The world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be confusing, even for the most seasoned digital marketing professional – it’s no wonder it can throw small business owners through a loop. To help you get the most out of your SEO efforts, North American Bancard has put together a list of what you need to know.

Targeting key words and then creating an entire campaign based on those words is now longer a viable SEO strategy. Now, SEO puts a focus on quality and value – not quantity. To make SEO work for your business, you need to create content that is relevant to both your customers and your business, make it an excellent user experience. This seems like a tall order, but you know your business better than anyone, so take the lead on SEO and make sure your message is getting out to the customers using a search engine to do research before they head out shopping.

Here’s what you need to start doing in order to have positive search results:

Social media. A few years ago, social media wasn’t really accounted for in SEO. Today, it may not be a direct factor in your search rankings, but it can build a network of people that will share, like and tweet your business’s message.

Blog. Blogs are the best way to share the business content you want with your customers. Your posts shouldn’t be about upcoming sales, but about how your business is going the extra mile to help the community. You can also focus on a new product that is unique to your business or area, especially if you are the first to have it in town. Be consistent on posting blogs – writing 1-2 new posts a week. To help meet your goals, you can hire a copywriter to craft your blogs. Remember to create posts people will want to share with family and friends. Blogs can lead to great word of mouth advertising, and will increase your rankings in search engine results.

Be choosy with your links. Don’t link to just anything. Much like your content, you need to make sure that what you link to on your website is relevant. Don’t link to forums or other sites that aren’t an authority on a topic you are looking to feature. Be sure to filter for any links you offer your customers, and only link to the best.

SEO doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can be a useful tool to get more customers to your store or website. Remember, SEO is ever changing so you never want to stay stagnant – if you do you’ll end up falling in the search rankings and possibly losing business.