Have you read (or been bludgeoned by) all those articles about how SEO is supposedly dead? Or do you feel that, despite getting plenty of traffic and rankings, you’re not actually obtaining any new customers? Are you wondering if all your SEO efforts are actually providing real results? It can be hard for people who are not SEO professionals or subject-matter experts to know or understand the value that effective search engine optimization can bring to your business.
So if you’re trying to convince the higher-ups at the company that this is something you need to get involved with, you may be facing an uphill battle. How should you approach the situation, then, when it seems like every other day someone wants to claim that SEO is dead?
The answer is in the approach. Although site traffic and high search rankings are a huge part of the overall SEO experience and success, it is not everything.
Most business owners find it very frustrating to see their businesses drop when rankings fluctuate, and, unfortunately, it is often due to uncontrollable, outside factors. So, if there are so many things you can’t control, why spend time or money on SEO? Where is the benefit if traffic and rankings can vary so drastically and if sales numbers aren’t matching the traffic and page views you are seeing?
Simply put, SEO can help bring your company brand awareness, new customers and a marketing strategy that has the flexibility to keep up with the constant changes in the industry and algorithm. All of these benefits take time, though, which is hard for many business owners to swallow.
They want and expect their rankings to increase immediately, which is understandable, but building strong brand awareness on the internet and keeping up with the evolving search engines is crucial to the long-term success of the company. Like it or not, that kind of thing will take some time.
People who work in SEO want their clients to trust them, and, most of all, see the benefits they are providing.
In a single year, Google could change parts of its algorithm many, many times. Add to that more than 10 major updates and the launch of Hummingbird last year, which changed the way Google conducted searches entirely, and you’re looking at a very volatile marketplace. This means that tactics and strategies also have to change. The SEO models that worked just a couple years ago are simply growing more irrelevant. (Note that this does not render the entire industry dead, just different.)
You need to stay on top of all these changes and updates because 75% of search users don’t bother looking past page one, and the major search engines are influencing up to 88% of business purchase decisions. Modern SEO is all about understanding the fluctuations in the algorithms and adapting the campaign accordingly. This may not get you onto that first page immediately, but it will help you remain relevant while all those websites who go against search engine guidelines are penalized and moved out of your way.
In fact, what you really need to understand about SEO is that while it is about building rankings, it goes deeper than that. It’s about making sure the content that people need is readily available when they perform a search. This means that an SEO professional may start with a website audit but move on to many other things, including:
- Content promotion and production
- Social media optimization
- Ongoing website audits
- Improving indexability and crawlability
- Consumer research and target persona development
- Ensuring your website fits within the search engines established best practices
What you need to take away from this is that SEO is not just about the search engines. It’s not about tricking or manipulating them. It’s about building better websites.
Building Brand Awareness with SEO Principles
SEO can also be an incredibly valuable brand-awareness tool. Your company needs to stand out in the search engine and social media environments. Proper SEO can help establish your brand presence online and develop brand signals. This helps your company become instantly recognizable, memorable, and trustworthy to your consumers and the search engines.
You could say that just making it to the top of the rankings is a good way to build your brand. After all, people are more likely to assume that whoever is in that coveted #1 position must obviously be the authoritative source, right?
Once again, this doesn’t quite hit the mark. There is certainly some truth to it – people will assume you have something to offer if you’re in that top spot – but it doesn’t take long for them to click away from your site if you don’t have anything to offer. And if their experience was bad enough, you will have done more harm than good to your reputation.
SEO is really about building better websites and addressing the needs of the customer. This means, as part of SEO, you will:
- Promote relevant, useful content
- Develop a unique selling point
- Increase online community interaction
Your brand is a hugely valuable asset, and, as you establish yourself online, this is how you will turn those casual visitors into paying customers.
Increasing Customers and Sales
This is the bottom line… and this is where SEO proves its value. It’s all about bringing in new customers to your business through your overall online presence. Good rankings are obviously still a part of online marketing, but an active brand awareness makes your company more visible – and appealing – to current and potential customers.
Through organic and direct traffic you can capture customers who are looking for your product, and since your brand awareness is on point, they will know your company is the best option to fit their needs.
An SEO strategy that is tailored to your company’s long-term goals will provide value. It will take some time, to be sure, because the search engines have a lot of demands – one of which being that you’ve proved your worth over time. Despite the number of ups and downs your rankings go through, your SEO investment will contribute to your long-term success that consistently drives traffic and promotes your brand no matter how much the algorithm changes.