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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-term play with a potentially big payoff. However, it’s gained a reputation as part art, part science, and in some corners, part magic. 

SEO enables companies to adjust their websites to make them more likely to rank high in search engine results. Often, that means creating new website pages to target strategic keyword phrases and content themes. The better visibility your pages have in search engine results, the more likely you are to be found by prospective buyers. The goal of SEO is to attract website visitors and turn them into customers who keep coming back 

Courting Search Engines

Ultimately the goal of search engine optimization is to increase where a website is ranked, or placed, within search engine results pages (SERPs). That higher search engine visibility then leads to more website traffic and new customers.

“The reason SEO can take a long time to generate results is that while you might make changes to your website today, the search engines such as Google may not see your changes for some time,” says Mike Murray, Proximity Marketing’s senior SEO strategist. “Some pages may be revisited in a few days, others in a week or month. Even then, you often need to modify a website page several times to achieve the best results.” 

One point quickly becomes clear in the search engine world: there’s Google, and there’s everybody else. “The reason we talk about Google in many cases is that over 80% of the search traffic comes from Google,” says Mike. “So, you want to satisfy Google and then get what you can from the other search engines.” 

Occasionally, search engines like Google make major changes the algorithms that produce their search results, knocking some companies in the results while elevating others. How much should organizations worry about these changes?  

Following Sound Principles

“It doesn’t mean a lot if you’re using sound principles,” Mike says. “These include writing quality content that is relevant to the end readers, being as helpful as possible, giving practical advice, and answering or anticipating the questions readers might have. If the content is written to answer questions people might have, then that’s ideal.” Mike also says the ideal copy length from an SEO perspective tends to be of the mama bear variety – not too long and not too short. “It should feature the core keywords a number of times in a natural, meaningful way.”  

Mike adds, “Google makes hundreds if not thousands of changes to their algorithms every year, and they’re usually good changes that improve the search engine. Now and then, however, Google makes changes that can cause an optimized page to do less well so it must be adjusted.”

Pursuing an SEO Strategy

Mike also described what kind of company pursues an SEO strategy. “A company will embrace SEO if they believe that in the long run, it will produce leads based on relevant keywords. They’re willing to invest six months or a year or more to make good traction and get a payoff. The idea is if I can get on the first page of Google and be one of the first results that come up, then I’ll get my share of traffic and conversions. 

The long game of search engine optimization success is more than a wait-and-see exercise, however. It’s a strategy that builds a website’s relevance to those seeking information and insights regarding a company’s products and/or services or the industry at large. As Mike says, “In the long run, SEO will produce leads.” 

Learn more about what search engine optimization can do for your company’s lead generation and sales efforts. And if you’re ready to talk specifics, contact us.  

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Beth is our VP of Digital Marketing Strategy who, besides drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee, helps clients generate more business. Whether they’ve partnered with Proximity Marketing for a decade or just joined the family, Beth helps clients achieve success and achieve measurable results.

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