Does your brand stand out in search results? These five reasons may account for why your brand is not showing up at the top of search queries.

1. Your Website Content Is Old and Unremarkable

What trust and value would you give a colleague who is telling you something about your market that was news three years ago? Fresh and relevant content attracts users as well as search engines. Too many businesses and brands allow their websites to stagnate by not regularly adding content. Your content doesn't have to be "cool" to be compelling--it has to be quickened by a living passion, curiosity, and a desire to celebrate something in this world. In other words, it's OK to "geek out." Create content that's fresh, relevant, and remarkable.

2. Your Website Doesn't Speak the Search Engines' Language

Building your site using Flash or JavaScript is just like running an ad in The New York Times written in Mandarin--search engines just won't get it! If a search engine can't read your content, you are irrelevant. Many design departments insist on using Flash or JavaScript for the beauty and flexibility it offers. However, the shiny bobbles once reserved only for Flash websites can now be done through HTML 5.0 in a search-engine-friendly way. So, now there are no more excuses! Download Google's guidelines for search-engine optimization, and hand this over to your development team. Treat this document as a guiding light for your website code, and you'll be speaking in the same language as Google and Bing in no time!

3. Nobody Is Talking About You Online

Earning a top ranking in search-engine results is much like the hiring process. Your website is like your resumé, and other websites that mention you are your online references. Many organizations focus on their resumés and forget to obtain quality references. Just like getting a top job, winning in search-engine results requires more than just a great resumé--you must have excellent references. Start by doing a simple online search involving your industry terms. Find "spheres of influence" around your industry. These can be blogs, forums, news websites/aggregators, etc. Engage these website owners by offering to provide remarkable and newsworthy content for their websites. You'll find that they want your content if you're a trusted industry source.

4. You Don't Have a Social Presence

In today's business world, being great is just a prerequisite to success--the rest is hustle! There's no better way to go that extra mile and show some of that hustle as a business than interacting on relevant social networks. They are great places for two-way market communication, industry support, and even customer service. Search engines also expect the brands that they serve up in top search results to be present in relevant social networks. However, be sure that your brand is communicating genuinely with relevant content, and don't treat social networks as an echo chamber. In other words, don't copy and paste messages across social networks. Social network users sniff out disingenuous communication and reject these brands.

5. You Don't Have a Plan

Can you imagine launching a start-up without a business plan? Unfortunately, even the most seasoned SEO teams are doing this every day. The latest Marketing Sherpa SEO Benchmark Report found that developing an SEO strategy is a top challenge yet a bottom objective with most organizations. Slingshot SEO offers an Insider's Guide to the Slingshot SEO CLASS Methodology, which explains how to analyze your website in five distinct areas--Content, Link Graph, Architecture, Social, and Strategy. Download this guide, and get started on enhancing your brand's SEO presence today!