How to Know When to Invest in SEO
Understanding Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation refers to the process of improving both the quality and quantity of traffic from search engines to your business website. SEO seeks to capture organic (unpaid) traffic that mostly originates from a variety of searches.
SEO has been used by webmasters since the 1990s as an internet marketing strategy. Businesses prefer SEO because websites that rank higher on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) will receive more visitors. These visitors can potentially be converted to sales.
But how important is SEO in business? When is the right time to invest in SEO for business? Today’s upsurge in internet use has had over 90% of business sales prospects transition to the internet for online purchases. Imagine that you need to buy something – a good or service. So, what do you do in today’s world? My best guess is that you will search it online. Then what happens next? Google will give you a page of search results, prioritising whatever is more relevant to your search keywords. You will click on it and proceed.
That is essentially what business SEO is about. It involves all the optimisations on the business website, landing pages and sales pages that seeks to ensure your business website shows up on the search engine results pages. In this post, we shall explore the necessity of a business website and SEO for today’s businesses, how startups can use business SEO to enhance profitability, and how to know when time is right to invest in SEO – for business owners who are still hesitant to take advantage of SEO. First, let’s examine the intricacies that sync businesses with SEO for the good of entrepreneurs.
Website SEO For Business
SEO for business ensures potential customers can find your online stores or search up products and walk right through the front door of your physical stores. As a marketing strategy, well-structured SEO will drive traffic to your business site, from where your potential clients may take actions that will bring them closer to becoming paying customers.
There are agencies and companies dedicated to helping businesses grow using SEO. The process can be costly, complicated and time-consuming. However, it is absolutely necessary to use SEO for your business to grow. This is a must-have tool in today’s world, where virtually everyone depends on the internet to make a purchase or learn about product features.
SEO In Marketing
Today’s digital marketers are paid to drive traffic to your site. And regardless of how much that traffic is, the most important thing is the number of leads you can convert on your sales pages. Similarly, e-commerce entities derive their profitability from online activity through business websites. A website that’s optimised strategically will trap leads as prospects swipe through your web pages. And not only is a business website important in your marketing efforts, but most business entities are transitioning online to improve visibility.
Are You Hesitant to Invest in Business SEO?
If you are a startup or an established business owner, you wouldn’t have to look further to realise how important SEO for business is. Look at the major corporations or small businesses in your neighbourhood that operate predominantly online. Amazon, for instance, started as a physical bookseller in the 1990’s before transitioning online in 1997 and expanding its services beyond bookselling and shipping. There are numerous startups that have derived their success through business SEO. And while the competition has become fiercer today, the key is to outdo your brand competitors by using expert SEO techniques to ensure prospective clients find value on your business website.
Virtually all well-performing businesses have an online presence, which is where most of the traffic is generated, and sales too. You could be doing everything right with your business; you are investing heavily in advertising, and your physical store is at a prime location. But if you are struggling with your business, then it might be time you gave SEO a shot.
You may pick up on the fact that the online business world is crowded, and virtually everyone has a website. But that’s the reality of today’s businesses. However, there are key aspects of website optimisation (to be discussed later) that will put you at par or even better than your competitors. For one, a business owner should strive to eliminate barriers to conversions through business websites. And that is possible with a website that has been optimised with the search engine optimisation practices (that we shall compile later in this post).
Business SEO: The Marketing Strategy That Rewards Most
As mentioned earlier, today’s internet dominance means intense competition for businesses. From a website’s site loading speed to its user interface, it is vital to capture user attention first and foremost. A site’s performance in business profitability is determined by finer details like loading time. Meaning, when users land on your website, you don’t have the luxury of time. At best, you will have three seconds or so to capture user attention. However, if users find your business page complicated or bearing no relationship to what they are searching for, expect users to abandon your page immediately.
Despite all these technicalities, SEO remains the marketing strategy with the heftiest return on investment (ROI). A 2020 study conducted by the Search Engine Journal indicated that 50% of their marketing audience recorded higher ROI with organic (unpaid) search, compared to just 20% who said their business’s ROI stemmed from paid search.
The complexities involved in strategising a business SEO means that it may take a couple of months to achieve the desired SEO results for your business. However, the SEO tactics will establish and serve your business for the long-term with steady traffic and flow of leads through your website’s sales pages.
SEO Marketing and Why It Matters for Businesses
Up to this point, you have probably identified one or two concrete reasons why you should invest in SEO for your business. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Driving traffic to your business website and successfully converting such traffic to actual sales is something else altogether.
