This is what makes an SEO strategy so fascinating to me
In life, I have come up with countless strategies, hosted strategic sessions, and put elaborate plans on paper, but nothing has ever grabbed my attention like an SEO strategy. It was actually more of a coincidence and necessity that I came into contact with SEO, as I used to want to know nothing about it.
I well remember a good friend of mine enthusiastically telling me that she had become an online marketer, and my reaction was little more than an indifferent "Oh nice for you!". In my mind, online marketing and SEO were something for people who understood nothing about real marketing and strategy development. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Today, thankfully, I know better and do not understand why there are still so many marketers and strategists walking around who know far too little about the possibilities offered by SEO. My unexpected and almost unintentional plunge into the world of SEO has completely changed my outlook on strategies and online marketing. It has ignited a passion in me that I never thought possible.
How I got into SEO and SEO strategies
In 2018, we enthusiastically developed a platform that allows people to offer their services via video calls. Our ambition was to roll out this platform globally, with the help of major investors. The global rollout of the platform ended up being a success, but things with the investors went differently than expected. The first investor was willing to put in a significant amount of 3 million, but due to certain circumstances, we decided to turn down this offer.
It was a bold move to say no to such a significant amount, as we realized that we ourselves were not capital-strong enough to give the platform sufficient exposure worldwide. So an alternative solution had to be found, and we eventually came to the conclusion that organic growth, supported by SEO, was the only and also the right path for us.
But how do you start SEO if you know little about it yourself? Exactly, by hiring some SEO experts.
And so began our exciting journey into the world of SEO. We aimed to dominate search engines and make our platform more visible to our international target audience. With the SEO professionals' expert guidance in our eyes at the time, we began a learning process. We learned about keyword research, and content optimization and typed our fingertips blue on articles.
Disappointing organic visitor results and SEO experts
I had hoped we would get a significant number of organic visitors after a few months, but unfortunately, the results were disappointing. Despite all our efforts, the number of visitors remained minimal.
When something doesn't go the way I imagined it would, it releases a little substance in my head that prompts me to do everything possible to find out whether we have done everything right. And that was exactly what happened. Day and night, I started reading everything there was to find about SEO.
Fortunately, I had the advantage that my business partner is a developer because I soon realized that SEO is also heavily intertwined with technical aspects and that there are a lot of technical terms used. Within a month, we discovered what was going wrong. While I cannot go into detail about this in this article, it is safe to say that we have made just about every possible mistake within SEO.
You understand that I showed the so-called SEO experts the door and we set to work ourselves to create and work out a new SEO strategy. We wanted to understand what works and what doesn't, thus turning the tide of disappointing results.
Tackling the fundamentals of SEO
What first became clear was that our platform was in no way optimized for SEO. Truly every page and the entire menu structure had to be drastically overhauled to be SEO-worthy at all. However, this was something the so-called experts with all their SEO knowledge had never told me. Afterward, it turned out that they didn't actually understand the whole SEO picture, but only part of it. Unfortunately, I come across this more often.
Had we not intervened, we could have just invested another few hundred thousand euros without any or minimal results, purely because the underlying technology and page structure were not right.
Another crucial SEO aspect that was not right was the internal linking. For example, we were posting links from a topic about coaching to articles about markets in Amsterdam, not because it was relevant, but simply because it was possible.
In addition, article titles were awkwardly worded, some articles were too long, while others were just not informative enough, and so on.
In short, almost all the fundamental SEO factors that make you rank well within Google were either missing or had been implemented incorrectly on our platform. It was quite a bummer to discover that we were so far off from the basics of SEO.
Fortunately, we took this setback as a valuable lesson. We took matters into our own hands, and using our own knowledge and the expertise of my business partners, we made all the necessary adjustments.
What makes me so passionate about SEO and SEO strategies?
Despite the disappointment of the poor results, this experience also taught me a lot. As Johan Cruijff once said: 'You only start seeing it when you realize it.' If he was talking about SEO, I can totally agree with him.
SEO is about a solid strategy
When setting up a strategy for a business, you can make a fair number of assumptions, but for me, it mainly comes down to finding meaning - The BIG WHY - and the ability to think visionaryly and turn this into an achievable strategic plan. Here, there are many uncertainties and you are often in the dark, so your gut feeling plays a big role.
With an SEO strategy, this is different. You still need a strategic approach, but there is much more certainty. For example, you can find out which search terms are popular and capitalize on them. You can also make predictions about which topics will become popular and tailor your strategy accordingly.
What an average SEO agency often does is have a few students find out what is currently popular. What I, on the other hand, find more challenging is watching and responding to what will be popular later.
SEO offers the opportunity to make data-based decisions and proactively anticipate trends. You can increase opportunities for your business by understanding what topics will be relevant to your target audience in the future. That's what I find so fascinating about SEO - it allows you to think ahead and adapt your strategies accordingly.
SEO is a fair game
What also attracts me so much to SEO is its fair nature. SEO is all about the strategy and technique behind the content of what you have to say. If you spread nonsense, Google notices and you won't rank high in search results. Only when you really have something to offer and say will you rank well. With the rise of AI in SEO, this aspect will only play a bigger role, which I think is great.
