As the internet claims more sales worldwide, businesses are scrambling to finally address the internet equivalent of print advertising; SEO (search engine optimization).  If you want customers to find your products or services, your brand needs to be online, just as it would have been in the phone book years ago.  However, unlike the Yellow Pages, internet searches won’t be using alphabetical organization skills to find you.  Instead, they’ll be using keywords (the words they type into the search bar).  In order to make sure the search engines understand which keywords your customers will use to find your products and services, your website needs to be optimized.  This entails much more than incorporating the right keywords in the right places on your site, although that is a good start.

If you’re not sure whether or not your website is search engine-friendly or even where to start when it comes to search engine optimization, your best bet is to get an SEO audit.  Then, you will have the information you need to make changes to your site and your internet marketing strategy to increase your rankings, traffic, and sales.  An SEO audit will give you many interesting details about your website, and these turn into great clues about your business.

How visible, relevant, and useful is your website to your demographic?

What would happen if you ignored changes in the market place, only made products your way, and never ventured out to try to sell them?  You wouldn’t bring in many sales, that’s for sure!  The same holds true for your website.  If the information on your site is not current, relevant, and useful for your target demographic, why would the search engines send them your way?  Additionally, if you aren’t making an effort to get out there and advertise your site, how can you expect the customers to come to it?

An SEO audit will tell you what the search engines see when they look at your site and whether or not they will pick your site to rank for a particular set of keywords.  Since most people click only the first few results at the top of page one and hardly ever go to page two, your business needs to be there.  After an SEO Audit, you’ll know exactly what should be changed, added, removed, or tweaked on your site to increase your search engine visibility for people who are likely to buy your products or services.

What kind of reach does your URL have and is it helping or hurting you?

In some cases, older sites already have an established reputation online.  This is usually great for SEO.  However, sometimes, your link is on another organization’s site, and then that site changes hands.  Suddenly, your link could be associated with a bad crowd (spam, porn, expired domains, etc.).  Since this connection is obviously not useful to your demographic, search engines lower your rank.  In most cases, you want your website to have its link up on many different sites, so you can build up a lot of backlinks.  This kind of reach is only good for your site though when the connections are all relevant, reputable, and current.

In order to find out where all of your backlinks are and whether or not they are optimized, you’ll want to be sure to use an SEO Audit that includes off-page SEO as well as the more common on-page SEO.  With this information, you’ll be able to see how far your brand’s reach is and what kind of a reputation it’s giving you.  Then, you can take steps to create a natural backlink and internet marketing strategy.

What internet marketing opportunities are you missing on your own website?

For business owners who have ignored the mad dash for SEO, you do have a bit of catching up to do.  An SEO Audit will likely reveal a site that is not mobile-friendly, media (or lack thereof) that’s robbing you of rankings, content that has no idea what a keyword is, and black market websites that have decided your sites make a great match.  Once you’ve taken care of these issues, your site will suddenly have a shot at ranking in the search engines in front of people who actually want to buy your products and services.  Every word and object on your site becomes an opportunity to improve your SEO, and in turn, your internet marketing results.

It will be a slow climb, but every bit of SEO you do for your website is an investment in internet marketing for your business.  Don’t let your business fade like its entry in the phonebook.  SEO is a necessary part of today’s internet marketing standard, and an SEO Audit is where it all starts.