Being a 26-year-old in an up and coming city gives me the opportunity to get out and experience a lot of new and exciting events while getting to meet a lot of new and exciting people. However, this means enduring the age-old question:
“What do you do for a living?”
In fact, it’s a question that I’ve begun to somewhat dread. Not because I dislike my job or feel ashamed, but because it’s difficult to form a clear answer.
After being asked, I usually have to stare blankly for a few seconds while trying to think of the best way to share what I do in a simple, yet point-driven manner. Sometimes I instantly blurt out “SEO”, which is normally reciprocated with the blank stares I’m so used to. This then leads to a battle of blank stares followed by an awkward silence. (This is not so good when you’re talking to a pretty lady). So what do I do? I try to simplify my job.
“You know like, when you’re trying to find a local plumber on Google? Yeah, they pay someone like me to get them on those search results.”
A simple yet very underwhelming answer. Well what exactly is SEO? The letters themselves stand for Search Engine Optimization.
“Okay cool man, but what does that mean?”
Search Engine Optimization is a fancy way to say that I know how to help businesses build and create engaging content and strong websites so that Google is able to rank them higher than their competitors down the street. However, this still feels like an unsatisfying answer. Those of us who work in SEO understand this perfectly – our job is constantly changing.
If we’re looking for a more technical definition; according to our online glossary, “The practice of improving the rankings in a search engine results page (SERP) for a webpage by leveraging both on-page and off-page optimization tactics such as modifying page content, meta tags, navigation, URLs, and more including off-page properties like social profiles, wikis, and business directories. SEO may also refer to the job title given to a person who optimizes websites (Search Engine Optimizer).”
The fact of the matter is that SEO is forever on the move. Of course you will still have your keywords, your optimized content, your Google reports, but the landscape is constantly evolving. This is what makes SEO so difficult to explain to people. I could give you a rundown of my current task list, and in six months it might look completely different.
My purpose of writing this article is to help people like myself who struggle to answer the question of what their SEO job entails. In just a matter of time, our job will be as common place as a salesman. There won’t be anymore, “What is that?” questions from pretty girls who seem unimpressed. Our job is the future of marketing and we should be proud of the fact that sometimes it’s just hard to explain.