Search engine optimization (or SEO) can help you to build your credibility, draw in new leads, and explode your bottom line. The benefits of earning a top spot on Google are so well-known to business owners and executives that some consider it to be the only form of online marketing worth their time and effort over the long run.

The only problem with SEO, in fact, has to do with those two words: long-term.

Being a leader in digital marketing, we here at MAXBURST know that gaining search visibility is so important that nearly every business tries to do it. Consequently, in competitive markets it can take many months before an SEO campaign will show tangible results. Unfortunately, lots of marketers will give up on optimization, content creation, and other activities before they reach that point.

As with most things in life, the best answer to that conundrum is to simply be patient. Take the right steps with regards to SEO and you will get results over time.

If that answer doesn’t satisfy you, though, the next best solution is to take the right kinds of shortcuts. Note that we aren’t talking about keyword stuffing or other ineffective gimmicks. Instead, we mean a handful of strategies you can follow to work your way to the top of Google’s search listings to get to maximum profitability in a minimum amount of time.

Let’s look at five in particular that have proven to be effective with our clients…

#1 Know Your Search Market and Searcher Patterns

Far too many marketers (and web designers) jump into search engine optimization without having a clear idea of the challenges and opportunities in front of them. We don’t want you to make the same mistake.

Before you start optimizing your pages, or have someone do it on your behalf, get a good sense of what your target market looks like. Know which men and women you want to sell to, where they spend their time online, and what kinds of messages appeal to them. This won’t just help you to gather the right list of keywords and search phrases, but also to craft winning offers that help you turn visits into sales.

There is no substitute for information and insight, especially when it comes to SEO. Make sure you don’t begin until you have all the facts and insights you need.

#2 Focus on a Very Specific Set of Search Terms

Once you know who you’re trying to reach and what they search for online, pick a very narrow set of terms and ideas to focus on. This runs contrary to a lot of search engine optimization advice you’ll read (especially when it comes to context and authority), but it makes sense in the short-term.

When you’re just getting started, you can’t attempt to corner the entire search market for your industry or take on all competitors at once. Instead, you should focus on search phrases that have a relatively low amount of competition, and that represent a near-perfect match for the products, services, or advantages your company brings to the marketplace.

This is all a detailed way of saying you should look for spots where you can earn easy wins at the beginning of your SEO campaign. It’s easier to gather those and build on them than it is to be overly ambitious and see your plans come to nothing for a long period of time.

#3 Optimize Your Website for Local Search

If there is any kind of geographic component to your business, then you should make sure your site is optimized for local search.

Use the big home field advantage Google gives you with customers in your city or neighborhood. Add city and state names, street addresses, ZIP Codes, phone numbers, and driving directions to your pages. Create location-specific pages for different branches if needed. Add maps and make sure the information you provide is consistent with any social listings you have online.

Case studies have demonstrated that Google updates search listings for geographic areas faster than larger industry categories. That means you can jump to the head of the line – and give your business an immediate boost – just by letting search engine spiders and real-world customers know where to find you. These are easy changes to make on your website, and they can pay off in a very big way.

Most business owners and executives recognize that Google and the other search engines will look at content and links when matching search queries to known websites. However, many don’t realize that the search algorithms take dozens of factors into account, with technical issues sometimes serving as “tiebreakers” that can make or break a search engine optimization effort.

If your website has performance issues like slow page-loading times, broken links, and errors due to incompatibility with certain devices then it’s going to hurt your search rankings. Each of these makes your site seem less trustworthy, which impacts the way search engine spiders and real-world customers see you.

Because most technical website issues aren’t visible to the naked eye, the best way to find and correct them is with a simple website audit. This process is fast and inexpensive. Even better, it can tell you whether you have any problems lurking beneath the surface in your HTML while helping you to identify opportunities for growth. If you haven’t had a website audit in the past, this is a great time to schedule one.

#5 Supplement Organic SEO With Paid Search Ads,

In a perfect world your business would attract so much organic search traffic from Google, Bing, and other online portals that you wouldn’t ever think about using paid search ads. In reality, though, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a perfect supplement to SEO.

For one thing, search ads can be set up, run, and adjusted very quickly. In fact, we can often have new clients up and running within just a few hours. That means they don’t have to wait to start bringing targeted traffic to their websites.

What is possibly more important, though, is that PPC campaigns can be carefully tested and configured. So, if there’s any doubt about the viability of a keyword, message, or offer, answers and solutions can be found before months are devoted to an ongoing organic SEO project. For that reason, it’s often better to start any search visibility campaign with a handful of search ads and then let things progress from there.

Want to Hit the Ground Running this Spring?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get faster results from search engine optimization and online marketing. After all, you do these things to increase your profits, not because you have free time and money you want to spend in a creative way.

However, it’s important that you use your schedule and resources to pursue ideas that are actually going to work, rather than following fads or gimmicks that could end up hurting your business in the end.