Four easy steps to using SEO to reach your business goals


By Tim Joiner

Founder and CEO, 3Fold

Think back to the first time you heard the phrase SEO.

It was probably within the past five years. During that time, SEO, or search engine optimization, became the new buzzword in web development and online marketing.

But you may be surprised to learn that the phrase SEO dates back to 1994, when web pioneers started to learn that the internet could be more than just an informational tool. They realized it could be used to make money if it was done right. A generation later, companies rise and fall by SEO. 

In the Upstate, where so many large companies thrive on international commerce and smaller businesses rely heavily on getting local traffic through their doors, SEO may be one of their most important tools. The technical details of SEO are regularly discussion topics on blogs, email lists, and conference panels. 

So how do you ensure that SEO plays a strategic role in your business growth? Our director of digital marketing, Justin Pidcock, recommends four key principles:

Commit to SEO fundamentals early. The fine details of advanced SEO strategy can be mind-bending; the fundamentals, on the other hand, are well established. This principle is two-pronged: commit to SEO early in your company’s trajectory and commit to the fundamentals. SEO can be a critical part of a startup’s strategy and should be in consideration before the website is even built. Since most of you are beyond that, the second idea applies: commit to the fundamentals, like correct URL structure and on-page SEO, among other things.

Maintain strong SEO tactics through growth periods. Here is the most important thing for you to understand: SEO builds progressively. You cannot turn your SEO on and off. Let’s say you committed to SEO early and did it well. Now your company is growing, and you think you can back off of SEO. Proceed with extreme caution. You may be able to spend less time or money on SEO during a stable business season, but you need to keep those fundamentals strong. If you don’t, you will lose SEO and have to rebuild it. Which leads to…

Don’t use SEO for immediate problems. If you’re in a business slump and need to drum up new leads quickly, SEO is not your magic bullet; again, SEO builds progressively. Improving your search engine rank often takes months. You should be extremely skeptical of anyone who promises immediate SEO results. Instead, you may benefit from a different digital marketing approach, like digital ads or a full-blown digital campaign. A digital campaign will often deliver more immediate leads while your SEO improves over a longer period.

Focus your SEO energy. There’s a lot that can be done to improve SEO, and you can attempt to rank your website pages for many keywords. Don’t let the possibilities distract you. Prioritizing your SEO efforts is vital. When we help clients prioritize SEO, we often work first on identifying the pages that drive revenue. We can then protect and increase that revenue through our SEO work.

A good SEO strategy, though, will only get you so far. We can point to a lot of companies in the Upstate that created SEO strategies that far outperformed their ability to deliver to their customers. Those companies quickly got in over their heads. It’s a nice problem to have to a point, but one that is a headache for potential clients.

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