This is the most common question that new business owners have for me when it comes to digital marketing. Every day a new strategy rolls out and is claimed to be the Holy Grail for business owners. The ultra-competitive B2B market space makes it even harder for brands to determine what works and what doesn’t.
It is easy for business owners to become embittered by the countless strategies and tools presented to them. Since SEO or Search Engine Optimization has been there for more than a decade, many brand and business owners accept SEO services at face value.
The question still remains, is SEO still a viable marketing tactic? Let’s talk about that.
Defining What SEO Is
The process of increasing the website’s organic traffic is called SEO which is an abbreviation for search engine optimization.
For starters let’s define what organic traffic is, The term “organic traffic” refers to the visitors that visit the website via unpaid (organic) search results. Organic traffic is generated by visitors that visit the website by using a search engine such as Google, Bing, or safari—these are visitors that didn’t come from a referral link or any other website.
SEO is the online marketing strategy that focuses on improving your ability to generate organic traffic.
When performed strategically, SEO can help you generate organic, unpaid leads for products or services you offer. For example, you may write an informative blog article on how to perform keyword research and optimize it for SEO. People searching for information on how to perform keyword research can then find it when they conduct a search. If the blog article ranks high on SERP, it’ll generate traffic that may lead to paying customers or subscribers.
How SEO Works
The Internet has bought the whole world at our fingertips. We are never too far away from the information that we are looking for. Now for any information, product, or service that you need, you go online. All you need to do is to open a search engine like Google or Bing and search for your query, press enter, and BAM! You have a list of thousands of websites that might answer your query. All you need to do is to click on the first result and if you didn’t find your answer you’ll probably click the back button and scroll down the page until you found what you were looking for.
But how did the search engine decide which site will come on the top of the search engine result place?
Search engines work mainly on three primary functions:
- Crawling: Search the Internet for content, looking over the code/content for each URL they find.
- Indexing: Store and organize the content found during the crawling process. Once a page is in the index, it’s in the running to be displayed as a result of relevant queries.
- Ranking: Provide the pieces of content that will best answer a searcher’s query, which means that results are ordered from most relevant to least relevant.
Search engines use spiders- not the ones most of us are afraid of. They are automated robots that collect every piece of information about your website and the pages that make up the website. They collect things like page speed, title tags, social signals, internal linking, backlinks, and so on. By this data search engine can easily determine when to serve a searcher a page on your site.
Google alone has more than 200 ranking factors in their algorithm that need to be considered while trying to optimize the website. There are both on-page and off-page ranking factors that determine how well your site is optimized, and therefore how high it ranks on the SERP.
The on-page factors, as the name suggests, are those that are actually on the page like title tags, content, site speed, page URLs, image alt tags, internal linking, and more. Off-page factors are almost entirely based on links to your site from other sites.
While optimizing the website, it is important to keep in mind that the bots are automated computer programs and not human as you and me, they have some limitations. They can’t access the website like you and I do as they can’t actually see the website: they crawl the code of the website. This means they can’t see images or videos, nor are they impressed by flashy designs or audio clips.
Why SEO is Important
People conduct trillions of searches every year often with commercial intent to find information about the product or service, this makes SEO a fundamental part of digital marketing. SEO is Google’s way of defining which website deserves to rank high in SERP, for the query entered into the search engine.
SEO is important as it keeps the search result fair as reduces the risk of manipulating the results. Without modern SEO, it will be very easy to manipulate the results as the site with the most links will rank higher, and generating links can easily be generated by the software.
Search engines like Google use the algorithm to decide which site will rank higher in the SERP as they are keen to provide the most satisfactory and most appropriate results to their users. On the other hand, users trust search engines and achieving a top spot in search engine rankings signals to searchers that your site is a credible source.
Ranking high on the SERP helps you get more clicks, more traffic which will eventually translate to more qualified leads. That makes SEO a cost-effective marketing strategy that helps you drive qualified traffic to your site without directly paying for it.
Why SEO Still Matters In 2021
Just like me, many digital marketers and small business owners have to face the question: Is SEO still worth it?! Is investing in organic traffic a viable marketing strategy in 2021?! Is SEO dead?! While they are looking to opt for Affordable SEO Plans for their business.
With all the Google algorithm updates (Panda, Hummingbird, etc.) and changes to the Google search results page (SERP) in the past couple of years, these questions never made more sense. One of the main issues is that the older SEO techniques which were pretty effective to get the results does not work anymore! SEO has evolved dramatically and now requires much more than just having great content or a huge number of backlinks.
So, is SEO still a good investment in 2021, and beyond?!
Short answer: YES!
SEO is more important than ever! It’s still one of the most cost-effective, potent digital marketing techniques that drive long-term results. You need the right techniques. Let’s take a look at few things where SEO proves to be effective in 2021:
- Brand Visibility
According to Exact Target’s 2014 State of Marketing, increasing and improving brand awareness is one of the top priorities for marketers. And why not, your company’s brand is a valuable asset and in the digital ear, your website is one of the most effective places to spread brand awareness. That is exactly where SEO helps you, unless you are Nike, KFC, or BMW of your industry, it is very unlikely that your prospect is searching you or your product/services by your brand keyword.
Google gives brands preferential treatment to the brands as some known brands get good rankings with a few links and better SERPs, while the small brands are never surfaced and left in the dust. This makes it important for small retailers to understand the importance of brand building and get ready for the big game!
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the most robust ways to attract quality traffic to your business. While some companies may rely on pay-per-click advertising to bring in leads, there are numerous advantages to investing in an organic SEO strategy.
