If you’ve spent any time working on a website over the last few years, you’ll probably have some idea of the importance of SEO. This field has become a fundamental part of digital marketing in fact all marketing for many businesses, with success online often hinging upon your ability to get your website to rank.
Specifically looking at just digital marketing though, comparing SEO to PPC, email, social media marketing or any other channels. Where does SEO fit and is it important at all? In this post we'll talk about SEO, what it is and what benefits it has. We'll also talk about it's place in your digital marketing strategy and where you should prioritise SEO in your marketing plan.
We'll also talk about the impact proper SEO can have on a business. If you’re going to invest time and money into something like this, it’s crucial that you have a strong understanding of what you’re spending your money on. Firstly, we'll go back to basics. So what is SEO?
Do you want to improve your SEO? Contact Improve Marketing.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands of search engine optimisation, as is the set of practices which are used to get a website into the top spots on sites like Google. Search engines read each element of your website before they determine where to position in their results pages. They read your content, understand the theme and context of your web pages. They spider and investigate your whole website and look at how other websites reference or link to you before determining where to rank your individual pages and what priority to give them.
Google, and we'll focus on Google because it is by far the largest and most important search engine, wants to provide accurate results when a user searches for a query within it. So it reads the pages of a website and then upon a user searching for a query on its platform displays those pages in order of relevance and importance. SEO is the process of getting websites to rank for those keywords and phrases within search engines.
There are an enormous amount of factors that search engines take into account when displaying the results on their pages. An SEO's job is to identify those keywords and phrases that are most important to a business or website and help that website to rank more highly for them. They do this by improving four main areas; technical SEO, user experience, back links and content. The higher that you rank for a given term, the greater share of clicks that you will receive from it.
Why Is SEO Important?
Without SEO, your website would struggle to get the traffic your business needs to survive. With customers unable to find the site, sales won’t be made, and the platform will be going to waste. Of course, though, it’s more significant than this, with a range of different benefits coming from putting your time and money into improving your SEO.
In a study published on Search Engine Land by BrightEdge, BrightEdge determined that on average 51% of visitors arriving at a website got their via organic means. So organic traffic, driven by SEO, was more important than paid search (PPC) that drove an average of 10% or social media that commanded just 5%.
Indeed, depending on what industry you are in, you can see that SEO sometimes has an even greater importance. Business services for example rely upon SEO for over 70% of their traffic.
Revenues generated by source followed similar patterns with no less than 40% of all revenue generated via a website (across all industries) also being generated via SEO levelled traffic. Check your own analytics and see how important organic traffic is to your business and how it performs against your other digital marketing tactics.
Read more about why your business needs SEO Marketing.
SEO is your most important digital channel
Regardless of what industry or sector you are in organic traffic drives the most traffic to your site. SEO has the greatest importance of all the digital channels because it impacts the largest volume. If you improved both your Paid Search and Organic Search by 10% which would have the greater impact? There area also lots more benefits to improving your SEO. Here's some more reasons why SEO is so important and should be the primary digital marketing channel that you invest in.
Leveraging Organic Traffic: We have already seen that research shows that organic search results are responsible for 51% of visitors to most websites (average all industries). People often avoid clicking on adverts, skipping straight to the organic results below, making strong SEO an excellent way to boost the number of people coming to your site. Without this in place, you could miss out on thousands of potential customers, as Google is still the single most popular way to find a website.
Trust & Reputation: A lot of customers won’t buy things from businesses which they don’t think they can trust, and they will rely on services like Google to show them the best of the bunch. This means that failing to appear on the first page of searches can make your company look less trustworthy. It will show that you haven’t put much time into marketing, leaving customers to believe that there is something wrong. This kind of issue has hurt a lot of reputable businesses in the past. Companies that are visible in organic search are more trusted and therefore stand a higher chance of convincing that customer to purchase.
Additional Features: Over the last few years, Google has been putting a lot of time and energy into creating new search features for its business clients to use. If you’re selling physical products, their shopping section can be instrumental, but you will need to have your website set up correctly if you want to take advantage of this. The same can be said for businesses offering services like recruitment and events, with search engines giving them unique places to make it easier for users.
Local Searches: Local businesses can often suffer as a result of the other companies out competing them, and SEO is no different. With so much competition online, it can be hard to reach out to those closest to you, making tools like Google My Business incredibly useful. Along with signing up for a profile, though, you will also need to think about how your website is built, with mentions of your location being a good idea, and embedded maps giving search engines the chance to figure out where you are. SEO's can optimise your Google my Business account to rank in the map pack which is visible in the vast majority of local searches.
Have you got a local marketing digital strategy yet? Check out our post on How to Market your Business Locally if you haven't.
Making improvements to SEO is a challenge which a lot of people struggle to overcome. It isn’t easy to structure your website correctly, and this makes it worth getting all the help you can, starting with Google itself. Search Console is a simple tool which allows website owners to track their traffic, submit sitemaps, and monitor the parts of their website which could be causing problems with SEO. It’s free to use this system, making it a good idea to get started right away. Even if you are not looking to do the SEO yourself, make sure that you have Search Console added and tracking your sites performance. An SEO will always want access to your Search Console account to see how the site is performing and check for any potential issues.
