10 Reasons The Benefits of SEO Help Your Business From Day Zero
So… go on… who needs SEO?
The reality is that most businesses need search engine optimisation (SEO) as a foundation of their overall brand and marketing strategy, not just their digital marketing strategy. The reasons are many and the value of SEO is greatest when it is integrated into the very beginnings of improving or creating your online presence.
The research processes of SEO provide insights to help your business structure its website content to better serve your target market. It will guide your decision on the balance between SEM (paid search ads), SEO, PR (digital and traditional), content, social media and offline media marketing.
The hands-on (the backend of your website) aspects of SEO services deal with crucial technical aspects of the website which should be set up correctly from the start. This includes:
- correct meta data for each page,
- appropriate schema mark-up,
- image sizing for faster page load,
… and a slew of other details which help to present your brand engagingly on whatever device a viewer may find you.
Doing this when a website is already built adds an increased level of complexity and compromise that could have been avoided if SEO was planned in from the start. It is rarely as effective as when search insights were used to guide the design and structure of the website.
The optimisation work isn’t limited to your own website either. Before search engines give credence to most websites, and the brands that created them, the Googles and Bings of the world want confirmation from other trusted websites and media channels that the business entity is real. And so, it looks for other websites to confirm that your business is a credible entity and that the website is genuine.
Having a correctly set up Google Business Profile is a major credibility milestone for a local business. It’s Google’s own business directory website and once the Big G’s verified your business, that’s the first hurdle cleared, for many local businesses. The Bing equivalent, Places, and numerous other business directories provide further evidence that your business is a real entity in your town, beyond cyberspace!
The Top 10 Benefits of SEO in Digital Marketing are real for almost all businesses
The list below gives an overview of how SEO works for business
1. SEO is an exercise in understanding the voice of the customer
It’s intimately connected to improving user experience on a website by providing clues to the best structure to engage digital visitors and lead them to buy from your business. From the point where a digital marketing or SEO professional begins to ask questions about your ideal customer, the issues they want solutions for and how they ask for those solutions; we begin to see a pattern that will guide the structure of a new or updated website.
The answers you, and sometimes your customers, provide to our questions give starting points for keyword research. They’re a great guide into the search intent that we need to target. Around those insights we can guide the creation of a website that addresses what the target audience wants, in tune with their voice and making it obvious that your business is the best answer to their search.
2. SEO can be the primary source of website traffic, lead generation and revenue
If you are absent from page 1 of relevant search engine results pages… basically, you don’t get clicked! Any business owners who have gone to the trouble of setting up a well-designed website need search engine generated visitor traffic. Only then can their website’s content answer the queries of people who need what their business offers.
It doesn’t matter if the search numbers every month are tiny. Business owners want their website to be in that top 3 cluster that is viewed first when intercepting that one enquiry that’s key to many thousands of pounds worth of business.
Even very low performing websites will pick up some visitors from obscure searches that people carry out. Unfortunately, these are often completely irrelevant queries and the disappointed visitor “bounces” away: unsatisfied. Google’s Analytics tool and Search Console detect that behaviour and will further degrade their algorithmic assessment of your website’s value.
Things improve dramatically when you are on the first page of search results for a relevant search. Even more so if you are in the top 3 or in one of Google’s information, question or rich snippet features above the main results.
That’s when you attract quality traffic. People are far more likely to click through to your website and be satisfied, leading to business being done. Which leads into the third point. SEO improves your chances of being seen there enormously.
3. SEO is a powerful tool in building brand awareness, trust and credibility
SEO is as effective as PR for getting your brand seen and boosting reputation. ClimbHigh SEO’s motto is “#ItsGreatTobeOnTop”. One of the reasons it’s great to be on top of Google search results is that this builds credibility and authority.
It’s not just in the “spider eyes” of search engine crawlers, that this ability to rank for important search terms matters. It improves your business credibility with real people too.
Search engines are pretty sophisticated now. They have become increasingly effective filters of the vast quantities of content, on virtually every subject, through the application of so called “artificial intelligence” (AI) and machine learning: in addition to the tools mentioned in the last section. It is getting much less feasible to game the search results efficiently. For most people, on a serious search for an answer, results that show up high in a relevant search are likely to be seen as trustworthy these days.
If your website has been well optimised to show your brand at the top of multiple searches in your market niche, this is a powerful builder of brand awareness, trust and credibility.
4. Local SEO taps into nearby mobile searchers
For the vast majority of smaller businesses, who are dependent on customers from their own locality, SEO is every bit as important as it is to a large entity needing visibility across the nation. Being visible in local searches is crucial.
Because a significant majority of those searches have taken place on mobile phones and tablets since 2015, a mobile friendly site design is an absolute must for businesses with a local catchment area. That, in itself, is an important aspect of search optimisation.
