When it comes to online marketing and pushing your businesses to the top of the digital world, we generally ALL want the same thing: To be liked. A lot. By Google.

This has always been important but more so now than ever. Especially with such high competition in the Search Engine market game.

It used to be a fairly easy combat. Build an awesome website, keep it updated with fresh, valuable content, and Google will reward you with a top ranking position on its search results page. However, there is so much more involved these days, with competition peaking everywhere you click.

Truth is, no matter who or what kind of business you’re running, you’re likely not the only one doing what you do. Therefore, you need to compete aggressively for organic traffic, and you need to push your business forward using various techniques and creative strategies.

The primary reason why ongoing SEO services are usually the best choice in the digital game, is that Google’s algorithms are constantly changing (so your SEO strategies must change to match). In the recent years, Google has made major changes to how it handles local search, mobile search, redirection, and white-hat link building.

There’s often a debate as to how much SEO is enough SEO. Truth is, if you think of your SEO strategies as a race, there’s really no time to “stop”. You can always slow down, catch a breath, check out who’s surrounding you… but stopping is frowned upon since there’s never an actual finish line with SEO. Keep in mind that your competition will continue to pay for ongoing optimization, identifying new keywords and new ways to tweak campaigns. Therefore, it’s essential to keep up.

So when it comes to SEO and your website… what actions are considered to be the most important… and how much is enough?

Here’s six key factors to consider when it comes to understanding how to successfully build a happy relationship with Google.

1. Fresh content is the best content.

Google likes anything and everything new. As long as it’s good, quality content. The highest ranking websites tend to have fresh content every single week. First and foremost, make sure that your content is published on your site and properly optimized. Coming up with a plan so that your articles, blog posts, whitepapers, reviews and custom landing pages show up consistently on Page 1 of Google is your #1 goal. This will drive your clients to your contact/registration pages… and even make immediate purchases.

2. Search patters continue to change.

SEO rules change, and so your rankings will change, too. The field is full of competitors, and rankings rise and fall with the changing of algorithms and the entrance of new competitors. It takes constant monitoring to keep your website ranking well and performing at top-notch levels. It’s best to monitor the keywords people are using to find products and services such as yours by looking at Google Analytics, social media trends, competitor research, keyword ranking tools and so on. Even when your website has reached the top spot for your keywords, you need to continue SEO to remain in that position.

3. Know your Audience.

You might have a ton of blogs, pictures and useful articles on your site… but how significant are they to your target audience? Besides expert information, Google rewards companies who focus on user experience. Jump into the mindset of your prospect who has just sat down at their computer and typed their search request into Google. What keywords are they using? (Have you identified proper keywords related to your business?) How easy is it to navigate through your site? (have you properly optimized your site top to bottom?) Pay attention to how easy or difficult it is to customers to find you, get the information they’re looking for, and contact you for further information. Make any adjustments you can to simplify the process, including optimizing for mobile searches. Google wants to help you… but only if you provide it with clear, concise content from the get-go.

4. Educate First, Sell Second.

If all the information on your website is “salesy,” and the information on your competitor’s website is more informational, your competitor’s website will likely outperform yours. Besides publishing great content on social media, one of the best ways to keep customers engaged and educated is by having a company blog. Publish useful information like advice, FAQ’s, DIY’s and industry insights specific to your niche to keep readers engaged. This also helps Google see you as an authority in your industry, which in turn boosts SEO rankings.

5. Register Your Business with Google.

All businesses (big and small) should claim their business listing with Google My Business. It’s a way to make sure your business is correctly “out there” in the digital landscape, and brings better exposure by highlighting appropriate companies based on specific searches. Google makes it easier for customers to find information about your business online (location, hours of operation, contact info, directions etc.) Additionally, it’s beneficial to register your business with Google Maps (via Google My Business). Google Maps started over a decade ago as a way for consumers to find local establishments in their area. It has since become the world’s leading map application.

6. Ask for Help.

It’s okay if you don’t fully understand how to properly perform all of the required digital marketing initiatives. A tiny percentage of business owners actually have the skill (or time) to do their own SEO. Even employees who “know a lot about SEO,” may struggle to deliver the level of services you require, depending on your marketing goals. If you don’t have the time to do any of this yourself – contact an agency that hires experts and professionals in all areas of the digital marketing scope. (Google, of course, will help you with this).

As with many digital things today, SEO can feel overwhelming at times. But at the end of the day remember that Google actually wants to be your friend… and it wants you to succeed. Organic searches will continue to build your business by properly positioning you in front of the right customers, at the right time. If you give your site the consistent, accurate attention it requires in order to get “noticed”, Google will continue to drive customers to your site. Period.