Modern consumerism has been funneled through the gates of the search engine, the digital gateway that directs a majority of internet traffic. Nowadays, around 29.7% of all business transactions happen on the internet, averaging $4.9 trillion worldwide. And, according to a study released by GE Capital Retail Bank, over 80% of all transactions, online or otherwise, start with an internet search. That makes sense. Think about the last time you went out to eat or the last thing you purchased. How did you find yourself there? There’s a very high chance that you Googled it — which is exactly why you should invest in SEO.
Google scours the internet using algorithms and crawlers, looking at everything for potential answers to any conceivable question. Websites are segmented into lists ranked by relevance to the previously conceived question and how well the search giant thinks you’ll answer it. Now when someone asks online where to find shoes near them, they’re presented with a list of hundreds or thousands of potential answers — and it’s not random.
The truth is there’s an entire industry that runs mostly unseen, behind lines of code and digital information, analyzing reports, tracking traffic trends, striking strategic deals, and adding to every industry’s digital conversation. Experts in the search field have observed the sorting and filing of websites and noticed preferences within Google’s algorithm. These experts have identified specific activities and tactics that help every website start to rank higher on Google by earning internet accolades so their customers and their websites appear as the top choice for specific searches or queries. This process is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
What is SEO?
Let’s get more specific. Because searchers are their customers, it is in the best interest of search engines to provide the best answer to any search query. To ensure this, their invisible bots constantly crawl the internet, adding web domains to their library and sorting them based on things like content profile health, brand awareness, target audience, website usability, website engagement, customer touchpoints, and query satisfaction just to name a few. Your website’s proficiency in each of these categories all goes into determining where you show up when someone searches for a keyword or phrase related to your website.
SEO is the adjustment of your keywords, content, code and several other aspects of your website so that it appears more favorably in the eyes of the search engine, ultimately granting it higher status and better rankings.
Do I need SEO?
The short answer is yes, you need to invest in SEO.
The long answer is, your digital business is a part of the search engine system by nature of being on the internet. Regardless of your industry, be it plumbing, food, construction, technology, or dentistry, search engine crawlers will look at every aspect of your website’s internet interactions. This means, whether or not you’re aware of its effects, SEO is affecting your website. So why not help direct it by putting someone into the driver’s seat?
With a strategic plan, the right tools, and a little direction, you can control nearly every aspect of how Google perceives your website and you can have a much better chance of improving your rank status.
You might be asking now, why do you even need to show up on Google or rank high in the results? A study of Google traffic by Chitika showed that 94.75% of searchers stay on page one. This means if you’re not one of the first results shown, a majority of your potential business either drops off the interest train or finds one of your competitors before they even know you exist.
SEO can change that.
Some people research SEO strategies and think, I can do this on my own, and they do to varying degrees of success.
Others conclude, SEO is too complex and ranking in my industry or my area is going to take too much time, money, or effort and is not worth the investment.
But, it is worth it to invest in SEO.
In truth, some aspects of SEO implementation are more competitive than others. And some competitive areas might require more advanced strategies. Plus, some specific activities require more time to be fruitful, and some tools have a lot of moving parts that can take a lot of time to master.
The great thing about SEO is its strategies and deployment are business, location, competition, and personal goal specific. Each aspect can be tailored to you, your target audience, your budget, and your business goals. Within the process, individual pieces are doable on your own, some you can do with a little guidance and encouragement, and other strategies require teams of people to implement. Whether it’s a hybrid approach or full firm hiring, we can help.
How does SEO compare with other marketing channels?
In the not-too-distant past, our advertising forefathers were pavement hitting, door pounding, magazine and newspaper ad printing giants. If you wanted your product or service in front of a consumer, you paid lots of money to hire Mad Men to build you a big flashy ad campaign that would run itself in department stores and billboards across the country. It was flashy, it was pushy, and it was expensive.
