When we first began to research search engine optimization 8 years ago, it was not even called search engine optimization.  In the early days of search, volume was everything.  If you were lucky enough to have an aged domain, a domain name registered for 5 or more years, and it had content and activity over the years you could lead the pack.

In the beginning you could rank with age, website basics, simple content and as many links as you could acquire.  Once you ranked well, the exposure to your website was enough to create an increase in sales, users or attention depending on the purpose of your website.  Back in those days, all we did was bring the traffic and our clients saw plenty of growth.

 The Next Level of SEO

Fast forward to the present, and traffic is no longer the guarantee of increased anything.  These days competitors are increasing faster than your traffic.  It is time to start moving to the next level, if you have been in business for more than five years pat yourself on the back, most companies will not make it five years.  Once you are done patting yourself on the back, get to work, because what worked five to seven years ago is not enough to increase your SearchRankings, traffic or sales today.

We talk to clients and prospects that have been happy with the results of search engine optimization and the growth it has provided, but really need to be pushed to take it to the next level.  It is harder to stay on top than it is to get to the top.  It is also easier to be complacent when you were successful early on.

The Four Legs of SEO

It is hard to escape the daily buzz of the never ending “Google Update”.  There is no shortage of data and reporting when it comes to what Google is looking for when determining what websites will rank better than others.  Here is the key, everything Google is telling you to do on your website in order to rank better are the same things you should be doing to increase conversion rates and improve user experience.

Leg #1 SEO Fundamentals:

There are 100 items you could look at to make sure your website is setup correctly, and Google is indexing everything properly.  We recommend a SEO Audit for a full service “under the hood” look at everything that could be affecting your rank, especially with all the changes recently with the Panda and Penguin updates.  If you do not want to complete an audit setup Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics.  Once you set these tools up, Google will tell you what you need to do to improve your website.

Leg #2 Update Content:

Updating and creating new and unique content is not any easier now, than updating your “About Us” page was ten years ago.  However if you will not do it now, it will cost you rankings and traffic.  The easiest way to update content is to add and update a blog on your website.  If you do not have time to update your content, pay someone to do it for you.

Leg #3 Link Building Strategies:

Now it is not just about building up high quality links, it is also about knowing what links you already have and some of the links you may need to get rid of.  Sometimes there will be websites that link to your website naturally, but they do it in a way that can hurt your website.  For example if a website adds a link to your website within their navigation structure, they could be sending you thousands of links from a single domain.  You will usually see this in your Google Webmaster Tools as well, and should contact that webmaster and ask to be removed.

These days it is not just about building a great “link worthy” website, it is also about monitoring the links.

Leg # 4 Advanced Keywords:

It is best to understand your market, and the keywords that drive to your call to action.  Ranking for the most competitive broad term may send you a ton of traffic, but if 99% of the traffic is unqualified, all you did was waste time and money.  Spend some time working through and testing various keywords to determine what keywords convert best.

It takes work to be King of the SEO Mountain.  No one ever said it would be easy.