How important is a good SEO strategy for your online business?
There is no short answer to this as it depends on how your business currently generates turnover, i.e what other forms of marketing you are doing. If you are lucky your business might rely solely on word of mouth, you have no competition or you are doing other forms of effective advertising.
It’s obvious that not every website needs to rank organically for competitive search terms. Blogs, hobbyists, data, news and many other such sites have no need to rank organically as they are not businesses in the obvious sense. But for small to medium sized businesses (SMB’s) having a website might only be a business card online, again due to the reasons above. But for most, it’s there to help their business and so SEO or some form of online marketing is crucial.
There is also a very misguided perception that you will simply be found by Google simply by having a site! Once upon a time that was true, but as soon as search terms and habits became set, and there were more than 9 other competitors then that obviously stopped. Some site owners think that because you type their company name in and they appear that that is what users will type and they will get business when this is obviously not the case.
The fundamental principles of SEO are the same for everyone, whilst the strategy is not. Results are always achievable, it’s a question of managing expectations to budget and being honest and transparent throughout the whole process. You can see your rankings and traffic rise, and then when you are on page 1 you will see your turnover rise and your business and profits start to grow.
Understanding what SEO is and knowing what it can do for you
We have talked already about misunderstanding what SEO is, but also many business owners have never seen what it can do for them as they have never ranked strongly and gained any business from it. If your site has never ranked and you are not doing any other online marketing then your site is only a resource for the people who you are taking there manually or are already your customers. For many, this is not even worth the expense of hosting, updates, domain name registration and all the time and worry that goes with it. You simply don’t see the amount of business going to your competition, even if they are not as good as you.
For others who have ranked strongly they know the value of being there. An important point to make again is that we are not talking about regular clients you already have, but new customers actively searching for your products and services. It’s new business that increases your profits and helps you grow. And if you keep your customers happy then those new clients will refer you to others. The increase can be quite dramatic and beneficial. Also, these new clients and sales are ones that didn’t go to your competition.
Strongly ranking for multiple key terms that are relevant to what you do is like being open for business 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Organic traffic has no traffic limits, no costs, no time windows and pure trust factor for users as Google and other search engines reputation is at stake to give users only relevant results. Bear in mind that Google is competing with Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo etc, so it’s in their interest also to keep you as a user.
Once you have experienced this almost invisible form of generating clients and turnover you start to understand the value of your site and what it can do. Suddenly the difference between positions on page 1 becomes crucial, as do many of the other finer points of a strategy (like landing pages, competitors, conversion rate etc).