SEO often seems to have an air of mystery surrounding it. It’s a relatively new element of business that companies are now having to consider. But what exactly is it? How does it benefit your business? Is there some kind of “magic” that SEO consultants perform to suddenly makes your business wildly successful?
(The answer to that last question, by the way, is “We wish, but unfortunately no.”)
Simply put, SEO is a marketing tactic. Just like newspaper ads, radio spots, television commercials, and mailed flyers; SEO (also called “search engine marketing”) is just another gadget in your marketing toolbox.
SEO by itself won’t make or break your business. You can rank on page 20 for your desired keywords but still have a thriving business if you are able to bring in customers through other forms of marketing and networking. Alternatively, you can be the first search engine result; but, if your business is sorely lacking in other crucial areas (like quality work and customer service), no amount of great SEO will save you.
So how should you approach SEO? In order to successfully begin your foray into the world of SEO, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
1. SEO is simpler than it seems.
Search engines are not your enemy. Yes, there are many, many factors that go into the search algorithms; and yes, it can be tempting to try to nail each factor perfectly. In reality, though, you don’t need to obsess over every little detail. (After all, no one except the search engines really knows what goes into rankings.)
If your goal is to provide helpful information to your audience, Google is your friend. (They even give you all the things you need to know to improve your ranking in the Google Tools for Webmasters. Take a step back to evaluate what it is you want to do, and then work hard to do that well: Your ranking will somewhat take care of itself.
2. SEO requires a strategy.
However, just because SEO is simple doesn’t mean that it’s easy. You need to plan out your goals and strategize how you will use it as a marketing tool. How does your website fit into your business plan? How much do you rely on web traffic for your overall marketing strategy? Answering questions like these will help you figure out how to tackle improving your visibility to search engines.
3. SEO needs maintenance.
SEO is not a one-time, “set it and forget it” thing. There are some elements (like on-page SEO) that require a lot of one-time effort, but SEO as a marketing tool always requires modification and upkeep. You have to implement your strategy, run reports on your data, see how you’re doing, and then make a plan for improvement.
Just like you constantly have to revisit and revise your ad marketing campaigns, you will always have to keep your SEO up-to-date.
4. SEO is an investment.
The hardest thing about SEO is that it is a long-term commitment. SEO is not like traditional marketing methods where you can see returns on investment in a matter of days or weeks. In part, because so many factors are out of your control, it takes months or even years to see the results of your hard work. It is an investment in the future and requires patience and long-term vision.
With all of this in mind, how can you utilize SEO as a marketing tool for your business? Comment below! We’d love to hear from you!
If you need help figuring out where SEO fits into your marketing plan, We’d love to chat!