Most brands with any kind of online presence have heard of or been approached by a pesky salesman about the power of SEO. Unfortunately, sleazy salesman probably doesn’t do a great job of explaining the variety of ways that good SEO strategies can earn you more money and make growing your business a simple task.
Instead, the sleazy salesman probably spent all of his time telling you:
“YOU NEED THIS!” and shoving a price point in your face.
I think we can all agree- this is never fun.
This article will do what sleazy salesmen couldn’t- it will guide you through the 7 biggest reasons that your business needs SEO- even if you’re just getting started building an online presence. If you’re on the fence about a new SEO service or simply haven’t been convinced that SEO is more than just hype, you’ll hopefully walk away from this post with a new appreciation for the potential impact of SEO on your business.
1. You Could be Wasting High-Quality Content
For most successful businesses organic traffic is an enormous part of their digital footprint.
As it stands, Google has a strong hold on the global search market, facilitating over 92.05% of the world’s daily search engine transactions as of February 2021 Pretty much everyone who has access to the internet uses Google’s search engine on a daily basis to find one thing or another.
This is the same for our ideal prospects.
Every day, they are searching for a solution like yours to the problem that you solve better than anyone else, but they are completely unable to find you.
Remember that blog post you spent $500 on? Remember the disappointment you felt when that podcast and the 4 other blogs you ordered failed to generate any lasting traction?
It’s likely that your content was not properly optimized to capture as many clicks as possible. This means that an expensive blog post simply went down the drain and you lost an opportunity to generate a significant number of leads.
2. Good SEO builds authority in Search Engines and Helps Prospects Trust you
You probably know enough about SEO to understand that it has a tremendous impact on your website’s Search Engine Ranking for your preferred Keywords. Given the expanding involvement of AI in the curation of Google’s Search Algorithms and Google’s lack of complete forthcoming-ness (pretty sure that’s a word) about the details of their criteria for ranking, leaves a lot to be derived from inference as opposed to guidelines.
That isn’t to say that SEO is guesswork- far from it. In fact, the few major criteria for ranking and thus organic traffic have been narrowed down by countless hours and Gigabytes of analysis by a variety of companies across the globe.
So far, these are the criteria that seem to have the most impact on Google’s Impression of your website:
- Number of Referring Domains AKA Backlinks
- Keywords in Title Tags
- Length and Depth of Content
- Social Validation of and Engagement with Content (Shares, Likes etc)
- Keywords in the first 100 Words
Of course, the list goes on from here to almost 200 other unique factors, but these are solid examples of what can be considered the most important things Google’s Search algorithm recognizes in successful pages.
The point is, these are all standard parts of any decent SEO strategy and if you’re missing any of them because you haven’t taken SEO seriously, this could be why your digital footprint is insignificant.
3. Good SEO Helps the Buyer’s Cycle, Bad SEO (or NO SEO) Hurts it
If you don’t know what the Buyer’s Cycle is, you can think of it as a way of describing the way that Buyers find, interact with and eventually buy from businesses.
The typical cycle usually looks something like this:
Frank (your perfect prospect) becomes aware of a particular problem and in searching for a solution on Google, becomes aware of your business.
Having become aware of your business (and your competition) Frank now enters the evaluation phase of the buyer’s cycle. In this phase, he begins comparing the pros and cons of your business vs others and deciding who he can trust more to solve his problem.
In this phase, all of the hard work we did in phase 1 aka Awareness comes to light.
While every customer or client of yours will make their way through this cycle, your SEO plan needs to cater for all three phases and optimize for each phase to ensure that you’re not cold pitching prospects who you’ve only encountered for the first time.
That’s a REALLY good way to have a sky-high bounce rate and convert far less than you deserve to.
Let’s dive into this in a little more detail.
Say for example Robert is a new prospect who is in the awareness stage of the Buyer’s cycle. Your job during this phase is simply to increase Robert’s awareness of his problem and his awareness of how you can solve that problem for him.
