SEO for business success

Anyone running a website understands the value of making the content, brand and offerings more visible to the average online consumer. A local SEO campaign can help a business generate leads, drive traffic to the website and increase sales by making the online presence easily found by consumers using standard search engines. It is important for small business owners and online marketing teams to understand the value of SEO and best practices in the industry so as to take advantage of the growing online marketplace and carve out a place for the company in the digital landscape.

First steps
When developing an SEO campaign, it is best to start with a strong and applicable keyword strategy. By identifying words and phrases that most directly align with the name, service or offering and industry of the company, advertisers can start developing a plan targeting specific consumers searching these terms.

The keyword strategy should be as specific as possible without neglecting basic terms consistent with an industry. The more specific the keywords, the more likely the website will rank highly for niche searches through search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Once the keywords are selected, they should be placed throughout the website content including anchor texts, page titles and regularly updated content such as blogs or news feeds. The keywords should be implemented in the content in way that seems natural, rather than randomly adding it to most sentences. A smart keyword strategy will pay off in the end, as search engine algorithms can tell the difference between natural keyword placement and forced keyword packing.

After the keywords have been placed, the website should be indexed with search engines so Google, Yahoo and Bing can analyze the website and determine its rankings of various consumer searches. The rankings are determined by highly complex algorithms that factor in more than keywords, but also relevant links, social media activity, pertinent content and fresh information. The algorithms have been designed to reward organic, informative websites, while downgrading spam-filled, malicious or nonorganic websites on search engine results pages.

Once the website has been ranked by search engines and content has been completed, it is the job of the company or marketing team to maintain the website's high ranking through continual updates and maintenance. Yes, SEO can be time-consuming, but the pay off is well worth the effort.

Many successful websites opt to launch a website blog that is updated on a regular basis with content relevant to the industry, company and product or service offered. Some blogs focus on a specific sector of business, while others may cater directly to the consumer's wants and needs. No matter the topic, blogs provide websites with a source of new keyword placement, fresh content and links from other bloggers and websites. All of these factors contribute to a high ranking in search engine results pages, ensuring the company has a high level of visibility to its target audience.