Specific aspects such as landing pages, content strategy, sign up and sign in forms should be properly optimised to provide value to your website visitors. A haphazardly designed business website can result in the following undesirable scenarios to your business:
- Wasted traffic.
- Lost leads and potential sales.
- Costly advertising.
- Low return on investment (ROI).
SEO marketing is quite dynamic. But the most important part of website optimisation is the business landing page. That’s because when prospective clients lookup for your brand online, they are 92% more likely to land on your business homepage. That’s why entrepreneurs and marketers should pay more attention to the website landing page. Moreover, it is the part of the website that’s more vulnerable to abandonment by users – especially if they don’t see any value in what you are offering.
But you may be asking this question: Why are website homepages so important? Well, companies spend millions of dollars in advertising campaigns, and even small-scale and medium enterprises understand how expensive advertising can be. Landing pages function to get the attention and trap qualified leads that can be converted to actual sales. But most business waste resources carrying out advertising, only to waste leads traffic because of ineffective sales pages.
How SEO Works For the Good of Your Business
SEO, as stated earlier, refers to the process of improving a business website to rank higher on the search engine results pages of Google, Bing, etc. The SEO process uses several multi-faceted algorithms from search engines that favour websites that are optimised using the best SEO practices. And by doing so, websites that rank higher receive more organic traffic that is potentially valuable to your business.
How it works is that as search engines strive to showcase the most accurate results to users, web crawlers would prioritise the most informative, high-quality listings that fit the user’s search query. And this is where SEO marketing comes in handy for businesses. A business can invest in SEO as a marketing strategy through which its web pages can appear invaluable or relevant search results. And to achieve a higher ranking in search results, it is imperative to have a top-notch SEO campaign, whether you do it yourself or employ the services of an SEO company to strategise on your behalf.
Why Invest In SEO?
The value of investing in a vibrant SEO campaign manifests itself in the form of:
- Quality traffic to your business website – as web users visit your site, the ideal scenario is to have them interested in your offer. And what SEO does to optimise your website in a way that aligns it with reaching specific users interested in your products and services.
- Driving both quality and quantity of traffic to your site – which you can convert to actual sales.
- Identifying the most relevant and valuable traffic for your website – as more people visit your website, Google will get the signal that your website is relevant to user’s search queries and rank if higher for search results.
Early and Today’s SEO: The Comparisons
In the early ’90s, SEO dynamics were pretty easy. Online directories had more influence than they are today. Once your website was live and accessible on the internet, all that was required to market it was to list it with the fewer online directories at the time. And if you could promote your website to several online directories, then that is all that was needed to make it relevant and valuable to search engines.
First, forward to today, mushrooming online marketers have an advantage and are using backlinks to websites as they please. The result is reduced influence directories have on search results. It is in that spirit that Google’s SEO algorithms have evolved over time to utilise other aspects of SEO, such as content creation and keyword optimisation, in showing search results.
And while online directories are still useful in algorithm ranking, they don’t carry the same weight as they did a couple of decades ago. However, you can still run a successful SEO campaign if you list your business website on directories with higher domain authorities.
What to Put on Today’s Directories to Stay on Top Of SEO
Search engine optimisation is not a one-time task. It requires continuous investment and monitoring to improve it. For some, this task is easier said than done. And while you have the option to hire an SEO agency to strategise your business SEO, you will probably have a cost-barrier in your mind.
However, listing your website with an online directory is something you can do by yourself. For the most part, directories come with SEO quick start action plans that you can navigate to and sign up for.
- Open an account with your preferred directory – could be Google My Business, White spark, etc.
- Input your business name, address and phone number.
- Input your preferred URL.
- Include a highlight of your most important SEO keywords to enable you to track your rankings.
- Connect your directory account with Google to have access to your SEO dashboard, where you will receive a Google Analytics report.
- You can sign up for periodical email updates of your website SEO.
Today, online directories make up about 25% of search engine local ranking factors, which is why you shouldn’t abandon them completely as part of your SEO campaign. Google My Business, for instance, is the most important local search directory and makes up about 15%. It works great for business attempting to geo-locate or geo-target audiences using Google Maps.
Important Aspects of Business SEO Marketing That Boost Your Rankings
SEO involves an intricate process with countless moving parts. It is not a once and done task because it comprises three major components, each with numerous aspects. Let’s break down SEO marketing into the three key areas:
- On-page SEO.
