What The Heck Is SEO? As Explained by a Southerner

I’m going to explain ‘What The Heck Is SEO’ in simple terms and with an example all of you non city slickers can appreciate. To start if you were not graced by God and raised in the Southern (and Midwestern) states or lifestyle then Bless Your Heart and please consider moving back to Ohio.

First SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is how well your website is optimized to rank on the pages of Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine. For example if you go to Google.com and type in “how to fix my truck” you will see a list of results with the top ranking websites showing up first and descending in order of how Google ranks them.



Now you may also (most likely) see ads on the top of the pages too. Remember Google is a for profit company. They make most of their billions of dollars from ad revenue. Just like the government they’re always looking for a way to get paid.

Today’s Example – SEO Is Like A Boat

If you own a boat or have in the past then you know that it does not run on “thanks and smiles”. No, that baby runs on fuel. Fuel costs money. So as a reminder to all of you non-boat owners, the next time someone takes you out on their boat offer to pitch in on the fuel bill. It aint cheap.

Your boat is your website. Your SEO is the fuel that powers your website’s rankings. When you first get started your boat is at the dock, lift or boat ramp. We need to give her a lil gas to get moving out to the open water. Registering your website on the Google Search Console will do this. Now Google knows you exist. Now you can start enjoying your boat.

Time to go fast right? Well you’re gonna need some more fuel. Right now you’re just idling. Your website is ranked on God knows what page and it certainly isn’t page 1. So you hire an SEO company like Hofford Digital.

Hell yeah Darlene we’re about to go real fast.

Well, not exactly. You have a brand new engine back there and you need to break it in properly. If it’s an older engine (older and established website) then you will probably be able to skip this next part.

Let’s add some fuel. You need to set up your social media accounts and register your business/website on the local directories. Now you are beginning to send Social Signals to your website and the search engines will notice. The more accounts and directories you are connected to the better. But be sure to avoid the spammy kind. Think of them as the kind of employees you don’t want to have around the office when customers come visit.

Alright Bubba you did all that, now we can kick it up a notch, give her a lil gas. Or as the Star Wars fanatics may say “Punch it Chewy”.


This is nice, but not great. The bow is pointed upwards and we have not gotten into a smooth plane. So basically you look like you’ve never driven a boat before and probably have a “I love Ohio” bumper sticker on your dang boat. You don’t want to be this guy or gal. They don’t get invited to many social gatherings.

We need to give it some more gas. In order to do this you need to have some quality content on your website that focuses on the keywords you want to rank for on the search engines. Your SEO Company will do this.

Alright Alright Alright… now we have the boat going and she’s trying to level out into that plane but we’re still not there yet. Sorry Darlene. Hold onto your beer and cigarette a lil longer.

To finally get your boat into that perfect plane and to begin cruising the open waters we need backlinks for our website. This is that final push of the throttle that gets you going where you want and to start seeing real changes in your position on Google.

Obtaining these backlinks is not done with the push of a button or overnight. Heck, it can take months and years to build up your backlinks. Well what if we just throw some special juice in the fuel tank and buy a ton of links? My buddy Earl knows a guy. Your buddy Earl is friends with some shady people. Don’t listen to Earl. Not even after you’ve had a few.

If you choose to go with Earl’s buddies and you pay for some instant backlinks here is what will happen.

Your boat is gonna go real fast into that perfect plane and then after about 3 minutes your engine will explode and your kids will start crying. Plus during the explosion you lost the cooler full of beer. Thanks a lot Earl. Oh, and by the way the Coast Guard is coming. That engine juice you were using wasn’t exactly legal and Earl has priors. Lots of priors.

Buy purchasing large numbers of shady backlinks you will rank your website higher, but only for a day or maybe a week. Then Google, Bing and the other search engines are going see what you did and blacklist your domain (your website name).

Once you are on this blacklist you have a better chance of getting your brother in law to pay you back that $200 you lent him in 2007 than you do of ever getting off it. That reminds me Cletus still owes me $50 for his lotto tickets.

If you chose the right path and to allow your SEO company to build the links the proper and legitimate way you will begin to see your website ranking higher and higher. This means you keep driving your boat at cruising speeds as you head out to that secret spot only you and few other buddies know about. That’s the sweet spot. That’s where the redneck yacht club is and it’s always a good time.

Ok, so all of your social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, Google Plus etc,), new content and links are in place in you are ranking where you want. Now you can stop paying your SEO Company and sit back right? Wrong again Earl.

You have achieved your prime cruising speed and are riding that plane, but you have to keep the fuel going in order to stay on that plane. If you stop adding new content and continuously adding more links you are going to start falling in the search rankings and your boat is gonna slow. Darlene don’t like a slow boat.

The reason is because your competition is constantly adding new content to their websites, adding more backlinks and optimizing their website in accordance to the changes that Google or Bing put out there.

The search engines change their formulas (algorithms) almost daily. Some changes are small, but some are as big as that buck you killed and won’t stop telling everyone about. No, we don’t want to see another photo of it.

