You have likely invested, to some degree, in search engine optimization -- or SEO -- to improve how prospective customers find you via an Internet search. Unfortunately, few companies continue to invest in this vital strategy. Given that Google updates its search algorithm 500-600 times a year, there is little point in one-and-done SEO efforts. You must continue to invest each month to keep pace with Google's changes, as well as your competitors, on the SEO front.
A solid SEO strategy begins with an understanding of on- and off-page SEO. On-page SEO is what your site says to a search engine. Off-page SEO is what other sites say about your site.
Improving your on-page SEO supports your inbound marketing by attracting the right visitors to your website. Optimize your pages for search engines so they can understand who you are, what you do and what you're writing about. You do this by crafting relevant search-friendly web page content, page descriptions and keywords. When you improve your on-page SEO, you will increase the organic (or unpaid) ranking of your website with the major search engines.
Off-page SEO, such as building quality backlinks, includes having high domain-authority sites link to your site. Let's say you write a guest column, such as this one, and the media outlet publishing it online includes a link to your website. That's a backlink to your site from a high domain-authority website, because that media outlet likely performs well in their own search rankings.
Most social-media content does show up in search results and therefore impacts your ranking, so be sure you use social platforms to their fullest potential. Sharing your blog posts, reviews, Q & A sessions, videos, new products and staff bios through your social-media channels allows additional opportunities for consumers to find your company during a web search.
Make sure you avoid tactics that will result in search penalties such as hiding keywords or overuse of search terms -- known as keyword stuffing. This means reiterating keywords repeatedly in the text, whether it's in titles, headings, descriptions, page content, URLs or even at the bottom of a web page in very small or seemingly invisible text. When it looks like keywords have been added unnecessarily onto a web page, it's probably keyword stuffed.
Your site could very well have search penalties hurting your search performance that you’re not even aware of – from missteps such as those outlined above or even must less obvious tactics. Ignite your SEO by uncovering any Google penalties affecting your site's search performance.
SEO is a beast to keep up with. Unless you have significant time to invest in Google's ever-changing algorithm, it's best to partner with an expert to ensure your website continues to maintain its competitive edge for critical search terms that can make or break your business.
~Lori Turner-Wilson can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.