There really isn’t another type of online marketing that is as polarizing, derided, praised, and flat-out ignored as much as search engine optimization. Depending on who you ask, you’ll either see their face light up with passion, see it twist into a spiteful snarl, or watch an empty thought bubble coalesce beside their head. It is, quite simply, the double edged sword of our industry. Done correctly and it’ll bring in droves of traffic. Done incorrectly and it’ll banish your website into the abyss. The question still remains, with how much businesses have to gain form it, why do so many refuse to invest in SEO?
I could talk for days about both sides of the fence. For now, we’ll stick with why you should and how you’re shooting yourself in the foot by not doing it.
Why Your Business Should Invest in SEO
Investing in SEO is an investment in your company’s future. Good SEO is good marketing and it builds a rock solid foundation for you to build your business on.
Now, ranking highly in organic search doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes, it can take years, but that shouldn’t scare you away from investing in SEO, be it in-house or through a search engine optimization agency. In fact, it should encourage you. If you can steal away the top organic spots in Google with minimal effort, your competitors could too.
Help your customers find you online
Organic search isn’t a new thing and your customers are more savvy than ever. They know what they want, how to get it, and they aren’t willing to dig through pages and pages of search results to find it. They’ll rarely look beyond the first three results.
If you aren’t on the first page of Google, they don’t know you exist. With 54% of searchers clicking one of the first 3 organic search results to their query, your chances of being seen (much less clicked on) drop dramatically the further down the page you go into the utter oblivion that is Page Two and Beyond.
Instill more trust & loyalty in your customers
In today’s online marketplace, trust is one of the biggest components of a customer’s buying process. Think about it. If you don’t trust a business, are you going to give them your credit card information? Absolutely not! One of the best ways to bridge that trust gap is to rank highly for the many of your industry’s high value keywords.
There is a direct correlation between SERP position and intrinsic authority. The higher you rank, the more established your company is and the better you are at the thing you do. The more keywords you rank highly for, the more customers will associate your business as THE business in that space. They’ll stop searching for those key phrases over time and just go straight to you.
Grow a sustainable, recurring traffic stream
When your site ranks well organically for a wide range of keywords, you’ll see a steady influx of traffic from customers that are interested in your business. Provided that you didn’t do anything manipulative to get those SERP positions, that traffic is yours and you can count on it being there week in and week out. As your organic traffic grows, your company’s bottom line grows as well because of the recurring revenue stream you just created.
Can you build a business using only social media? Yup.
Can’t you just buy all of your traffic with PPC? Absolutely.
The beauty of investing in organic search marketing is that when it’s done right, you don’t have to keep paying for it to keep it from disappearing. You don’t have to hire a team of community managers to curate branding messages all day. That organic traffic is there because you earned it.
It’s not going anywhere
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “SEO is dead!” shouted from the rooftops. Any time that Google releases a new algorithm or a major update to an existing one, the Doomsayers come out in force. It may not be the same as it was ten years ago, but SEO is still here and still an enormous part of online marketing. Neglecting it is only going to hurt your business and will make your competitors very, very happy while they laugh their way to the bank.
Your competitors are doing it
If for no other reason, it’s smart to keep up with the Joneses. It doesn’t matter what vertical you’re in, how long you’ve been there, or how saturated the market, there is always a competitor that ranks for all the keywords you want to rank for. Everywhere you look, there they are. Guess who else is seeing that? Your potential customers and each time your competitor shows up for a search and you don’t, you’re losing business. Don’t let your competitors run away with potential customers when you can do something about it. Do the work. Show your competitors who’s boss.
What to expect with SEO?
So, you’ve decided to make organic search the cornerstone of your business. Awesome. You made the right decision, but a search engine optimization marketing campaign is unlike anything you’re doing now. It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to make you want to pull out your hair. You’re going to question why you’re doing it when you can get better short term ROI elsewhere. Stay the course. Keep these things in mind so you can get the most out of your investment.
SEO is a long-term commitment. You can’t just tweak your webpages’ title tags and see an uptick in your organic SERPs hours later. It doesn’t work that way anymore. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see results. If you want to have a dynamite winter holiday season, you need to crank up your search engine optimization campaigns in January. It’s incredibly likely that you won’t see results for at least six months, sometimes longer, but that’s just the way that Google works now.
It takes a lot of work to rank for your target keywords. If you’re trying to attach an ROI on your organic marketing efforts within the first six months, you need to realign your priorities and expectations. Remember, this is a long term commitment. You need to prepare yourself for the long haul both mentally and emotionally. It sounds silly, but it can be incredibly demoralizing to see your hard work get only a fraction of the traction you thought it would get. Trust in yourself (or your SEO agency), don’t take shortcuts, and keep plugging away.
ALWAYS work on SEO
Not only will it take some time to see results, SEO is something that you just need to do for forever. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you aren’t actively working on your website’s organic search presence in one capacity or another, you’re making a huge mistake that can slowly kill your company. (That isn’t hyperbole. We’ve seen it happen.) Search engines are always evolving. There’s always a new metric that Google factors into their algorithm to better serve searchers. If you stop your organic marketing efforts, your competitors will pull ahead and reap the rewards of their effort. Stay on top of search trends so your company can stay competitive.
Amplify your SEO
Most companies work on their website’s organic visibility by optimizing their existing pages, incorporating content marketing, or making topical landing pages to help their site to rank for key terms and phrases. All of these are fantastic things to do, but if your work stops there, you’re leaving a lot of opportunities on the table to rank faster organically.
Let’s say you wrote an article about some facet of your business and you want to give it a nudge. Share the article on your company’s social media accounts. Spool up a Facebook Ad campaign to target potential clients. Link to it from a related page elsewhere on your site. 301 redirect an older, similar piece of content to the article you just wrote. Submit the URL to be indexed in Search Console or resubmit your sitemap to make sure Google sees it.
Just get the word out that you created something. Let Google see that people are interacting with it and that it’s worthwhile. Give it that little boost to get on the Big G’s radar so they’ll serve it up for organic searches.
Even with the paradigm shift of creating communities and conversations with customers via social media, investing in SEO is just as important as it has ever been. Securing the top SERP positions for your high value keyword phrases is worth their weight in gold. Take our word for it. If you don’t dedicate the time and resources to build your brand with search engine optimization, your competitors will capitalize on your mistake. Don’t be outmaneuvered by them. SEO isn’t going anywhere and if it’s not part of your ongoing marketing, it needs to be.