What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? – this is no longer a frequently asked question. One should rather be asking “why is SEO important for my business?”.
The term SEO has, in fact, become a familiar and widely used acronym used in both formal and casual conversations which seldom requires an explanation. More importantly, it has also become easily the single most important key to the success of any business.
As the world of online businesses and digital marketing expands, so does the relevance of search engine optimization. There is no reason that any business should not have SEO as an integral part of its marketing strategies.
Although many business owners may consider it a daunting task, the importance of SEO in digital marketing far outweighs the amount of input needed to implement the relevant strategies.
There are myriads of reasons why SEO is important for your online business. However, this article focuses on 5 key benefits of SEO.
It’s no secret that original methods of marketing such as radio, television and print advertising have, to a great extent, fallen behind and are no longer as powerful or effective as they used to be. These marketing and advertising mediums are also very expensive compared to website Search Engine Optimization.
This is where Google steps in and takes the lead as it allows consumers to search for and find exactly what they are looking for within a matter of seconds. So, why wouldn’t anyone turn to Google first when initiating a product search?
Realistically, when searching for a product, it’s no longer necessary for consumers to walk from store to store looking for the best version of the product they wish to purchase.
In fact, the internet has given consumers a very convenient platform to browse between various products and services before actually visiting a physical shop to make the purchase.
Furthermore, research shows that up to 21.5 million South Africans are making their purchases online. This number is predicted to grow to 24.8 million by the year 2021.
Taking these numbers into consideration, it's easy to see why it’s critical for you and your business to be where your potential customers are and that’s on Google.
More importantly, your website needs to visible. In order for your website to be the first thing that the searching consumer sees, it needs to rank first or, at the very least, somewhere at the top of Google’s first page of results.
Another reason why SEO matters, is that currently, most website traffic comes from organic searches. Simply put, if a searcher sees your website as a result of their individualised search, he or she will be most likely to visit it.
As we already know, website traffic is needed in order for conversions to take place, ultimately resulting in increased turnover. Additionally, traffic brings you income as it has a direct influence on how much money you can generate from publishing adverts on your website using Adsense.
Lastly, organic search dominates conversion activity. Consumer research indicates the following:
• almost 20% of consumers’ purchases are influenced by search engines
• about 50% of consumers depend on their unique search when making their final purchase decisions
• 60% of the time, searches are the only or the final event within a purchase path
Firstly, what is PPC? PPC stands for pay-per-click and this is a type of marketing or advertising where advertisers pay the publishers a pre-determined fee each time one of their adverts is clicked.
Business owners often turn to PPC advertising because it costs less initially and it appears to produce immediate results.
Although SEO may cost more than PPC initially, SEO has far reaching benefits and will bring longer-term value to your business.
With PPC, as long as you are paying, you will appear in search results, which makes it a relatively inorganic marketing method. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that 95% of all traffic is driven by organic search.
In the same breath, anything between 70% and 80% of online visitors focus on the organic search results, ignoring advertisements entirely.
The amount of money that you will be spending on a PPC campaign will depend mostly on your industry as well as your level of competitiveness.
If you want to rank for keywords with a high search volume, you will end up spending a substantial amount of money on your campaign.
Also, what’s important to remember is that there can be radical variations in keyword costs within your industry as well as average costs per click.
Therefore, before choosing PPC advertising, it’s important that any business owner first does a thorough keyword research and calculates how much it will actually cost them.
The clicks per month multiplied by the cost per click will equal the monthly cost for the keyword. For example, if you sell handmade furniture and want to rank for the search term “buy handmade furniture” with the cost per click being R3.50 and an estimated 400 monthly clicks, you will be spending R1400 per month just for that keyword.
However, PPC can be used as a useful addition to SEO, especially for short-term advertising such as product sales and promotion. Although these two can work well together, it’s safe to say that SEO is essentially where you want to invest your time and money. Using SEO will cost you less and produce more sustainable results.
Unless your brand is as established as BMW or Apple, it’s likely that your potential clients are searching for products or services which are related to your business, rather than searching for your actual brand.
It’s at this point that you want your website to appear at the top of the search results because whether we like to admit it or not, majority of searchers associate high rankings with credibility.
Through achieving high rankings, SEO effectively boosts your website’s credibility from the perspective of your potential clients.
Furthermore, brand awareness is increased through SEO. There is research that indicates that up to 80% of consumers perform thorough online research by repeatedly modifying their queries before finally making a decision on what they want.
Efficient SEO will ensure that your website will appear for a wider variety of search queries related to your business. Consequently, logic tells us that the more you appear in the search results of your potential clients, the more likely they are to become paying customers.
You might still ask the question “what does SEO do for a business?” – especially if it’s not the goal of a business to rank first on Google.
The truth is that SEO does much more for your business than simply boost its rankings. Firstly, SEO greatly influences your business’ reputation as well as the way your brand is perceived by consumers.
For example, online reviews form a large part of SEO as surveys show that over 95% of customers read reviews when searching and making a decision to purchase a product or service.
Almost as many consumers admit that they trust online reviews as much as they would trust recommendations of a personal nature.
Obviously, a reputation cannot be built overnight, but by using SEO you are able to use reviews to your advantage as you manage your online reputation.
Secondly, SEO greatly influences purchasing decisions so, your business can expect increased leads and sales without having to invest more money in the actual marketing.
Third of all, as SEO helps increase overall traffic to your website, there is a higher chance of visitors sharing your content to social media platforms – especially if they are impressed with what they find. Word of mouth is an extremely effective way of spreading the word about your business – and it costs you nothing.
Lastly, with SEO, time-consuming activities such as emailing and cold-calling are no longer required. In fact, no more time needs to be spent on answering questions about your business where the answers are readily available online.
Google is extremely particular during the ranking process and is frequently raising its standards to ensure that only high-ranking sites land up on top.
SEO focuses the business activities on the deliverables, by making keyword search results the objective of the website. Knowing what customers are looking for is the best preparation for helping a business deliver.
SEO allows business owners the opportunity to take a closer look at their website to ensure that user experience, relevance, security as well as other technical aspects are enhanced.
Once these and other aspects are addressed, the result is that your website is significantly improved which in turn generates traffic, conversions and ultimately, sales which is what every business wants and needs in order to thrive.
As experts in SEO, we offer a streamlined approach to search engine optimisation which guarantees excellent, long-term results.
Contact us today to speak to an SEO specialist and learn about how it can benefit your business in 2019, or Get A Quote.
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