Search engine optimization is a lot more than a numbers game. There seems to be a misconception that SEO is some kind of foolproof formula that, when uncovered, will make you the master of page rank. This is hardly the case.
SEO is a complex undertaking comprised of many moving parts, which means businesses looking to make the most of their SEO efforts must continually adjust their strategies in order to take advantage of the latest trends. However, the many benefits to be gained from optimization makes it well worth taking the time to learn SEO or hiring a professional to do it for you.
According to inbound marketing software purveyor Hubspot, 61% of internet users worldwide research products online, and even more compelling, 60% of organic click-thru goes to the top three results for any given search. What does this mean for your business? It means that SEO could significantly improve your ability to grow and profit. Here are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy when you optimize.
1. Raise awareness
Just because consumers are seeking your products or services doesn’t mean they know you exist and that you’re prepared to meet their needs. It is your responsibility to make yourself visible so that customers can easily find you.
It’s not enough to list your business with search engines like Google and Bing. Unless you’re on the first page of search results for specific queries, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be seen. You therefore need to engage in SEO as a means of increasing your page rank for targeted searches so that both local customers and online shoppers in other regions (depending on how wide of a net you want to cast) can find you.
2. Increase sales
The ultimate goal of any business is to increase profits. You naturally have other goals, as well, such as creating a loyal fan base, encouraging brand ambassadors, and generally operating a business that is perceived favorably. But these are long-term goals; in the here and now your main concern is probably keeping the doors open.
Fortunately, SEO can help you to accomplish all of your objectives. By increasing visibility and conversion rates, you’re sure to see an uptick in sales as a result. With proper SEO efforts, however, you can also exert some control over how you are found, how you are seen, and how your business progresses in the online arena, in essence building your virtual brand image from the ground up.
3. Stay Competitive
If you think your competitors aren’t involved in SEO, think again. Hubspot reports that “50% of all mobile searches are conducted in the hopes of finding local results”. Your competitors are surely taking advantage of these searches by optimizing their websites for local search traffic.
If you want to remain relevant in a marketplace in which consumers rely heavily on digital tools to find products and make purchases, you cannot hope to compete without operating efficiently and effectively online.
4. Reduce advertising costs
Every business owner knows that advertising is essential to growing a business and increasing profits. What you may not realize is the extent to which SEO can provide low- or no-cost advertising options.
Hiring an SEO expert can be pricy, to be sure, but you can learn a lot over time. In addition, you’ll find that it’s easy to perform tasks like keyword research on your own, cutting costs while increasing opportunities to reach consumers and make conversions. You can also seek out performance based SEO services, whereby you pay only when you see results.
5. Advance your reputation
An online reputation can be difficult to build and maintain, but with proper SEO you can exert control over what search engine users encounter when they seek out your type of business or your company specifically. The best way to combat negative information online is to supplant it with positive content that has been optimized for relevance.
6. Understand consumer trends
The Internet has made it a lot easier to figure out what goes on in the minds of consumers. You can use tracking and analysis tools to see how people find you, what they respond to, and which SEO efforts seem to garner the best results.
7. Improve user experience
Believe it or not, SEO can make your business better and improve the overall experience for users as a result. Businesses that employ SEO must deliver top-notch content, operate within set guidelines, and generally take pains to ensure that they generate the best results for search users (or risk delisting by Google and other search engines). The result is beneficial for both consumers and the businesses they support.