- Technical SEO.
- Off-site SEO.
This is the second aspect of SEO marketing marketers and entrepreneurs should pay attention to. It involves your website’s backend component optimisation that determines site rankings in search results. Such components include:
- Site loading speed – your website’s loading times will make the difference between users staying on your site or abandoning it for other swifter websites. Today’s average loading time is between one to a few seconds, which means site owners don’t enjoy the luxury of time. Optimising websites for faster loading speeds is critical because slow-loading web pages frustrate users and are more vulnerable to abandonment.
- Mobile-friendly website – in today’s online business, where over 60% of traffic access your site using mobile devices, it is important to your site mobile-friendly to cater to half of your traffic. A mobile-friendly website should be responsive for mobile users to improves user experience.
This component of SEO involves website optimising processes to eliminate as many barriers to conversion as possible. On-page SEO will include optimisation of individual web pages to boost your site’s ranking in search results. Some of the strategies used include:
- Content creation – having valuable content is vital to capture and retain user attention on your website. This portion of on-page SEO is key to driving traffic to your site because users will abandon your web pages if they can’t find value in your content.
- Keyword research – you probably know how keywords are crucial aspects of SEO. They enable site visitors to find your website because they use specific keywords in search bars to generate results for your web pages.
- Keyword optimisation – once you have identified the appropriate keywords, next up is to incorporate them into your web pages.
Off-site SEO comprises off-page strategies the business employs to drive traffic to the site. This may include guest appearances in corporate events or building relationships with other sites that deal with products that are related or complementary to your brand.
Most businesses use backlinks as the most common off-site SEO strategy. Google’s crawlers use backlinks (links that redirect to your site from other sites) to rank web pages. Backlinks enhance the perception of websites from search engines, giving them higher-ranking authority.
Advantages of Business SEO
Are you still sceptical about investing in SEO for your business? Well, it is probably because you haven’t considered the benefits of an expertly strategised SEO to your business. Let’s examine some of the merits your business can accrue from a top-notch SEO campaign.
SEO Enhances User Experience
Proven SEO strategies can improve your website’s authority and maximise user experience. You can make the user interface seamless, provide valuable information, use GIFs, videos or text, and improve your website navigation for an absolute user-friendly configuration. This will boost the likelihood of more leads and higher conversion rates, aspects that improve website ranking.
SEO Is A Primary Source of Leads
Inbound marketing strategies such as SEO, referrals, social media and content marketing represent the most effective sources of leads for two categories of organisations, namely:
- Business to Business (B2B)
- Business to Customer (B2C)
SEO Increases Close Rates
Leads generated through SEO tactics accounted for 15% of conversions, according to Market Research statistics. And compared to SEO leads, outbound/cold leads resulted in lowering close rates. That’s because SEO leads stem from customers taking a keen interest in your product or service and searching for it online. Such customers have a purpose in mind and understand the specifics of what they are looking for.
SEO Establishes Brand Awareness
Building brand awareness is the most coveted thing in the realm of online business. Being the hot topic on customers’ lips means people are aware of your products and services, which is what SEO offers your business. Brand awareness means your target audience understand your business and can recognise your brand. Through SEO, your products can easily be found via search engines. And staying on top of SEO means more people will familiarise themselves with your brand.
SEO Gives Your Business an Edge Over Competitors
As discussed above, SEO amplifies your brand authority and awareness, therefore pitting your business against the top players in the industry. Beyond that, SEO favours your business in that the first three web pages showcase in the SERPs account for over 40% of clicks from users. That means if you invest in SEO services, your web pages would rank higher and accumulate the majority of traffic.
Investing in SEO tactics will keep your website on top of search engine results pages where it would be more visible to users. And once users find value in your content, they become traffic to your site and may sign up for newsletters or convert into actual sales.
SEO Leads Local Traffic to Your Physical Stores
Studies have shown that over 86% of shoppers conduct an online search before proceeding with their purchases. And through SEO, more customers will be exposed to your brand online, and this traffic will subsequently trickle down to your physical stores.
SEO Builds Brand Credibility
If you are doing everything right and your SEO campaign is top-notch, chances are you will rank higher on the results pages. And what that tells your customers is that you are one of the best players in the industry. Besides, it will show potential sales prospects that you are a popular brand. On the contrary, ranking lower may imply that you are a new entity in the business.
