Search engine optimization or SEO is a process. It’s not a one-time event. It’s a process because the competition, the market, and the companies that set the rules – the search engines – don’t ever stand still. Nor should you.
SEO is a competition.
Everyone wants to rank at the top of search engine results because that’s where you gain the most visibility and profit.
Problem is, while you’re struggling to rise to the top, so is everyone else. Your competitors can see what you’re doing. They can also, for the most part, replicate it.
The way to keep ahead these days is to lead - lead with content. Be the go-to resource when it comes to customer and related industry information wants and needs.
Find out what people want and need and then give it to them. You’ll be thanked with links and social mentions, the currency of the web and the way to the top of search results.
Information wants and needs evolve over time. Provide better, faster, easier to find information and you’ll stay one step ahead of your competition.
The market is constantly changing.
Apple introduced the iPad on January 27th, 2010. Before that, if you were a technology retailer you never had to worry about ranking for the word “tablet”. A tablet was a just pad of paper, flat slab or plaque suited for or bearing an inscription.
Language evolves. Market wants and needs evolve. Something that may have no bearing on your business today, could become a huge business driver in the future.
SEO is a process because we can’t always anticipate what’s coming next. The language on our websites has to evolve to match and reflect the language of our industry and customers.
The rules change too.
The ranking algorithms search engines use to decide who ranks at the top of search results are also a moving target. Google - the only search engine you really need to care about - changes its ranking algorithm, on average, daily.
People are always trying to find ways to game the system. Google knows that and pays an army of engineers to thwart them.
SEO is a process because what works today, won’t necessarily work tomorrow.
What that means for small business
It means is if you want to rank at the top of search engine results you have to accept SEO as an ongoing business requirement, just like any other form of business marketing and advertising.
It means you have to commit to staying current, one step ahead of the competition, and following the rules and best practices laid out by search engines (in particular Google) and SEO leaders.
Cheating might get you to the top, but you won’t stay there long, and it will set you back in the long run, maybe even get you permanently banned. Search engines are as relentless as the IRS in their desire to close loopholes and level the playing field. Just ask JC Penny!
Is this a surprise to anyone? If so, please let us know in the comments below. If something’s not clear, also take the time to ask questions. In all likelihood you’re not alone.