Since the introduction of online searching at the turn of the century, the idea of search engine optimization has dominated the concept. The entire foundation of effective searches is providing relevant results, and the search engines spend billions on improving their search algorithms and heuristics.
While the initial application of SEO was more an attempt to “game the system,” the latest versions of these top-secret methods of determining which site to list are increasingly foolproof.
Making the User the Priority
With tens of billions of dollars in advertising and fees on the line, SEO today is a very complex and serious business. Instead of being used to maximize the revenue of tech-savvy companies with countless SEO gimmicks, the focus is back on meeting the needs of the user. Of course, the games continue, they are just lest effective at disrupting the value of searches.
If your company sees the web as a significant part of its business, SEO is a necessary and critical part of your marketing strategy. You need to understand its significance, how it is implemented, and the best resources to utilize. For most companies, especially SMBs, SEO is now like legal services and accounting – it is simply too important, complex and rapidly changing to rely solely on internal resources.
Setting Your Strategy
Over the first decade of SEO the key test of success was the SERP – the search engine ranking. However, that is now only part of the goal. The use of multiple, semantical, and long-tail keywords, as well as multiple domain names, can generate a high ranking for many different searches. That leaves you with the question, though, of what kind of searchers are being targeted, what goals are being met by the rankings, and the ultimate ROI on your efforts.
These and a number of other criteria mean it is important to carefully evaluate and agree on your SEO strategy before you choose the tactics for implementation. Once you begin your program, it is important to carefully monitor and tweak those tactics. Fortunately, another transformative aspect of SEO is the increasingly voluminous amount of analysis and metrics you can get on your efforts. This hard data is essential to ensure you are getting the results you desire and to taking the steps necessary for your efforts to be fresh and effective.
Remember the Bottom Line
While digital marketing is the biggest boon to SMBs since the telephone, it is, in the final analysis, just another powerful marketing tool. Viewed in that light, it is important to ensure you are using SEO as a way to help fulfill your marketing efforts and not simply get lost in the SEO forest of new techniques and approaches.
While it is satisfying to see your company’s keywords produce those top-of-first-page rankings, it is important to gauge that success by the results those rankings produce. This was the lesson learned early in the use of the telephone. While it was exciting to produce ads that got those phones ringing, the true measure of success was then, as now, how much those rings added to the short and long-term success of the business.
David is a long time SEO geek and a regular blogger at IntellaSphere.com! Swing by say hi or @ him on twitter – @neoblog