To reach that coveted number one rank in the search engines, you’ve obviously worked very hard to search engine optimize your site, submit it to all the right places, earn the one-way links you need, and to build your public relations. However, one problem that is being seen by a growing number of webmasters is that they have put forward all this effort and achieved such fine rankings, but are not experiencing an increase in traffic to go along with it. The burning question then becomes: where is the return on investment for all of the time and money involved in search engine optimization?

To answer that question, you must first discover why the traffic hasn’t increased. There are a few causes for this dilemma:

• The keywords for which you have achieved the number one ranking aren’t those utilized most frequently by your target market. To resolve this issue, find out what terms your customers are using when they’re searching for your products and services on Google and Yahoo! You can do this in many ways. For example, you can ask your customers, imagine that you were looking for your service and try to guess, or use an online service such as wordtracker.

• You may also not be bringing in traffic from your top ranking because the search engine where you have achieved this rank doesn’t have much to do with your target market. Currently, the top three search engines are Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. Other than those, there are search engines that specialize in certain types of users. If you have achieved your rank in a search engine that targets users other than those that would look for your products and services, it won’t do you much good other than to provide you with one-way links that will boost your rank at other search engines.

The key is to be certain that you’re using basic language, and nothing too industry specific. You need to make your site very searchable, and then you may find that achieving the number two rank or better isn’t as hard as you thought. Happy Hunting.