Along with this, websites like SEOptimer can scan your pages for you, giving you the advice to help you to move in the right direction.
Unfortunately, though, even if you manage to make your SEO near perfect, it will all be for nothing if you’re unable to keep improving it in the future. The best performers will have monthly updates to their SEO, with changes being made to account for new content, changes in search patterns, and the addition of new products to your catalogues. As a campaign progresses, you won’t have to put the same effort in as you did at the start, but it will be worth doing something to ensure that your website doesn't become stagnant as your competitors overtake you.
When approaching something like SEO, you’re rarely on your own. There are loads of companies out there which can provide advice, support, and will even handle the work for you. The best examples are those who will be willing to provide regular support on a rolling basis. Along with this, though, you will also need to read reviews and check through their portfolio, as this will show you whether or not they’ve had success in the past. SEO is a complicated game, and not every company is equal, making it crucial that you do the right background research to get this started.
With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to tackle your website’s SEO. While search engines are always becoming more complicated, the work which has to be done to find success with them is being documented all the time. This means that new guides, tutorials, and businesses are popping up all the time, intending to provide support to those who struggle with this sort of work. It makes sense that SEO is a challenge, as most people haven’t trained to work with it, but it can be hard to take the step to look for help when you’re used to running things on your own.
Where does SEO fit in the Digital Strategy?
SEO should be the starting point for any business that is serious about being on the internet, we can no understate its importance. We have already discussed the contribution that it makes to most businesses traffic, providing the greatest share of traffic to any website. For that reason alone it should also command the greatest amount of your effort or budget too. But SEO has an even greater role and here's why it should be at the centre of your digital strategy.
Part of an SEO strategy is to create content, new fresh content. This content also fills the magazine of your email marketing, your social media. The link building that is also a large part of SEO generates referral traffic. Keywords that are proven to convert via your SEO can direct your PPC, if you are trying to dominate a particular term then you can rank your website for it and have paid ads taking an even greater share of a lucrative keywords traffic.
SEO not only generates the bulk of your websites traffic but it also loads and fires the majority of your other digital marketing strategies too. SEO should not fit into your digital marketing strategy it should be at the very centre of it. The first thing you need to do, essential that you get it right. So how powerful can SEO be?
A case study of the importance of SEO as a Digital Marketing Strategy
At Improve Marketing we love working with ambitious businesses that want their businesses to thrive on the web. We were approached by a company that specialises in providing training for senior company execs. Their business was doing very well with a healthy turnover except they knew that they were not doing as well from organic traffic as they should be. Their business had plateaued and they wanted growth.
The business had not been investing much in digital marketing, the trials with paid search had become expensive tests that did not deliver the results that they were after. They had lost the bulk of their email post GDPR. Display did not work for them.
So we were briefed to audit the site and provide a solution. We went to work.
With no SEO activity, in fact very little digital marketing at all the site had started to decline. Traffic derived via organic means was showing an annual decline of 5% year on year. It was still a big site with lots of traffic generated from an extensive content marketing campaign. They have some great writers in the business.
The previous year they had launched a new website, which looked great but, the during the process of moving to the new design SEO had not been taken into account. We have seen this so often. Regularly we meet customers who have presumed, rightly or wrongly that their web developers would have taken all of their SEO requirements into account. Web developers are not SEO's, they build websites. So there was some technical issues to fix and their content although good, just wasn't doing as well as it should.
We were targeted with a 10% increase in traffic and 25% increase in leads in the first 6 months.
We set to work and began fixing the technical issues on the site. Optimising existing content and building some high authority links. It wasn't too long before we started to see the site turn. In month 2 we had taken the annual -5% decline to flat. By month 3 we were over 8% ahead, we are now in month 4 and currently we are tracking 22% ahead in traffic. Also, because of a greater focus on high intent keywords working hand in hand with improved UX we are happy to say that leads are +57% ahead of the previous year. It's going really well.
This business had struggled with all other forms of digital marketing. Their business had plateaued and they were expanding into new markets in order to achieve growth. However, after just 4 months we have already grown their UK business further than they thought it could be taken.. And this is just at the beginning of the campaign.
Make SEO the centre of your Digital Marketing Strategy
At Improve Marketing we have coined a phrase for SEO. That is 'momentum marketing'. Although we got quite fast results in the example above, for newer sites and to be honest in most cases SEO takes a little while to get going. But if you imagine it like a snowball rolling down a snowy hill, once moving that snowball gains momentum and continues to grow. That is how SEO can work for you.
To summarise, 'What is the importance of SEO in your digital marketing strategy?', it should be at the very centre of it, it is the most important channel.
Why, because it generates the greatest amount of traffic and revenue compared to any other digital channel. It feeds other digital marketing channels. It makes sure that your website is optimised for conversions and makes happy customers.
If you are not currently investing in SEO then you should consider it, particularly if you are in a competitive channel or sector. Your competitors probably already are, make sure that you get more momentum then they do more quickly. Contact us and let's talk about how we can improve your SEO.
Improve Marketing is an award winning digital marketing agency based in Suffolk, UK. We manage local, national and international SEO campaigns for ambitious businesses all over the UK who want to thrive on the internet. If you are interested in promoting your business via SEO get in contact with us and let's talk about how we can grow your business.
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