Over 2 billion people shopped online in 2021. That is a 4.4% increase from the previous year!
Business owners have experienced this shift in consumer shopping and buying patterns over the last several years. The need for search engine optimization (SEO) is at an all-time high. Regardless of the industry, business size, or product or service, businesses need SEO to take their brand to the next level in our digital world.
SEO is one of the most cost-effective digital marketing tools for businesses to reach their potential customers. While many business owners understand SEO can improve their website’s searchability, what other value does it provide?
An Introduction to SEO
Keywords are words and phrases potential customers use to search online content. Brands can use keywords that align with their products and services to reach their target audience.
With Google’s algorithm update, loading your website with keywords that provide no value is no longer an acceptable SEO tactic. Effective keywords must be well-researched, carefully chosen, and used appropriately throughout your website content.
When doing keyword research for your brand, look for ones with high search rates and low competition. Keywords should include short-tail keywords (like apples), long-tail keywords (like apples for sale), and local keywords (apples for sale in Chicago). Along with the main keywords, a business should have secondary and tertiary keywords to pull from during content creation. Keywords should be integrated into website content, blogs, articles, titles, and URLs.
Content is the medium used to reach and engage an audience. It should be educational, interesting, and relevant to the target audience. Content could include:
- Website copy
- Blog posts
- Press Releases
- White papers
- Social Media posts
Good content provides value and builds trust with potential customers. If you run a dog grooming business, you might add blogs to your website about dog care, safe places to take your dog, and how to reduce stress at the groomer. Your target audience would reach your website, find value, and hopefully, your business will be top of mind when their dog needs its next grooming.
Content and keywords are part of on-page SEO techniques. Off-page SEO involves doing things outside of your website to increase organic traffic.
Backlink building is the most popular method for off-page SEO. When various high-quality websites link back to your website, it increases your website’s authority with search engines.
Businesses can write guest blog posts, partner with companies or sub-services in their niche, publish press releases, or use influencer marketing to build backlinks. Beware of purchased backlinks when trying to increase your site’s ranking. These can do more harm than good in the long run.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a broad term for any type of paid marketing. This could include native ads, Google AdWords, pay-per-click (PPC), and social media ads. While SEM is not a component of many SEO strategies, it can help you reach new audiences when combined with SEO techniques.
Why is SEO Important for Modern Businesses?
Organic Search is a Significant Source of Website Traffic
SEO boosts organic search results, increases website traffic, and increases the website’s conversion rate. Google owns the largest market share for search engines compared to Yahoo and Bing. While all search engines can contribute to a business’s online presence, Google is the most visited website in the world and will carry the most weight for organic results.
Knowing so many people visit Google daily, gaining high visibility on the search engine results pages (SERPs) will quickly increase the brand’s online visibility and credibility.
SEO Builds Trust & Credibility
Building trust and credibility online is a long game. Establishing a high-quality website with quality SEO that potential customers trust takes consistency, strategy, and time. Just as in real life, authority is earned with customers over time.
In addition to providing value, search engines like Google give higher authority to websites with:
- Natural links
- Good user experience
- Optimized on-page elements and content
Google provided guidelines to ensure success in google search results with the acronym EAT. This stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Websites embodying these traits by offering valuable, high-quality information, products, and services will climb in search engine rankings.
Why does website authority matter so much to businesses?
Search engines want to provide quality content that answers questions and provides solutions. Imagine how frustrating it feels to search online endlessly and not find helpful information. You will not likely use that search engine if this is your experience. On the other hand, if you find valuable information on the first page of the search results, you have a great user experience and will use that search engine again.
SEO Tactics Mean a Better User Experience
The data gained from SEO research gives insights into potential customers and what they are searching for, need, and want. SEO experts evaluate search query data, SERPs, and analytics to target your business message further. This information lets you create better, more valuable content for your customer base.
On-page SEO optimization improves the overall usability of your website, creating a seamless user experience. Reducing loading speeds, optimizing your website for mobile use, and making navigation simple help to reduce bounce rates and encourage visitors to spend more time on your website.
Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversions
With the rise of mobile use, local searches are becoming a critical digital marketing strategy for small businesses with physical locations like restaurants, gyms, cafes, and construction companies. Local SEO optimizes searches for a specific vicinity, generally a neighborhood, town, city, or region.
As the name implies, local SEO focuses on local citations, backlinks, and regional listings relevant to the business location or niche. Creating a Google My Business listing and getting customer reviews is an excellent local SEO strategy.
SEO Impacts the Buying Cycle
SEO research and insights provide real-time information on your customers. This lets you relay messages on promotions, new products and services, new locations, and more to your customers at the right time. Brands must be visible when and where people need them to create strong brand loyalty. This directly impacts the sales cycle and brand visibility for potential customers looking for solutions.
SEO Best Practices are Always Changing
Search engines continue to evolve their algorithms to give customers the best user experience. Google alone made thousands of algorithm changes in the past year. This means SEO tactics cannot be implemented on a business website and forgotten. The website must be re-evaluated regularly to ensure the site’s rankings continue to improve.
Being proactive with SEO best practices and monitoring algorithm changes is a way to stay ahead of competitors and rank on the SERP.
SEO is Cost-Effective
In the grand scale of marketing budget allocations, SEO is relatively inexpensive, and the payoff can be considerable for many businesses.
Many companies view SEO as a business investment rather than a marketing expense because good SEO implementation can show positive results and investment returns over many years.
It’s a Long-Term Strategy
Website optimization and good SEO can have a noticeable impact within the first six months of implementation, and those results can continue over several years. As consumers changes and new opportunities arise in the market, the site may need to be updated. Small businesses and websites without extensive SEO can see significant results by implementing basic SEO best practices and producing high-quality value-driven content for the customer.
SEO is Always Going to Be Here
Consumers have been shopping for products and services online since the start of the internet, and companies will always need an effective way to reach them. While the internet continues to evolve and provide new entry points for consumers, such as voice, mobile applications, and wearables, keywords and optimization will always work to drive organic traffic to a business’s site.
SEO Saves you from Imperfect Search Engines
Many SEO best practices work with search engine algorithms, but search engines aren’t perfect. Search engine programming looks for specific elements as it crawls websites looking for information to answer user search queries. If your website has a poor link structure, search engines won’t be able to crawl and index the site, which will affect the site’s rankings. Coding errors, duplicate pages, language errors, and poorly designed forms can all cause search engines to encounter issues.
SEO is a practical, cost-effective tool for increasing organic traffic, improving website authority, reaching your target audience, and increasing your conversion rate. However, SEO best practices and search engine algorithms are constantly evolving. Having an SEO team on board to help you navigate website optimization, local searches, and your business online presence can significantly impact your bottom line.
Not sure where to start with website SEO? Contact us to learn more about our SEO packages designed to take your business to the next level.