How to Get Started with SEO Campaign
Now that we have covered more on the ins and outs of SEO, you are probably wondering how to get started on the implementation of SEO marketing for your business. First and foremost, the key to get started is to design a website that will represent the face of your brand or business. Here, you can either design your website from scratch or hire a website design company to develop a business site. And while all that will depend on your budget and preference, there are three important techniques to get you off to a bright start with SEO marketing:
Build an SEO optimised website
From the ground up, success with SEO marketing begins with a well-crafted website that will serve as the heart of content and sales pages. A website that’s optimised for conversion will easily found by users, friendly for search engines to crawl and index, and would have the following features.
- Integrated keywords and content optimisation.
- Effective landing pages that trap traffic and minimises as many barriers to conversion as possible.
- Efficient call to action buttons.
- Fast website loading times.
- Effective use of typography.
- Optimised tags and meta descriptions that include relevant keywords.
Implementing the strategies listed above will make your website user-friendly and will help your business site rank better in SERPs.
Create Original and Engaging Content
Well-performing SEO plans take advantage of engaging content to entice users. Content plays a key role in capturing the attention of site visitors. And as they check out your content, chances are they will spend more time on your site and may find valuable content that satisfies their needs.
Creating original content will drive traffic to your website and generate quality leads through your lead magnet. Effective SEO campaigns start with catchy industry-related topics that capture the attention of users. Once you identify the relevant topics, you can display content on your website in different forms, including:
- Blog posts
The key is to identify your target audience and present your content in a format that resonates well with them. Thereafter, keep your audience updated and occupied to maintain a keen interest in your products and services.
Monitor your Google Analytics
Once you have hit the ground running for your business SEO, next up is to monitor the performance of your campaign. This can be done through Google Analytics that provides important metrics that act as indicators of how your company is doing. Google Analytics offers insight into user behaviour on your web pages. Such metrics include:
- Bounce rates.
- Conversion rates.
- Page session/dwell times.
- Number of pages visited, including the most visited.
- Amount of organic traffic.
Monitoring your website performance will help you take relevant measures to improve the aspects of your SEO campaign that aren’t bearing results.
Should Your Business Invest in SEO?
Search engine optimisation seems to be every business’s pathway to growth, both near term and long-term. But does your company need SEO? Well, if you are asking yourself this question, then here is your response: Today’s businesses have to deal with the reality of the cutthroat digital marketplace. Traditional paid advertising is not enough to sustain profitability in today’s volatile business environment.
But how will SEO improve my business?
Internet dominance means that social media and the digital marketplace is where businesses have a greater chance of meeting sales prospects. Search engines crawl and index web pages to showcase the most relevant results to users search queries. That said, SEO comes in handy to ensure your site ranks higher, which increases the likelihood of showing up on top of SERPs. Strategic investment in business SEO can do wonders for your company. You can go from a startup or a relative unknown to an internationally recognised brand within months.
SEO Companies and Business Growth
What Is an SEO Company?
As stated earlier, there are numerous companies dedicated to offering SEO services for businesses. Furthermore, countless tutorials and guidelines have been written that can help startups implement SEO strategies on their own.
Most businesses will use the expertise of SEO companies to run successful campaigns because doing it from scratch isn’t as easy as it sounds. And while you are at liberty to choose which route to go, it is vital to seek professional assistance because SEO is a multi-faceted concept and cannot be a walk in the park.
So, what is an SEO company? By definition, an SEO company refers to an entity that is entrenched in the world of digital marketing. Such entities put together a team of professional marketers who work to ensure that their client’s online activity is thriving.
An SEO company will strive to abreast of all the latest policies and marketing techniques in the industry. They look to be ahead of everyone with regards to changes and updates with search engine algorithms and how it impacts their clients’ websites. And to prime themselves for that role, SEO companies invest in technical skills that ensure they stay on top of the game.
As a business, putting your SEO campaign in the hands of an SEO company means that your business is likely to do well. But if you go the other route of using inexperienced SEO professionals or doing it yourself, chances are you will lag behind. That’s because you will lack the expertise to use up-to-date techniques, which might result in failed SEO campaigns.
What Are SEO Services?
If you employ the services of an SEO company, it means that you will pay them a fee for a number of services that pertain to your SEO campaign. These entities will offer a range of services that will market your brand via your business website. Most companies will offer services that include:
- Content creation – your SEO company will perform in-depth research about your industry, analyse customer behaviour and market patterns, and then expertly come up with top-notch content to entice your target audience and enhance your brand’s visibility.