Nowadays, the internet has taken a lot of the physical barriers out of the equation and replaced them with digital opportunities to capture potential clients’ attention. While the medium may have changed, the end goal is the same, finding and connecting with potential clients.
Marketing drives sales and SEO helps you better understand how those efforts pay off. When implemented correctly, SEO tools can help you see the time someone spends on a webpage, the amount of traffic you get from a particular keyword search, which of your social media posts perform well, and how your competitors do in the same markets.
These tools bring you into the mind of your clients so you can make adjustments to your marketing strategies. That kind of insight allows you to handle every touchpoint better, making each dollar you spend on marketing more worthwhile. And, because all of these interactions are seen by search engines, the better you perform, the more likely it is you’ll be rewarded with visibility in ranks and digital engagement.
SEO vs. PPC: What’s the difference?
Digital traffic is parsed into two categories, paid and organic.
Paid traffic comes from any activity, content, or post that paid money for immediate placement and targeted attention. Organic traffic comes from search companies, social sites, and other industry veterans recommending you on their own, integrating your content into the natural flow of their webpage.
Data suggests that 90% of searchers skip paid ads and click on organic results (the ones below the slew of search results labeled “sponsored”). General web users find advertisements and sponsored posts intrusive and annoying, keeping them from the reason they’re visiting a web page in the first place. Paid ads are often ignored in favor of organic answers to their query. Getting yourself into THAT placement on a results page requires time, effort, and bottom line, SEO.
So, what about other advertising efforts like sponsored social posts, email marketing, or PPC advertising?
Much like SEO, these efforts can be attached to specific keywords or phrases that potential customers are likely to search for. Plenty of social websites place sponsored results above organic results so they’re usually seen first. You might think, this is what I want! and, when properly supported, this can be very useful. But once you stop an advertising campaign, those dollars are spent, and no more clicks. Long-term success comes from SEO which helps your site rank organically.
SEO is the foundation
It is difficult to ignore the traffic spikes that come from paid advertising. But without the foundational efforts of SEO, you can lose just as quickly as you won. Weaving SEO efforts into your site to support paid advertising efforts will not only bring in new traffic but ensure the users get what they’re looking for so they’re more likely to return and recommend. Building web pages that keep attention, predicting and answering questions in active blogs, optimizing photos for faster website load times, and adding image text and meta tags for accessibility (all aspects of SEO) are what search engines look at when deciding where to rank you organically for a certain keyword.
By focusing on SEO as a foundational practice for your business, all of your other marketing efforts are more likely to bring lasting success.
SEO is a series of small tasks used to build a strong, successful foundation for your digital presence to stand on.
This means your investment in the SEO space can be as versatile as you need it. If you want to work on building brand awareness, your SEO expert could suggest website alterations to go along with your PPC campaign. When launching a new product, SEO techniques can be used to introduce it to the internet without seeing as much standard rank loss. If you’re finding success in traffic acquisition but can’t seem to get your customers across the finish line, SEO has an answer.
The true value of SEO
SEO helps you understand what you can say and do to get more attention and more traffic. Tools and activities reveal engagement metrics, traffic potential, and keyword availability. In the right hands, you can see which activities to deploy, and what techniques should be used to optimize your content and get the most out of your digital marketing money.
SEO might take several months to get your website ranking, but the work that got you there is long-lasting. And it works for everyone. Whether you’re living in a big city with lots of dog groomers, trying to start a new falafel business in the middle of nowhere, or you’re a dentist that wants to outshine your competitors, SEO is not only a necessary investment but is capable of ensuring that the efforts you’re putting into the digital arm of your business are as meaningful, bombastic, and long-lasting as they can be.
Ready to start your SEO campaign?
It’s just plain necessary to have a website in today’s digitally connected world. And with search square at the heart of the entire digital experience, integrating SEO to help you fare better in search rankings is essential. Make your digital experience work for you. Get started with GoDaddy today or stay connected to the GoDaddy Blog for the most up-to-date SEO tips and tricks.