You should be avoiding selling to Robert during this phase because the chances are you’ll just turn him off and he’ll go somewhere else to get his information.
During the awareness phase of the Buyer’s cycle, prospects are mostly window shopping. They are anywhere between vaguely and acutely aware of their problem and aren’t ready to buy.
Put yourself in their shoes.
Imagine for a second that you’ve dropped a few pounds and you’re now becoming increasingly aware of the fact that your pants are having a hard time staying on your waistline.
(Beautiful problem to have if you ask me…)
Things aren’t drastic, but you decide to do some window shopping since you have a few extra minutes after work one day. Immediately upon entering a clothing store to window shop, you’re pounced upon by the pushy salesman who’s assuring you that you’ll love this new jacket they just got in stock.
I’m willing to bet that right now you’re feeling a little uncomfortable.
We all do when we’re being sold.
If you’re not currently executing an efficient SEO plan that appeals to the three stages of the Buyer’s cycle- you could be doing exactly this to people who are coming to your website for the first time. Instead of finding introductory level content that helps them get to know you and trust you- they’re being fed a 2500-word cold sales page for a problem they barely know they have.
Let’s flip the script and revisit the situation assuming that you’ve implemented a proper SEO protocol (Btw if you’re interested in getting this done, we can help you out).
Instead of entering your store (Website) and being bombarded by cold pitches and pushy salesmen, Robert is instead greeted warmly and directed to content that relates to him in particular -via Google’s Search Engine Results Page.
From here, Robert takes his time browsing and can assess the quality of your clothing (content) for himself and form his own impressions.
Your well-trained salesman (properly designed content) will ask pointed questions about what Robert is looking for and help him get more in touch with what he really wants.
Maybe Robert doesn’t buy that day- but he leaves with a smile on his face and he knows now that you also sell Fashionable Jackets, leather shoes, and expensive watches (that juicy premium upsell). The best part is- he’s already planning his return.
Good SEO helps the Buyer’s Cycle along- Bad SEO is a pushy salesman that throws wrenches in the spokes.
4. Local SEO means a LOT more prospects in your Pipeline
Local SEO has been growing more popular as a viable means of expanding Lead Generation and Business website authority for a few years now.
This trend has been largely fuelled by the fact that the internet is becoming increasingly accessible to the general population via mobile phones and in many ways has become a very necessary part of the consumer experience.
I’d bet you my aunt’s secret lasagne recipe that within the last year you’ve ordered something from Amazon that you would “normally” walk into a store to purchase. It could have been something as simple as a new sweater, a frame for your glasses, or a case for your iPhone. Or maybe it was something as heavy-duty as a 45 inch 1440p TV.
Not too long ago, for each one of those items, you would have gone into the store to double-check the quality, see how well things fit or looked, and generally get more comfortable with the idea of making a purchase- especially on something as expensive as a TV.
You read probably the first 5-6 reviews on that TV set, scan a couple of blogs and then click add to cart. Chances are, you’ve also generally had good experiences making purchases like this.
The growing presence of mobile traffic has opened up even more opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses to expand their digital footprint and solve the needs of people in their area.
Local SEO accomplishes this by optimizing your websites and other digital properties for specific areas, like states, cities, and even towns. A strong focus on Google user reviews, local backlinks, local business listings, and other review forums like Yelp will go a long way to establishing a strong local SEO footprint.
Also, if you hire an SEO agency, make sure they optimize your Knowledge Graph Panel, Google My Business Listing, and any Social Media Pages that exist.
5. SEO Can Help you Minimize Your AD Spend
One slightly less often discussed advantage of a solid SEO strategy is the opportunity to minimize ad costs.
Ads on the internet tend to operate quite similarly to ads found in physical locations.
You start with some “guess work”, research, or inferential analysis about where your prospects would spend a lot of their time. Once you’ve figured out their usual comings and goings, you choose a location, create an ad and place it there for however long your budget can last.
