After a lot of hard work ans effort, your company website has finally launched! It looks great, works great, and all is right in the world. At first.

After a week or two, the cries of of triumph turns into cries of despair. Your new website is up, but it doesn't show up in search engines. You're overwhelmed with questions:

Why doesn't my website show up in Google?
Why am I not ranking #1 for blue widgets yet?
What's wrong? Is the website broken?

These are fair questions, and they show just how complex search engine optimization can be.

So, what's going on? Is there a problem?

Not necessarily. You may just need to adjust your expectations about SEO.

SEO takes time.

Search engine optimization takes time. It's not as simple as turning on a light, unfortunately. You can't flip a switch and presto! your website shows up in Google.

You have to give search engines time to find, read and catalog your website. This process could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to a few weeks.

SEO doesn't happen automatically.

Launching a website is not synonymous with optimizing a website. SEO doesn't happen just because you have a website. And SEO doesn't happen spontaneously. SEO takes careful research and planning.

For example, are you using the right keywords in your copy? Are you using the words and phrases that your customers use, or are you using the jargon your supervisors use? You need to talk with your customers and do careful keyword research so that your website copy speaks their language.

SEO isn't a one-time, one-step process.

SEO is an ongoing thing. It doesn't take a day, it doesn't involve just design or just code or just content, and it's never completely finished.

SEO is a cycle that involves constant testing, measurement, evaluation and refinement of your website, its features and its functionality.

SEO is competitive.

Optimizing a website is hard work. It can be tough for a new website to get traction in search results at first--especially when competing against well-established sites for competitive keywords.

Say you're a law firm. Do a quick search on Google for "lawyer." You're going up against the likes of Wikipedia, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and

Many businesses think that those broad, juicy keywords are the best keywords and are the only keywords their company should rank for. They don't think about who the competition would be...or the time, effort, resources and money it would take to unseat the big brands.

SEO is about relevance.

The "lawyer" example brings up another point: relevance. There's going to be some context behind a search. If you need to hire a lawyer, chances are you need a specific kind of lawyer, like a "bankruptcy lawyer" or an "estate planning lawyer."

You're probably in need of someone in or close to your area, too. What happens if you google "lawyer" and end up contacting someone out in California? Being in Richmond, that result isn't necessarily the best match.

Rather than obsess over a #1 ranking for vague words or phrases, you want to consider targeting your efforts so that you reach relevant audiences.

SEO involves more than your website.

SEO is evolving, and involves more than the words you write or photos you include. It overlaps with other aspects of your marketing, like PR and community building, and can be influenced by factors like people sharing and commenting on your website on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

So, your company may not have much visibility online yet, but that doesn't mean your website is broken. A website is simply one piece of the puzzle. Ultimately, you need to evaluate your online marketing strategy as a whole, to ensure you're employing a comprehensive set of tools and tactics and all your marketing efforts are integrated.

Get your website to show up in Google

Good Google rankings start with a solid online marketing strategy, including optimizing for the right keywords and using those keywords in great content. Want to learn more about how to optimize your website for better search rankings and get more leads?

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Have more questions about SEO or online marketing? We'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line, or leave a comment!