What is SEO and How it Helps Your Business Grow
By Lizandra Santillan
By Lizandra Santillan
SEO sounds like a weird, complex concept that only makes sense to marketing junkies.
And yet, many marketing professionals don’t understand SEO, either.
The truth is, the concept is relatively simple.
But I’ll admit it took me an embarrassing amount of time to understand SEO and what a powerful tool it can be for businesses everywhere.
That’s why I decided to write this clear and straightforward guide for business owners just getting started with SEO.
Let’s take a look at SEO and how it can help your business grow.
SEO (which stands for Search Engine Optimization) is a combination of tactics to improve your website and increase quality traffic through organic search.
In simple terms, when users type in keywords or questions relevant to your business, you want your content to appear at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO works by optimizing your website for search engines to make your content more visible and rank on the search engine results pages. There are many approaches to optimizing your website, but it all comes down to positioning your site as a trusted source of information for users.
Search engine algorithms are constantly fine-tuned to provide the most relevant and useful results that are exactly what the user is searching for.
Optimizing your website for search engines means providing the best user experience that keeps your target audience coming back for more.
As a business owner, your website NEEDS to be found by users through organic search. If prospective clients can’t find you through an online search, you’re leaving money on the table.
Successful SEO brings in quality traffic to your site that leads to conversions. That means more subscribers, more phone calls, and ultimately – more sales.
Let’s take a look at six ways SEO can help your business grow:
Having a website is more than just about presenting your business in the best light. You want your website to be easy for your target audience to find through online searches.
According to BrightEdge, more than 53% of website traffic comes from organic searches. And it’s no secret that if you’re not on Page 1 of the SERPS, your site is eating dust.
In fact, a recent study by SISTRIX shows that the first three organic ranking websites get over 55 percent of all click-throughs, while the remaining results on Page 1 and 2 get little to no clicks at all.
With regular search engine optimization to your site, organic traffic will grow over time as your content begins to rank for more keywords and increase in ranking.
Trust and authority are super crucial to search users. Your prospective clients want to know they are doing business with a credible brand that is an industry expert AND provides excellent service.
This kind of trust and authority is not built overnight.
Building your brand authority also means establishing authority with search engines. When search engines view your site as credible, they are more likely to rank your content higher in the SERPS.
Users also view results on the first page as highly credible. If your site ranks highly for their search, users will view your brand as an authority, ultimately leading to more quality traffic that converts.
According to Google, 51 percent of users go online to do research before an online purchase. Users want to know more about a product or service before they purchase, and your site is the best place to provide that information.
Optimizing your site for the right keywords makes it easy for users to find information about your product or service. If you provide in-depth information that prospective clients find useful in their buying journey, they are more likely to convert into a sale.
In fact, sales through organic search make up an average of over 44 percent of business revenue. So if you want to capture a piece of that pie, SEO is a no-brainer.
Effective SEO helps you attract more visitors to your site by utilizing local citations and backlinks, social media profiles, Google My Business listings, and other digital properties.
With over 94 percent of online activities starting with a search on Google, you want to make your site super easy to find. As you grow your online presence with SEO, your website becomes easier for prospective customers to find when they search for your product or services.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is an effective way to bring more visitors to your site, but it’s an expensive investment.
And when you pull the plug on PPC, that traffic comes to a full stop.
Effective SEO implementation continues to bring in traffic long after your investment. It’s laying down a strong foundation for your brand’s online presence that remains even when you discontinue any SEO efforts.
You’ll also see about 15 times more clicks with SEO than with PPC, according to Spyfu.
When compared to other digital marketing methods with higher costs, SEO easily beats out their ROI – at a lower cost.
If you want to set up your business for success online, SEO is the essential framework.
Traditional marketing methods such as print ads, flyers, and radio or TV spots are short term strategies. They only work while you’re putting in the money to run them.
And if you don’t get results while running traditional marketing campaigns, you’ve just lost a ton of money.
While the process of SEO can be slow-going at first, the results are long-lasting and help your website gain visibility over time. Effective SEO improves your website’s usability and targets the evergreen topics related to your business. As long as people keep searching for questions, products, or services related to your business, your website will be easier to find and stand out from the competition.
The long term nature of SEO means there are no instant results. Successful SEO campaigns start to see substantial results months after implementation.
And if you keep up with your SEO strategy, those results can rapidly become exponential.
Okay, so now you have a better picture about why SEO is so important and how it can help your business grow. But how do you start? What actually goes into doing SEO?
There are many incredible guides and resources out there, but I’ll give you a brief run down into the most important aspects of creating and executing an SEO strategy.
There are three main pillars of an effective SEO strategy:
Search engines look at these three elements on your website to determine its ranking. Your strategy should utilize all three elements to create the best user experience, which will help your website gain visibility, draw more visitors, and build brand authority.
On-site optimization relates to your site’s content, meaning your blog posts, pages, videos, and graphics. Each piece of content you create needs to target keywords and topics related to your business that people search for.
This means you need to create a keyword strategy to find what terms, questions, and topics people search for most often. What kind of information are they looking for? How does your product or service solve their problem?
You want to create unique, engaging content that satisfies your prospective customers’ needs and ultimately lead to a conversion.
Moz has a great overview of on-site SEO for further reading.
Technical SEO refers to creating the best user experience on your website. Load times, mobile-friendly layouts, easy navigation, and working links are just a few of the main aspects of technical SEO.
People expect websites to load the instant they click on a link. They also expect to instantly find what they are looking for without having to navigate through several pages on your site.
And if your site doesn’t work well on mobile, people will immediately click the back button and pick a different link on the search results, leaving yours to collect dust.
User experience is an important metric search engines consider when ranking websites. They don’t want to send users to a slow-loading, poorly designed website.
Learn more about technical SEO with this awesome in-depth guide by Backlino.
Don’t know how to fix your website’s technical SEO issues? It’s best to consult with a professional SEO consultant or agency instead of trying to fix the issues yourself and risk creating even more problems on your site.
Off-page SEO (also called off-site SEO) relates to brand-building and ranking efforts done outside of your own website, namely through linking.
When other reputable websites or industry leaders promote your website online, this gives search engines a signal that your content is high-quality and authoritative.
Other sites are essentially vouching for your content, which tells search engines your site is relevant, trustworthy, and worth ranking.
Off-page SEO also includes tactics such as content marketing and social media, which play an important part in building your brand. SEMrush goes into more detail with their comprehensive guide on off-page SEO.
SEO is a long term strategy that every business needs to stand out online from the competition.
The basics can take some time for business owners to nail down, but I encourage every business owner to at least understand why SEO is such an important investment. Knowing the basic elements will help you navigate your SEO strategy, whether you decide to outsource or try it on your own.
If you need help with your SEO strategy or writing strong SEO content to increase your rankings, I can help you get started. Contact me today through the form below for an SEO content strategy consultation!