A trio of people look at the screen of a laptop. Two of the people, a woman in a denim jacket and a man in a light gray sweater and glasses, are sitting. The man has the laptop in front of it and the woman is pointing at something on the screen. Another man stands behind them with his hand on his chin in thought.
Search engine optimization can be complex, especially if you're working with a large amount of website content. Remember to utilize the skills and knowledge of SEO professionals. — Getty Images/scyther5

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ongoing process, meaning you must track your progress, adjust your approach, and understand SEO trends. Even if you currently rank for a high-value keyword, a competitor can knock your site out of its coveted position on the search engine result pages (SERPs). Therefore, no single tactic can guarantee excellent results, and you can't optimize your website once and be done.

However, you can evaluate your web property and develop a proactive strategy to boost your visibility. Here are seven steps to ensure your business website is SEO-optimized.

Assess your existing business website

Complete an initial evaluation of your business website to see if it currently ranks for any keywords or has errors. Use a free SEO tool like Google Search Console or Semrush Site Audit to understand your ranking and site health. Alternatively, many SEO firms offer a free site audit. Once complete, decide if you will tackle performance issues yourself or outsource them to a third party.

[Read more: A Beginner's Guide to SEO]

Leverage SEO resources and professionals

Many excellent DIY resources exist for expanding your SEO knowledge and abilities. Since there are so many aspects to SEO, you may want to accomplish some tasks yourself and hire professionals to handle others. For instance, you may feel comfortable writing and optimizing your product descriptions but hire a web copywriter to update your site's home page. Many digital marketing firms offer all-in-one packages or sell services a la carte.


  • Working with website developers who understand technical SEO best practices.
  • Hiring an SEO agency for keyword and competitor research or strategy execution.
  • Finding content marketing writers for high-quality articles.
  • Using an SEO-focused virtual assistant to optimize existing pages.

Perform keyword research

Keyword research is necessary for your initial SEO strategy and each individual article. It's how you drive traffic to your website and ensure it stays optimized. Refer to your research anytime you add new content to your site and update your keyword list regularly.

A fully optimized web page focuses on one topic.

When researching, look at each term's:

  • Search volume: Amount of potential traffic your site could get if it ranks for a keyword.
  • Competition: How easy or difficult it is to rank for the term.
  • Search intent: The reason that people search for the keyword.
  • Value: How closely the keyword relates to your core revenue-driving activities.

Develop SEO and content marketing strategies

Your SEO plan informs your small business marketing strategy. For instance, you'll use your keyword data to prioritize projects. Suppose you're focusing on local SEO and high-value terms. In that case, you may create localized landing pages for in-demand products first, followed by secondary objectives like optimizing for a highly competitive search query.

Optimize all website content

A fully optimized web page focuses on one topic. If you have two physical locations, you should have a separate page targeting regional keywords for each. If you have dozens of products, each should open into its own page and be optimized for search intent.

Add new content to your site purposely by considering who it's for (target audience), understanding their search intent, and optimizing for specific keywords. This approach helps you avoid keyword cannibalization, defined by the Digital Marketing Institute as having "too many identical or similar keywords spread throughout the content on your website."

[Read more: 3 Expert Strategies for Improving Your SEO]

Create an SEO cheat sheet

Before publishing any content on your site, make sure you check off every box on your cheat sheet. If necessary, provide your staff with a list of SEO terms so they understand each step. You can even add a plug-in to WordPress and other e-commerce software to require this step before publication.

Your checklist should include all on-page SEO basics, such as:

  • Optimized meta tags.
  • Keyword frequency and density.
  • Usage of semantically related terms and long-tail phrases.
  • URL structure.
  • Internal links.

Audit and update your website frequently

Search engines value recent content. SEO tools help you analyze your content marketing performance and website ranking. By auditing your website, you can find opportunities and problems. For instance, content with many impressions but zero clicks could signal an issue with your call-to-action or meta description. Likewise, optimizing a lower-ranking page with a decent click-through rate and skyrocket your traffic.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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