We live in a digital world today, and according to Accenture, 94% of B2B buyers search online before they make a purchase. Businesses that don’t want to understand and leverage the importance of SEO are going to be left behind and will also lose out on customers that could add to their business. The dominance of the online world is clear for everyone, and a report by Statista has revealed that global e-commerce is estimated to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021!
Ecommerce will account for 17.5% of retail sales by 2021, which will be double than right now. The GE Capital Retail Bank has also reported that 81% of people research online before buying something. The digital world has clearly impacted local businesses, and a report by LSA Acquisio stated that 75% of mobile searches result in a store visit within 24 hours, and 30% of these visits are for purchase.
Consumers today view the internet as an important part of their shopping experience, irrespective of whether they are buying in person or online. They can use the internet to learn about the business and the products before they end up purchasing them. However, a lot of businesses still find it overwhelming when it comes to investing in SEO. That is because businesses want clear cut details about returns on investment for every financial investment. To help, we have outlined everything that organizations should know about the value of SEO.
1- Why Is SEO Important?
Google checks various factors when trying to determine the ranking of websites that show up on their SERPs. They verify if the content is relevant to the query and can be trusted to offer value to the reader.
When content ranks high on SERP, its chances of attracting clicks and attention increases drastically.
Reports have indicated that 30% of clicks will go to the link ranked first on SERP, and the percentage will fall to around 12% for the third-ranked link. The links at the bottom of the page only receive about 2% of clicks from users. (Smart Insights 9/2016).
The statistics above clearly show the disparity between the top and lower ranked websites, which is why businesses desiring more online traffic must use quality SEO to boost their rankings.
The digital marketplace is constantly evolving and has become an integral part of the sales funnel for every business today.
Customers today like to research online before they buy any product or service, and that is why businesses must pay attention to SEO to improve their visibility for online customers.
Search engine optimization has become a vital component for online success, and businesses that want to ensure that they have a strong online presence must invest in SEO to engage the modern consumer.
2- Constantly Changing Landscape of SEO
Search engine marketing started in the mid-1990s, which was a very different time. The SEO tactics in the earlier days have become obsolete now.
These tactics involved keyword stuffing, meta keywords tag, and manual submission.
In the past, SEO tactics for leveraging traffic involved the construction of inter-linking farms of websites, purchasing bulk links from automated spam injectors, and link bombing.
Everything changed again in 2011 when vertical search inclusion and social media marketing became mainstream methods for SEO.
Over the years, search engine algorithms have been improved, which has meant most of the tactics that worked in the past are now prohibited by search engines today.
No one knows what the future holds, but in the digital world, it can be safely predicted that change is constant.
There is no denying that search marketing will remain a priority for businesses when it comes to maintaining a competitive edge in the digital world.
There have been claims made that SEO is dead, but there is no logic or evidence that proves those claims. Search engine optimization is still integral to businesses today and will garner even more importance in the years to come.
Google algorithms play a vital role in determining the website ranking in Google’s SERPs.
Search engines have complex algorithms that serve their search results, and these algorithms are updated regularly to ensure that users are provided with relevant and accurate search results.
Therefore, business websites must keep abreast of the newest changes and algorithm updates affecting the SEO landscape.
To help explain the impact of changing search algorithms, we have outlined some of the major algorithm updates that Google has released over the years.
2.1- Google Panda:
The Google Panda algorithm update rewarded high-quality websites and diminished the presence of low-quality websites on Google’s organic SERP.
It was called the ‘Farmer’ in the beginning, and Google states that the initial rollout of Panda affected nearly 12% of English language search results. There have been 28 updates made to Panda from 2011 to 2015.
The Panda algorithm update addressed several problems in Google SERPs, including:
- Thin content
- Duplicate content
- Low-quality content
- Lack of authority
- Content farming
- High-ad-to-content ratio
- Low-quality user-generated content
- Content mismatching search query
- Low-quality content surrounding affiliate links
- Websites blocked by users
The Panda algorithm has been frequently cited as an update from which it is almost impossible to recover if penalized.
