You most likely already know but SEO has changed massively in 2012, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain exactly what you need to do to stay ahead. Here are 3 things you need to know about to beat your competitors on Google.

1. Technical SEO

The first step for a website to rank well Google is to ensure your website adheres to Google’s guidelines. Google’s guidelines fall into three categories; design and content, technical factors, and quality. Google openly publishes these guidelines which can be found here. Technical SEO is a fundamental part of improving your site rankings however it does not work on its own!

2. Content-Driven SEO

Content-driven SEO is about turning your site into a credible, up-to-date source of useful information that your customers can read and your prospects can find. The content you create as a business is a crucial factor in your search engine visibility.

You can no longer regard yourself as a website manager, you are now an editor and content producer. Your business creates content which reaches to your audience, increases your authority and will bump your search rankings up a notch. Providing content that potential customers can find and Google can index is fundamental to getting your website ranked, however – again- it does not work on its own!

3. Social SEO

Social media is no longer just an area for individuals to voice their opinion, it allows your business to engage with customers, start a dialogue and create relationships. Social media provides chances to get in front of a wider audience to build rapport and create your company’s identity by posting content which users want to read and share.

Sophisticated social media marketing delivers results by increasing visits to your website. These visits come from people already engaged with you and your brand resulting in a higher chance of conversion. However social media on its own is just a nice conversation, and – again- it does not work on its own. For social media to work you need engaging content you are proud to broadcast and that people will share.

An effective SEO campaign is about covering the above three areas in a strategic way, focused around the keywords you want to rank for on an ongoing basis. The work required depends on both your ambitions and the market you are in. Essentially, your business needs to be doing what your competitors are doing and more. This work takes time, strategy and constant eye on the changing face of Google – what worked at the start of 2012 will not work anymore.