SEO: Getting Started

May 24, 2012

Search engine optimization is mystifying, challenging, and rewarding. And for any business with a website, it’s also essential. SEO agencies have come out of the woodwork promoting their services, platforms, and reporting tools, and promising phenomenal (and sometimes unheard of) results. Every week there are improvements to Google’s algorithm, and Microsoft’s Bing platform continues to slowly gain market share through partnerships with Yahoo! and other search engines. What is a small (or large) business to do in this ever-changing search landscape? It’s easy to get overwhelmed before you even begin. Or, to just do the basics – add some keywords, maybe a description here and there – and call it a day. We will, of course, always advocate for doing the basics, since keywords and descriptions are important. But, here at CVR, we won’t advocate for stopping there. And we certainly won’t advocate for getting overwhelmed. So, in an effort to un-overwhelm readers, here are some handy tips for those just starting out with SEO. First, take a deep breath. SEO is a process. Chances are, you won’t see your site make significant strides in rankings in the first week or two after optimizing. That’s OK. SEO can take a couple of months. It can take a couple more. The good news is that with patience, perseverance, and the right strategy, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Next, understand that SEO requires an upfront investment, in staff/agency time, in dollars, in strategy. But, the return on that investment in the years that follow can be great. The optimizations and rankings you invest in during year 1 will not cost you as much to maintain in years 2 and 3. Avoid the temptation to cut corners, or go with the “quick win” approach, even if you see fast, positive results. It may not be a wise use of your dollars and, worse, it may not be a wise strategy. Third, put yourself in the mindset of your customer. Chances are, customers are using different terminology when they search for your business than you use when you’re talking about your business. When you think about what value your business offers, what terms come to mind? Now, go to a search engine and run searches using those terms: what results come up? Are they different than what you expected, or what your customer may expect to find? If so, consider adjust your keywords. Looking at your analytics data is also helpful to understand how your customers are finding your site through searches as well. In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more about SEO, namely the importance of link building – the good, non-spammy kind – and how unique, relevant content is crucial to maintaining high organic rankings. In the meantime, though, feel free to contact us if you’re interested in finding out more about how CVR can enhance your website marketing with a solid SEO strategy.