After 30+ years of experience in marketing and advertising, I'm kind of done with telling empty stories. It's all about adding value, and the customer will appreciate it. If the customer appreciates it, Google will appreciate it too, and this can lead to a No. 1 position in search results. It's really that simple.
SEO gives a fair chance to those who genuinely offer value and quality. It forces you to take a critical look at what you have to offer and optimize your content to make it relevant and useful to your target audience. It is no longer enough to simply manipulate search results with clever tricks; you have to actually have something valuable to say.
And that is exactly what I love. With SEO, it's not just about technical tricks; it's about the power of your message and the value you deliver to your audience. It is an incentive to be authentic and add real value to your customers.
SEO is about being able to write
Putting words down on paper is one thing, but being able to really write is another. I wrote my first book in 2011 and since then I can't keep my hands off the keyboard. What is in my head just has to be translated to a screen or paper.
Besides, I am incredibly curious and if I want to talk about a subject, I need to know everything about it first. That requires thorough research, and I enjoy that.
I love conveying something relatively complex in the simplest way possible. Whether on stage, with film, or in articles, I always try to offer depth. Sometimes in narrative form, sometimes with factual information, and sometimes with technical analysis. But always with sincerity and with the target audience in mind.
After the SEO strategy is in place, the execution in the form of writing SEO-optimised articles becomes an outlet for me. Perhaps my energy and time would be better spent filling more conference rooms or mentoring more entrepreneurs, but writing also energizes me. Whether I write for myself or for someone else, as long as it is sincere.
It is a passion that drives me, and it feels like a calling to share my knowledge and insights. Writing allows me to inspire, inform, and help others. It is a great feeling to know that my words can touch people and spur them into action.
For me, writing is not only a skill but also a way of expressing myself and sharing my thoughts with the world. It is a constant search for new ideas, new angles, and new ways to reach out to others. And it is a journey that I continue with pleasure and enthusiasm, time and again.
SEO is about the underlying technology and logic that makes sense
Since becoming an entrepreneur, I have had a huge passion for technology, especially software development. Although I have never written more than two lines of code myself, I have an excellent understanding of how software development works.
While I am not an autistic person, I have to admit that when something is developed, it has to make 100% sense to me. I mean, who wants to live in a house with a few bricks missing? The tools available allow us to measure everything and discover what can be technically optimized to give the visitor the best experience. That's something I really enjoy. It's not just about the logo, the use of color, or the page layout.
For me, it is essential that a website is functionally and technically sound, and this can sometimes clash with the vision of designers. But finding the golden mean between functionality and design is like solving a complex puzzle, and it feels more like a hobby than work.
Finding the perfect balance between beautiful aesthetics and seamless technical operation of a website is a constant challenge. But that very challenge is what makes the work so engaging and satisfying for me. I see it as a constant search for harmony between design and functionality, and every time I find that balance, it gives me a sense of satisfaction and pleasure.
What is an SEO strategy and why is it fascinating?
An SEO strategy is a plan used to improve a website's online visibility and achieve higher rankings in search engines like Google. It includes various techniques such as keyword research, content optimization, and technical improvements to attract more organic traffic. It is fascinating because it is based on data and predictions, allowing one to proactively anticipate trends and tailor strategies accordingly.
How does one come across SEO and SEO strategies?
Many people come across SEO when they want to grow their website and attract more visitors. Help is often sought from SEO experts to develop an effective strategy. The learning process around SEO and discovering the possibilities can fascinate and inspire people to work out an SEO strategy themselves.
What are the challenges in initial SEO efforts?
Initial SEO efforts can be disappointing because of disappointing organic visitor results. This may be because the website is not properly optimized for SEO and essential SEO factors are missing or incorrectly implemented. In such a case, one may choose to forgo professional help and develop a new SEO strategy on their own.
Why is SEO considered a fair game?
SEO is a fair game because it is all about providing value and quality to users. Search engines reward websites with relevant and useful content while manipulating search results with clever tricks is not rewarded. Only those who genuinely share valuable content can rank well in search engines, ensuring a fair chance for anyone offering genuine value.
Why is writing important when executing an SEO strategy?
Writing is essential when executing an SEO strategy because it helps to create content that is relevant and informative to the target audience. The ability to research thoroughly and convey complex topics in a simple manner is key when writing SEO-optimised articles. It also provides the opportunity to be sincere and offer real added value to customers, which is ultimately rewarded by search engines.
Why is technical optimization important in an SEO strategy?
Technical optimization is important because it ensures that a website functions well and provides a positive user experience. Search engines value websites with a good technical structure and reward them with higher rankings. Finding the right balance between functionality and design is a challenging aspect of technical optimization and contributes to my fascination with SEO.
What makes SEO strategies different from other strategies?
SEO strategies are different because they are based on data and measure what works and what does not. It offers the ability to think ahead and align strategies with future trends. In addition, SEO is a fair game that rewards value and quality, providing an incentive to be sincere and add real value to the target audience. The interplay of writing, technical optimization, and proactive anticipation of trends makes SEO strategies engaging and fascinating.