In the business world, people are constantly harping about something called “SEO”. In fact, you may hear about it so much that it seems like a magic tool for pulling your business out of the depths of obscurity.
Can SEO help your business, though?
Are all of those claims and almost sales-like pitches from your peers backed by anything real?
As it turns out, all the hype is real, and there's a good reason for it. In fact, there are tons of reasons for it.
SEO can help your business in numerous ways, and it's almost a prerequisite for doing any sort of business online or using the internet as a marketing tool. In short, unless you're running a tiny, old-fashioned shop with no internet presence, SEO has quite a few benefits to offer.
Let's dive into how SEO can help your business thrive in this modern world where online marketing is king.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is fancy-speak for making your online presence as search engine friendly as possible. We'll go over the exact benefits of SEO shortly, but it's important to understand the service you'll likely be paying for pretty soon.
SEO can cover quite a few things. Primarily, it covers text-based site content that is hosted either directly on your own website or the websites of other prominent businesses in the case of guest blogging and similar SEO tactics.
However, it can also include getting your business page claimed and fleshed out on Google and other platforms, adding meta descriptions and various other small features to text-based content and creating links back to your website via the content of various types on other websites.
This is where it gets complicated, and it requires not only an in-depth understanding of your industry and your particular goals for your web presence but also an extreme understanding of your target audience: Who you want to visit your site and who is most likely to engage in meaningful ways.
After all, if you run a tech company geared towards online gaming services, you probably don't need to optimize your SEO to target elderly women who spend all their time birdwatching.
An SEO specialist must carefully research the specific types of keywords, content, and various other SEO pieces that will get you to the top page of relevant searches being made by your potential customers.
This will include figuring out what your target customer types into Google when they're searching for services or products you offer, how Google uses that information, and any localization requirements that might be necessary to ensure you don't have Americans trying to hire your Australia-based air conditioning service.
It's a fairly complex set of tasks, and it can be time-consuming. So, it's recommended to enlist the help of a seasoned SEO expert or service such as AM Marketing SEO (book a call with Antonie here).
There are countless ways SEO can help your business, but we're going to cover the top ten benefits you can expect for the sake of saving your time and ours.
So, can SEO help your business? It depends. Do you like the sound of any of the following perks you'll get?
The entire point of SEO is to match your content to what a search engine wants to see. If you can do that, a search engine such as Google will put you higher and higher on its search results; with the top-performing sites with the best SEO being the number-one recommendation.
This obviously heightens your site's visibility, and it leads to more clicks anytime someone searches for something relevant to what your business has to offer.
This is mostly achieved through the creation of SEO-friendly content covering topics relevant to your service or descriptions of your service that are fine-tuned to cater to search engine requirements.
Maybe you get plenty of site visits, but you're just not converting. This could very easily be because of a lack of SEO.
SEO doesn't just get you to the top of search results for any random search. It actively tries to get your company in front of people looking to make a purchase or hire you to complete a task.
It does this through the clever use of keywords, metatags, and various other SEO aspects that differentiate your website from just general information or random bits someone would find when delving down an internet rabbit hole.
In the end, this means that more potential customers will be visiting your site, and as long as you've built a good reputation and handled your on-site marketing well, your conversions will skyrocket.
So, you made a general website for your residential painting business. You get a ton of site clicks, but for some odd reason, you're getting calls from people well outside your service area, and you simply cannot afford to convert them into paying customers.
Why is that?
Well, your site probably isn't handling its local SEO very well.
See, if a search engine can't differentiate your local business from something like a nationwide chain, you can get tossed into the general search results with a ton of other companies. This makes it a lot harder for your company to get noticed, and it leads to people visiting your site who you can't serve.
A proper SEO specialist will ensure that your site's SEO needs are targeted directly at your service area. For example, if you're operating out of Chicago, Illinois, an SEO specialist will ensure that that is worked into your SEO strategy, and your site will only appear in relevant search results for your area; in contrast to just popping up everywhere.
This has the added benefit of narrowing the competition down. Using the residential painter example again, there are far fewer residential painters in Chicago than there are in the US as a whole.
Online marketing is king in the modern business world. It reaches massive audiences, doesn't require a lot of negotiating or working with several marketing channels at once, and can be pretty cheap if you do it right.
SEO is a major part of that, and it allows you to bring in more customers a bit more passively. In conjunction with ad campaigns, social media marketing, and other cheap online marketing methods, SEO allows for organic conversions by letting your potential customers' search efforts do all the heavy lifting.
