You’re in the kitchen and it’s Saturday- the day before you hit up the local grocery store for food. You could make a PB&J sandwich off of the semi-moldy pieces of bread you forgot to eat this week. You could settle for some stale chips and a random 4-month-old can of Chef Boyardee you found in the back of the pantry. Or you could just decide to splurge and buy an overpriced sandwich at the local coffee shop in town.

*You’re weird, Carolyn Ebel. What the heck does this have to do with internet entrepreneurship?* 

A lot, actually.

Consumers are always looking for the good stuff: inside of the kitchen and beyond. This is why Seach Engine Optimization is so important for start-up companies. Of course, your competitors are going to try to convince your potential customers that their stale chips and moldy bread are the best things for them, but you know better than that… (which is why building your SEO is vital to feeding your consumers with reliable and spectacular information).

Consumers are approaching search engines with an appetite for something that will satisfy their needs and fix an inconvenience. If you can convince them your business is big enough, significant enough, and powerful enough to exterminate that hunger, you’ve already won half of the battle. A huge part of that is becoming one of the first five websites to appear on a search which maximizes your potential to appear on the usual search engine results per page (SERP). Attracting consumers to your business can be hard to do without a lot of money, but there are so many ways in which you can build a strong SEO to feed your partners the best content.

Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz, a company that helps small businesses succeed in building viable SEOs, suggests in the online manual, A Beginner’s Guide to SEO, that SEO guidelines are constantly changing with a technological sphere that is consistently growing in size. The same techniques we used to build SEO in 2010 are not the same techniques that we should be using today. In fact, not being up to date in SEO formation could actually be hurting small businesses and could make it harder for them to bait their content consumers.

Sam McRoberts, CEO of VUDU marketing, reasons in Forbes magazine that people are viewing search engine optimization as a marketing tactic. This is a bad approach. Instead, businesses should be viewing SEO as a play on branding. Online presence is not just about creating a few blog posts for your company and getting lost in a sea of competitors. It is about truly establishing tasteful and carefully crafted data that will woo consumers and make them keep coming back for more.