No company or online business can be successful without exposure. Having exposure ensures you will have consistent leads coming in. This fact may seem obvious, but many companies don’t have a digital marketing plan. Having a plan for your marketing is vital. Without a plan, you will spend more money on advertising and see little return on your investment. Not having a plan can take a bite out of your profits, but it can also cause your company to fail entirely.

Many companies don’t take the time to come up with a plan because they simply don’t want to invest the time and effort. They believe their time would be put to better use dealing with other issues. But, a little planning ahead of time can have a massive return on investment.

Many companies only focus on one type of advertising, such as pay-per-click. The problem with this strategy is when you stop paying for advertising, your web traffic disappears. So, what is the solution? The answer is to utilize search engine optimization. It is important to understand search engine optimization and how it can benefit your business. Search engines are always looking for ways to enhance their ranking algorithms. A business will have to keep up to enjoy the ongoing benefits of search engine optimization.

Embracing Change

Most of us resist change. It makes us uncomfortable. This resistance is understandable, but it can be deadly. Many companies found this out the hard way when a major search engine altered its algorithm. Before the change, you could simply use keywords over and over to get a high ranking. The result was a lot of companies started to reach for low-hanging fruit. Their search engine optimization plan simply involved writing a lot of low-quality web pages with a lot of keywords.

Their plan worked very well for a while. But, people who use search engines for research started to notice they were not getting reliable results. They were being sent to low-quality pages that had keywords but no useful content. Search engines knew they had to do something if they wanted to survive. This resulted in major changes to the way search engines rank websites.

Now, websites are not ranked on keyword usage alone. The content must be high-quality and original. When this change was put into action, many companies lost a major source of customers overnight. Many of these companies were not able to recover. We need to learn from the past, so we are not doomed to repeat it.

Approaching SEO in 2016

These changes happened before, and they will happen again. It is only a matter of time. With this in mind, can search engine optimization still be a viable strategy? Yes, but there are several things to keep in mind.

The best way to predict how search engines will operate in the future is to put yourself in their shoes. Their goal is to be user-friendly and provide useful content based on the needs of their users. So, we now have to figure out what their users want.

Their users want useful and reliable information related to the keyword they are looking up. This is another fact that seems obvious, but many companies overlook the obvious. You can make the most of search engine optimization by providing value to the users. Don’t optimize solely for search engine robots, optimize for the users. Yes, keywords are still important.

But, don’t overdo it. When implementing a search engine optimization strategy, take the time to ask yourself what you would want to find if you were searching for those keywords. You need to offer value. Don’t think of it as you versus the search engines. Don’t think of it like you are trying to exploit them to get traffic.

Rather, picture yourself and the search engines working together to offer valuable content to the users. If you are valuable to the users, search engines will want to rank your website.

Putting It All Together

Now that you have a basic search engine optimization plan for 2016, it is time to put it all together. By focusing on offering value to others, search engines will view you positively. This will give you a much better chance to rank your website. But, you need to make the most of your web traffic.

Your content needs to be more than useful. It needs to be captivating. You need to paint yourself as an expert in your field. You want your company to be perceived as the best solution to the users problem.

Search engine optimization can be powerful. But, don’t take shortcuts. If you take short cuts, it will come back to haunt you sooner or later. You want to think long term. You want to put in the work and offer real value to others.