Why SEO matters

1/ Your organic search audience is by their very nature motivated to want your services

As with all inbound marketing, the prospect is actively looking or at least considering your services unlike any form of outbound marketing. Any traffic that is generated (other than of course by competitors and would-be suppliers) are already interested, to some degree, in your offering. So, it probably comes as no surprise that the conversion rate for organic searches is over 10 times higher than for outbound leads. The key is in the choice of keywords that narrows down their intent. For instance, ‘SEO Consultant’, might mean ‘I’m interested in becoming one’ as much as ‘I’m interested in hiring one’. Whilst ‘SEO Consultant Costs’ suggests someone who may be interested in hiring an SEO consultant whilst ‘SEO Consultant Salary’ suggests someone is interested in how much they might make if they become one. Of course, there may be many other interpretations, but generally, the longer the search term the more prospect intent can be narrowed down.

2/ It gives you a better insight into what your customers are actually searching for

SEO is a great way of addressing assumptions held within your company as to how people are finding you and what search terms they are using. It comes as a surprise to a lot of clients that in my experience, for most companies, 80% of all organic traffic to your site was already looking for you eg by either your brand or company name-based search. Additionally, by understanding what search terms are generating sales and those that aren’t converting, you get a valuable insight into the terms to concentrate your SEO efforts on. This also helps to determine which phrases are where in the sales cycle and where you want to be in terms of gaining traffic (see point 1).

3/ Without investing in SEO the cost of your website will be just that

Website costs for most companies are a relatively large investment and not getting them to rank means that they remain only a cost rather than lead generating a revenue stream. Many companies still spend a huge amount on new websites with little or no budget in place for either its on-going maintenance or on getting it to rank for search engine results. Moreover, it pays to invest in your website since it’s money devoted to a sales channel that can serve multiple clients and prospects simultaneously and is open 24/7 365 days a year.

4/ SEO lets you use the language your customers are using

It’s might seem obvious but you’re probably aware of a gap in terms of the terminology much of your staff use in comparison to what prospects might use. Understanding the search phrases that people find you for helps you adopt the correct vocabulary and tone that prospects can relate to on your website, in your marketing collateral and even face to face.

5/ SEO helps audiences not just find your website but the right part of your website for them

It’s important that your site is structured to get prospects entering the website at the right point. So many sites are still totally geared to all traffic coming through their Home page and spending a disproportionate amount of time and money at the expense of other pages that might better serve particular search prospects.

6/ SEO has a durability that pay per click and other paid advertising doesn’t

This isn’t to say that it doesn’t need maintaining, it does. However, when you switch off your Adwords then that’s exactly what you’ve done; all visibility is lost. The decline in an organic listings rank can vary massively but it’s frequently a slow process of erosion.

7/ SEO can be cost effective

With the money you spend on SEO, you pay the same for one visitor as you do for a hundred or a thousand. The attraction of motivated prospects to your website for a set amount, as opposed to paying per each visit as with Adwords, can mean an effective SEO strategy can work out as extremely cost-conscious. Combine this with its lasting effect (see point 6) means you can be gaining the benefits from the SEO carried out today for months, even years to come. Of course, given that most SEO isn’t immediate in its impact, it often puts off many companies that are drawn to the immediacy of pay per click (Adwords) methods. Ironically, effective SEO and Adwords have much common ground, including highly optimised landing pages and effective user engagement. This means that they can make effective methods combined to get immediate results as well as enabling great feedback on the keywords that are the highest converting.

8/ SEO gives a long-term view on your marketing

Yes, there can be some quick win gains in some areas of SEO but the overall methodology is to work over a period of months, if not years, towards securing the most highly converting key phrases. This creates a culture of using the same phrasing and developing content that addresses your prospect’s interests or concerns around a topic that they are searching for. It’s of course true that phrases come and go and being on top of emerging and declining search terms is also part of SEO.

9/ SEO gives a holistic view on your online marketing

With SEO, it’s not simply about driving people to your website. It’s also analysing those keywords which actually convert into traffic. This means viewing prospect journeys through the site, where they bounce off or don’t convert. It can be easy to judge a phrase as not a conversion keyword without viewing the page in question and how that page addresses that search. Moreover, user experience on a site is now a well-recognised signal to Google so how well customers interact with your site and can have an overall impact on how well your site ranks in generally.

10/ Without SEO you may be missing opportunities that your competitors are capitalising on

It’s obvious that if you aren’t ranking for certain search phrases that have a high search volume with good conversion rates then somebody is.

11/ SEO is often about maximising the effect of what you’re already doing

Unless you’re a brand-new company then you’ll have a ‘digital footprint’ to some extent. In this day and age, it’s simply inevitable. SEO is part making sure that there is consistency in this footprint as well as gaining an optimised output for your comms as well as in the makeup of your website. Understanding where you can improve on existing strong ranking positions for short term gains as well as determining where you want to rank on a longer time scale is part of this process.

12/ SEO, when local, gets you leads on your doorstep

Organic listings, the normal 1-10 listings under Adwords, are not the only listings you can rate for organically. You may have noticed that for certain phrases a ‘local pack’ is visible above the organic listings showing a map with suppliers that are nearby that provide services. This is a very underrated part of SEO and one where you should expect even higher conversion rates for prospects who are within typically 0-5 miles radius of your location.”

OK so what’s the next step?

So hopefully you’re convinced that SEO is of benefit. So do you undertake the work yourself or hire someone else? Should I use an SEO expert or keep my SEO in-house? Or if you’re already convinced that you want to use an SEO consultant 14 questions to ask when choosing an SEO consultant