If you’re not sure if your website needs search engine optimization, ask yourself a simple question. Does my website show up on the first page of the search engines? If not you need to be aware of the tremendous benefits that SEO can have for your website. Consider this; you may have the most beautiful website around and you probably spent a good chunk of change to get it designed and up and running. That’s a great start but if nobody sees it, in other words it doesn’t show up on the first page of the search engines, you’ve wasted your money. That’s why you need SEO.

It’s the difference between having your business down a lonely alley where nobody goes or down a busy, highly traveled Main St.

Think about your own search habits. When you do a search in Google for instance, how often do you go to page two? If you’re like most of the world, almost never. So you can see the importance of being on page one! And the higher you rank on page one, the more visits your site will get.

What Do I Do Now?

So what should you be doing to strengthen your position on the web to bring your business more traffic, more sales and more profits?

There are three main areas of focus to have a successful SEO strategy. The first is on-page SEO, the second is off-page SEO and the third is having an effective website. The first involves structuring your website so it’s search engine friendly. This involves optimizing your pages for keywords, making sure all pictures have ALT tags, and a host of other things to let the search engines know what your website is all about.

The second, off page SEO, is probably more important than the first. This involves building high quality backlinks from many other sources including forums, article directories, blogs, social media sites, social bookmarking sites, video sites and much more. The social connection carries more weight now than ever before. Less important but still valuable is submitting your website URL to various online directories.

This is a tedious and continuous process and the simple fact is most business owners don’t have the time or the expertise to do this properly. That’s why hiring an experienced SEO company to take care of this can make your website worth its weight in gold.

The third goal is to provide an easy to navigate, content rich website that captures the visitor’s attention and gives them clear and easy ways to respond as you desire.

So to start, your search engine optimization strategy involves intensive work on your website, on page and off page . But as I stated earlier, there is still more to do. In order for SEO to remain effective it requires continual attention. As the search engines change and adjust their algorithms, SEO experts have to stay on top of that. The goal is to rank high for organic searches.

What does ranking high for organic searches mean?

When you look at a search results page, you’ll notice one, two or maybe three results at the top of the page. These show up in a highlighted box. You’ll often see results listed down the right side of the page as well. Both of these are paid for positions, many times quite expensive. All of the other results on that page are organic, or natural search results based on how important the search engine considers those results for the search terms used. The importance is based on many things but one of the most important is the amount of quality backlinks you have. The search engines figure if a lot of high authority sites are linking to your website, it must be important. So as stated already, that’s your goal; to rank high organically.

If it seems like a lot of work, that’s because it is. You can outsource portions of the work to different providers but you’ll find that managing all of it is also very time consuming. I would suggest that your valuable time can be spent building other areas of your business more in line with the things you do best..

That’s why so many business owners will hire an SEO consultant to manage this part of their marketing. They consider it as part of their company’s advertising budget because that’s what it is. An SEO consultant will offer a complete service. They will manage any outsourcing for the routine tasks and handle the more important aspects of the work themselves. Give them the responsibility for your search engine optimization strategy and you will reap the benefits.