Today, more and more people search online and base their purchasing decisions on online information. The Internet has made very easy for everybody to collect information about products and services before purchasing as everything we need to make a decision is at the power of our fingertips or simply a click away. According to a recent study, 81% of consumers go online before heading out to the store, and spend an average of 79 days gathering information before making a major purchase. For all the above reasons, it is easy to understand why it has become imperative to create an online presence for any business. However, with an even larger than ever number of well-established enterprises proliferating in the Internet, it is no longer enough to just have an online presence.
In addition, if we consider that 62% of users do not go beyond the first page of results when they do an online search and that 42% click on the first link, while only 8% click on the second result (source MOZ), it is clear that ranking high is mandatory for any business aspiring to be the leader in their field. Finally, as more than 80% of users ignore sponsored link, and that 70% of traffic to a site is organic (unpaid) it is even more important than ever for a business to rank high in search engines. That is why investing in SEO cannot be ignored.
Reason 1: SEO helps people to find your website
Having a website that none knows about or visits is pointless. The final goal of a website is to increase brand exposure, drive customers to the store or promote sales on a digital platforms. As your customers are spending time online, why don’t allow them to find your business? Your customers are using search engines, so make sure you pop under their radar when they search for a business like yours! The best way is to invest in keywords, here are some suggestions:
- Select words that people would type if they were looking for a business like yours
- Investigate which websites already rank for those keyword
- Test few selected keywords with Google Adwords and track impression and conversions
- Consider long tail keywords as they often convert better because they catch people later in the buying/conversion cycle
- For ideas on which tools to use for keywords planning have a look at this site
Reason 2: SEO helps sites to be on page one and above competitors
SEO is the most effective way to gain online visibility as it aims to drive organic (unpaid) traffic to a site. After selecting keywords that best represent your business -or better- how your customers and potential customers see your business, it is necessary to provide a great user experience to convert visitors to recurrent visitors, customers and finally brand ambassadors. First you need to provide a website that loads fast, does not contain broken links, it is easy to navigate, it includes images, videos, everything you need to offer a high quality experience that separates you from the crowd. Everything that includes page optimization goes under the name of On-page SEO. Constant optimization of poor performing features and inclusion of new fresh content on a regular basis, offer the best chance to rank high and remain above competitors. In case of sudden loss of ranking consider:
- Google penalized your site. Go to your Google Webmaster Tools page and check for penalties (Search Traffic > Manual actions). Follow instructions to solve the issue.
- Outsmarted by competitions. Analyze their strategies and adapt your accordingly.
- Website issues such as broken links, loss of page loading speed etc. A site audit will help you identify possible on-page issues.
- Loss of high quality inbound links, the most important ranking factor
- Google algorithm update
Reason 3: SEO is one of the most cost effective and best ROI strategy
SEO can be considered as one of the most effective business investments as it aims to drive organic traffic which in the long run provides the best conversion rate and therefore long term profits. While short-term profit can be made with pay per click (PPC) or online campaigns, it could cost a lot of money in the long run.Through the process of optimizing your page using SEO white hat strategy, you might:
- Enable your website to gain a new that you might currently not target.
- Every time you better your ranking, you solidify a certain amount of traffic.
- Every new visitor could turn into a potential customer
- Every time you rank in a position that gets a constant high amount of traffic (let’s say 1K visitors a day) on a long term that means massive revenue potential
According to David Waterman, SEO should not be treated as a marketing channel but rather to guarantee the integrity of your online brand and therefore no return on investment (ROI) should be expected. I personally agree with this statement. As Google main function is to provide the best answer to people looking for a particular set of keywords, there is no amount of advertisement that could drive targeted organic traffic. Instead investing in SEO gives a website the best chances to rank high on the google radar when specific keywords are typed by an user. This is why providing the best user experience, SEO ensures that a website is properly identified by search engines by continuously assessing, creating and improving the quality of your site. Of different opinion is Kissmetrics. According to the site, companies that do not measure SEO ROI might be wasting buckets of money. The tool develop by Kissmetrics allows any first time visitor to be identified by a tracking ID identify their journey, and if they convert even months later. Basically, a way to define the ROI of SEO is to track the life-cycle of a visitor till the day they commit to a sale using an auto-generated ID code associated to any visitor of your site.
Reason 4: SEO brings organic search, the cheapest way to attract visitors
Organic search still drives the most traffic and conversions to websites, and is still the fastest growing source of traffic for most sites. This is the reason why whatever the business you are running, organic search will represent the best and most proficient long-term option. Examples of off-page SEO include social media share, post blogs tailored for your audience, engage with other members of your niche on their blogs through comments and links-exchange, submission of content to directories and search engines. These techniques have been proven successful to drive organic traffic at no cost and they are highly recommended by many SEO experts.
Reason 5: SEO is virtually synonymous with smart marketing
Today marketing is less and less about up-selling and more and more about offering valuable content to potential customers who will later identity the brand as a trustful business. SEO helps you build this bridge between your brand and your audience; it is about reaching out and communicating with people who are using Google to solve their problems and not about a series of guidelines and rules that people made up to win the ranking race in Google. As long as you write engaging content, reach out to people and provide a well designed and functional website, you are already half-way through to a successful SEO strategy (the other half is time and continue improvement).