SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business in search engines. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to get attention and attract customers to your business.
Search engines such as Google and Bing use bots to crawl pages on the web, going from site to site, collecting information about those pages and putting them in an index. Next, algorithms analyze pages in the index, considering hundreds of ranking factors or signals, to determine the order pages should appear in the search results for a given query. The search algorithms are designed to surface relevant, authoritative pages and provide users with an efficient search experience. Optimizing your site and content with these factors in mind can help your pages rank higher in the search results.
There’s a common misconception that the financial benefits of SEO are not as clear as social media or PPC. But anyone familiar with SEO knows that it is highly measurable and, in most cases, even better value for money than both social media and PPC. Ignoring SEO altogether doesn’t just mean losing a few sales here and there: it can be risky or potentially disastrous financially.
Here are some ways that it could affect your bottom line…
- You are missing potential new business -
By ignoring SEO, you are also ignoring the potential of local searches. These days local SEO is one of the most common ways people are finding businesses near them. It is not uncommon for people to drive by a business every day and yet not pay attention to it only to get their mobile device and search for a business in that area doing exactly what the business they drove past does! Other people never go out so they will not see your billboard and if you have no online presence, they will not be able to find you. In essence, you are actually hiding away from potential customers by neglecting SEO.
- Your existing business is in jeopardy -
SEO is able to attract a large number of customers since these days people are finding businesses through quick searches online. Which means your customers are indeed being directed to your competitors who are utilizing SEO to their best advantage. So your competitors are gaining a steady flow of customers and some of them may even be the ones you think you already have.
- Your reputation is being impacted –
When you ignore SEO, a critical number of potential clients are noticing your lack of organic presence online. Anyone can pay to be seen, but they cannot pay to be ranked, so more people trust the rankings that you achieve from getting your SEO right. If someone searches a particular keyword and your business site is not among those that appear in the top results, even clients you already have may begin to question whether you are indeed the best.
- You could be losing credibility -
it is well known that organic listings have far more credibility with consumers than paid listings. If you dominate the first page of Google across your industry, it’s great PR and will reinforce the perception that your company has authority and expertise. If you ignore SEO and your site appears rarely or not at all in organic listings, it may make consumers more suspicious of your credentials and even affect the conversion rate of your PPC ads.
- You might be providing irrelevant content -
With SEO in place, you are aware of the popular searches and the keywords that are used more often so you design your content according to this demand. When you choose not to pay attention to SEO, however, you are walking blind and could eventually end up falling into a pit. Businesses that give the right attention to SEO tend to post content more frequently and have a wide variety of content to ensure they attract the attention of a lot more people. Their strategies help them stay connected with the needs of the audience out there.
- You could be spending more than necessary building your brand -
Using traditional channels like media ads to build brand value is expensive and the prices continue to go up. With the correct SEO strategies, you can actually spend a lot less and yet achieve impressive results. For small businesses and start-ups, SEO makes more sense since you get a better return on investment and that investment is usually minimal.
- Your users may have an unpleasant experience on your site -
User experience can determine how long a user remains on your site or if they ever come back to the site. SEO professionals are able to improve the user experience of a site so that it is mobile responsive, that way you get more traffic from mobile users and the loading time will also improve. Often businesses make the mistake of having web designers create a site with no regard for SEO and in the end, the site looks good but takes too long to load which chases users away and into the arms of competitors who pay great attention to SEO.
By ignoring SEO, you're holding yourself back from even greater success. It's certainly possible to run a business without an effective Search Engine Optimization strategy and may achieve some level of progress. However, by doing so blindly there are many benefits that will be lost
SEO is not a fad. When you don’t fully understand something, it often feels like the easiest thing to do is ignore it. Whilst there’s been some debate around whether SEO is dead, the truth is that whilst the nature of it might be changing, it’s still very relevant to business. As long as keywords exist, SEO exists.
Using SEO is way easier than you think. You don’t have to understand Google’s ridiculously complex algorithms to create a successful SEO strategy. In fact, often the simplest strategies are the most effective because you’re aiming at the masses (the majority of which are not technological geniuses), who just want to be able to search a simple term and receive appropriate, relevant, and valuable results. So on the most basic level, all you need to do is regularly publish good quality and authoritative content that appeals to your audience and contains keywords that people will be searching.
SEO could save you money and stress. Compared to online advertising, email marketing or even social media marketing, SEO is a cost-effective way of promoting your brand and generating leads. Even if you have to hire a specialist, costs are relatively low as SEO experts aren’t usually required to work in-house so you don’t have to pay for their office space, HR, obligatory national insurance contributions, software licenses and all the other extras that pile on top of a permanent employee’s salary. You pay them by the hour or in a fixed monthly rate, and they take care of your business’s SEO plan whilst you can concentrate on the strategical development of your company.
We’re all at the mercy of a restless generation. Our lives operate at a much faster rate than they used to. Communication is constant and immediate and the demands on our time are endlessly increasing. Unsurprisingly then, we’ve become a restless generation who can’t afford to waste their time searching for the best company to use and testing out different services. Most people will go for the top rated on Google because it’s easier and faster.
SEO is also a good indicator of growth. When you start a new business, it’s sometimes difficult to monitor how well it’s being received and even harder to make convincing predictions to potential investors. The better the idea, service, or product, the faster the news spreads on social media and on external sites. It’s an effective way of demonstrating success to investors in the initial stages and can also help entrepreneurs to see trends so that they can develop their business in the future.
It’s certainly possible to run a business without an SEO strategy, and you may even achieve success. However, by ignoring SEO, you’re holding yourself back from even greater sales and success.