By Myrna P. Daramy.
I know what you might be thinking, how can SEO have anything in common with yoga? This technical phenomenon known as SEO that seems so mysterious and complicated has gotten a bad reputation over the years but it really isn’t that bad. I have seen it make a huge impact on many of my clients’ businesses where we have implemented optimization strategies to strengthen their digital footprints. As a small business owner, you simply can’t ignore its power, regardless of how much you may not want to deal with it. But with just a few simple SEO tips, you will see just how navigable it can be.
In order to help demystify SEO and make it more relatable, I often compare it to yoga. Full disclosure: For as much as I wish I could claim the title of a yogi, I am simply a yoga enthusiast who has taken all different kinds of styles throughout the years.
First things first, let’s define what SEO is. SEO (aka Search Engine Optimization) is the art used to drive highly-qualified visitors to your website in order to obtain a high ranking position on the search engine results pages (SERP) for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I specifically use the word art because it has become an art form; there is no exact science that everyone could apply in the same way that would warrant the same results.
Being that Google currently holds over 90% of the total search engine market share, I think it’s safe to state that we must follow their guidelines when it comes to optimization. Search engines like Google are constantly modifying their factors on how they rank websites. Although Google has outlined that there are 200 ranking factors, these factors are very complex and ever-evolving.
Here are three major ways that yoga and SEO are alike.
They are both a disciplined practice.
One of the first things that I noticed after taking a few hot yoga classes was that the instructor always ended class with the statement, “let’s acknowledge our yoga practice with a bow.” Then, I started noticing how all of the instructors would ask, “how was your practice today?” As a former fitness instructor who was accustomed to teaching boot camp type of classes, I wasn’t really sure why it was called a practice since I initially just thought of yoga as another form of fitness. But after taking my fifth class, it finally dawned on me why yoga was considered a practice.
If you have ever done hot yoga, there are generally 26 poses in sequential order that you do every class. Even though the poses were the same, I felt different after every session. There were times when I couldn’t wait for the instructor to give the cue to move to the next pose, and other times when I focused on my breathing and felt as if I could stay in that pose forever! But one thing was for sure: the more I practiced each pose, the easier they all started to feel. Much like how we learn to walk or talk, it’s clear that it takes a lot of persistence, practice, consistency, and discipline until it feels natural.
The same goes for search engine optimization. In fact, one of the first things that I tell my clients about regarding SEO is that it is both a discipline and practice that you cannot just implement once and forget about. Every single time you upload content to your website, you need to consider how it can be optimized in order to attract highly-qualified website visitors. You may need to tweak what you do along the way, but if you incorporate SEO tactics into your routine, it becomes easier and feels natural.
Foundation is important.
Whenever I take a hot yoga class with a new instructor, I always try to pay attention to their cues. Why? Because each instructor has a unique way of describing each pose, which may impact my form. I have always struggled with the rabbit pose, in which you pose where you’re kneeling, bend over, and try to bring your head to your knees. I would always look around the room and see everyone else in a perfect rabbit, so I did what anyone else would do at that moment…try harder.
No matter how hard I tried, I was always inches away from achieving a good rabbit. It wasn’t until one instructor gave a little nugget on how to get into the pose that I changed my approach and could finally feel my knees against my forehead! It changed everything. That experience taught me how important setting a foundation is toward any practice. It wasn’t the lack of trying that kept me from my glory, it was my initial setup that I wasn’t doing correctly.
It never ceases to amaze me when I see my business owners work very hard with a graphic designer to create an amazing brand, design a beautiful website, outsource a copywriter for copy and then (lastly) think about SEO as if it were a second thought.
Optimization needs to be at the forefront of your digital footprint—your website architecture, page structure, and content creation all make a difference when it comes to SEO. For example, if your website is designed from a desktop perspective and is not mobile-friendly, it doesn’t matter how beautiful it may be or how many SEO tactics you implement. Chances are, Google may be dinging your website and leaving your ranking at a standstill.
Both Have Lasting Effects.
It has been clinically proven that maintaining a regular yoga practice can provide physical and mental health benefits. I have experienced more flexibility and a better posture myself. I have heard that it can also build muscle strength and bone health.
By incorporating a consistent SEO practice into your digital marketing routine, you can expect more brand awareness, an increase in brand credibility, and a higher conversion rate. It is a long-term strategy that gets better over time. There is no finish line, so your goal is to establish your SEO strategies. In a nutshell, you have to treat SEO like yoga - you have to practice it on a consistent basis in order to benefit fully. SEOs are a constant ‘work in progress’ and should not be an afterthought.
Every time you are about to create new content for your website, like a blog post or another landing page, you have to think about whether this action will optimize your web presence so that your target audience can find you. You have to work on creating really great content that continues to make you relevant by focusing on keywords (general, long-tail and latent semantic indexing keywords). You have to make a conscious effort to optimize everything you post on the web in order to speed things up — meaning that you keep your image size in check, you use friendly URLs, and you incorporate tags (meta tags, alt tags, title tags). You have to think about mobile and make sure that your web presence is mobile-friendly.
By being consistent in your SEO practice, you will be able to attract your target audience and they will be able to find you.
About the Author
Myrna P. Daramy is a tech-savvy digital media strategist, oftentimes referred to as the “Tech Whisperer” by her clients. Over the last 14 years, she’s transformed countless lifestyle and high-end bridal brands by combining her expertise in digital analytics, technology management, and SEO with a deep understanding of all things creative. Myrna's superpower is that she can easily translate “tech talk” into concepts that make sense to even the most non-technical of business owners. She takes pride in helping her clients peel back the layers of their brand, utilize the latest and greatest technology tools, and return to them an optimized site and digital strategy that convert better than ever before. You can follow her at @myrnapdaramy