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Do you speak the language of Google?

🇪🇸 Hola. 🇫🇷 Je m’appelle Claire. 🇩🇪 Ich spreche Google.

The language of search can be intimidating to a non-search expert.

Here’s a way of thinking about it that might help you make better sense of it.

(Whether this helps will depend on your own life experience and whether you can relate to speaking a second or third language – go with me if you don’t! )

There’s a lot of jargon in search optimization: we talk about keywords, on-page, off-page, SEM, PPC, Semrush, Ahrefs, Search Console, technical SEO.

Very quickly, it can become a barrage of nonsense.

In fact, it’s a lot like mastering a foreign language.

➡️ When you don’t know any words at all, it makes no sense.

➡️ When you know a few words, it can feel like you’re starting to get the hang of it.

➡️ When you know a bit more, you start to be able to figure things out on your own.

I know what it’s like to learn a foreign language. My first language is English, but I’ve learned French, German, and Spanish from scratch to relative fluency.

In my experience, there are three stages to learning a language:

🐣 The first stage, when you just know a few words, learning can seem even more intimidating because you realise just how much there is to learn, and how early on in the process you are. You fully understand just how little you know of the language.

🐥The second stage, when you start to become proficient, you think you know what you’re talking about, but it can be really easy to get mixed up with ‘false friends’ or similar-sounding words and say something really inappropriate in conversation. At this stage, you don’t know what you don’t know.

(My own favorite example of the above example was when I was living in Germany and said to a friend I had a ‘Pinkel’ on my face. ‘Pickel’ = spot. ‘Pinkel’ = pee. Ew.)

🦉 Then the last stage, when you’re really quite good. You can hold a conversation, understand all the information you need, and you start to see yet again how far you have to go. At this stage, you’ve gone a full circle and have a better understanding of what you don’t know. But this time, you know what questions to ask to find out the information you’re missing.

I’ve found that learning search engine optimization is a lot like this process.

🐣 At first, it can seem intimidating and almost like a barrage of nonsense. You can’t understand the logic or relationship between different things.

🐥 You start to understand some of the basics, and you implement things as best you can, but it’s easy to trip up still, or make quite basic mistakes.

🦉 The final stage, where you start to see the relationship and logic between content and links and Google’s philosophy. Once you’ve learned and mastered the principles of search, you understand what a solid foundation this provides and it becomes easier to intuit what moves to make in any given situation, even if you haven’t encountered it before.

So I don’t know who needs to hear this, or if you’ll find it helpful, but it’s just something that’s kind of occurred to me over the years of learning and implementing search optimization techniques for my own business and for others.

I’d love to know if this makes sense to you too!

Hablas Google?


I’m Claire and I’m a search engine optimization expert. I run an SEO agency in Somerville MA called Aloha Life Digital. If you need any help with getting more clients from Google for your business, I would love to hear from you.


My name's Claire and I’m an SEO and content strategy expert. I help startups and ambitious businesses improve their content, so that customers can find your website in search, and so that when they do, they convert.


I’m a former startup CEO, and I’ve worked for some of the world’s biggest publishers (Penguin Random House, Oxford University Press), as well as training with Google's in-house SEO team. I even built a website to attract 45k in organic search visitors/month. Drop me a line if you need help of any kind with SEO and content.


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