According to the Netcraft March 2012 Web Server Survey, it is estimated that there are more than 644 million active websites on the Internet today. This means that without proper SEO, finding your website amongst all the clutter would be equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about making a company's website highly visible in the search results of search engines such as Google or Bing for queries relating to their businesses. Ranking high in these search results can drive a great deal of business to your company. Low rankings, however, can drive potential customers straight to your competitors.
While many SEO variables have remained constant over time, Google updated its algorithm over 550 times last year alone, meaning many new variables are being added. This spells opportunity for businesses willing to listen and take action. Far too many businesses do not keep up with recent changes (such as the consideration of social signals), and fail to even provide them with the elements they've always considered important. SEO isn't rocket science ... but it does require a time commitment.
Read: Peer-to-Peer: Is Social Media Worth the Effort to see what other entrepreneurs think.
If you find yourself wondering why your site is not ranking as well as you would like for certain terms, then employing each of the following tactics will help improve your rankings, while increase your site traffic, and generating more business.
1. Get More Links To Your Site . Links pointing to your site from other websites are the single biggest contributor to rankings in Google's ranking algorithm. You can therefore help your own site's cause by reaching out to associations your company is a part of, to suppliers and loyal clients, and encourage them to link through to your site from their websites. These links will not only drive related traffic and business to your site, but also improve your search engine rankings. Another powerful tactic is to identify sites that you'd like traffic from, and then to develop content or tools specifically for that site. This customized content may be an article, a 'how to' video, a widget, a podcast, or one of many other possibilities. When done well, the content and associated links, will drive increased rankings, and direct business.
2. Update content regularly – Every page of a website is an opportunity to rank for one to three terms typically, so the more content your site has, the more terms it will rank for. At the same time, more content gives other sites more reasons to link through to your site, and the more links pointing to the site as a whole, the better every page will rank (think Wikipedia). More content also means more of the site's content gets shared via social media sites such as Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook, which again is a ranking factor in the algorithms of major search engines. In summary, routinely adding fresh content works on many levels to help a site rank better and drive more business.