With each new shift in Google’s methods (updates such as Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird), clients want to know: Do websites still need to be optimized – is SEO (search engine optimization) necessary? The answer is, without a doubt, “yes.” Therefore, a better question is: How is SEO still relevant?

Search engines have to keep up with an Internet that’s growing at an unbelievably fast pace. Google’s changes are designed to deal with the huge influx of material that’s uploaded while preserving its ability to crawl, index, and deliver information to us before we even finish typing our queries. Optimizing your website with this in mind is your ticket to staying in the race.

Four Ways that SEO is Vital to Building an Online Presence

The role of an SEO consultant is to configure a website with clues and signals that help the search engines in their quest to deliver relevant results. The specific tactics may change over time, but for now let’s look at four ways that SEO is vital to building an online presence:

Be focused

The Internet is essentially a giant file cabinet. When search engine robots visit a website, they scoop up the code and then send it to be indexed, processed, and sorted for retrieval. Pages that are unfocused, unlabeled and just plan difficult to categorize are a challenge for search engines, as well as your clients, to find. The SEO consultant anticipates keywords that prospective clients will use to look for your site and uses them in ways that keep search engine guesses to a minimum. Being focused is critical for all searchers to know what your site is about.

Don’t bury the best pages

Do you know what your customers want? To conserve resources, search engines will often visit just the top level pages. The pages that your customers want should therefore be no more than two clicks away from the Home page. A review of visitor behavior, using site data such as Google Analytics, will identify the popular pages that are earning top spots in search results.

Be aware of link power

You can claim to have a great product, or the definitive word on a topic, but the search engines aren’t just going to take your word for it. What’s great and true has to be proven by the entities that link to the page, and the sentiment of reviews. So, if a government site or a university links to a page, its credibility shoots up. If nothing and no one links to it, the search engines have no way of verifying its veracity. If spammy sites link to it, the page isn’t going to have credibility and might suffer because of those links.

Links, and what they convey about your business, have the most impact on where your site appears in search results. We can show how your website compares to your competitors, and how to increase your connections across the Internet.

Be local

Delivering mega amounts of data on small devices, i.e., mobile search, is a priority for search engines. Since well over half of mobile searches have “local intent,” optimizing your website for location is a great move. You need to ensure that the local signals are in your favor.

Even with all the changes business owners have had to deal with, SEO is just too important to ignore. Search engines are in constant change, but an SEO consultant can keep pace with the changes and make those search methods work for you and your business.