There is a lot of information out there about search engine optimization, but not a lot in the way of great advice.

Let me explain: there are plenty of experts willing to teach you about tags, keyword density, page titles, and inbound links. They’ll happily take your money and devise complicated schemes to help you improve your visibility on Google.

That’s all good and well, but there is a hard truth about SEO that is not often recognized: make some basic changes to your website and add some fresh content, and you’ll probably see big improvements in a short amount of time. After that, though, progress in SEO is incremental, and it takes a lot of work.

In other words, if there’s a lot of competition for the top spots on Google in your industry, expect that the initial push is going to help, but then improvement will probably be slow and steady. Even if you reach the top spot, it’s going to take some money and effort to retain it.

Does that mean you should invest in search engine optimization? Of course not. It just means you should go into it with the right expectations, even if your search engine expert doesn’t tell you so from the outset.