Maybe you’ve been running your business for a long time, way before the internet boom and its endless consequences. Maybe you’re a small, local entrepreneur and your customers all know your two sons by their first names. Maybe you cater to a niche where tech-friendliness is not really a term you hear a lot. In other words, you might think that SEO just doesn’t apply to you. It’s just a modern craze with little substance or at best a necessity only for businesses tied to the digital world. Unfortunately, we live immersed in the digital world! As of now, not having a site can cost you immensely in your marketing efforts. And even if you do have a website, ignoring SEO best practices is effectively digital suicide.
That might seem like an exaggeration to you. So what’s the big deal about SEO? Let me walk you through a few reasons it’s such an important part of running a business in the modern world.
The Internet Has a Monopoly on Shopping
According to a study conducted by Google in 2016, 79 % of people took a relevant action on their phone prior to making a purchase. Let that sink in. It’s no longer the case that people ask their friends and family for information about where to purchase what, nor do they read ads in newspapers, nor do they passively absorb ads on television. No, they browse the internet. It’s intuitive if you think about it. When you need something, the most efficient way to know where to get it in a fraction of a second is Google. That’s why being in the first page of Google’s search results means getting exposed to all those people searching.
Specific Targeting Reaches the Right People
SEO marketing allows you to be visible to the consumers that are already looking for you. In fact, this article by the Search Engine Journal reports a truly illuminating statistic: SEO leads have a close rate of 14.6%, much higher than the 1.7% of outbound leads (such as cold calling potential clients). Again, this is an intuitive piece of data. When your marketing efforts are like a wide net being cast into the ocean, you might catch a few fish or you might not catch anything at all. But if you move your boat to the specific place tunas go to feed at the right time and bait them with what they’re looking for, your efforts are more likely to be rewarded. Colourful metaphors aside, you want to be the right answer to the right kind of queries. That’s what SEO is about.
Optimisation Uses Human Psychology to Your Benefit
The tech-savvy moderns use their smartphones and computers to meet a variety of needs and desires. These are the tools of modern problem-solving. So of course, when they’re in a buying mood, their first thought is to ask Google if it can help them with that. The study by Google cited earlier attests to this increasingly obvious fact. 65% of people use their phones in their I-Want-To-Buy Moments. These are moments of psychological susceptibility. It’s easier to convince someone actively looking to buy that you are the solution to their request. Ranking high on search results allows you to take advantage of these otherwise fleeting opportunities. Face it, how else would you reach a potential customer while he’s lounging on his sofa thinking, “hmm, I’d really like to buy a new mirror for my hall”?
Your Competitors Are Doing It
You might not care about SEO, but other businesses certainly do. In fact, in 2016, companies worldwide spent 65 billion dollars in SEO alone. If you don’t get in the game, you will be left behind as the consumer world continues its resolute move to the interweb. This is a booming industry for a reason. SEO practices work and are no longer just a bonus feature. Those who rank highly in the search results will eclipse all others, even those who have reputable businesses and provide good services. It’s useless being great if nobody knows about it.
Your Credibility Depends on It
You might have a truly stellar business. Perhaps your workmanship, dedication to clients, and knowledge in your field are truly top-notch. However, if potential clients look for your website and it seems amateurish, your reputation will undoubtedly suffer. Worse yet, if you don’t rank in the first pages of Google, prospects will get immediately suspicious. It might be unfair, but that’s the spirit of the times. 98% of all searchers choose a business that is on the first page of Google. The modern consumer is just programmed to trust Google to provide quality content, so they’re going to trust that ranking, whether it’s fair on you or not.
You Have Control of The Metrics
When you’re focusing your entire marketing strategy on generalised outbound leads and word-of-mouth, it’s very hard to measure the correlation (if any) between your efforts and the arrival of new customers. However, with SEO marketing, there are a variety of tools to help you monitor what happens on your website. Google Analytics is completely free to use and its aim is to help you see what traffic your site gets, how long people are staying, which keywords attract most of your traffic, etc. This kind of insight gives you much more control over your marketing strategy, so you can structure it around actual data and not just guesswork.
While this list gets into a few key points, there’s so much more to say about the benefits of SEO. But this article isn’t the place for that. The bottom line is this: without SEO, a modern business owner is like a stranger pushed into a busy marketplace where everyone’s speaking a language he doesn’t understand. There’s very little he can do, even if what he’s offering is great. In fact, if what he’s offering truly is great, a good SEO strategy will give him the visibility he rightly deserves. Generally, the world of online shopping rewards good companies. Google ultimately wants to give its users a positive, useful service, and that means connecting reliable brands with eager customers; so give it the chance to find you.