What is Search Engine Optimization?

It’s not what it used to be!

Once upon a time, it seemed you could simply hire low-cost labor to fabricate pages and links to your site, and your site would rise in the search engine ranks. These days however, those simplistic tactics will not work, in fact, they’ll have the opposite effect. Now more than ever, the quality of your content is what matters. Today, search engine optimization is about creating content that is actually worthy of being highly placed in a search results page.

How do I get great visibility in search engines?

No longer should you concern yourself directly with tuning the perfect pages, nor should you obsess about your backlinks, instead, your SEO strategy should focus around your audience’s information and/or entertainment needs.

You must create content that your audience will want to consume, and spread it around. You must begin with a content strategy, and then supplement that with a social media strategy. The two work together to put helpful and valuable information on your site, and then make people aware of it, people who will care and be interested, and will *then* link to it and share it with others themselves.

OK then, so how do I develop my content & social media strategies?

For your content, imagine primarily how to deliver unique value to your audience. Inform them, educate them, share your accumulated knowledge and expertise. Share your opinions and ideas and tactics. This approach will generate original content for your site that distinguishes you from other sources of media on the Internet. Google will reward you.

Do not be concerned with giving away too much for free. The buyers in your audience will not want to do it themselves, they’ll want to pay an expert, and your helpful & informative content will lend to your authority. This free sharing of information will not only draw your content into search results, it will actually do a lot of selling for you and deliver buyers more ready to pull the trigger with you.

For your social media strategy… don’t just default to Facebook and Twitter without thinking about your audience first. Social media means a lot more than *social network*. Depending on what your selling, other platforms could be the most ideal place for you to spend your time and money. Do you have a highly visual product? Try Pinterest or Instagram. Are you providing professional services? Focus on what you can do with LinkedIn. Are you able to produce video about your products or services? Then create a YouTube channel, which is now largely integrated into Google results. Are you very consumer oriented? OK… now focus on Facebook and Twitter.

Also, it’s cliche, but you gotta find a way to stand out and be unique. Your content will help with that. Develop imaginative ways of sharing it on the sites and platforms that your visitors are most likely to browser. Offer exciting deals and special offers, design unique graphics to go along with your posts to make them more interesting.

Is there anything else I can do to get visible on the web?

Yes! Of course. A complete online marketing campaign may include some pay per click advertising, a remarketing campaign, and emailing campaign, involvement in industry-specific forums & blogs, and display advertising on targeted sites.

There are many options to consider, and a lot of content to produce to really make these strategies work. If you sense that you’re lacking the time or expertise to properly evaluate and executive the best choices for you and your business, then hire a professional online marketer.

A professional online marketer will know how to quickly analyze your market and suggest the most likely successful paths to becoming visible. That online marketer will also be able to help you produce the content you need. You do not have to write it all yourself, or design the graphics or produce the video yourself. You must be the source of inspiration, but there is a world of ghost writers, graphic designers, and video producers out there who can help formulate your thoughts into the appropriate medium.

The marketing professional or agency you hire should have resources and relationships in place to help you produce the content you need.