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Not much these days is more important than an effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy. As most everyone knows, Google is by far the dominant web search company. And the good news is that all the work you do for Google SEO reflects well on the other search engines, even though their combined market shares are not even close to Google’s.

We’ve been doing SEO since the turn of the century! And wow, things have changed. But one thing that never changes is that Google is always keeping the industry guessing about search and the best ways to optimize sites. SEO is an art and a science. And there are a lot of things that are just completely out of a company’s control.

Fighting for the Beachfront Real Estate – the Top 10 Spots

If fighting for one of the top 10 spots in the first page of Google wasn’t hard enough, you have to understand that you’re really fighting for one of the top 8 spots – because YELP will usually get two of the 10 in most product categories.  Give a few others to the big guys in your industry – the ones who have been spending tons of money on SEO for years and have very old domains…and you end up fighting for maybe 5 more available spots on page one.  It’s no easy task in search categories that have a high volume of searches, and near impossible for newer companies if their goal is to rank on page one in very competitive markets.

It’s never too late to work on your SEO for less trafficked keywords, niche terms or for local listings that might have less competition. But the longer you wait, the greater the possibility that your competitors will start looking at the same niche and local terms that would potentially help your business or organization, and you’ll regret not focusing on SEO when you had the chance to win some top spots when there was less competition.

SEO is challenging! And more than with just about any other marketing method, it takes a great deal of patience and trust before you start seeing sustainable results. You might look like an SEO hero for years on end, and then all of a sudden, Google changes their algorithms. It’s enough to drive you crazy – and even the top SEO masters are used to late night phone calls from irate clients when their search rankings start mysteriously moving around. It’s understandable when this happens, because more and more companies are becoming reliant on good search rankings to keep their phones and cash registers ringing. But that’s also why it’s a good idea to diversify your marketing, even with SEO as the centerpiece, so an unpredictable Google change doesn’t have the ability to turn your whole world upside down.

A lot of clients don’t like to hear this, but it takes a good 6-9 months of a solid SEO effort to start building sustainable results. Remember that for every SEO tactic you’re implementing, your competition is doing the same, and often with larger budgets. Be creative with your SEO and don’t just fight for the top “money” keywords. Try to rank for searches in vertical markets, or invest in a pay per click campaign while you’re building a foundation for your organic SEO program. And don’t be tempted by the relentless email come-ons that promise hundreds of valuable backlinks or instant 1st page results. More than likely, these kinds of firms and their strategies will end up costing you dearly, with the ultimate insult, a complete ban from Google results. And if you don’t see some promising results after the 6 month mark, it might be a good idea to start evaluating other SEO firms or in-house experts.