What is SEO?

Image result for art gallery

I’ve been trying to read about SEO this month. There is a lot of free information available on the web and so that’s where I started. But it seems as though all SEO sites view it as a means to gain more viewers and clicks. I think they would benefit from an alteration in the definition of what SEO really is.

SEO is optimizing content for curation. It’s like a tool you would use for building a themed art exhibit on the internet.

As a creator, my responsibility is to design and craft information products that appeal to a subset of people. In doing so, I need to focus on curating these products in a way that appeals to the targeted subset. If I do no curation, it would be like showing up to an un-themed art gallery with no signs and explanation of what is being viewed. SEO provides a boundary across the gallery establishing context and promotes the theme to the internet, making it possible for interested people to find it.

The strategies and tactics I would use for getting people in the door of my art gallery are not necessarily the same as I would for effectively curating my content. They are also not the same as what I would do to promote a specifically curated gallery.

I could tell the world there is free food inside and many would enter but how many would be interested in my art? Alternatively, I could do a promotion for my curated work and less people may show up but they would be interested in what they see.

And that’s where I think a lot of the free resources fail with SEO. They are seen as a means to an end that is an improper application of SEO tactics.

The way I see it there are two options. I can curate a content gallery with creations of my choosing and then seek out an audience or I can define an audience and build a gallery tailored to them. Either way, the inner workings and design of my gallery will ultimately dictate the strategy I use to promote content externally.

Image result for art gallery description card

This picture is a metaphor for what I’m talking about. The art is curated to adhere to the Contemporary Fantasy Art & Illustration theme.

From an SEO perspective, this is a metaphor for the importance of meta tags, the information search engines use to index content on the internet. These tags are critical for a website to be uniformly curated. Perhaps one room has a unique subset of tags as compared to another but the overarching theme of the museum is still an indexable theme.

If you skip the tagging process it’s much less likely that search engines will be able to properly index your content. If this happens, you don’t rank how you want to.

The image also represents an important takeaway. The art isn’t just set alone on the wall. It has a description that provides context. The same is important for SEO on the internet.

Descriptions provide context to the gallery being viewed. It helps search engines index but it also helps the right people find the content they want. By effectively using descriptions for curated content, you have a higher probability of attracting the right subset of people to click through to the gallery.

I’ve intentionally avoided the use of keywords because they will be included in a standalone essay. But it’s worth noting that keywords are the raw components, the essence of what will be baked into descriptions, tags, and ultimately gallery themes. They are the essence that appeals to a target audience and potential demographic. Keywords also must be carefully curated to get the right people through the door of your gallery.

To perform quality SEO, think like an art curator not like a salesman.

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