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These days, content is king. Whether that’s blog posts, landing pages, or even Instagram photographs, everyone wants to share their thoughts with fans and loyal customers. In addition, content is meant to reel in new business. And while organic content distribution is important to your overall brand growth, it isn’t enough. You need SEO to help improve your distribution and overall reputation. Let’s look at the importance of SEO in depth. We’ll do that with an emphasis on the benefits of this practice.
To understand the overall importance of SEO, we need to consider the basics. Search engine optimization, in a nutshell, makes your website a destination. At the same time, once people arrive at your website, it’s important to retain them with engaging content and meaningful solutions. Without traffic, your website is virtually useless: it doesn’t generate leads, nurture customer relationships, or even effectively project who you are and what you’re about. SEO helps solve this problem.
1. Increases Visibility
Perhaps most important, SEO helps increase your site’s visibility in search engines where people are searching for solutions. It doesn’t matter what you sell, or even if you’re a wholesaler. Customers who are looking for something to solve their problems will typically take to the search engines before they do anything else. This is true whether you’re talking about a new pair of shoes, a refrigerator, or a piece of factory equipment.
How does SEO increase your visibility? By making it easier for people to find your website. For instance, a keyword about men’s running shoes will alert search engines that your website sells or discusses footwear. Then, they’ll index your site and display it in search engine queries when the time comes. They do this because search engines are in the business of delivering the most relevant content to each and every unique search query.
2. Increases Page Authority and Ranking
Here’s the problem with search engines: getting a favorable position is increasingly difficult. And the lower you are on the search results, the less likely people are to check out your website. There’s a saying in marketing, “buried on the 2nd page of Google.” Part of the importance of SEO is that it helps you rank higher in search engines. In turn, this will improve your traffic.
However, SEO isn’t just about keywords. Page authority and domain authority also impact your SERP rankings. In a nutshell, page authority represents the frequency with which a certain page is consulted on a particular topic. In turn, this becomes a well-trusted page with high page authority. An example might be the Forex section of The Wall Street Journal. People have trusted this paper for many years, so it also has high domain authority.
3. Impacts the Buying Cycle
Before buying something, people research their purchases on the Internet. So, when your content is found you can impact the buying cycle. This is one reason why I’m such a big proponent of content marketing. Not only does content help with SEO, but it also provides information for people who are researching potential purchases. The importance of SEO in this process is bringing people to your website. Then, you can serve up the info they need to make a buying decision.
4. Attracts Relevant Users and Expands Your Reach
Bringing in visitors primarily through people that need your products and services will find you based on the keywords they use that are aligned with your website contents. The importance of SEO here is to ensure that your site ranks favorably on the SERPs.
Here’s the thing: the more people discover your website, the more influential it becomes. Not only do you get added traffic from search engines, but you’ll also have a portion of those people sharing your content with people they know. Over time, this increases your reach even more, and your overall effectiveness can snowball.
5. Increase Web Traffic
Arguably, there’s no bigger argument for the importance of SEO than the need for organic search engine traffic. After all, content is meant to be read, and the best way to get your content read is to have people find it. Distribution through social media only goes so far. Ultimately, the more you appear in search engines for various keywords, the more your organic traffic will increase.
6. Higher Conversions, Sales, and Revenue
This fact can be expressed in a simple formula: increased rankings = increased traffic = more $$$. As they say in sales, the more leads you have, the more sales you get. Even with a poor conversion rate, every person that sees your content is someone who might buy down the road: it’s just a matter of finding out which person will ultimately buy. As marketers, our job is to support sales by bringing in those leads. New leads, in the form of website traffic, are part of the picture.
Not all reasons behind the importance of SEO are easy to measure. While many things can be measured through analytics and sales charts, some benefits of SEO are intangible. Perhaps just as importantly, intangible benefits of SEO can turn into sales or good PR later on, when you least expect it. For instance, someone might remember “that cool product” that solved a problem they weren’t experiencing then but are now.
7. Builds Page Credibility
Here’s the honest truth: when you appear higher in search engines you increase your credibility. People automatically associate high search engine rankings with credibility, in part because it represents a high level of site traffic. And when you consider that the number of time people spend on your site figures into the algorithm, there’s a good reason why people feel that way.
Conversely, if your site has poor SEO and doesn’t show up well in the SERP, it can hurt your overall credibility. For instance, if you have a website that is on the third page or worse, not only will you get fewer eyeballs, but people can discount your credibility. Some product types, in particular, are prone to scams, so not ranking well in these niches is especially bad. Don’t be that website.
8. Build Trust With Your Customers
Perhaps the biggest indicator of the importance of SEO is that appearing in search engines builds trust. When people look for solutions, they tend to read the first few results. And if you use keywords with a lot of sponsored results, you might need to get even higher in the rankings for good results. Then, consider that having your content being some of the first they consume makes them somewhat more likely to believe you. At least, so long as what you say is knowledgeable and credible.