From plumbers to diesel specialists, accountants to optometrists, most of your revenue is going to be generated from local customers and clients. Being seen in the “local pack”, so often found at the top of the results page, is much more likely to influence a potential customer or client to visit your business or click to call you.
Bear in mind this statistic from Safari Digital’s report on local search marketing behaviour:
- 78% of searches from a mobile device result in an offline conversion
- 52% of near me searches result in a visit to a bricks and mortar business
Some statistics about the frequency of local search, from Bright Local’s 2022 Customer Review Survey, add weight to our assertion.
- 99% of consumers have used the internet to find information about a local business in the last year.
- 78% of consumers use the internet to find information about local businesses more than once a week (up from 69% in 2020).
- 21% of consumers use the internet to find information about local businesses every day (down from 34% every day).
Though daily local search has decreased since pandemic pressures eased, usage is increasing across the other frequency bands.
5. SEO plays into the buying cycle
Buyer behaviour has shifted enormously, with changes being accelerated by both the pandemic and the current cost of living increases. Now, the buying cycle may loop around multiple devices and visits to retail outlets.
A scenario can be visualised where a search on a mobile phone reveals an advert or two for the product or service the customer wants while they are watching a programme on their smart TV. They may then bring that search up on the big screen during an ad break. One or two search ads might catch their eye before they scroll down, but the programme kicks back in and the search is abandoned.
The next day the search is picked up again on the tablet or laptop and one of the brands they saw in an ad is seen in the local results. This leads to a quick look in the window of that shop when they are passing that shop later in the day.
More research and a bit of price comparison and review checking leads to a return visit to the shop and a purchase. This not so farfetched scenario demonstrates how SEO can work extremely well in tandem with local PPC advertising.
6. Understanding SEO gives a better understanding of the web environment in which you compete
An effective SEO strategy gives your business a competitive advantage or chips away at stronger, better resourced rivals’ advantage. In many markets a long-established brand may well be dominant in the niche you need to be visible in.
By targeting the right searches with the right content marketing, the right external links and media flagging up your solution, it is often possible to outflank the “big boys”.
Ecommerce is often a field where a small operator can find a niche where a larger, richer business has dominated the main keyword searches for products or even whole categories of products. Diligent long tail keyword research, classier content and well targeted promotion or advertising can bring in sales that the rival misses.
7. SEO is cost effective as a long term strategy
Theoretically you could say it’s a no cost option if you handle it in-house. But, it’s important to recognise that the staff member(s) charged with managing those processes have to be paid and given the time to manage the processes properly. So the no-cost claim is theoretical only.
Whether SEO is managed in-house or by an agency, it is a set of processes that build long term visibility. The traffic doesn’t stop when the ads stop.
8. SEO is Quantifiable
To a much greater extent than with old style magazine or newspaper ads, the effects of SEO can be measured and the return on investment can be quantified. The multi device nature of much search activity does make it harder to pin down individual customer journeys and buyer pathways than in the early days of analytical tools.
That task will become more difficult when cookies are phased out, but methods are evolving to track the paths to purchase without infringing on customers’ privacy. But, the bottom line is that business owners have usable information that helps to improve their offer to customers locally and nationally.
9. SEO can highlight opportunities for brands to improve revenue
There are many insights provided by SEO which extend to finding the search terms that don’t present any results from your business. This gives you a target for improving the content and traffic generation to the product or service in question to help you generate more leads, enquiries or sales. Potentially your competitors are absent too: and this can hint at new products or services to offer. Your SEO investment can quite literally spot an unsatisfied “want” and create an additional revenue stream.
10. SEO is an art of constant incremental improvement
SEO is not just a long-term process. It’s an eternally unfinished business. Google alone makes multiple subtle changes to search and advertising algorithms daily. Competitors up their game and can outperform your previous winning effort.
So, monitoring and communication with your SEO specialist are important. Complacency is the enemy here. Initial success should not be seen as permanent. A good SEO practitioner will keep you informed about the ebb and flow of your search efforts.
This is a 2-way process though. The business owner needs to be committed to heeding the advice of their practitioner whether they are in-house or an external agency.
SEO for Business Growth
As long as there are search engines and a web, SEO will be a thing. The importance of SEO in digital marketing isn’t going to go away. It will simply become more sophisticated, but this writer confidently predicts that it is always going to be most effective when it is integrated right at the start of any web design or digital marketing project.
I’ve scanned what many other more experienced digital marketers than I have written about the benefits of SEO. This piece is based on my own experience and what these bigger players have written over the past couple of years. Some of them drag the list out to 15 items, prewsumably for the SEO benefits 😉 . I hope I have condensed it down to the most important group of factors to consider when you are about to embark on a major digital marketing upgrade for your business.