Great question!   We have a whole philosophy of search engine optimization (SEO) that has been developed over almost 20 years in the industry.   It goes a little something….like this:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art and science of matching up supply (your content) with demand (searches, represented by keywords/ key phrases) so that when people do Google searches for those keywords/ key phrases, your site comes up.    When we identify the keywords/ key phrases that your customers are looking for and put those on your site (this is called “on-page SEO”), then create an off-page SEO strategy based on your actual habits (like social media, or blogging, or writing articles for sites like the Huffington Post, or other, more hands-off strategies).    It’s simple, yet complicated.

In case you’re curious, here are the most common SEO issues we see:

1.  Improper setup.    This can range from building the site in Flash or another form that Google’s spiders just can’t read (if this is your problem, we have a WordPress conversion service from which you will really benefit) to something super-simple like your developer didn’t do any keyword research or set up the SEO tools properly, so you don’t really know what you’re trying to rank for or how/ where to put the words.   This is a really common and fixable problem.  The bottom line of this one is:  you should be in control of your own website and content so that you (or someone in your office) can regularly make updates to your website.   SEO (and your website) is a constantly-changing thing, and you absolutely, 100% need to be able to update your site in order to keep up.   No exceptions or excuses!

2.  No (or not enough) keyword research.   This was briefly mentioned in # 1, but it is common enough that I will go into it a little more here.  When you have a website that doesn’t emphasize certain keywords/ key phrases (which are identified through SEO software, not Google Adwords), your website is going to get lost in the shuffle because there are millions and millions of websites, and Google is trying to identify the best “fit” for a certain word (or phrase) in a matter of seconds.   The point of saying all this is:  if you’re trying to rank for even a low competition keyword or phrase and that word or phrase does not appear in your Title Tag and content, you are probably not going to rank for that word.   This is also a fixable problem, and just involves you talking to an SEO expert who will then run some keyword research/ reports for you and tell you how to incorporate these into your site.   Just so you know, when you integrate keywords implemented into your website

3.  No measurement.  This is actually tied with “no keyword research” for most common problem.  Many, MANY people we talk to say “my SEO isn’t working,” but when we dig a little deeper, we realize that they have zero measurement set up (either internally or externally), so they don’t actually know if their SEO is working.  This is also a very fixable problem, and it is one of the first things we do when we start working on an SEO job:  install measurement tools.  If you’re on WordPress, throw the Google Analyticator in there (make sure to connect it to your Google Analytics!), or hook up the WordPress Jetpack, or do SOMETHING so you’ll know how people are finding your site.   If we’re talking external measurement, we’ve used Pro Rank Tracker, Market Samurai, SEM Rush, all with success.   We now have a custom measurement tool that can tell us where your site is ranking not only for keywords you determine, but for secondary and tertiary keywords where your site starts to show up.  Super useful!   As a side note, if you sign up for one of those external measurement programs (always try to get a free trial first to see if you like it!), you’ll need to be prepared with the keywords you’re trying to rank for, because you have to set it up to track “your website” for “this keyword.”   Yes, this is tedious, but it can pay off in some really big gains if you get your site ranked for great keywords (which is the whole point of SEO).   The flip-side of this is:  you suddenly get a ton of traffic/ sales, but since you can’t tell what you’re ranking for, you can never repeat this scenario.  This is terribly frustrating and something you want to avoid if possible.

4.  Improper on-page SEO strategy.   This is the last problem that we would classify as “easily fixable,” and this is when the SEO person you hired just didn’t do enough research or didn’t understand on-page SEO factors enough to advise you properly.  This is still fixable because it is on your site, therefore you control it.   Once you get some actual keyword research and put it in the right places, your website will start to rank for these words.

5.  Improper off-page SEO strategy.  This is the “danger zone” one — if a less-than-great SEO consultant did your off-page SEO (meaning, they over-optimized the back link strategy, linked to your site from spammy sites, or many other things that can go so, so wrong), this is harder to solve and can be a little like trying to defuse a bomb.   Since it is impossible to control off-page factors (unless that other SEO owns all of the sites he or she linked from and is willing to take all of the links down), your best bet is to add your site to Google Webmaster Tools and see if you can throw yourself on their mercy and get them to disavow those links.  This is effective, but takes time and patience, and sometimes your best bet is to start over with a totally new website (as daunting as that sometimes seems).

If you have one of these scenarios going on (or if you are at the very beginning and need SEO tools/ tips/ strategies, feel free to contact us for a quote!  We can get your website on track and ranking well, usually in less time than you would think.