To keep up with these changes you need to keep your SEO company. Their specialty is SEO. Yours aint. If I need someone to come fix my busted water heater at 11pm at night then I’m going to call the expert. The expert who knows how to fix it right. I’m not asking my live-in house guest cousin Vinny who can’t seem to find a job let alone a pair of pants. Seriously Vinny it’s been 7 months.

You get what you pay for.

Unfortunately, this is one of the few times where Duct Tape and WD40 won’t fix the problem.

If you are unhappy with your SEO results then yes you should consider other companies. Most of them will offer you a Free SEO Audit. Hofford Digital does.

This other SEO Company will prepare the audit and want to discuss it with you. Good. Then see what their monthly bill is going to be. It may be higher or it may be lower than what you are paying now. At least you will have options. You’re not gonna look at just one gun at the gun shop. You want to look at a few of them because you like having options and it’s an investment.

Don’t jump the gun and abandon your current SEO Company. Talk to them. Ask them why you are not ranking where you want to. Usually the simplest explanation is your budget. SEO is not easy and it aint cheap.

Additionally, suddenly dropping your current SEO Company could result in the loss of existing links. Depending on the quality of these links it could have a serious negative effect on your current ranking and positions on the search engines.

SEO Really Is An Investment For Your Business

How many calls and leads are you getting because of it? How much revenue comes in from each one of those new customers? If you are getting a decent amount of leads and calls then your SEO most likely has a positive ROI, meaning it pays for itself and then you still have some left over money for things like a case of beer and lotto tickets.

Odds are you will probably want to add more budget to your SEO, but discuss in depth with your SEO Company what the extra budget will do for your business and website. Do you think this will move me from the #5 position to the #3? Or can we start ranking some other keywords to drive more traffic and leads? They may have some great ideas to share with you, but have held back because they know you did not want to spend more money yet. Communication is key.

If you are getting quality traffic and leads from your website then you need to keep investing in your SEO budget. What happens if you stop your SEO and Zero (0) leads come from the website? You and your boat are stuck out in the middle of nowhere and I’m pretty sure Jaws just swam by. He looks bigger in person. Oh good, two of your kids just decided to start swimming…. and there is a storm headed your way.

Most clients I talk to “strongly dislike” their SEO Company. It is usually because they don’t see the results they wanted. Your SEO is not going to happen in a week or a month. It will take a few months. Give your SEO Company a minimum of 3 months to show rank improvement. If you have made steady progress keep going. Don’t hesitate to tell them your expectations.

Just like when your youngest child comes home with a C report card. You tell them “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed”. It could have been worse. They could have dropped out of school and ended up working at the local DMV like your sister Sarah.

Set Expectations With Your SEO company

Let your SEO Company know what you expect from your investment. They will in return set expectations for you based on your budget. If your budget is $500 per month then don’t expect a ton of progress. If your budget is $5,000 per month then heck yeah they better be working and making real progress for you, but it will still take time. You cannot add all of your new backlinks and content to fast. It’s like drinking an entire handle of Jack Daniels. Before Noon. On a Tuesday.



Google and the other search engines see the addition of too many new backlinks too quickly as suspicious and may punish your site rankings for this. This is why you need to trust your SEO Company about how many new backlinks they add each month.

Additionally, you want to be adding new content to your website each month. This can come in the form of new pages or blog articles like this one. Your SEO Company will probably update older content that you already have. This is like recycling your Coors Light cans. They can still be used again and the update to the content will assist in having new content available for the search engines to see.

What Is A Fair Price For SEO Services?

Well that will depend on your local market and the keywords you want to rank for. Generally Local SEO will be more affordable and your SEO Company will suggest some local keywords that are within your reach based on a competitive analysis. These packages usually start at $1,000 a month.

It could be slightly more or slightly less. If there is a great keyword opportunity that has low competition then that is what they will most likely want to target. This keyword may not drive a ton of traffic to your website, but it will drive high quality traffic to your website. The type of traffic that meets your goals of either calling your business, filling out a form or buying something off your website.

You don’t get to pay five hundred bucks for a new truck and you don’t get to the top of Google with $500 either.

Don’t let this discourage you about SEO. There is a reason that companies everywhere in the world spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars each month on it. It works.

If you are still hesitant look at the websites that rank at the top of Google for the keyword you want to rank for. If you know the owner or manager of that company call them up and ask them how much they are spending on SEO. They might tell you, they might not. But at least you are informing yourself. Keep asking around to other businesses that are not in your field, they may be more likely to tell you.

You always ask your buddy where he caught that big fish or shot that big buck. This is the same thing. If you don’t ask you’ll never know and you’ll never get that monster buck that you can mount on the wall. If Darlene lets you. That singing bass will probably have to come down though.

Just remember if you want to take your boat out on a fun Sunday afternoon cruise you need to have plenty of fuel to get you out there and to get you back.

If you enjoyed this explanation of ‘What The Heck Is SEO’ and are curious about more information regarding your own SEO please feel free to call Hofford Digital today at 214-810-2273. Or you can follow us for more posts like this on our Facebook Page, On Twitter and Linkedin.

We also encourage you to share this article with friends, family or colleagues who you know are looking for SEO help or have more questions about it. Our goal is to help simplify the information and we hope we have done that for you.

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