Optimization may seem like it's really hard to understand. At least, I thought it was when I first got into the field of online marketing.
After studying it, and taking it apart, I came to realize optimization is quite simple. Since online optimization is crucial for any effective marketing plan, it's best to understand it as well as possible. Even if a business owner isn't personally going to "optimize" anything online, and the work is hired out, don't you want to know what your expert is doing?
Behind the shroud of complication is a really simple concept: Get found online.
Just about every business online is online because they want to get found, right? Why else would a business have a website? Actually, it almost doesn't matter what kind of online presence it is; website, Facebook Page, blog, etc. As long as it supports text and can be accessed by Google, it can be an effective tool to help a business get found. But let's keep it real and compare optimization to something we all are familiar with, which is finding a life partner. I know, strange right? But it's pretty similar and makes for a good analogy.
Here's the scenario from a bygone era: Potential Groom is looking for a Potential Bride. Today's it's online dating, but not so long ago, a well-to-do gentleman hired a professional matchmaker to help him find a compatible mate. The Potential Groom describes qualities he desires, and the Matchmakers checks against her list of Potential Brides and their qualities. Since the Matchmaker's business is to know exactly what those qualities are, she has her little black book all filled out in advance so she may make matches more quickly.
For a business, the roles are as follows: The potential customer or prospect is the Groom who is looking for certain qualities. The website is the Bride, and has listed her qualities in specific, known places for the Matchmaker to locate and categorize. The Matchmaker in this case is Google (and other search engines like Yahoo or Ask.com) who makes it their business to know every publicly listed website on the web and their qualities. Google's systematic categorization of websites could be likened to the Library of Congress. Can you imagine walking into a library and not having access to an index to find a book or other publication? Obviously you'd never find the book you were looking for without a systematic approach and an index. Indexing documents and publications (websites, etc.) is the role that Google fills, except that it's online.
The bottom line is that optimization comes down to making sure your online presence (whatever it consists of) is findable and maybe categorized properly by Google and other search engines. There's no magic, just systematic and precise procedures to get the right words into the right places. While that's a whole technology in itself, and it's best to have professionals optimize websites, anyone can leverage a blog and learn basic techniques to create better visibility for their business. Of all the tools, blogs are the best and easiest to implement.
For more information and an increased understanding, watch my free webinar which discusses blogs in more depth, and clears up a few other basic terms used in corporate social media. Ever wonder where the word "blog" comes from? Or "Google?" Find out by watching the webinar! Happy blogging.