SEO. Those three little letters are enough to make most marketers back away slowly. Search Engine Optimization sounds like a tricky thing to navigate and Google doesn’t make it easy.

In the past, Google has dropped large algorithm changes with a rundown of how they will affect sites. These days, changes are done much more frequently and on a smaller scale, which makes it easier to tweak if the effect is too far beyond what they initially expected.

Because of this change, site owners won’t see huge drops like they did with Panda or Penguin, but they will see a steady fluctuation in search engine and keyword ranks. How well you rank for a topic depends on a variety of things, including your authority as seen by Google scanning the rest of your site to understand what you are about and the keywords you use in relation to that content.

Now the new way of doing SEO has its benefits for both the end user and for Google, but it also changes how you should look at your SEO data, what you shouldn’t do with SEO anymore and how often you should check on various pieces of data.

Just how often should you look? Set up a schedule that works for your site and the frequency of which your data changes. For those just getting started and who aren’t sure about well versed on Google’s algorithm updates, let’s make it easy: once a week, check in on Google Webmaster Tools, check a ranking report like the one you would get from Moz and have it emailed from Google Analytics specifically from the search section.

In addition, we highly recommend subscribing to a few blogs and reading them daily to help you stay well-versed on what changes are happening in the world of SEO. Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, Matt Cutts’ blog and videos, and Moz’s blog category on Basic SEO will get you started. These will help you stay informed as to what changes have happened and how they affect your rank over time, and will also help you understand what to do to address any issues that may arise.

SEO doesn’t have to be scary, it can actually be downright fun to read the data and make small ongoing decisions that can help your site rank better and make you smarter in the process. These are just a few easy ways to get started.

Keep in Touch

Want fresh perspective on communications trends & strategy? Sign up for the SHIFT/ahead newsletter.

Ready to shift ahead?

Let's talk