This article was first published on Sep 7, 2016, and last updated in March 2020.
If you’re looking to grow your business’ online search presence, there is no easier, cheaper, or more effective solution than search engine optimization (SEO).
When a consumer is looking for something, be that a product, advice, video, content, or your even your business’ location or opening times, most consumers today turn to online search engines.
In 2019 Google alone returned over 2 trillion search queries from its users and that number grows 10-15% every year.
Search engine marketing has become the central database of knowledge with consumers using it daily for almost all of their needs.
Why Your Business Needs SEO
Fewer consumers are going to the High Street to find what they want. Instead, 81% of consumers use the Internet to research their purchasing decisions before even leaving their front door.
Whether they are looking for the latest Nike sneaker or a local dental practice located 5 kilometers from their home, research always starts online.
Google reported that 50% of mobile searchers are looking for a local store address, with 18% of queries leading to a purchase within 24 hours from when the search was made:
SEO allows your business to meet the customer at the start, middle or end of their buying journey. Consumers are using the Internet to find services local to them; research product pricing; read online reviews; and to learn more about your products, services, and whether you’re the right business to solve their needs.
By having an active online presence through SEO, you can meet the consumer midway and answer all their questions without them visiting a competitor site to get their information.
Should a consumer visit your website and require more information, your business’s contact information is there for them to contact you via email, telephone, or even social media. The ability to be present during their product discovery phrase keeps your business in the consumer’s mind at all times, increasing the chances of them choosing your business over your competitors.
But being listed on Google isn’t enough. To receive the most benefit you must be listed in the top ten result of a SERP. This can only be achieved through SEO.
First Place Means Everything in SEO
It’s estimated that 95.1% of all searchers don’t go past the first page of the search engine result page (SERP). To be able to rank on the first page your business must leverage SEO, as it is the process Google, Bing, and Yahoo use to determine which websites should be given the top spots for their keywords.
Businesses who don’t adhere to best SEO practices will be ignored and occupy listings on pages that hardly anyone visits.
Have you spent hundreds or thousands of dollars creating a responsive website which receives very little traffic?
If so, chances are it’s because your website is not optimized for SEO and your business is not ranking on the first page for any of its key search terms.
Having a great looking website is not enough, it must be fully optimized for SEO to gain the full benefit.
SEO Is Like No Other Form of Marketing
SEO is the only organic form of online advertising today. It focuses on pull marketing which brings the customer to your business, opposed to many other types of advertising which consist of your business placing ads in front of the consumer.
For example, if a consumer jumps on Google and searches for local dentists in Seattle, he or she is asking for information about dentist practices in the local area.
The consumer is making the first step to learn more about your business and has a strong intent to solve their need. SEO is the strongest form of marketing because customers are looking for your business. They have an immediate problem or are actively searching for a solution, so having your business listed correctly on search engines gives you continual leads without having to worry about ad copy or creatives.
Facebook, Twitter, and PPC (pay-per-click) networks, which can be very profitable, use the opposite approach to winning customers. Unlike SEO which draws consumers to your business, advert display networks push your content in front of the consumer’s face, regardless of whether they are interested in your product or service.
Push marketing has a low conversion rate because ads are continually shown to uninterested leads. Push marketing is a paid form of marketing – you must allocate a budget to it – unlike organic SEO, which is free to use.
SEO is the number one form of direct marketing, it doesn’t involve you spending thousands of dollars in testing and ad spend, using pop-ups or any other annoying marketing tactic which could negatively brand your business.
Businesses have invested more than $65 billion per year improving their online search presence because it offers benefits no other online ad medium can achieve.
A Great Product or Service Doesn’t Guarantee Rank
In an ideal world, the business that offers the best product or service would occupy the top spot of the SERP. However, this is not the case.
Search engines are unable to review every product and service in the world and have come up with their own process to rank websites based on relevance, quality and authority.
This system is called SEO.
The typical search engine takes into account over 200 ranking factors, each factor carrying its own unique weight in the overall scoring. Businesses who optimize their websites for SEO typically rank higher because they are playing by the search engine’s rules, which enables them to rank their business for the correct search terms.
A business which is actively taking steps to improve their SEO is telling search engines that they are up-to-date with modern trends, are relevant in today’s marketing world, and are evolving – all signs of a growing and healthy business.
A business which is not using SEO is seen as one who isn’t taking its online presence seriously, may no longer be in operation, and/or is unable to accurately tell the search engine how to correctly list their business.
A strong SEO signal is a sign of a prosperous business.
How Long Does SEO Take?
SEO has no time-frame. Unlike a Facebook ad which can be assigned a start and end date, SEO is a continual process of adding, improving, editing, and refining your website’s presence to improve its visibility.
If your business has never attempted SEO in the past, or did but was unsuccessful, you will start to see an increase in website traffic within months when you start using the correct techniques. As you keep working on your business’s SEO, the benefits will grow.
If you stop, then so do the results; and it gives competitors and new startups the chance to overtake you.
SEO is no longer a nice addition to have in your digital marketing strategy, it is an internal component that is becoming a necessity that’s changing the way consumers gather information, research, and shop.
Are you looking to improve your business’s SEO presence? Then get in touch with one of our expert marketing consultants for more information or get a free SEO analysis to see what you can start doing to boost your online presence!