website to appear on the first page of Google. Why? Just think about it….

You’re Googling fluffy bunnies. When a website appears that sells fluffy bunnies, there’s a good chance (33% in fact) that you’ll click that top link and buy yourself a fluffy bunny. When people Google a product or service, and you show up, that means good quality; intentional traffic is coming to your website. Which means you have more chance of selling your products and services. It’s that simple!

What causes the confusion is how people interpret the process. Like anything in life, you can make it as simple or complex as you like. My partner’s a nurse; she could baffle me all day with what goes on in the NICU. Or she could say, “The baby got sick, but we managed to turn it around.”

The thing is, when processes aren’t conveyed in a way that the people can process, it leads to feelings of overwhelm, confusion and frustration. And especially for women, that means a huge knock to their confidence. I mean nobody likes to feel incompetent, right? In brief, SEO is not a secret science! There are plenty of companies out there that do it and do it well.

But before you invest any money with an SEO consultant, make sure they take the time to explain their process to you.

Each SEO consultant works differently, but it’s important that they understand:

  • Your ideal customer.
  • Your business goals – short and long term.
  • Your expectations from investing in an SEO service.

And that you understand:

  • Their roadmap so you’re clear on what activities they’re undertaking to get you from A to B.

SEO starts and ends with your customers whereas many SEO consultants still focus their efforts solely on Google. Your SEO consultant should act and behave like a part-time member of your team. It’s impossible to get a return on investment (ROI) if they remain siloed and secretive about their operations.

An ethical SEO consultant will be happy to share their knowledge with you and walk you through their process or ‘recipe’ as the case may be! But if they try to tell you, “It’s complicated”, then invest elsewhere. You want to be able to trust that your SEO consultant, so open the kitchen door and seek transparency from the start.

Now over to you. What’s your experience been with SEO consultants?

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