San Diego may have beautiful beaches, great weather and a reputation for fun, but almost everybody here — just like almost anybody anywhere — is searching for something. A recent study on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) reports that outside of e-mail, the number-one activity people perform online is search. In fact, 72 percent of all Americans use the internet for search, with 60 percent doing it every day, primarily with Google, but also with Yahoo and Bing. If you think about your own online behavior, that’s probably not surprising. These behaviors are habitual, almost knee-jerk activities we perform as soon as we open our laptops or check our mobile phones. And with usage on mobile devices increasing — checking email on the commute home or looking for nearby restaurants — you can see that the findings make sense. So what does that mean for business?
SEO = Seriously Excellent Opportunity
This data means that Search Engine Optimization is as important as ever. And the good news is that the search engines want to help searchers — all of us, in San Diego and otherwise — find what we’re looking for. They are constantly updating their algorithms to root out sites that are simply trying to game the system and provide little real value. Which means that SEO can be less about percentage of keywords and tags and more about providing real content that customers want. For example, much was made of Google’s Panda update which helped users avoid “content farms” where content that was rich in SEO search terms but shallow on real information and could waylay users. Constantly changing to yield more valuable results, search engines are providing a perfect opportunity for businesses that want to provide substantive information to their customers online.
You can get a glimpse of this “only the real deal” strategy behind the algorithm adjustments at SEOmoz. They recently published a report that attempts to track all of Google’s algorithm changes since 2000. The approach is complex, but the objective is simple. Since almost everyone is looking for something, it’s just good customer service on the part of the search engines to help them find it. That’s something we can all understand.