Having been in the search industry for over ten years, when you start hanging out more with other search professionals it begins to creep into your mind that basically “everybody knows this search stuff”. But when I get with and speak with business owners, whether it’s a company pulling in millions a year in revenue or a solopreneur pulling in 500K or so,  they are just as much in the dark for the most part as everyone else. Score one for confirmational bias.

So this is our promise, to create articles that have practical meaning. Something that when you finish reading or watching you think, hey, I understood that and I feel like I know more now than I did before I read this.

Here we go.

SEO is the initials for the phrase –  search engine optimization.

Google is a search engine. A machine built so that you can type it what you’re looking for and like a little librarian – this machine pulls up everything IT thinks are related to the words you type.

This includes Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo etc but by far, the largest number of searches are made on

Most regular people, not search industry professionals, assume that when something shows up on their screen that that business or service or product MUST be the best because it is first. Otherwise, why would it be there?

Yes, why indeed.

The main thing is that Google is an ad platform. You can see ads up at the top and the bottom of the page and they even started putting one at the top of the map grouping if you’re looking for something that has a local presence.

The search part is free. The search part is what brings people like you and me to the site. The search part bringing in so many of us is why Google can charge so much for clicks to their ads. They can promise X number of eyeballs will see your message if you pay for an ad.

So why is optimization a thing if people can pay to be on page 1?

Remember, like the record store of old where record labels provided product to fill up their stores, Google needs your website in order to be an ad platform.

So that’s why they offer local training sessions, create cool tools like gmail and google drive etc.

Google basically wants you to be somewhat successful, but not too much so that you don’t by ads or go somewhere else other than Google.

But what to do with all these websites? If you’re looking for a plumber in Dallas, you’re not going to want to see plumbers in Miami, it needs to have some method so people are finding what they need.

So when you hear the word “algorithm” start thinking of sorting like the sorting hat in Harry Potter, some get assigned to Gryffindor and some to Slytherin – likewise, not every site is about the same thing so they too have to be sorted into some kind of order.





And the fastest (and cheapest) way to do so is to write software that will do this rather than people. And now we’re back at the concept of a search engine.

Now, how does search engine optimization HELP your business?

You may not have counted, but on the results page, after you search, there are paid ads but only ten (10) business listings in the organic or non-paid part of the search results. So if you’re not paying for ads but you are either in the map grouping or the organic search results outside of a map – you’re in the SAME place as those ads – page 1.

If you’re a plumber or a staffing agency paying for an ad – you’re paying PER CLICK. The initials for that are PPC – pay per click.

You might be thinking, WOW, that’s great I only pay for clicks instead of SEO so I’m coming out ahead.

Well, that might be true but the reality is those who pay for those ads are paying for a lot of clicks that do not turn into paying clients. One time we ran a PPC campaign for a plumber and it was averaging about $38 per click and taking on average 10 clicks to get a paying client. For someone with a slab leaking problem it’s reasonable for it to cost almost $400 for a plumber to get a client, but if that client only needs a toilet repair and you charge $185 – you’re in a hole.

And those click prices keep going up. Often by other competitors competing for ad placement. These click prices are like the market price of lobsters – whatever they are today is what they are.

SO what search optimization does is that it takes you from being a renter (PPC) on page 1 to an owner (map or organic ranking) of your position on that page.

Getting back to the SORTING process, you know that most people think the first results that pop up ARE there because they are the best Google has to offer. Maybe.

Remember what a search engine is.

A machine built so that you can type it what you’re looking for and like a little librarian – this machine pulls up everything IT thinks are related to the words you type.

This machine pulls up everything IT thinks are related to those words.

So search engine optimization works to convince a search engine that YOUR SITE is related to those words and what they mean and to cajole that search engine is sorting that search phrase with your site being in those top 10 results or better yet, in the local map.

And yes, there are many ways to do that – some on the site and many off the site.

American Way Media provides SEO Website Optimization as well as other digital marketing services. Our purpose is to support business growth through developing a channel of new business of consumers who need you but don’t know your company. We don’t work for everybody (competitive advantage) and our SEO clients start as a one-off or continuing consulting client to make sure they understand what they are purchasing and are ready for an SEO campaign.

Here are 4 questions for you.

1 Where are you now (in your business)?

2 Where do you want to be?

3 Would you like our help to get there?

4 Are you ready to get started now?


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