- Rank High in Search Engines
Consumers are increasingly relying on Google and other search engines for the information, products, and services they need, it becomes more important for businesses to hone their SEO strategy. SEO, or search engine optimization, encompasses the many different actions a business can take to improve its ranking on search engines.
Three main ways to improving your SEO are through your website structure, your content, and business listings:
- Website (On-Page SEO)
Website SEO or on-page SEO refers to changes you can make to your site’s structure and elements you can add to pages that will improve a search engine’s ability to crawl, categorize, and index your pages.
In addition to website copy, there are longer form types of content you should be publishing to help build your credibility, trust, and domain authority on search engines.
Online listings in business directories have an influence on your SEO, so it is vital to make sure they are accurate, complete, and consistent across directories.
In particular, a Google My Business Listing!
- Most Popular Form Of Traffic
Organic traffic is one of the most popular forms of traffic as Organic search drives 51% of all web traffic and 40% of revenue. SEO is crucial to significantly increase your traffic and brand awareness as right now, thousands of people are looking for content just like yours. You can help them find it with the help of SEO. as a matter of fact, 40 percent of website traffic begins with a search query. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important!
But remember, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to increasing organic traffic. Each market vertical, and each site within that vertical has to find their own approach to organic traffic growth.
- Often Results in Higher Quality Leads
The market is changing, and while most marketers are aware and are working hard to keep up, it can be difficult to stay on top of all of it. SEO itself is constantly evolving, and generating a steady flow of qualified leads is every marketer’s eternal priority. Both strategies can benefit from tearing down some silos and working together.
Start by conducting user intent research on a few of your top keywords. See if the results are what you expected, and, if not, how your company’s content meets the need. With some strategic content, properly optimized for the people who need it most, your lead generation strategy could quickly take on a whole new life.
- User Experience Is at the Core
There is a common misconception that SEO simply involves link building and including relevant keywords in the content. While these are two important strategies, search engines consider a lot more than this when ranking websites.
Over the years, Google has made a lot of changes, made constant updates, and set the standard for web SEO. What is most unique about this update is that Google considers User Experience (UX) an important factor. It’s so important the update was named after it. With strategic SEO you can improve the overall user experience of your website and stay ahead of all the changes. Proper SEO also helps you to keep up with the constant changes as you only need to make small tweaks here and there and that’s all!
- Find New Customers
51% of total traffic comes to your site through organic search. That’s more than paid search (10%) and social media traffic (5%). SEO focuses on improving your website ranking, the higher you rank, the more organic traffic you will generate!
- Adapts to The Needs of The Consumer
Customers are using long-tail keywords to search the result for their queries as long-tail keywords make 50% of all searches. With SEO you can adapt to the new needs of customers and optimize your website by targeting long-tail keywords.
- Customer/Client Acquisition For Local Businesses
SEO is still one of the best customer acquisition strategies for locally-focused businesses. What better way to bring customers in the door (or to your website) than to outrank your local competitors?
With a small business SEO plan, small businesses can reach prospective customers and clients by targeting users that are searching in your local area. Optimize your locally focused business website with local keywords, fill out your Google My Business profile and other directory profiles, gather positive reviews from past clients or customers and conduct backlink outreach to increase your visibility in local search.
- Adopting A Multichannel Approach
We all know the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” and this certainly applies to marketing. If you rely on a single traffic source to drive business to your website, you’re putting your business at risk if that channel ever were to dry up or disappear altogether.
Google organic search isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so savvy business owners would do well to use SEO alongside existing traffic channels. By taking a multichannel approach, you can continue generating results through your current campaigns while also opening up a consistent stream of new leads.
While SEO may not be a “set it and forget it” strategy, it does have the potential to drive traffic and leads on autopilot. You can easily outsource SEO and/or content creation so you attract organic traffic without taking time away from your primary marketing channels.
- Brand Authority And Reach
According to a 2014 survey, 84% of the millennial respondents said they don’t like advertising (and many of them don’t trust it). It seems that many of this generation of buyers are becoming more resistant to traditional tactics like cold calling, email spam and even paid ads and as a matter of fact no one actually enjoys traditional marketing methods. Do you enjoy an advertisement between your favourite TV shows? Or a long list of emails trying to sell you something you are not even interested in?
But with SEO, businesses can reach the focused audience that is already looking for brands — search engines. SEO works as a form of inbound marketing that attracts customers to you rather than interrupting their natural scrolling with pushy sales tactics!
- Improves and Strengthens the Reputation
What is the first thing you do when you are about to do business with a brand or organization? Just like most of us, you will Google their name. The links and information that appear on the first few pages of Google when their name is searched for are what we perceive. That’s why online reputation management (ORM) is key.
The ORM process helps align your sales, marketing, and technology efforts. SEO content is a key pillar for achieving the results you want. By learning the best performing SEO strategies to rank atop search results for your branded keywords, you’ll be able to maintain a clean image on the internet and create opportunities.
- Customer retention
Most marketers associate SEO strategies with lead generation and customer acquisition efforts. However, very few know that SEO can play a surprisingly effective role in ongoing customer engagement and retention by helping you to listen to your customers and analyze their behaviors.
While some traditional marketing methods may be becoming obsolete, SEO is here and going strong in 2021. Whether you invested in SEO early or are just getting started, it can still be a major driver of traffic, leads, customer experience, and much more to your website.
SEO is particularly beneficial for those who are looking to reach more users with their content and businesses hoping to adopt a multichannel approach. By writing content that’s tailored to your audience and optimizing your website for high-traffic keywords, you can expand your reach and boost your brand’s authority online.