Search Engine Optimization is a Relative Term

by | August 9, 2022 | Digital Marketing

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Search engine optimization is a relative term.

To SEO, You MUST Know…

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is relative to what your goals are and who your audience is.

If you don’t know who to attract or why you’re trying to attract them your online marketing efforts are going to flounder and wind up wasting your time.

For instance, you might think your goal is “to attract businesses.” However, what your goal really is is “to attract small optometry businesses in Southern Iowa looking for new name-brand-glasses-frame-vendors.”

Any time you plan on running advertising campaigns online it’s wise to stop and ask yourself:

  • Who? Who are you advertising to?
  • What? What are you promoting?
  • Why? Why would anyone want your product?
  • Where? Where are the best places to advertise?
  • When? When are the best times to advertise?
  • And, how? How should you advertise?

Answering these basic questions will help focus your digital marketing campaigns. Focus will help you efficiently and effectively achieve successful results vs. going on a blind fishing expedition in the middle of the ocean with a drag net to see what turns up. Help yourself help yourself.

Narrowing Focus

Narrowing SEO keyword focus can have huge impact for customer acquisition goals.

For example…

When running your online advertising campaign you might find that fewer people search for glasses frame vendors near Southern Iowa, but the ones who are searching for that are exactly the people you should be reaching.

SEO for Search Ranking vs. SEO for Digital Marketing

Strictly speaking, SEO for digital marketing is more tightly focused and relies on consistent presentation for your promotional endeavors. SEO for search rankings also relies on consistency provided by your website, but also on many outside factors beyond a landing page like backlinks, domain authority, page rank, website traffic signals, and more. All in all, using on-site SEO to rank higher in natural search engine results pages should be different than on-site SEO for digital marketing campaign landing pages.

Even then, they’re not so much different strategies as much as one is a building block of the other and the other is an extrapolation of the one — all for one and one for all, as the saying goes.

SEO Strategy Overlap

Both search and marketing related SEO have overlapping strategy.

For instance, meta content, page headers, and body copy should always focus on targeted keywords and phrases your web page is meant to rank for.

As an example, if your page is about Gigantic Yellow Snowmobiles then you should have the phrase “gigantic yellow snowmobiles” in all of those important places – i.e. in your meta title, meta description, page headers, the first sentence of your body copy, and sprinkled throughout the content.

In my opinion, the biggest difference is the size of the body of work. SEO for marketing pages doesn’t require all the backlinks, blog posts, domain authority rankings, social cues, and so on that are the cornerstones for SEO for search engine results page rankings.

Creative Keyword Variations

The days of black hat keyword stuffing have long been over for most relevant website traffic sources — like Google and Bing. Varying the way targeted-keywords appear in your content helps to cover all your bases.

Instead of keyword stuffing, try incorporating targeted-search-phrases using creative variations of your keywords. For SEO, it’s better to be all inclusive and use a gamut — a complete range and scope — of words and phrases related to your topic because not everyone searches for the same things in the same ways.

One technique is to split keyword-phrases between multiple sentances. End a sentance mid-phrase and begin the next on cue. Search engine marketing is great for small businesses. When you have enough time to uncover high-value keywords and really work at catering to your target audience SEO helps increase the return on your invested efforts.

Another technique is to rearrange the words you’re focused on. Are you selling SEO or search engine optimization? Is your business small or are you a small business? Does your smelly cat need a bubble bath or are you promoting pet shampoo for smelly cats? You get the point.

Bill Gates once said — in relation to Microsoft products — that there is at least 5-ways to accomplish any task. I believe that’s also a good way to approach SEO and digital marketing from both the publisher and customer perspectives.

SEO Strategizing for High Search Ranking

Ranking for search is about beating out the competition for your chosen keywords.

Optimize Your Keywords Better Than Your Competition

Essentially, choose a keyword or phrase to target that’s relative to your brand and do whatever the best person ranking for that keyword is doing — except do it better.

