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What the fuck is SEO, anyway?

what the fuck is seo anyway

If you own an Internet-based company, you probably have at least a general understanding of what SEO is and how optimizing search engines can help drive traffic to your site. But, as a remote worker who is always on the move around the world, I meet all kinds of people – freelancers, workers for fully remote companies, entrepreneurs and people who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

I’ve had some really interesting conversations with these people over the years, and one thing that comes up a lot is that people know that SEO is Search Engine Optimization, but they don’t really know the details or how it works. I wanted to write this blog post to give a basic overview of SEO. I think it’s a good thing to understand, no matter what industry you work in.

So, how about you grab a cup of coffee or a beer, and you can pretend this post is just a conversation we’re having in a cafe in Split, or at a beachside bar on the Caribbean.

The Power of Organic Search (SEO)

At the most basic level, I’d describe SEO as a way to strategically place your content so that the right people can find it easily. Most people don’t think too much when they use Google to search for something online. But there’s a lot happening in the background with search engines that help to connect users with the information they want. For example, if you search “baseball” hoping to get information about the baseball game, but end up with results for a random ball in a military base, then that Internet search is basically useless to you.

Search engines have been carefully built and modified to make it so that you get the information you actually want. SEO plays a role in that, too. Companies use SEO to position their content in front of people who want to see it, and they also use SEO to increase the amount of traffic going to their site.

Internet searches account for a huge volume of online traffic. (Curious how many searches have been performed on Google today? Click here. So if you’re selling something online – anything at all – be aware that there are lots of people out there searching for that very thing. SEO basically helps you close the gap between your product and those potential customers.

When people search for things on the Internet, roughly 82% of the subsequent clicks go to organic search results – not to sponsored results or ads. That means that using SEO to increase your standing in organic search results can be even more effective than spending money on ads.

SEO: Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for the keyword

Search is Technological and Psychological

SEO used to be technical and monotonous, everything was about bots and search engines. Google, and other search engines, still use bots to crawl the Internet looking for new information. Once the bot finds new and updated content, it reads it and makes recommendations to the search engine. A bot is like a small child – it wants to take everything in, and it can learn pretty fast. To appease the bots, companies used to focus on using certain keywords in hopes of getting their content show with the right keywords in search engine result pages (SERP).

But SEO has now evolved to include more of a focus on the humans who are actually using the Internet. We now use different aspects of psychology to help analyze whether a site is offering a good or bad user experience. For SEO to be effective, the page design itself needs to appeal to how humans think, and be easy to understandable. Using SEO to drive traffic to a website means nothing if people want to leave as soon as they get there. Once they have arrived at your site, they need to stick around long enough to buy something, or at least learn enough to enter the marketing funnel.

SEO looks at a website from a human perspective – what information do people need or want when they come to your site, how can they find it quickly and easily? Does the information provided on your site “satisfies” what the people’s intent? If you have a good product, SEO is the easiest and most affordable way to scale publicity and enhance distribution.

What I Do

When companies bring me in, I take a look at how SEO can impact what they’re doing from all angles. I have a background in computer science, so I can look at the technical aspects of the site and make recommendations. I also look at how the site appeals to users. Is it easy to use? Is the information easy to find? Once I’ve done my initial audit and make my recommendations, I work with a client’s in-house engineers and content creators to make sure they have a strong and effective SEO strategy. The whole process usually takes about three months.

I really enjoy working with companies, and helping them to improve their strategy. I can also help my clients save a lot of money on marketing and advertising. (In fact, when I worked at Monster, I reduced the marketing spending so much, I suggested that they used some of the money they saved to fly me to the US for MozCon in Seattle and meet the with the team in Boston. They said yes, and that’s how I got my start as a world traveler.)  

There you have it – that’s what my business is all about. Helping companies to grow without spending a lot of money, and making websites more human and easier to use. If you’d like to chat with me about SEO, or remote work in general, drop me a line at