SEO has been around for over 20 years now and is the biggest part of any online marketing budget for businesses that want sustainable growth.
Surprisingly, we still get asked about the importance of SEO, whether it’s necessary and what the benefits are. Unlike other professional services you employ, you know that the impact of SEO activities are not always immediately apparent and may be more difficult to understand and justify; you pay an accountant, they complete your tax return and the job is complete, right? Not quite so simple for SEO.
Anything worthwhile takes time! How many times did you hear this growing up? A search engines’ purpose is to serve up the websites that provide the highest quality results and the best user experience in solving the exact query the user has. In order to achieve this, they make thousands of changes to their search algorithms each year.
Keeping on top of this whilst looking after your day-to-day business is no mean feat, but the benefits of doing it and doing it properly are indisputable.
So why is SEO so valuable?
There are some obvious and not so obvious benefits of SEO to your business, let’s take a look at two of the biggest gains in our humble opinion…
Increased Organic Traffic
With 97% of people never looking further than page one of search results and the lions share only ever clicking on results one to three, you need a plan to take a slice of that mammoth pie. Organic traffic should be treasured as the invaluable thing it is because;
- Your keyword phrases are hyper-relevant to people already, they bring visitors to your site that are ready and willing to call you or buy something. It’s not that easy to get so highly targeted with other marketing channels.
- This higher quality traffic generates a better ROI than traditional marketing methods where you simply put your message out to everyone and hope for the best.
- The ROI is highly measurable and with the right data you can continue to refine your site and put the right content in front of the right people wherever they are in their customer journey.
- Unlike paid search ads (sometimes called search engine marketing (SEM) or Pay-per-Click (PPC), once you’re ranking for the keyword terms you’ve targeted, you don’t keep on paying for organic traffic – it really is the gift that keeps on giving!
The importance of organic traffic will only continue to grow with the rise of Mobile Search because if you’ve noticed when browsing recently, even fewer organic search results are visible on your cellphone or other device than they are on your desktop and our friends at Search Engine Journal confirm that Mobile-first indexing will be enabled by default from July 2019.
SEO is the best investment you can make for your brand’s equity
An increase in brand awareness is an extremely valuable side-effect of your SEO efforts which is hard to quantify but powerful nonetheless. As you create more and more fresh, optimized content to propel you up the rankings, your brand name naturally gets seen more and in time you’ll be recognized as the ‘go-to’ for your product or service.
The power of getting a coveted top spot can’t be underestimated in terms of how potential customers perceive your credibility and an organic listing is much more attractive to visitors than an advert (how many times do you skip over a sponsored ad?)
In making you more visible, SEO is actually an extremely cost effective way to put you on a more level playing field with competitors who may have bigger, stronger and more established brands and much deeper pockets.
Budget is really tight, could you go-it-alone?
Sure if you’re comfortable working your way around a content management system, you can tackle some of the on-page SEO basics yourself and it won’t do any harm but you probably won’t see big results either.
To be successful you’ll need to incorporate all the different types of SEO into your strategy. If you don’t know your ‘Metas’ from your ‘Alts’ you’re on a pretty steep learning curve and in any business, time equals money.
Think of SEO as your favourite authentic dinner (cue drooling over a rich flavorful Thai Curry) and the meal only really works because of the combination of ingredients being used together in the right quantities. Similarly, SEO needs a well-rounded approach with the different elements working in conjunction with one another according to your business goals.
Let’s say you’re an established business with tons of great content on your site but the structure of the site has become messy and unmanageable. You’ll more than likely have to put more time and energy into improving the user experience on your site by addressing technical issues than you would creating new content, but then you wouldn’t neglect it completely either – you just need to find the right ratio. It’s often only when you start something that you realize there’s more to it than you imagined and SEO requires specialist skills and experience that take time to acquire…
- SEO isn’t a one-time activity. After doing your research online, it might seem like you can set up your keywords one day and hey presto, your web pages are ranking number 1 the next day. This isn’t usually the case unless you’re targeting extremely niche keywords for which the competition is low and even then a day is super ambitious when you’re dealing with computer learning.
- Your website traffic and competition need to be regularly and consistently analyzed – if you don’t know how to get to this data, interpret it and take actions to tweak and optimize then there’s little point in doing the initial work to optimize your pages. We know how Google loves a frequent little algorithm change to stir things up and this is why the work is never done.
- SEO and content marketing go together like Fish n Chips or Mac n’ Cheese, it can’t be a standalone activity. The on-page signals such as keyword phrases and page titles make up a small percentage of the signs that Google looks for when determining the authority of a particular page or site but compelling content is key to improving website authority long term. This requires dedicated internal resources like an accomplished copywriter.
Even the smallest budget can be put to use in the right place with a strategy
Here at RC Design, we’ll give you an honest appraisal of what might be required to achieve the results you’re looking for. SEO has never been an exact science and doesn’t yield instant, tangible results like an ad-campaign, where you see the spike in business and it levels off, but equally, the ability to provide a long-term return over traditional advertising is perhaps the key benefit of SEO and partnering with an SEO professional who understands best practice, can yield results for your business for months and even years.
If you need a helping hand in getting your rankings moving in the right direction, reach out for a chat sometime.