The Business Owner’s Introductory Guide to SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving and promoting a website in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines.  SEO involves doing work on and off your website so it shows, or ‘ranks’, highly in the free, or ‘organic’, search results.

It is important to know that SEO alone is not a solution that is going to turn your business around overnight.  To be effective, SEO should be one part of your marketing strategy and website development, with other channels supporting it and working synergistically. Several years ago, it was possible for a business to have a strong web presence by focusing only on SEO. However, these days, search engines evaluate a company’s overall web presence, not just their website. Most importantly, they continually change the ranking criteria, which means one size does not fit all.

SEO also requires a consistent effort and a respectable investment in time and marketing budget. That’s the unfortunate part.  But therein lies the opportunity!  Because it takes effort, time, and money, not many of your competitors are doing it the correct way. The fact is, most business owners lack the strategic vision and long-term mindset to develop and maintain a consistent strategy that provides consistent results. Therefore, the better understanding you have of how different marketing channels can help your business, the more successful you can potentially be.

It’s very crowded at the top of Google. A search for baseball gloves yields more than 7.5 million results. The odds of becoming a professional baseball player are better than the odds of making it to the top of this search.   But by being smart, doing the research and continually monitoring results, you can make headway. For example, narrow the search to 1st baseman’s glove and the results drop to 249 thousand. Narrow the search to left handed 1st baseman’s glove and it’s halved to 109 thousand.

Characteristics of a Successful SEO Strategy

There are many variables that go into any successful marketing strategy, and SEO is definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach. It is something that is tailored to each individual business and market.

Here are some factors that comprise the foundation for an effective SEO campaign:

  • SEO requires work to be done on your website as well as off of your website.
  • Your website should be modern, mobile-friendly, and built on a flexible technology in order to get the most out of your online marketing efforts.
  • Getting to the first page of Google takes time. After all, your competitors are fighting for the same space.
  • Getting to the first page of Google should not be your SEO goal! A proper SEO campaign includes a plan to not only generate traffic to a website, but to maximize the percentage of website visitors that convert into an inquiry or a lead.
  • SEO takes a lot of effort. It’s not merely a matter of flipping a few switches, turning some dials, and watching the traffic pour in. It takes consistent effort on a monthly basis to beat out your competitors.
  • SEO is an ongoing process.  It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it solution.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is flat out lying to you. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!
  • SEO is not for every business.  For some businesses, it’s a great solution that can have a profound impact on sales and revenue.  For other markets, there are simply more effective uses of your marketing budget.

Making Sense of It All

The most important thing to remember is, just like marketing, SEO is a process, not a product. It should be customized to your needs. There are far too many companies offering a one size fits all SEO program and guaranteeing unrealistic results.

At Netwave, every SEO program is customized for the client’s needs and is considered in conjunction with web site design.   Our goal is to educate you so you can make informed decisions about what’s best for your business. If you have questions about SEO or any other online marketing channel, feel free to contact us for a complimentary consultation on your web and marketing goals.