SEO: Thriving or Diving

In the ever-expanding universe of the internet, it’s getting harder and harder to be seen. Businesses can no longer rely on being seen based on their own merits. Visibility requires strategy, planning, time and effort. Every day, technology affords us new, more interesting, and (most likely) more complicated ways to reach our audience. Leveraging technology to remain competitive is no longer an option. With over ninety percent of online adults utilizing search engines to find information, the need for a strong, visible presence on the web can mean the difference between your business thriving…or diving.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of evaluating and editing the structure and relevance of website content—and the code behind it—to achieve the right balance of content, relevance, usability, and authority. The objective of any SEO program is to improve the ranking of your site in an organic search—in other words, to make your website show up at or near the top of the first page when someone searches for the type of product you offer (e.g. if your company offers healthcare QA services, your goal is to appear on PAGE ONE when someone searches for healthcare QA services).

It’s complicated

If you think SEO is complicated, that’s because it is—very. In order for it to work, besides the programming and “search” expertise, you must crunch a tremendous amount of ever-changing data, understand how it correlates to the marketing goals, and consider its implications on the brand. A good optimization program takes input from a team of people within these areas, working together, to find the right balance.

All roads lead to SEO. SEO leads to all roads.

When you create an optimization program, you must first take a careful look at what has been happening “behind” the site. Assuming some fundamental analytics steps have been taken during the design and creation of the website, there should be some basic data available if you know where and how to look for it:

  • How are people finding your site?
  • Where are they going?
  • Where are they coming from?
  • How long are they staying in the site and where do they go?
  • What search terms are they using to find the site?
  • And much, much more.

Then you have to look at your brand, marketing plans and goals:

  • Who are your target demographics?
  • What are the key words used to describe your brand?
  • What are the key words people might use to find you?
  • What does that GAP analysis look like and why?
  • Who are your competitors? What are their page rankings and why?
  • And much, much more.
  • Then, you should create a plan for how to increase optimization. The recommendations are concise and measurable. Some results happen immediately, and some are part of a longer term strategy.

    It never ends

    Unfortunately that’s true, because, as sure as successful companies are optimizing, their competitors are doing the same. It is an organic process that takes an ongoing program based on precise data.

    As I said at the beginning, visibility requires strategy, planning, time and effort. And let’s face it; if you’re not visible, well, you’re invisible. That about says it all.

Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

previous arrow
next arrow