- Site maintenance – SEO results take time to manifest. In this regard, an SEO entity will set the campaign in motion and make follow-ups to monitor the performance of your website, ranging from bounce rates to conversion rates.
- Website optimisation – the SEO company will perform a website audit and refine all the technical and on-page SEO aspects to ensure everything works great. Such aspects include navigation, the effectiveness of landing pages, sales pages, call to action buttons, etc.
- Keyword research – unlike in the past, keywords have proven to be more complex than they used to be. Nowadays, sites that do welp require intent-based, target-specific, location-specific, and long-tail integration of keywords, which is a service you get with an experienced SEO team.
How To Find The Right Business SEO Company
SEO service rendering and digital marketing have sprung up among the most lucrative ventures currently, which explains why there are so many entities dedicated to offering such services to businesses out there. That also means that getting the best SEO company to set your campaigns in motion is not a walk in the park. But before you settle on one, here are a few considerations to bear in mind.
What are they promising? – SEO, as stated earlier, isn’t a quick process that you go over and boom, you get your results. A good SEO company should demonstrate sufficient patience as well as a gradual strategy that guarantees strong foundations, as opposed to quick results. That said, choose wisely because experienced SEO entities will never promise guaranteed results. Instead, they will focus on conducting due diligence to ensure they leave no stones unturned when creating an SEO strategy for your business.
What SEO techniques are they pushing through? – black hat SEO techniques are known to offer quick but short-lived results. Therefore, check to ensure the SEO company is using approved techniques across all search engines, as opposed to blacklisted ones.
Communication – it goes without saying that communication is key in any business engagement. How they approach and handle communications should tell you whether or not they are your best choice for the long term.
Why You Need to Invest in SEO Services
Isn’t the whole point of running a business to get to customers? Well, that is what you reap when you invest in a top-notch SEO campaign. Businesses of all calibres can invest in search engine optimisation, which is a marketing strategy that seeks to drive organic traffic as opposed to the paid ones.
And through website optimisation best practices, you can prime your site to be easily crawled and indexed by search engines or found by users. And beyond ranking top in search engine results pages, SEO improves brand awareness and exposes your business to more avenues that can generate qualified leads. Among others, the following is a compilation of the reasons why you should invest in SEO services for your business:
- SEO will drive qualified traffic to grow your business – SEO pits your company to be among the top-tier ones that appear in the search engine results pages. That’s also where the biggest market share is because studies have shown that over 40% of clicks go to the first three websites showcased in the SERPs.
- SEO is the best channel for a higher return on investment (ROI) – Search Engine Journal reports shows that most businesses derive huge ROI from organic searches, compared to just a few that get high ROI from the pay-per-click form of advertising.
- SEO establishes a lasting impact for your business – customer loyalty is built over a long time. That’s why you have to start early and expose your target market to your products. Amazon, for instance, started in the early 1990s and has a formidable following.
- We live in a golden age where SEO is a necessity – the SEO era we live in has left little choice but businesses to follow suit and invest in SEO services. That’s because, unlike in the past, where huge corporations used dirty tactics to squeeze others out of the marketplace, every startup has a chance to build from the ground up and succeed in today’s fair competition.
- Your competitors are pulling away – if you are still hesitant to invest in SEO services, note that your competitors are doing so and are edging ahead of you on the queue. Just think of the opportunity cost of not investing in SEO services. First off, you are losing on the traffic that SEO drives to websites, and secondly, your competitors are cementing their ranks for industry-specific keywords. Therefore, there is a whole lot of short-term and long-term benefits you are losing out on.
The Bottom Line
SEO involves all the optimisations on the business website, landing pages and sales pages that seeks to ensure your business website shows up on the search engine results pages (SERPs). And as discussed herein, getting started with SEO and actually reaping the rewards takes time, but it is increasingly becoming a necessity, especially in today’s volatile marketplace.
SEO, through its on-page and technical aspects, will benefit your business for the long term. The dominance in internet use has left little for choice. Over 90% of business sales prospects have transitioned to the internet for online purchases. Established business entities derive most of their profits from online activities, which is where most customers are.
Brick and mortar businesses with physical stores, too, take advantage of SEO to drive traffic to their websites. Investing in SEO for business is essentially how business run in today’s golden age of the internet. This means that if you are still hesitant to invest in SEO, there is a great deal you are losing out on.