Complexity, costs, slow results, measurement challenges are just a few of the reasons why SEO is often left aside. Some even say that SEO is dead. SEO may be dead as we knew it years ago, but it is very much alive and enriching with new algorithms updates that put the spotlight on the user experience and relevant, high-quality content. SEO has become part of the marketing mix, that you cannot afford to ignore if you want a long-term growth.
Here are ten ways in which investing in SEO may impact your business for the better:
SEO traffic is stable, while social traffic is fluctuating
Unlike on social media, where the news feed is very dynamic, search engines provide stability and predictability of the results display and sorting. A post that goes viral on social media may drive traffic to your website for a few hours or at most a few days; if you rank high in search engines results, you will remain on top for a long time, sometimes even for years. Changes to search engines’ ranking algorithms are subtle, and even when you notice a descending trend, you have plenty of time to rethink the strategy.
SEO helps increase conversion rate
Traffic is good for your website, but is it enough? We all are interested in having visitors taking action: buy a product (ideally), sign-up for a newsletter, create an account. In other words, we are interested in their conversion, which is the bottom line of SEO and any other marketing strategy. According to a HubSpot study conducted in 2012, SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while leads from traditional push marketing channels only get a 1.7% close rate.
SEO builds trust and credibility
The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that 64% of people trust search engines for getting general information. Now imagine yourself not appearing in the search engines results in any way or on the last page. A significant part of your website visitors would simply vanish since Google is the first info source people turn to.
SEO is cost-effective
Many of the decision makers fear SEO costs. That’s why they leave SEO tasks to the developers or content marketers and cross their fingers for the best, or they prefer to invest in practices that generate quick short-term results like PPC or social media marketing. The problem here is that the faster the results, the shorter they last. Investing in SEO has an exponential effect in time. Even if you cut the SEO budget at some point, you may be surprised to find yourself at the same positions in the search engines results, year after year.
SEO provides good long-term ROI even though it doesn’t always show immediate results
One common pitfall is to think about SEO as a game of luck. This approach is explainable to a certain extent by the mystery surrounding the changes in ranking algorithms. But, as Sam McRoberts notices in his article “Investing in SEO the Warren Buffett Way“: you simply can’t approach SEO with a short-term investment mentality. If you’re looking for a quick hold-and-flip, that isn’t SEO […] If on the other hand, you’re willing to invest for the long-term, if you have a long-term vision and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to reach your end goal…that’s SEO.”
Your competitors are already doing it
Unless you are the lucky first one entering a brand new industry, you already have serious competitors that rank high in Google search results. The more reason for you to consider SEO as part of your business strategy. SEO competition analysis including keywords assessment and backlinks profile monitoring are effective approaches for starting to close the gap with these competitors.
SEO pushes you to improve usability
Gone are the days when SEO was mostly about writing content based on high keywords density. With its Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates, Google algorithms got more sophisticated including optimal user experience and relevant, high-quality content in their mix of sorting criteria. As Google itself advises, businesses should “create a good user experience and employ conventional SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.” Following these guidelines can do much more than just propel you on top positions in the search engines results and draw users to click on your URL: they can increase your number of returning visitors and help you meet your users’ needs.
SEO helps you increase brand awareness
You may find it challenging to get people to recognize and trust your brand name. Years ago this would have required massive investments in advertising and marketing. Today, SEO makes it possible to be reached even if people don’t know your brand name. Ask yourself: what are the words they would use to search for services or products like yours? Use tools that help you make a thorough assessment of the search trends and integrate findings into your content strategy. Once you start to show up in search engine results, you start being noticed. Once you start being noticed, your branding strategy is paying off. SEO is the shortcut from no-name to a well-known brand.
With SEO well done, there’s nothing to lose
SEO may sound like a complicated thing to grasp, but here are some encouraging facts:
- The first top 3 results in Google get 61% of the clicks. The number 1 alone gets over 30% of all clicks on that keyword
- 90% of the Google users only consult the first results page.
You might ask yourself: is it difficult to get to the top 3 results or at least on the first page? The honest answer is that the road is going to be long and challenging, but aiming high will not leave you unrewarded. As Leo Burnett said, “when you reach for the stars, you may not quite get them, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud, either.”
The longer you wait, the harder it will get to break into the SEO game
The SEO clock is always ticking. If you are still wondering whether or not it’s good to invest in SEO, here is some food for thought: on average, it takes between three and six months for a website to rank in Google. We’re not talking “first position” or “first page” here, but simply to appear in its search results. Add to this the time it takes to make it to the top; do you want to do the math or are you ready for some action?
How to improve the SEO of your digital products or services
Want to know more about how you can optimize your projects, websites or services for Google and other search engines by investing in SEO?