Why do I continue pushing content related to online marketing and search optimization best practices?

Because if you run a small business, chances are you rely on your company’s website to generate leads, bring in direct sales, or both. Ideally, your website is one component of a comprehensive branding effort—aligned with social media, email marketing, PR communications and perhaps traditional advertising.

But even the best-executed marketing plan risks leaving money on the table if each component isn’t developed with online search results as a key consideration.

And when it comes to determining search rankings, Google reigns supreme.

To be sure, search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex undertaking; one that’s a challenge to comprehend and almost impossible to master. That’s because Google’s search algorithm evolves frequently, and the effects of each iteration can quickly disrupt a previously successful search-ranking strategy.

Which is why many large and enterprise-level companies hire full-time SEO experts to stay apprised of upcoming algorithm refreshes and to proactively fine-tune their companies’ online assets to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.

For many small businesses, however, adding SEO-dedicated headcount (or any headcount, for that matter) is problematic. In which case it might make sense to retain the services of an SEO consultant to help your business play the game properly.

Enter “SEO services” into any search engine and you’ll receive links to hundreds if not thousands of companies and individuals eager to discuss their offerings. If such a business relationship makes sense, be sure to find someone with both a proven SEO track record and who also will agree in writing to provide your chosen staff with the skills necessary to maintain search-optimization best practices going forward.

But even if there’s no money in your budget for hiring a consultant, that shouldn’t stop you from learning as much as you can about the Web’s inner-workings and the ways in which you can take action to improve your company’s search results in-house.

By committing yourself to understanding and implementing several SEO tricks of the trade, you’ll be well positioned to maintain a favorable search ranking without investing anything other than the time necessary to learn a new skill.

To that end, I highly recommend reading the Search Engine Watch article, “Top 10 Tips to the Top of Google.” While not the end-all, be-all of SEO how-tos, the piece provides easy-to-understand advice for even the most novice online marketing practitioners, as well as links to expanded explanations of more technical terms and concepts.

Happy Googling!