One of the most common complaints

One of the most common complaints small business owners have is that they’ve invested time and money into having a terrific website, but after a while, the site’s rankings started to drop and just kept on dropping, even though nothing’s changed on the site. The short answer here is simple: The fact that nothing has changed on the site is actually a major contributing factor as to why those site rankings have dropped, because when it comes to Search Engine Optimization and website rankings, change is good.

Backing up for a moment, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is the practice of optimizing the content and coding on your website to better attract traffic and catch the virtual eye of the search engines when they periodically review your site. Frequent updates, particularly SEO keyword-driven blogs, are an integral part of keeping your site fresh with regards to SEO. However, SEO is not a stand-alone activity. It’s part of a larger subset of Internet marketing called SEM.

SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is the niche segment of online marketing that focuses on improving websites’ performance by increasing their rankings and other forms of visibility when people search for relevant topics on search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Just as there are right and wrong ways (and a range of in-betweens) to build a website, there are better and worse ways to market a website. A comprehensive Internet marketing plan that includes a pro-active SEM campaign is a top-notch way to go, and this is where SEO companies come in.

First, not all SEO companies offer SEM campaign management. Some SEO companies strictly focus on providing analytics and SEO content, and they leave the actual marketing up to marketing agencies. That’s one way to go. SEM campaigns can certainly be developed and managed by your advertising agency with input from SEO experts. However, many people do choose to use SEO companies to develop, provide analytics and content for, and implement their SEM campaigns, particularly if they’ve used freelance web designers and content providers.

Regardless of how you team up with them, SEO companies and freelancers have a lot to contribute to your SEM campaign. By performing SEO analytics and providing keyword-rich copy, they can quickly take your content marketing efforts to the next level (and the next… and the next… ) by blogging, writing white papers, providing press releases, and developing all other manner of intentionally keyword-integrated online copy. This content, paired with other activities such as SEM advertising (think Google Paid Search and PPC ads) can boost your rankings, which increases your traffic, which ups your rankings, and so on and so on.

If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your advertising agency representative, website designer, or copywriter and ask for a referral. You may find that your current marketing providers either offer SEO services or have SEO companies with whom they work regularly (and this can save you money). Check out the companies online, and get a feel for their different styles. And before you set up any meetings, Google the companies whose names you receive, and take a good look at how well they put their money where their mouths are.

Larry Wright enjoys learning about the business world and providing tips to his fellow business friends. “Business is changing everyday so learning about these changes and adapting to them is important to staying ahead of the competition.” Larry Wright. Working in the Boston SEO industry is not for the faint of heart. The competition is fierce, so he recommends hiring advertising agencies in Boston.

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