If you’re a parent, sooner or later you’re required to have THE TALK with your children. You know, the one about the birds and the bees. Honestly, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s a lot easier than explaining to your children what you do for a living if you’re an SEO consultant.

New Industries Require New Definitions

SEO link building and website SEO have only become a regular occupation in the last few years. Before that, search engine optimization was handled by the person who was writing copy for the website, if it was given any attention at all. As the Internet gained importance as the primary place for commerce, the need to hire an SEO consultant to boost a company’s visibility grew quickly.

Search engines are extremely sophisticated in the methods they use to rank sites. They perform a multi-factor assessment of the content displayed on every website, and then modify it by the amount of attention the website attracts from other websites, news outlets, and social media accounts. If you don’t know how to write to make search engines happy, you won’t get found.

An SEO Expert Knows a Particular Kind of Writing

SEO writing is a form of technical writing. There have always been writers who specialize in producing text that isn’t destined for a book or a newspaper article. One form of technical writing, advertising copy, is a lot older than the Internet, as you can see if you watch an episode of Mad Men.

The definition of a technical writer is a person who conveys specialized information to the public in the clearest and most effective way possible. Because the information that needs to be communicated is often complex, it’s important for a technical writer to be able to understand the topic fully and then present it in plain language that is easy for the average person to read and understand.

That’s an excellent summation of what an SEO consultant does for their clients. The best SEO company is one that understands the customer’s business, and then uses that knowledge to deliver well-crafted content that attracts and engages the right consumers.

Technical writing is an important job that is generally overlooked by the public, at least until they are forced to assemble a bicycle on Christmas Eve with nothing but a crescent wrench and five pages of instructions. Well-written assembly instructions are just one more example of good technical writing. An SEO consultant will make sure you’re able to find a bicycle in the first place when you search for it online.

Found By Machines, Read by Humans

SEO writing is trickier than more traditional technical writing techniques. Before the Internet, a technical writer’s output was always geared towards being read by humans. An SEO expert understands that there is now an intermediate step between the content and the customer: Search engines.

Search engines are machines. It takes a very particular set of skills to be able to produce text, photos, and video for a website in exactly the right format for a web crawler to read. It also takes a lot of hard work and skill to make sure that attention is drawn to the content, which attracts incoming links that will boost the website in the search rankings.

Optimizing a website to be highly ranked by machines while still being useful for readers is a difficult job. That’s why a SEO consultant is so essential to commerce in the Internet age. If your website has interesting content, but search engines don’t understand it, no one will ever find you. If your website has content that’s unreadable because of unsuccessful attempts to optimize it for SEO, the readers will quickly click when they arrive.

Helping People Find Things Is a Noble Profession

Most people say they hate advertising. That’s only partially true. What people actually hate is being bombarded with advertising for products and services they have no interest in. An SEO firm helps companies target interested consumers without resorting to a barrage of advertising on everyone. It’s not only counterproductive to show advertising to consumers that don’t need your product or service. It’s expensive, too. Spending a modest amount of money on SEO services pays bigger dividends by attracting only the people who are hungry to hear your message.

So if you get stuck while trying to explain to your kids exactly what an SEO consultant does for a living, tell them that you help some people find things, and you help other people to get found. Then tell them to look up the birds and the bees on Wikipedia. The information is easy to find. It’s Search Engine Optimized.