30 Days: Understand What You Can Afford to “Optimize”

This short post is to help bring focus on the conversation about search engine optimization (aka SEO). Most of the time the conversation tends to be about how to “beat” others and “be at the top of the search” for some specific term.

Interestingly, SEO does not mean “be at the top”. We use the term “SEO” so much that most people glaze over the actually meaning of the words “search engine optimization”. The first two words are pretty clear, “search engine“. They mean the search services’ underlying technologies that constantly scour the Internet, organizing the bits and pieces of what gets published.

It’s the “optimization” part that I think confuses people. Optimization is a somewhat subjective term. Optimize for what? Most people presume that it means “optimize to be the top”. I suggest that “optimization” really means “to be found by more people” by modifying your material to get indexed by the search engine in such a away as to be found when a relevant search request is made.

I’m not here to outline what people do to get their posts “optimized”. This has been done many, many times:

  • 5 Small Business SEO Tips You Can Implement In-House Right Now
  • Simple Tips To Set The Stage For Local SEO In 2015
  • Up Close @SMX Advanced: The Periodic Table Of SEO Elements
  • The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors

What I am suggesting is that your approach to media and content optimizing be thoughtful and in perspective to your resources. Ask yourself what are you aiming to accomplish. Do you want a large consumer focused audience? Or do you want to connect with soybean growers in Indiana? It helps to outline those assumptions and ideal goals about why you are posting media and information on the Internet. Additionally, you need some concept of what your return on investment (aka ROI) will be for taking on optimizations.

After the goals and assumptions, outline how you are going to measure change over time. For example, if you are working to develop a blog for soybean growers in Indiana, how do you know those Indiana soybean growers are in fact reading or connecting? If you set a goal but have no way to measure progress then the goal can never be achieved.

Develop a road map to help guide you on which optimization tactics have a return on investment you can afford. This map needs to be periodically reviewed (at least twice a year) as the search engines are constantly changing.

I would use the The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors as a starting point for your road map development. Search Engine Land, the creators of the table, spent considerable time researching what they believe are important optimization factors to Google, ranking them to help you focus on what you can afford to accomplish.


John Blue is the Chief Creative Officer for Truffle Media, a diverse multi-media company which produces and distributes turn-key marketing systems for the agriculture industry and beyond. John also serves as a member of the AgChat Foundation’s Board of Directors, Training Committee, Programming Committee and is a social media guru.