The technique of SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is absolutely essential for any business wishing to succeed in today’s increasingly digital marketplace.
In a nutshell, SEO is a way of positioning your content and services in such a way that your online presence climbs the rungs of a search engine’s results. This puts your site in front of many more sets of potentially interested eyes – some of which may click through to make a purchase.
The value of this kind of optimisation all boils down to the difference between organic and paid visitors. You may think that traffic is traffic – but you’d be wrong.
Not created equal
SEO drives organic traffic. Rather than someone clicking on a pay-per-click (PPC) advert and being directed to your website, SEO allows you to promote, position, and optimise your content organically, by tagging it with relevant keywords and links that search engines consider when they scour the web.
This is a very cost effective way of promoting your business, with a high return on investment (ROI). In fact, surveys have shown that SEO may have a greater effect than pay-per-click adverts; while around 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine query, 80% of searchers also admit that they prefer to discard the promoted and paid-for results of a search, instead preferring organic entries.
While adverts are an optional part of the SEO toolkit (say, adverts that appear in response to particular search terms on Google), it’s worth considering users’ preferences before investing in this – as well as factors such as budget and timespan. If you’re wishing to increase traffic in the short term, PPC adverts may be a better option, but you’ll likely find SEO to be more valuable to you and your business in the long run, by slowly growing reliable traffic over time. “The minute your ad runs, it delivers results,” agree kapost. “But when the budget stops, so do the benefits.”
The traffic driven by SEO is also of a high quality. Visitors that find you via an organic search are already somewhat motivated to do business with you. If you search for, say, a translator in Hong Kong, and up pops just that, you’re likely to click through and complete a transaction with that business. The difference between you targeting a user and a user searching for you is crucial; you want to attract motivated customers – and SEO offers a wonderful way to do this.
This also plays to consistency, especially when it comes to branding and the user experience. Organic traffic offers a more seamless, consistent experience, in that a user types in a search term, and up pops something that matches that. If you’ve effectively optimised your page for SEO and all the crucial keyword search terms pertaining to your business and industry, the path from search engine to your website is a seamless transition – something that also strengthens the power and reputability of your brand.
Last but by no means least, SEO is simply a core part of any comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Such a strategy should cohesively consider all the channels by which traffic may encounter you and your business. SEO facilitates and complements all of these channels. While it is highly valuable to local businesses, if your business operates – or wishes to operate! – internationally or on a global scale, the importance and value of SEO grows yet further, offering a way to broaden your reach and access anyone, anywhere, who searches for relevant keywords.