Let’s look at this another way: imagine if they search for a solution, find all of your competitors, and your site is not listed? Your potential customers just listened to your competitors, and probably found them to be credible. Worse, you didn’t get the chance to refute the competition’s side of the story. Congratulations, you just lost a sale.
9. Creates a Better Visitor Experience
Not all SEO techniques involve inserting keywords into your text. Rather, part of SEO is speeding up your site and making it more mobile-friendly, which creates a better visitor experience. Search engines rank websites in part based on user experience, because users who find a site more user-friendly will stay on the site longer. In the SEO industry, we call this the “dwell rate,” and the converse is the “bounce rate.” You want a higher dwell rate and a low bounce rate.
At the end of the day, part of the importance of SEO is that it forces you to ensure that your website is well-written and well-managed. For instance, the longer our website takes to load, the more likely people are to leave. Most of us these days are busy people and waiting around for something to load isn’t in the cards. Furthermore, sites that perform poorly on mobile devices often have people leave for greener pastures. Anything you can do to increase dwell rate, then, boosts SEO.
10. Build Long-Term Equity for Your Brand
Part of the importance of SEO lasts long after you have written and published an article. In particular, you can maintain high search engine rankings for a long time. I still have page 1 rankings for content published back in 2009! How did I achieve this? Simply put, I wrote evergreen content that has remained relevant for over a decade. In addition, I employed sound SEO techniques for content creation, and I keep my website well-maintained.
Even if you don’t have a vast IT department, with every new piece of content, you are adding on to your asset and making it that much more valuable, building long-term equity for your brand. Remember, every piece of content you publish stays there until you take it down. It becomes part of your brand and part of your brand message. Therefore, SEO is more than just playing to an algorithm. It’s about building your brand.
The Amazing Benefits
Sometimes, it’s hard to explain the importance of SEO as anything other than amazing. In particular, there are aspects of SEO that can easily be charted on an analytics report, and even explained to the C-suite! But perhaps most important is the fact that these benefits are gifts that keep on giving. In short, SEO affects more than just your website: it is ultimately important to the overall health of your company. Let’s see why.
11. SEO is Relatively Cheap and Very Cost-Effective
For the price of an SEO tool like SEMrush and the creation of content, SEO can be done relatively inexpensively and it provides benefits that far outweigh these minimal costs. Think about it: whether you use freelancers, influencers, or an in-house content creation team (or a combination), once content is finished, it can be published for as long as it’s useful. In return, the content helps draw people to your website.
Contrast this to lead generation services and some other tools. With them, you have to keep paying for your subscription, and many companies charge per lead or per block of leads. On the other hand, a search engine marketing tool typically charges per user, per month. And that’s for unlimited content creation, as a rule. Plus, once a particular piece of content is made, you don’t have further expenses related to it except web hosting. Meanwhile, it keeps gathering leads. Great, right?
12. It’s Quantifiable
No matter how you perform SEO optimization, you can see the results first in your search engine rankings and then in your web traffic. Many SEO tools help you track rankings, so there’s relatively little guesswork to rank tracking. Perhaps more importantly, you can tell your managers or a client how many places their web page has moved up the SERPs. Then, you can compare those numbers to the competition as appropriate.
Here’s another example of quantifiable information from SEO. If a lead comes in from organic web search, you’ll see this in Google Analytics. This means that you can have a pretty good estimate of how many leads are coming in from your SEO efforts. Depending on your setup, you might even be able to put a monetary value on those leads and compare that to your SEO costs.
13. Stand Out from Your Competitors
Finally, one of the biggest reasons behind the importance of SEO is that you can use it to beat the competition. Remember, if people see your site first, they will be more likely to get your brand message over that of your competition. Plus, poor SEO can reflect badly on a competing website, either because of poor site performance or low perception of the site’s credibility. Therefore, you should become the best at SEO to give your digital presence a true competitive advantage!
Now That You Understand the Importance of SEO, It’s Time to Act!
Most site owners these days understand that SEO is a must if they want to get organic traffic and a bigger following. However, not everyone understands the importance of SEO equally. This can be a problem, especially if clients or bosses see SEO as an expense, rather than an asset. Fortunately, this article can help them, and you, understand why it’s well worth the investment.
Here’s some further reading to help you on your SEO journey:
- 59 SEO Statistics You Need To See To Believe
- The 21 Best SEO Tools to Power Your Search Engine Marketing
- The Definitive 30-Step Basic SEO Checklist for 2022
- 11 SEO Trends Every Marketer Should Know in 2022
- Small Business SEO: How to Get Your Site to Rank in Google
Hero photo by Myriam Jessier on Unsplash