You’ve probably heard of SEO, and if you have, you may have only heard about it in a negative light. Unfortunately, because of the unethical work of a few black-hat SEO “specialists” out there, the industry has gotten a bit of a negative reputation. Despite all the good it can do, phrases like “snake oil” or “smoke and mirrors” are still sometimes used to describe search engine optimization.
The truth of the matter is that ethical SEO is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal, and it’s not about finding quick fixes to manipulate the search engine algorithms for short-term returns. When done the right way, SEO is much more about brand building and marketing than you might realize. It involves a lot of behind-the-scenes work and is an ongoing process focused on providing long-term benefits for your website.
If you’re on the fence about SEO and are trying to decide if it’s worth the investment, here are just a few reasons why it’s necessary:
- Placement in organic search results still matters. A lot. There are billions of searches conducted through search engines each year. The layout of search engine results pages is constantly changing, but organic results still occupy much of the real estate and get the lion’s share of the traffic. According to Rand Fishkin of Moz, that’s somewhere around 80% of search traffic. What’s more, online ad network Chitika released a 2013 study showing that 33% of Google traffic goes to the top organic listing. Simply put, if you’re not investing in positioning your site on the first page of organic results, you’re missing out.
- SEO ensures that your site adheres to search engine best practices. Speaking of showing up in organic search results… If the search engines can’t accurately access and interpret the content on your website, they’re never going to rank it well. Skilled SEOs can detect errors in your code that prevent search engine spiders, the crawlers that interpret your website’s content, from accessing your site. Many times, the same errors that cause problems for search engines adversely affect the user experience on a website. You don’t want interested visitors (who could potentially convert) to land on a page that doesn’t exist or bounce away from your site because your page doesn’t load quickly. Search engine optimization can fix all that.
- SEO builds your brand, its visibility and its credibility. As SEO has evolved and adapted to changes in the search engine algorithms, it has shifted away from simply writing keyword-stuffed copy and driving links. Modern SEO is about improving the overall quality and reach of a given website. Some common tactics for doing this include creating informative, quality content, social sharing, and good, old-fashioned marketing. It’s also worth noting that SEO overlaps with many other web and marketing-related disciplines and, when used as part of a marketing mix, can actually amplify their returns for your business by increasing brand recognition, trust, and authority. Today, good SEOs are frequently “T-shaped marketers,” meaning they understand search engine optimization, but they also understand other disciplines like blogging, social media, UX, and email, and they know how to leverage them all to benefit your website and your business. That’s a handy thing to have at your disposal.
- SEO can increase both the volume and quality of your website traffic. Sure, at its core, SEO is about getting more people to your website. What you might not realize is that it’s actually about getting more of the right people to your website. Using a combination of on-page optimization tactics, links, and promotion, SEOs can help drive the visitors who are interested in your product or service to your website. Two of the core goals of search engine optimization include increasing user engagement and, of course, increasing conversions. And this can be done for any type of website—if you’re a local business, an ecommerce site, or even a one-page website, there’s an SEO strategy for you.
- SEO keeps you focused on your user. It’s sad but true. In its early days, search engine optimization focused on the search engines, not the user. Today, fortunately, the game has completely changed. With each algorithm update they release, the search engines push SEOs everywhere to focus more and more on website users, and by extension, their clients’ customers. Sites that cater to the needs and intent of their visitors will be rewarded by the search engines, build a stronger brand, and increase conversions. That’s a nice little cycle, huh?
The Tip of the Iceberg
This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how SEO can benefit your business. One of the common misconceptions about search engine optimization is that it’s a one-time, set-it-and-forget tactic that may or may not provide a return on investment. The truth is, it’s just that. It’s an investment in a strategy that can provide measurable, long-term results.
To find out more about the search engine optimization tactics that can boost your website’s performance, fill out our contact form below, and we’ll be in touch!