But simply being listed in the search results is not enough to improve your SEO ranking – 90% of users click on the first listing, after that only 62% of users click on the top three listings and less than 10% of users click on results beyond the first page! If your site is not near or at the top of the list, the likelihood of it being seen and clicked on rapidly decreases.

How to Improve SEO Ranking
There are two ways to improve SEO rankings: paid listings and natural, unpaid listings. The best approach encompasses both methods, integrating SEO strategy as part of an overall marketing plan.

Key steps include:

  • Using relevant keywords
    First, be sure that your web sites are using and are labeled with the correct keywords. In order to determine the right keywords for your organization, think about the products or services you offer and how an outsider would go about looking for them. The more accurate and applicable your keywords are, the easier you will be found. For instance, if you are a vintage book retailer, the keywords “book store” or “book seller” are too general and do not specifically address your product or your consumer. Instead, use “vintage book store” or, even better, “vintage book store Manchester, NH.” These keywords are specific enough to accurately define your product and location and will likely be used by a consumer searching for you – improving your ranking and making it easier to find you.
  • Creating shareable content
    Next, focus on the content that you are publishing. Is this content relevant and interesting to your audience? In other words, will your audience want to share your content across their networks? If your content is deemed shareable by your audience, they will distribute it on their own platforms, increasing the amount of times that your content is published and bettering your search ranking. In addition to prioritizing the quantity of times content is viewed overall, search engines also weigh how recently the content was shared – if your audience shares your content hours or days after the initial posting, it will be more up-to-date when searched for, earning it a higher rating than the older content would have gained alone. A general rule of thumb is that the more often your content is shared and updated, the higher your search ranking will be.
  • Linking back
    Finally, after creating fresh, shareable content, use other outlets to drive web site traffic through “linking.” If you publish a great blog on your web site, share the link on Facebook with your fans, on community pages with people who share your interests or geographic location, and on any other online platforms you can use to access your target audience – you want to encourage your audience to view and share your content. In addition, reliable content is prioritized over content not backed by a credible source on search engines – for example, a fashion article shared by Vogue, a trustworthy fashion industry publication, will be more highly prioritized than the same topic shared by an individual, unknown blogger. Share your blog with well-known industry publications and bloggers, positioning yourself as a credible industry expert. If industry sources link back to your blog, not only does the opportunity to be seen and shared further increase, but your credibility as an industry source will also be established, thereby improving your search ranking.

Tailoring Strategies and Next Steps
While these steps are clear and easy to follow on the surface, the difficulty lies within, as each step must be adapted to fit the brand and needs of each individual organization. Determining relevant keywords, creating fresh, sharable content, and choosing outlets for content distribution and potential linking can be difficult. Incorrectly selected components can be damaging to a search engine ranking by putting the organization out of the public eye and removing the opportunity to increase brand awareness. Integrated marketing firms can assist organizations in implementing or improving SEO strategies, ensuring opportunities to achieve the best possible rankings and largest online presence.As confidence in Internet information sourcing rises, the importance of highly ranked search results will further increase. Organizations that successfully design and implement a powerful SEO strategy will rise to the top of rankings, achieving significant brand awareness.