2.2- Google Penguin:
Google remained business, and after the release of Panda, they announced the release of the Penguin update, which would be a new way to reward high-quality websites and diminish the visibility of websites that engaged in keyword stuffing and manipulative link schemes.
Google states that the initial rollout of Penguin affected 3.1% of search engine queries in the English language.
There have been 10 documented updates made to the Penguin algorithm from 2012 to 2016. The Penguin update has become a part of Google’s core algorithm from 2017. Penguin focused on two malpractices:
- Link schemes
- Keyword stuffing
The Penguin algorithm came into being in order to fix the flaw in Google’s system. This flaw had allowed their algorithm to be fooled by malpractices like the use of numerous low-quality links and keyword stuffing.
RankBrain, an integral component of Google’s core algorithm, employs machine learning to identify relevant results for search engine queries.
The algorithm update has changed how queries are interpreted by applying various factors like the location of the user, personalization, and words of the query to determine the user’s true intent. Google was able to deliver highly relevant results by discerning the true intent of search queries.
Due to its integration of machine learning, RankBrain is miles ahead of other algorithm updates. Google feeds the RankBrain algorithm with data from various sources to teach it how to produce relevant search results.
The algorithm calculates and teaches itself over time, and learns to match various signals to different results, and then order search engine rankings based on the calculations.
The Hummingbird algorithm update was unlike the Panda and Penguin updates, which were released as add-ons to the existing Google algorithm. Hummingbird was a complete overhaul of the core algorithm Google used, but it did retain most components of the core algorithm.
This algorithm update clearly signaled Google’s commitment towards an increasingly sophisticated understanding of user intent and matching them with relevant results.
The main purpose of Hummingbird was to translate semantic search from concept to reality, which would create a search standard.
It improved the ability to approximate the true intent of searches to deliver accurate and relevant results to users.
3- How Can SEO Help Your Business Grow?
Every business, big or small, needs some kind of Internet exposure today. This is the direction in which the world is headed. And if your business doesn’t catch up, it is bound to stay behind.
However, there are many moving parts to a business that one needs to manage, even if they are small. These include taking customers’ calls, fulfilling orders, and dealing with other business-related activities.
In between all of this, focusing on digital marketing or even making a start on promoting your business online can take a backseat.
Besides that, as you move forward, you face a ton of options when it comes to marketing. And things get confusing as to what you can or should do to tap into the vast power of digital marketing.
One simple way to start or enhance your digital marketing journey is with the help of search engine optimization or SEO. Even though there are multiple ways to promote your business on the web, nothing comes close to the power of SEO, as it is known to fetch you a high ROI when applied effectively.
Here’s how SEO can help you in the long run:
- It lets you drive targeted, organic search traffic that is relevant to your industry
- It helps your brand gain higher visibility and more exposure
- It makes it easy to attract people that will convert into customers/clients
Now, a lot of businesses still have a misconception about SEO: that it doesn’t compare well with the popular form of marketing: word of mouth.
What they fail to realize is SEO is the word of mouth of the Internet era. It’s a whole new way to gain more referrals for your business at a lesser cost.
When you look at the traditional word of mouth marketing, you find that it is not as scalable as search engine optimization, which makes SEO much more powerful.
If you look around, you’ll find that every business that’s determined to grow is taking SEO seriously.
Gone are the days when SEO was only an option. Today, it has become an integral part of an effective digital marketing strategy. The kind of potential it can create for a business is nothing to ignore.
Having a well-designed website is only one part of the equation. The other part is to make sure it is structured the right way with high-quality content. Content that not only appeals to the visitors but also the search engine spiders.
When you work on improving your site’s structure and content, you’ll see the impact on your business growth in terms of leads and sales.
4- The Role of SEO in Your Business’s Growth
Your business obviously has a target market it is catering to. By creating and publishing relevant content (on a regular basis) that focuses on topics related to your business, you have a chance to reach out to your target audience via search engines.
And if your content is worth it, then search engines like Google will not hesitate to rank you higher. Which helps you generate targeted traffic to your site at no extra cost.
Now, once people visit your website via Google, you also need to know how to engage with them by giving them what they are looking for.
Your content needs to work in conjunction with your business goals so that you can build real trust with your visitors. Successful SEO is not just about getting people to your site. It’s also about getting them to take the right actions once they are there.