If you’ve done your research well enough, you get some results. Maybe your weekly call-ins go from 50 to 100, maybe your fire sale is super successful and you’ve padded your revenue for the holiday season or maybe you find a few new high-value customers who will give you business for a few months before they part ways with you.
Regardless of how successful or unsuccessful your ad campaign is- it all stops when your budget runs out.
SEO optimized content and webpages, however- don’t require an ongoing supply of dinero to keep them generating leads. In fact, if you were to investigate the top 3 companies in your niche using a tool like Ahrefs, you’d probably discover that the vast majority of their traffic comes from organic searches and that their SEO strategies are only boosted by the periodic use of highly targeted paid campaigns.
Many of these campaigns are probably not even used to generate new leads, but to retarget warm leads they’ve already generated thanks to their SEO content.
Now, of course, SEO strategies quite often don’t yield the instant 1-to-1 results of a paid campaign that’s decently targeted. But they do often yield higher quality results over a period of a few months, generating far more leads that actually convert. Plus- they keep doing this forever unless of course, you fail to update your content to keep it relevant in Google’s eyes and you lose your ranking.
If you have a successful SEO strategy, it will likely become the primary source of lead generation for your business, which means instead of hopping from paid ad-campaign to paid ad-campaign, you’ll be using paid ads to boost your sales periodically and expand your audience.
6. If you’re not in the Top 3, You’re not getting clicked- Pretty Much
It’s almost common knowledge that the top 10 results in the Google Search Engine Results Pages get the vast majority of clicks for any particular keyword.
In fact, studies have recently demonstrated that conclusively that the top 3 results on the Google SERP receive up to 40% of the clicks in their relative niche.
Unless you’re already in the top 3 for your niche this means 2 things for you (at least):
- You’re not getting anywhere near the number of clicks you COULD be getting
- You have a distinctly uphill battle into the top 3 for your region or niche
People tend to prefer simplicity when it comes to validating a new source of information. It’s a part of being human that’s both a blessing and a curse.
We tend to not scrutinize things in detail and while that helps us make common-sense decisions and in our caveman past, not think too hard about the twig that just snapped behind us before we run away.
Rather than scrutinize the top 10 or 20 results in any Google search and make an educated decision about which source has done the most research, presented their information the best, or had the most hands-on experience with a particular problem- we click the link we like the most in the top 3.
The last time you needed a particular piece of information, you probably typed in a general search string that gave you options to chose from and you then chose from the top 3, the title that seemed the most closely related to your search query.
You only really venture beyond the top 3, when you’re not able to find a direct answer to your question, and even then- you probably refine your search and pick from the next top 3.
The point here is that, if you’re not operating with an SEO strategy that’s putting you on track to crack the top 3, you’re setting yourself up for a perpetual struggle to retain relevance over time.
As great as your current audience is- they won’t be around forever and the best way to ensure a constantly growing audience is to make good use of your SEO strategies to get into the Top 3.
7. It is Measurable and can Yield a Concrete ROI- unlike many other approaches to Digital Marketing
ROI is often a pretty vague concept when it comes to the world of Digital and Social Media marketing.
How much value does a blog post actually bring you?
A sales page might be easy to assess in terms of numbers, but Blogs, Vlogs, and sometimes even sales emails can be difficult to track and assess your spending accurately.
How much did you actually make off that blog with 10,000 views and 500 shares?
Truth is, you probably won’t ever be able to calculate that accurately.
SEO strategies on the other hand provide far more opportunities for accurate measurement in formats such as Google Analytics, Conversion tracking on a variety of platforms, and even the number of Leads generated from a particular landing page.
All of these details can be tracked over time and against your initial and/or monthly investment so you know immediately and in detail just how much return you’re getting on your investment.
That would be all for today. I hope you had fun reading this post.
Just note, if you are living on MAMA noodles to keep your business going (yes, I was that person back in the early days of Lexia, glad you asked) then investing in SEO is maybe not something you should focus on right now. But more of that in some of the following posts.
Until next time!