No matter what type of website you have, if you want people to find it, SEO is important. And if you want to make money off your website, whether through ads, an eCommerce store, or because you use it to promote your business, the reasons to enhance your online presence through SEO are even stronger.
But hearing people talk in general terms about why you need SEO isn’t necessarily persuasive. SEO requires work and, if you’re going to make the investment in SEO services, you need to hear a solid case for the benefits of SEO.
Here’s everything you need to know about effective SEO strategies to get the benefits of SEO.
Google plays a huge role in how people find information.
When you’re arguing with your friends about a piece of trivia, trying to find the best place for a meal out, or researching a software product you’re considering, where’s the first place you turn? Google, right?
For most of us, it’s become the go-to place to find information and answers on just about any topic. Google alone processes over 3.5 billion searches a day. Whether your website provides gardening tips, movie reviews, or homemade soap for sale, when people go looking for that information, Google’s one of the first places they turn.
SEO rankings lead to increased traffic.
Analysing results across thousands of websites, Bright Edge found that 51% of all website visits come from organic search results. If you want people to visit your website, the research is clear: you need to show up in search results.
And where you show up makes a difference as well. Over 30% of clicks on the first page of the search engine results go to the top result. And for any results past spot number three, clicks drop off significantly.
The traffic SEO produces is relevant.
Traffic is only a good thing if the visitors find what they’re looking for when they land on your website. If you have a website all about vegetarian cooking, but somehow keep getting traffic from people looking for hamburger recipes, your visitors aren’t going to be happy.
One of the benefits of SEO is that the people who come to your website are those directly looking for the type of content you provide. If you optimize your recipes for the terms “veggie burger” and “vegetarian burger” (and leave the term “hamburger” off the page), you can trust that the people who find you on Google are specifically looking for vegetarian burger recipes.
SEO Marketing is affordable.
Online marketing tactics can be divided into two main categories: those you have to pay for (like PPC in marketing and paid search marketing) and those that are technically free but require a lot of time to do well. SEO falls into the latter category. If you have the time to give to it, you can get results without spending any money.
For websites that won’t be bringing in a profit, it makes more sense to pursue SEO vs. PPC as a tactic. That said, it is competitive. If you want to compete for high-value keywords that big budget websites currently rank for, then you’ll have a hard time managing it without hiring help. But if your aims are less ambitious, you can get results with SEO targeting long-tail keywords without having to throw money at your efforts.
People trust search results.
Google has worked hard to create an algorithm that delivers quality results. That’s paid off in regular people considering those results to be trustworthy. The Edelman Trust Barometer found search engines to be one of the most trusted sources of information, beating out the media, human editors, and social media, with 59% of people saying they feel confidence in search engine results.
When Google starts to put your website content on page one, it’s a signal to people that your website can be trusted and is worth checking out. It gives you an immediate boost in authority.
SEO results are long lasting.
SEO is a long game. It takes time (and a lot of work) to start seeing results for your website. But that patience pays off. Once your website starts to gain top rankings, you can expect them to stick around for a while as it’s one of the benefits of SEO.
There are no guarantees—top ranking websites do sometimes drop back down due to Google penalties, or competitors working hard to overtake them. But generally speaking, once you’ve put in the hard work to gain a top spot in the SERP (search engine results page) for a relevant keyword, your web page is likely to stay at least on page one for months to come. Particularly if you keep creating new content and working to build links to your site.
SEO raises brand awareness.
Traffic is nice, but before anyone can even think about visiting your website, they have to know it exists. In addition to earning you clicks, the more people see your website show up in the search engines, the more they come to associate your website with the kind of topics you provide.
The first time they encounter you on the SERP, your website is just a generic name. By the tenth time, you’ll be a familiar and, hopefully trusted source.
Organic results earn more clicks than paid ones.
Organic results compete both with other organic results, and with paid ones. While PPC results increasingly take over more and more SERP real estate for certain types of keywords, many searchers still prefer to click on organic results.
Over 65% of clicks in the SERP on desktop go to organic results, as compared to a bit less than 4% that go to paid ads. Paid ads have a place in search marketing for many brands, but a successful SEO strategy is still likely to drive more traffic.
SEO makes you easier to find on mobile.
For several years now, internet users have spent more time on mobile devices than desktop ones. While unfortunately, mobile users are less likely to click on SEO results than people on desktop do—less than 40% of mobile searches end in an organic click in the study shared above— that’s still a significant share of the population you can reach through search.
As long as you make your website mobile friendly, SEO can help raise your visibility with mobile users as well as desktop ones and drive some traffic from the billions of people using their smartphones to search.
What’s good for SEO is good for visitors.
Google’s goal is to deliver the best results to the people searching. Many of the ranking factors they consider are tied directly to making your user experience and web design SEO-friendly. Google likes sites that load fast because people prefer it. They like valuable, fresh content because it demonstrates that the website is current and providing useful information to visitors. And they pay attention to user behaviour signals like time on site and bounce rates, because it tells them something about how much the people who click on a site like the website they landed on.
By making your website optimized for search, you’ll make it better for your visitors as well. And that’s a win-win all around.