With search engines driving 93% of online traffic, search engine optimization (SEO) is more critical than ever.
SEO does much more than help with search results, though. Any company can benefit by investing in optimization, even ones that are already doing well.
Here are ten reasons why SEO is important to the success of your business.
#1 – Better User Experience
Most of the discussion about SEO is on where you show up in search results. This is important, but when you update your website for SEO, you also improve the user’s experience.
To understand why, it helps to know that part of optimizing your website involves what’s called on-page SEO. This means setting up your pages, menu, headers, and content in a way that’s easy to understand. It also includes adding words and phrases useful to your client.
The goal is to give your visitors a good experience, with information they want. When you do, they’ll stay longer. But if they don’t find what they need, they’ll quickly go elsewhere.
Google and other search engines know this. Those tools analyze the way users interact with your website, which in turns affects your position in rankings.
#2 – Builds Trust
Trust may not be your first thought when considering the importance of SEO, but it’s a significant factor.
Part of providing a good user experience is making regular updates. Even if your website is easy to navigate and has some value, if it hasn’t been updated in two years, users aren’t going to trust it.
To maintain your authority and build up that level of trust, you need to provide fresh, relevant content on a consistent basis.
From an SEO perspective, Google also looks for regular updates. Without them, you’ll fall lower in search results.
#3 – Focus on Local
If you have a small local business, you may still ask, why is SEO important to you? You may think it only applies to bigger companies trying to reach people in multiple locations.
It’s true that big companies need SEO, but local businesses stand to gain a lot as well.
In fact, search engines often put a priority on local companies. They know that people searching on mobile devices are often looking for something in the area.
You can take advantage of this with local SEO by providing content and keywords that you know people will look for, with a particular focus on your location.
Another option is to use local classifieds to advertise, as well as places like Yelp and Craigslist.
#4 – Low Cost
One of the best things about SEO marketing is the low investment. It takes some time, but it’s a lower cost than paid advertising.
Additionally, unlike paid ads, focus on SEO builds on itself over time. The content you create can still be useful years down the road, making your site increasingly more valuable. You can think of it as a business investment, not only marketing.
#5 – More Conversions
You want your website to get more traffic, but like a physical store, you want to turn those visitors into customers. SEO helps you do that.
By having a well-designed site, with the information your prospects want, search engines can do a better job of sending you the people most interested in what you sell.
Even if they don’t become a customer right away, they’re more likely to return to your website after a positive experience. With continued engagement, in time they’ll often become loyal customers.
#6 – Measurable Gains
When looking at SEO and your business, you don’t need to take it on faith that your optimization is working. You can see and measure the results.
Google Analytics and similar tools allow you to review several factors:
- demographics of site visitors
- what brought them to the site
- most visited pages
- how long they stay on the site
You can use this information to improve your website even further.
If people visit a certain page more often, you could make sure that page continues to stay relevant, with updated information. You can also identify any landing pages that perform better than others and take a similar approach moving forward.
By using the results effectively, you’ll see even more growth.
#7 – Learning Opportunity
Working on SEO forces you to think about your business differently than you do by putting up a simple website. It gives you an opportunity to learn more about your customers, but also about your competition.
Part of knowing what works is seeing what other companies are doing. You can then test that approach to see if it works for you. Even if it doesn’t every time, you’ll find something useful often enough to make it worthwhile.
#8 – Keep Up with Trends
The way people are searching for information is constantly changing. It used to be mostly on desktops, but now people in 10 countries are more likely to search on mobile devices.
The changes aren’t stopping there. Wearable devices and voice searches are increasing, and so is the use of video.
Keeping up with these trends in SEO is another way to make sure you’re giving your customers what they want, in the way they want it.
#9 – Build Brand Awareness
SEO marketing isn’t limited to what’s on your website. You should also share information about your business on social media. You can then use those posts to send people to your site.
You can also work on link building, the process of getting links to and from your site. The best way to do this is by creating guest blogs, pointing to high-quality sites, and providing content people will want to share.
Doing this will increase awareness of your brand.
But remember, the goal isn’t simply to get more links or increase postings. This only works if you focus on increasing value and building your authority.
#10 – Beat the Competition
Finally, the real importance of SEO is to beat your competition.
Showing up on the first page of search results, and especially in a higher position than your competition, will get you more clicks and visitors. The only way to do this is to have effective SEO.
Without that, you may end up on the second page, or even further down, and your website traffic will decrease.
You Know Why SEO Is Important – Now What?
Once you understand why SEO is important, you need to put that knowledge into practice.
Don’t try to do everything at once. Start by reviewing your existing content to see where it needs improvement. Then work on each area and aspect of SEO a step at a time.
SEO marketing won’t give you results overnight. With consistent and quality updates, though, you’ll start to see changes, and those will only get better with time.
Have more questions about SEO? Visit our community discussion board to get answers.