We live in a digital age and most customers find a store or company through an online search. For small businesses to compete in their market, search engine optimization (SEO) is a must but the benefits go far beyond increased website traffic and improved visibility. In fact, SEO can powerfully impact your business in eight specific and unexpected ways.
Delivers higher quality traffic
Effective SEO doesn’t bring the world to your door, it brings high-quality traffic—those viewers who are likely to purchase your goods and services—to your site. There are several ways to drive quality traffic to your site, including photos labeled with descriptive words, select blog categories and tags with your ideal customer in mind, and use meta tags. The key is to find what your ideal customer is looking for and deliver that through your digital presence. As you drive higher quality traffic to your site, both your SEO ranking and your bottom line will improve.
Establishes trust and credibility
The higher a website appears in the search results; the more people inherently believe that the business is trustworthy and credible (excluding paid listings). The simple truth is that 98 percent of people select a business that is on page one of their search results. Your SEO needs to land you on that page and keep you there through return visits, satisfied customers, and positive reviews.
SEO can improve your branding in the same way that it helps establish trust and credibility because both rely on a page one search placement. If your site is consistently placed near the top of a specific keyword search, this association brands your business as a key player in that industry. With no additional effort, web searches will automatically have a positive response about who you are and what you deliver. Your responsibility is to fulfill that expectation to complete the branding process.
Produces high local offline conversions
Making a significant commitment to maximizing your local SEO drives both internet and in-store sales. In fact, 72 percent of consumers who conducted a local search visited a store within five miles of their location and 78 percent of local searches on mobile devices resulted in offline purchases. For local or regionally based companies, maximizing local SEO is necessary for establishing and growing a business.
There are several markers that impact SEO rankings including how much time a visitor spends on your site. Keeping viewers on your site longer creates a cycle of benefit. People stay because you have engaging content that captures their attention. This leads to more click-throughs and sales as well as improves your SEO ranking. The higher your SEO ranking, the more quality viewers visit your site, and they stick around for the great content, which again leads to more sales. You want to establish this win-win pattern for your website.
Delivers an excellent ROI
SEO is one of the most cost-efficient marketing activities in your arsenal. You are engaging someone who is already interested in your products and services, and your job is to demonstrate that they should buy from you. While you need to conduct research to learn what keywords or images attract this group, you don’t have to reach out to each potential customer. Instead, they will come to you. Because of this, SEO leads have almost a 15 percent close rate whereas outbound leads, including direct mail and print advertising, have less than a 2 percent close rate.
You may not be a night owl, but your next customer might be and that person is more likely to find you when you have a page one SEO ranking. Your SEO works day and night, during weekends and holidays, and regardless of the weather. With a well-run SEO campaign, you are literally engaging your target customer 24 hours a day seven days a week, generating leads and sales without needing a physical presence. You need to sleep, take a vacation or just have a break, but your website is still on the job.
Reaches visitors in all decision-making stages
Every visitor is a potential customer, but some need a little more convincing before closing the deal. Through your SEO these people will find you, and with the right content, you can transform a lookie-loo into a purchaser. A basic “Frequently Asked Questions” page sets the groundwork and establishes you as responsive and knowledgeable. Case studies and customer stories show the benefits of your products or services for everything from roofing to accessories. Finally, coupons, promotions, free quotes, etc. provides the last nudge from thinking to buying. Each type of content supports your SEO which in turn keeps the right people coming back for more.
Businesses who only view SEO as a way to drive traffic to a website are missing out on all of the other benefits it delivers. By truly understanding the positive impacts that SEO provides you can incorporate the process into your marketing, sales and branding campaigns to establish a cohesive online presence.