It’s not always easy, but there are plenty of ways to game the system and come out on top — as in ranked #1 on page one of Google search results pages for your chosen term.

Ensuring your website’s content is more comprehensive than the next best site is an easy point to begin.

Create More Content. Be More Relevant. Use More Related Words

Word count counts when it comes to how search engines interpret the value of your website, so create more content. Write more words. Publish more articles. Make more videos. Post more on social media. Put yourself out there via content marketing and do it in a way that’s consistent with your brand.

Write more relevant and related keywords in your content.

Stop punctuating things.

Get fancy and end a sentance with a one-keyword-solution. Captivate.

Metrics and Analytic Measurables

Over time, metrics like increased time spent on your website and decreased bounce rates matter too.

This is why it’s important to write your content for your audience and not search engines.

It might seem smart to say “pizza” 300 times at the bottom of your local pizza delivery businesses’ website because you want the search engine to think you have the most pizza and therefore are the most important local pizza business. In reality, however, all that pizza pizza pizza might scare off potential customers and actually hurt your search rankings.

A simple way to put it is if customers think you’re a shady business they won’t spend much time on your website (or store, event, promotion, etc). Your site’s time-on-page metric will fall off a cliff.

As a direct result, bounce rates will sky-rocket too.

Pizza pizza pizza might rank you high in SERPs for a short time, but search engine’s like Google will use those metrics to weed you out and stop showing your link. Eventually, it’ll be like you’ve ceased to exist.

In the long run, it’s in your best interest to do the right things for the right reasons. You’ll get better results that way — maybe not faster results, but ultimately better results.

Strategizing for Higher Ad Scores

Google AdWords and Bing show ads more when they perform better.

Performing better means increasing clicks per impressions — also known as your click-through rate.

Bing explicitly refers to this as your quality rank. Google AdWords does it without giving you as much heads up. But, they’re both doing it — and other advertising networks tend to follow suit.

Advertisement Relevancy

To have a better click-through rate make ads more relevant.

If a user searches for “4ft purple canoe paddles” and your ad’s headline, description, and URL all have the words “4ft purple canoe paddles” then your ad would be wicked super duper relevant to the user’s search.

That’s easy enough to comprehend, right?

Furthermore, if the landing page you’re sending a person to (from your ad’s call-to-action) also has the words “4ft purple canoe paddles” in its META title, META description, various H1-H6 headers, body copy, image alt tags, etc. and so on, then your landing page would also appear to be extra super duper wicked relevant to the person’s search.

Relevancy is a lot like continuity. Interested people start their customer journey’s with intent and want continuous reinforcement that they’re finding what they want and what they expect.

The combined relevance of your advertisement and landing page content to the exact phrase of a user’s search is how to estimate the quality level of your ad. If you do it right, you’ll be relevant. If you do it wrong… you’ll be off Google’s page 1 (and everyone knows no one clicks through to page 2).

Set Goals and Know Your Roles

Before starting on-site SEO, set your goals and know your roles.

If you’ve done any kind of SEO work you know there’s a lot more to it than just keyword placement and word count, but the low-hanging-fruit is a great place to start when the goal is optimizing your website for search engine discoverability.

Afterall, you put your pants on one leg at a time (unless you’re a double-legged pant-jumping dare-devil…), so putting your website’s SEO together one piece at a time is A-Okay too.


SEO is relevant to your goals and centric to your audience.

Are you doing on-site SEO for digital marketing campaigns? Or are you building an authority website that’s going to be around for years and ought to be showing up as a leader in page 1 of its relevant search results? Or are your goals something entirely different?

Your specific goals matter when prioritizing your scope to align with your budget.

Generate more leads. Find more customers. Do more business.

Floyd Hartford is a website developer from southern Maine. He's focused on creating and building WordPress websites and loves spending time digging into code like HTML, CSS, scss, jQuery, PHP, and MySQL.


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