What is SEO? This is SEO.

I’ve always shied away when a potential client or current partner asks if we “do” SEO.

It’s one of those questions that always sounds simplistic. Normally, the person asking wants to know if we can help them get on the first page of Google for whatever they want to be found for.

The answer, as you’d expect, isn’t as straightforward.

When Google rose to dominance and people began to rely on search engines to find answers (and site owners began to rely on them to drive traffic to their site), the SEO market exploded. Around every corner was someone trying to sell you on their formula or system to guarantee your placement on the first page of results.

For a while, it worked. SEO “experts” understood that the more links you got to your site, the better it would rank in the results.

But Google got smarter. Their PageRank system changed the game, but they didn’t stop innovating.

Today, SEO isn’t just about links. It’s not just about making sure your site is technically sound. It’s not just about making your site accessible, or mobile friendly, or is filled with great content.

It’s about everything.

This has never been easier to understand than now, thanks to the amazing folks over at Moz (another tool we use) and their great Whiteboard Friday series of videos.

If you care about your search engine rankings, then you need to watch this video. Watch it now – I’ll wait until you’re done.

It’s great, right? SEO isn’t about a magic formula. It’s not about making sure you have alt tags on your images.

It’s about everything.

If you didn’t catch it in the video, read this key part again.

That’s why this field is so huge. That’s why SEO is neuropsychology. SEO is conversion rate optimization. SEO is social media. SEO is user experience and design. SEO is branding. SEO is analytics. SEO is product. SEO is advertising. SEO is public relations. The fill-in-the-blank is SEO if that blank is anything that affects any input directly or indirectly.

This is why this is a huge field. This is why SEO is so complex and so challenging. This is also why, unfortunately, when people try to boil SEO down and put us into a little bucket, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work, and it defeats the practice. It defeats the investments, and it works against all the things that we are working toward in order to help SEO.

So, the next time you want to “do” SEO, think about this video – and think about all the ways you can improve your site and the experience for your users.

That’s how we do SEO. It might just take a little longer for us to explain it to you.

Jason Unger
About Jason Unger
Jason Unger is the Founder of Digital Ink, the creative and digital team that builds brands and helps companies grow. Based outside of Washington, D.C., Jason has done it all, from website strategy, design, development, troubleshooting, maintenance, content and marketing.