When you seek real SEO help to generate targeted traffic, you also need to know why you want people to come to your site. What kind of action to you want your visitors to take once they hit your website?
- Do you want them to fill out a quote or your contact form?
- Or you want them to opt-in to your email list?
- Or simply hit the buy button to buy your product or service?
The only reason you are looking for SEO help is that you want to get more business from your website, right? But that’s only going to happen when you have the utmost clarity on how you will convert the SEO traffic you generate.
If not, what’s the use of investing your precious time and money into SEO?
Remember, visitors to your business website are only valuable when they interact with your content in a way you want. If not a direct sale, you at least want them to give you their contact information so that you can follow-up later.
The last thing you want is people visiting your website via search engines and leaving, never to come back again. That’s only going to give you a negative ROI.
And when it comes to your marketing budget, you may be wondering, “Is SEO necessary?” The short answer is yes.
But if you really expand on why SEO is so important and a good investment, you will start to realize all the ways SEO help improve businesses today.
That being said, let’s now look into a few ways SEO can be important to your business and help take it to the next level.
4.1- SEO Boosts Inbound Traffic
When it comes to generating more business, there is no doubt that you need to generate more exposure to your offer. You’ll have to focus on various marketing methods to get more website traffic that can be converted into sales.
However, running ads or indulging in old-school, outbound marketing practices such as cold-calling can prove to be expensive, especially if and when you are starting out.
Your aim should be to reach out to your target audience in a cost-effective manner. You’ll see that many businesses today rely on SEO to market their business. Mainly because it helps you attract quality inbound traffic.
The best part about this inbound traffic is that it’s targeted and grows with time, given that you are putting in regular effort or are getting ongoing SEO help from a reputed agency like SEO Resellers Canada.
The bottom line is; search engine optimization can help you gather qualified leads without being too heavy on your wallet. SEO can save you money on any outbound marketing activities and allow you to focus more on what works.
4.2- SEO Leads to More Customers
Let’s face it; having a business website that is well-structured and informative is a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition and get more customers at the same time.
However, if nobody relevant finds your site, it’s not going to do its job, no matter how professional it looks.
Regardless of your business’s position, it needs to have a consistent flow of potential customers so that you can get more sales and win more clients. And your website happens to be an important tool in doing so.
Can SEO help you get more customers from your website? Of course, it can! Because people that are potentially interested in your products/services are right now searching for them on Google and other search engines.
With the growth of smartphone usage, this probability is even higher.
When people are in two minds about buying a product or service, they typically do their research online. When your website is optimized for the right keywords, you can be at the right place at the right time.
In a way, SEO makes it simpler for people to make a buying decision, and when done right, it can bring your prospects closer to buying your product/service over your competition.
When you get proper SEO help, you’ll be able to increase the chances of more people going through your buying cycle.
Every business needs customers, and yours is no different. By focusing on getting SEO help, you’ll double your chances of finding the right customers when compared to businesses that don’t use it.
Increasing your customer base goes beyond just getting more exposure. You need targeted exposure so that the customers you find are qualified enough.
And SEO helps you with that as it not only lets you attract the right kind of traffic but also lets you identify/focus on those channels that are not “time wasters.”
Agreed that SEO doesn’t give you overnight results, but the results you get by applying it consistently will speak for themselves.
4.3- SEO Helps Build Trust and Credibility
Establishing real authority can and will positively affect your business, but it will not happen fast. Your brand will have to work on earning authority over a period of time.
Fortunately, effective search engine optimization can help your brand build trust and credibility in the eyes of Google, which can lead to more traffic.
Also, there’s a strong belief amongst search users that a credible business can always be found on the first page of Google.
Your prospects will see your business site having higher authority when they see you ranking high for the right keywords; this will obviously lead to more targeted visitors that convert into sales.
Search engine optimization has completely dominated the online marketing place, and businesses have started investing heavily in digital marketing services to stay ahead of their competition.
It’s simple; if you want to beat your competition online, you must practice quality SEO to rank first on Google’s SERP and attract more clients than your competitors.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 22, 2018, and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.