Remember the Yellow Pages? If you got a burst pipe, the second thing you did after shutting off the stopcock, was heave the sizable book onto your soggy lap and flick through pages of badly-worded advertisements, desperately looking for a local plumber to come to your rescue.
Thankfully our lives are a lot easier nowadays. From plumbing emergencies to holiday planning and even grocery shopping, we do everything online now. And we can find what we’re looking for in a matter of seconds.
With the average person spending a whole day a week online, the internet is now the world’s biggest and most competitive marketplace, and SEO is a critical marketing strategy to ensure your business gets seen by interested customers.
You probably know that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, but what does that mean?
SEO is the practice of optimising your online content so that it appears at the top of unpaid search results. Think of it like putting a little bookmark in that massive Yellow Pages, so that the person in need finds you quickly and easily.
But SEO goes much deeper than just appearing in searches. Good SEO is a multifaceted strategy that can help advertise, sell and build your brand, and it’s an important area for investment for every business.
Here are 7 reasons why SEO is money well spent.
1. Increased website traffic
Search engines are the best referrers you’ll ever get.
People do everything via search engines, and Google is by far the biggest with over 90% of the search engine market share.
If you a need a tradesman, you ask Google. When you’re looking for a new washing machine, you ask Google. If you want to book a hotel, you ask Google. Google is our faithful friend, who we trust to help solve most of our everyday problems.
As a business without investing in SEO, Google may not even know you exist – which means potential customers won’t be able to find you.
The second largest search engine is YouTube, which brings in a whole new area for optimisation. It’s not enough just to post a video and hope that it ranks. Compelling video content with a strong SEO foundation and strategic distribution strategy helps bring your brand to life and opens up another significant avenue to capture traffic.
With the right SEO techniques, search engines will deliver interested customers directly to your site without any costly advertising.
2. Better quality traffic
Google, with its complex algorithms, is a bit of a matchmaker. It wants to match potential buyers with potential sellers, and good SEO helps make this happen.
Optimisation isn’t about tricking search engines into displaying your site. It’s about letting search engines know exactly what your content is about so that it appears in front of the right people – people that are looking for businesses like yours. And you have a much better chance of selling to someone who is already interested.
What’s more, because 78% of people now own a smartphone, there’s been a significant rise in mobile searches. Google has responded to this by providing people with more localised results, which is great news for small businesses. This localisation will allow them to compete with much larger players, providing they have the right SEO in place to be found.
Optimising your site and content for a specific area (town, city or region), together with local citations, quality backlinks, and a strong Google My Business listing are critical if you want to be found at a local level.
And by ensuring users find relevant local businesses, search engines are ensuring you find relevant, local, and most importantly, interested customers.
3. Improved user experience
SEO is a balance between optimising your content for search engines and for users (i.e. potential customers). Stuffing keywords all over the place is spammy and off-putting for visitors, and it makes it difficult to sell your business.
As Bill Gates said back in 1996, “content is king”, and good SEO is about producing quality, relevant content. So your site needs to include optimised content that not only reads well, but that sells, inspires, educates, and ultimately, gives people the necessary information to guide them through the buying process too.
To complete the positive user experience, this content needs to be presented in a cleverly-designed website that outwardly looks great, and is easy-to-navigate, quick-to-load and mobile-friendly, while inwardly being easy for search engines to crawl and list.
Content like optimised blog posts and videos are also great ways to add value for the user, and improve your rankings.
At the end of the day, a potential customer that has a positive experience on your site is much more likely to buy.
4. Increased brand awareness and authority
They say you are what you eat, and that’s very true in the SEO world.
E-A-T stands for Expert, Authoritative and Trustworthy.
If your site displays these characteristics, search engines will prefer your website over others and rank you higher.
SEO strategy can be used to establish your EAT profile and get you seen as an authority in your field. This in turn, builds your brand too.
A good SEO strategy would involve tactics like maintaining strong social media profiles, posting informative blog articles, securing backlinks from authoritative sites and seeking online customer reviews. All of which help improve your authority.
And as your name appears in more places across the internet, people’s awareness of your brand increases, which isn’t just a short-term gain. You will reap the benefits of this ‘popular expert’ status for years to come in both ranking and brand equity.
5. Healthy return on investment
SEO is a cost-effective marketing tool. Recent research suggests that it yields the highest Return on Investment (ROI) for many businesses.
According to a recent survey by the Search Engine Journal, almost 50% of businesses said that organic search had the highest ROI, while less than 20% saw a good return on paid search.
And although the return on some digital marketing strategies is short-term, SEO for organic search lays the foundations for returns over the long-term, even after the investment or campaign has ended. The increased traffic, positive user experience and authority status that SEO builds will help increase your sales long after your PPC advert has disappeared.
6. Maintain a competitive edge
Appearing on the all-important first page of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) is highly competitive. Research suggests that the top 3 listings get 40% of all click-throughs, so it pays to be on top.
SEO isn’t a new concept and some players are very well established online, meaning they top the ranks. Competing with these guys in the SERP can be tricky, and it gets harder every day. If you’re improving your ranking with SEO, the gap between them and you can only get wider.
Even at a local level, if you’re not investing in SEO, many of your competitors will be. As they climb the list, you’ll fall and you’ll have less chance of catching the click.
And it’s an ongoing process. With each new algorithm update, search engines strive to provide users with the best, most relevant content. Sites that don’t keep up to date with best practice will quickly lose their position.
Furthermore, good SEO requires extensive analysis of your competitors, the online marketplace and buyer behaviour. An SEO team is immersed in your brand, your customers and your competitors. This level of understanding is hugely beneficial and often brings new opportunities to light.
7. It requires expertise
SEO is constantly evolving as search engines actively try to weed out poor content and provide users with the best possible experience. These changing parameters and the many on/off-page factors contributing towards ranking, mean it’s very difficult to keep up.
To ensure your optimum ranking, you need an SEO specialist with proven experience, who stays on top of the trends and employs the latest techniques.
SOLVE (-ing) your SEO
Did someone say SEO specialist? At Solve, our expert team of geeks and geekesses know a thing or two about SEO. Our unique blend of optimisation, digital marketing and web design has improved the ranking for hundreds of business from all over the world – some by as much as 25,000%! And you don’t just need to take our word for it, our previous customers have left us some pretty awesome reviews on Google and 90% of our clients come from recommendation.
We solve SEO problems every day. If you need a boost, get in touch to see how we can help.