Search engine optimization is both an art and a science, because the algorithm used to rank web pages has a complex set of metrics that take past performance, information quality, and other factors into account. That means it is both easy to identify the variables that influence your rank positively and negatively and difficult to pinpoint the exact ways those variables interact. Since emergent changes are a little unpredictable, your web development needs to be nimble and you need to know how to avoid the core pitfalls that keep pages from ranking. That way, you can be sure that eventually your efforts will get you where you want to go.

Misunderstanding Your Keywords

One common issue for new companies is a misunderstanding about how keywords are used. It’s easy to identify words you think should lead customers to your door, only to miss the context in which people search that term commonly. That could lead you to rank among pages that are off-topic for your brand, showing your page to people who won’t be your customers. Keyword research that understands the ways searches happen and contextualizes the keyword choices to line up to your customers’ needs and values is essential to finding the right words to rank.

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

Your visual branding can be spot on and your website can have a sharp design, but if you don’t deliver on content that customers want to see and search engines identify as valuable, the page just won’t rank. If enough site pages fail to rank, the entire site loses rank as a result. You’ve got to make sure your content marketing is as sharp as your graphic design to deliver substance that matches your brand’s style and gives customers something of value to keep them coming back to your site.

Give It More Time

The last common mistake people make when approaching web development and branding together is misunderstanding the time it takes for changes on pages to change the rank in the search engine’s results. If you’re on top of your search rankings daily, you might make the mistake of thinking your efforts aren’t working when you’re doing everything right. It can take a while for SEO changes to have a big impact on page rank, especially if you are trying to rank for the first time.

The key to effective SEO is understanding it is a process. Look for upward trends in your numbers, and don’t fixate on jumping to the number one spot right away. That way, you will have realistic expectations to go with your careful strategizing.