Despite being a critical part of a webmasters job, SEO remains enigmatic to most business owners. This is because they needlessly complicate the definition and think of it as something too technical to grasp. But in reality, SEO is quite easy to comprehend and is an essential part of any online marketing strategy.
Unless you live under a rock, you would know that the Internet is pervasive, and being visible online is not a specialty but a basic necessity for any business. Just think of anything you want to know, and the first thought that comes would be to search it in Google or some other search engine.
Thus, search engines act as the doorway to Internet resources, and ranking higher in these search results means you get better visibility. SEO is all about boosting that online presence for your business. Read on to know more about SEO and how it helps your business.
What Exactly Is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a set of practices that improve the inbound traffic to your site from search engines. The process usually involves enhancing your content quality and optimizing the factors that a search algorithm uses to rank websites for specific keywords.
When you use a search engine, you typically enter a search phrase on the search bar. The search engine will crawl through the available internet resources and return a list of closely matching links and relevant to the search phrase.
The links that qualify with the highest-ranking are shown first and have the highest possibility of getting inbound traffic from a search query. Let’s say you search for the term ‘SEO tutorials.’ You are most likely to click the first link that shows up. And everyone running SEO services would covet that first position.
And that leads to optimizing the website content to fit the criteria set by the search algorithm.
Basically, SEO ensures your sites are accessible for search engines and can get better positions at related search results.
How Does SEO Work?
The basic SEO practices involve identifying the keywords and publishing quality content that is relevant to the keywords.
SEO experts, like us, analyze the criteria used by search engine platforms to fine-tune your content marketing and your website’s technical aspects. For instance, Google gives priority to mobile-friendly websites and ranks them higher than sites that are not optimized for mobile viewing. Similarly, sites with proper sitemap XML files are easily accessible to web crawlers and can give you better visibility.
Many more such criteria help you understand how search engines rank websites and make your sites rank higher.
SEO strategies are those best practices and focused efforts you put into making your sites have a better ranking. Search engines continue evolving in a way to provide meaningful and valuable content to the users. So, for a streamlined organic SEO growth, you would have to follow the approach of using quality content with the natural inclusion of keywords and promote your content.
Here are some specific SEO strategies you should check out:
- On-page SEO – keyword research, content creation, and keyword placements, page structure, links, and so on.
- Off-page SEO – backlinks, domain authority
- Website performance and usability
Why Do You Need SEO?
Having talked about SEO, you might think it is too much of an effort. True, but the effort put into SEO pays. Let me explain in detail why SEO should be mandatory for your business marketing.
It Brings the Highest Percentage of Organic Traffic
Let me list down some stats to help you understand the significance of SEO.
- SEO is capable of bringing 20 times the traffic than PPC on both mobile and desktop.
- Google alone contributes to about 94% of the total organic traffic.
- 61% of marketers believe SEO to be a top priority for increasing inbound traffic.
- The first organic listing in search results gets 27.7% of the clicks for mobile and 19.3% of clicks for desktop searches.
- SEO leads have a better close rate of 14.6%.
Organic traffic is the first stage in most marketing funnels that ultimately leads to conversions. And as you can see from the stats, a huge chunk of such traffic comes from SEO.
SEO Helps Build Brand Image and Credibility
Stats say that about 50% of users are more likely to click on a link if the associated brand appears multiple times on results. There is a particular logic behind this as well. Sites consistently ranked higher usually have a good user experience and have fewer penalizations from search engines. These qualities are indicative of the site’s value-based content and sophistication.
Some elements that of such credible sites are:
- Quality backlink profiles
- Site performance
- Optimized content
- Machine learning
- Positive user experience
Search engines may also look into other factors based on contextual queries and use their machine learning techniques to accrue the brand authority your site needs.
SEO Can Help You Optimize User Experience
As mentioned earlier, user experience is a critical factor that search engines use to rank a site. Search algorithms use certain parameters to ascertain the user experience and use that information to list sites that users will want to see.
Thus by focusing on SEO, you will automatically build a site that has a positive user experience.
Local SEO Can Build Brand Loyalty
Small businesses have found local SEO to be a great way to create more sales opportunities and build their brand online. Local SEO refers to SEO focused on a localized geographical region. So if a person is searching for hotels to stay in, the search results would show the nearby hotels in that locality.
Thus, local SEO allows these businesses to engage with potential customers and establish strong communication with the local audience.
Local SEO can be used to focus on specific regions, cities, and even countries depending upon the level of reach you want for your business.
Some common SEO practices that help with local SEO are:
- Optimizing local citations, backlinks
- Using local listings
- Optimizing Social media profiles
- Mentions in relevant Review sites
SEO Helps Improve Sales
Before deciding to purchase anything, most customers would prefer to search the Internet for basic research.
When you have good SEO in place, you can make sure your promotional offers, campaigns, features, services, and products are visible to such potential customers.
It can help usher in new buyers and thus boost your sales.
SEO Helps You Keep Your Site Up To Date and Relevant
There is a reason that websites keep getting better with more interactive designs and functions over the years. Each year you can see a new trend coming up like advanced chatbots, web stories, and so on. As the internet keeps evolving, search engines, too, evolve their algorithms to stay relevant. This means that you will be aware of the next big changes and be ahead of your competition by following the best SEO practices.
SEO Is Cheaper
SEO does cost you money. You will have to invest in good web design, content creation, and other such activities. But it is something you are anyway bound to do as part of your marketing. And the best part about SEO is that it is relatively cheaper than most other marketing strategies. It is also a long term strategy that should not be viewed as a cost but as a wise marketing investment.
SEO Can Be Measured and Tracked
SEO is not some vague Internet sentiment where you cannot pinpoint what works and what does not. While it may not be as quantifiable as PPC ads, SEO has its own set of metrics that help track and measure your success.
This helps re-evaluate your strategies and make sure you are investing in the right things.
You can easily track your keyword positions; get site audit reports on quality and readability scores that can serve as indicators for measuring the returns from SEO.
You can use tools like Google Analytics to measure inbound traffic, referral links, conversions from organic traffic, and any similar metric you might find useful.
So why the wait? Start focusing on your SEO today as the benefits are too good to sleep on. SEO is the most cost-effective and organic method to improve your brand image and reach your target audience. Start with building mobile-friendly, SEO optimized sites, focus on your users, do your keyword research, and optimize your pages accordingly. Do take time to learn about the best SEO practices and make the best use of it.