Although it will take months to roll out fully, its message was simple: create good quality content. Its arrival has re-sparked the debate on whether or not ‘SEO is dead’.
The way we see it: as long as search engines exist, there will be a need for SEO. In pursuit of giving users the best possible search results, Google – and other search engines – are getting smarter. That means it’s becoming more important to think strategically about content creation, as well as its implementation on your website. Long gone are the days of trying to outsmart the system with keyword stuffing. In 2015, you’ll need to earn your place if you want to appear prominently in search results pages.
But why is SEO so important? Put simply: it helps potential customers find you by matching your website’s content to what they’re searching for. And after all, if you’ve taken the time to invest in a website, then you need to make sure the right people find it. It should bring quality visitors to your website, drive revenue and support your overall business objectives.
Here are our five key reasons why SEO has something to offer most businesses:
1. It’s good for brand visibility
There are now one billion websites in the world; that’s a lot of noise to cut through. Can your customers easily find you – for both for your brand name, and for keywords related to the products or services that you offer?
Businesses with strong brand loyalty don’t always see this as a priority. But are your competitors closing in? Perhaps their websites show up when clients or prospects search for queries about problems that you can solve. In order to grow and develop as a business, both new and existing customers should be able to find you. SEO can help you to do just that.
2. It gives you credibility
Google isn’t the only search engine, but people trust it. Appearing on page one acts as a vote of confidence in the minds of your customers and can help to capture the attention of your prospects.
But how can you build credibility in the eyes of Google? Start by posting unique, useful and shareable content based on your primary areas of expertise. If it’s relevant and it ticks these boxes, users will naturally link back to it.
Google can distinguish between good quality backlinks and spammy SEO practices and takes into account user engagement metrics (including social signals such as mentions and shares) when assessing a website’s credibility. Once Google marks your website as a reputable source, you should start to perform better in search results.
3. It brings you more traffic
Google handles 100 billion searches each month. And of its search results, organic (non-paid for) links receive 70% of those clicks. Whether your market is niche, broad, local, or global, SEO can help you get in front of your target audience.
Of course, not all traffic is equal. To make sure that your website receives targeted visitors, you must start with the basics. Find out which keywords will drive traffic that’s likely to convert and use these findings to drive your ongoing content plan (and wider digital marketing strategy). Doing this can improve your competitive position and keep your brand at the forefront of customers’ minds.
4. It has a great ROI
SEO is a cost-effective method of marketing your products or services online. Thinking of expanding into new markets or launching a new product? SEO can help you to enter new regions and grow your customer base.
Ultimately, the costs and expected results will vary depending on the needs of the company, which markets it serves, and the wider competitive landscape. SEO offers a good return on investment compared to other forms of online marketing, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising or social media marketing. However, it can become even more effective when these elements combine to form one coherent strategy.
5. It allows you to track results and make data-driven decisions
If you can measure it, you can improve it.
SEO provides trackable and quantifiable results. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this: every business is unique, and will want to track different metrics.
Once you’ve gathered enough data about your site, you can analyse these findings to identify meaningful patterns. Is your website performing as expected? Are users engaging with your content? SEO is an iterative process: it’s important to look at your data to see what’s working and what’s not. Only then can you analyse why this might be the case and look to make improvements.
So how do I get started?
Search engines use complex algorithms to help to moderate the quality of content at the top of search results, and deter businesses from using unethical practices to manipulate them.
Because of this, SEO can seem like a daunting task. But it’s important not to follow aggressive (black hat) techniques in pursuit of quick fixes – often this will lead to penalties which can harm your website’s search rankings. For long-term success, develop a comprehensive search strategy which covers on-page optimisation, off-page optimisation and ongoing reporting. And remember: it can become even more effective when combined with other parts of the marketing mix, such as media outreach and paid search marketing.