What is SEO (Ready vs. Optimized, vs. Strategy)?

NOTE: We do not currently offer SEO services, though know a few great folks who do.

We often hear from clients that they want ‘SEO’ for their Website and sometimes it even comes as a complaint in that their developer promised them SEO and yet the site is not ranking well. It is clear that the distinction between providing optimization tools within a Website, optimizing that site once and having a true ongoing strategy is not being provided or clearly explained. I think developers, SEO experts and Web strategists sometimes take for granted that our clients may not understand the difference between an SEO toolset and a true ongoing campaign. So what is the difference?

SEO Ready

Websites built today are usually SEO ready in that they include the tools needed to optimize the site. Browser titles, meta description fields, alternate image text, etc are all part of the deal or quickly added to CMS systems such as WordPress with a simple plug-in. A good developer will aid in the SEO friendliness by developing page templates and CSS to utilize several text headings, clean site links, etc. However this by no means the site is optimized, it is simply prepped well and waiting for someone with expertise to work their magic.

SEO Optimized

Ture optimization is an ongoing chore. However I have heard many times from clients that their site was ‘optimized’ when it was developed. These are usually the folks who are disappointed in there rankings (or lack there of). Upon inspection many of these ‘optimized’ sites are simply SEO Ready and not truly optimized for any particular keyword or phrase. However we have seen a few where it is obvious someone took the time to optimize some or all of the pages for a particular keyword and/or phrase. We have no way of knowing if any true research went into these keywords or something was simply picked from the page content. Assuming these the pages were optimized with proper research and strategy, we are still lacking a true ongoing campaign.

SEO Strategy

This is where you get serious and truly compete to rise in the search engine rankings for a set of targeted, researched keywords and phrases. It is a balance of expected traffic levels for any one term, the quality of your content, regular measurement, refinement and activities such as social media campaigns, link building campaigns and much more. Having a site that is SEO Ready or even Optimized once does not put you in the running for serious page ranking, they only set the stage. An SEO campaign is not something you do only once or your developer does at the time of build, it is ongoing effort.

Post by Shane Larrabee

Shane Larrabee is founder of FatLab, LLC and has over 20 years experience as a business leader, web developer and online communication consultant.