You simply optimize your site to show up before the competition's when customers search for relevant keywords, and the customers come right to you for as long as the SEO content is published and maintained.
This makes it a very easy way to passively bring in customers over a long period with minimal upkeep or investment.
Unless you're well-versed in SEO, there are probably several cheap or free things you've accidentally neglected that dramatically increase your online presence.
Here's a freebie: Did you know Google automatically generates business profiles that show up any time someone looks for a certain service or business in their area? Google your business and see for yourself. If you're a physical establishment or a registered service, there's a high likelihood Google already has a profile made for you.
Many small businesses neglect to claim their company's Google profile, and that means it's left as a bare bones profile that is unlikely to garner any attention from prospective customers. An SEO specialist can help you claim that and flesh the profile out with SEO content that ensures it boosts your company's activity.
There are a lot more little things like that.
We all like to believe that every time we type something out it turns into marketing gold. Unfortunately, that's not how it works; not for anyone, really.
The SEO process requires a certain attention to detail that not only helps with catering to search engines, but it also helps with creating higher quality content overall.
Let's say you create a blog for your website, but you don't worry about SEO. Your sentence structure, wording, headers, and various other aspects of your content will likely be one big block of text that isn't organized very well and doesn't illustrate your point as well as it could.
By simply organizing content for SEO purposes, you create more engaging, more well-organized, content that your site visitors will get more value from. This may not be your original goal when hiring an SEO service, but it's a welcome benefit.
If you've read the entry about localization, you understand this a bit. SEO that's done properly gets you to the front page of a search engine.
Think of the last time you searched Google for a service. Let's say you needed a content writer for your blog. You typed in “content writer”, and you likely got ten or more pages worth of results. Did you actually click on “Next Page”, or did you simply pick whichever first-page result looked the best? We're willing to bet you took the short route.
Well, your customers do that, too. If you're on page two of the search results, you have to compete with everyone on your page, plus all the first page results that are much more likely to be clicked on.
If you have your SEO under control, you'll be on that front page and only competing with three or four other sites at any given time.
Another unexpected side-effect of SEO is that you appear more professional online. Think about it. Without organizing your website's content for SEO purposes, your site can have an amateur appearance that almost instantly turns off would-be customers. Unorganized, poorly-worded content just doesn't resonate with people looking to spend their money on your services.
With SEO, your content will naturally be reorganized and created with a format that appeals to both customers and search engines; making your site look more professional and trustworthy.
Also, the little SEO things we've mentioned such as having your Google profile claimed and various other tidbits go a long way towards achieving a professional presence. Having SEO content appear on guest blogs adds credibility to your service, and having things such as a Google profile that's well designed not only makes it easier to reach you, but it shows that you've put effort into the business.
SEO wasn't always complicated. At one point, you could write a bunch of nonsense with irrelevant keywords and land on the front page of Google. This wasn't useful for people searching, and it led to the creation of a lot of useless or downright scammy content that clogged up search results.
Now, there are actually rules for SEO that your website must follow. Creating content willy-nilly that doesn't take these rules into account can result in your website being removed from search results; effectively ruining your online presence.
It's pretty hard to do this unless you're actively implementing SEO without knowing what you're doing, but it is possible to accidentally stuff keywords everywhere or do something a search engine doesn't approve of even if you're not trying to.
By consciously focusing on SEO, and especially by hiring a professional SEO service, you can ensure that you're following SEO guidelines that not only help you get to the front page of search results but also help you stay within the rules of various search engines in the first place.
Finally, if you run an ad campaign on Facebook, you invest your money for a short-term boost in site engagement. Once your campaign is over, you're no longer seeing any of the added traffic you were enjoying. The same goes for other marketing methods.
SEO is different. Once you've optimized your online presence, and you keep SEO in mind for all additions to your online presence, the results are long-term.
As long as you maintain your SEO, you'll continue to get organic clicks and conversions over months or even years without constantly renewing an ad campaign or going out of your way to do new things.
Of course, these benefits are only possible if you hire someone who actually knows what they're doing in the SEO world. Doing it yourself, or hiring a subpar service, can have lackluster results, or it can even hurt your company's performance.
Book a call with AM Marketing SEO (Antonie) for SEO service with guaranteed results, an amazing track record, and the lowest rates. You'll be surprised by how SEO can help your business with us optimizing your online presence.