Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something we hear about, read about and even mention occasionally when we talk to others regardless of the industry we work in. The strange thing is that we never really delve into it and most people do not understand what it is but there is an overwhelmingly negative perception of its effectiveness or even if it serves a true purpose. People seem to never really want to know what it is about, how it works, or even want to know its importance.
In our expert opinion, we cannot emphasize the importance of SEO enough. However we also realize and appreciate that how a person values any product or service is subjective. So let’s quickly explore why SEO is much more than just a buzz word.
So, what is Search Engine Optimization?
Simply defined, SEO is the process of making your website visible to online traffic. That means when a user types in a search word on search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing, there are certain results and listings that appear after you click on the search button. These results appear based on what the search engine considers important to users. The results are ranked using the premise that the first result is the most important of the whole list presented. Another way to phrase that would be the top results are the most relevant to the search phrase entered.
So using that analogy, when understanding SEO that means the better you rank in the results, the more traffic your site will receive. While that is true, SEO is NOT the process of making you #1 in google (and any company who makes that promise is lying). SEO is the process of improving your rankings and increasing traffic on a monthly basis through various efforts such as writing fresh content, optimizing page keywords and title tags, social signals, natural link building, and much more.
Just about all businesses who rely on marketing efforts to generate new revenue need traffic to their websites and SEO can be the best method at producing consistent and compounding results over time. The majority of consumers are using search engines to find products and services so it should be no surprise that how you stack up in the search results can greatly affect your website traffic.
The importance of having massive traffic on your website is not so hard to figure out, and if you are running an online store you can only imagine what a major bump up or bump down in the search results could do to your sales!
Getting Traffic is Only Half the Battle!
Some companies focus so heavily on building traffic that they neglect to focus on what happens once the visitor reaches their website. A website must:
- look professional (which promotes trust),
- be appropriate for your visitor base (which promotes familiarity),
- be easy to navigate (which increases productive time spent on your site),
- and absolutely must include valuable content that you update frequently (which gives the visitor a reason to comeback).
That is and should be the formula for every successful website.
SEO has to be an on-going monthly investment you make in your website in large part due to the significance Google places on fresh and relevant content. As soon as new content is published to your site it is time stamped and starts aging. The longer it has been since your last quality content update, the older your site looks to the search engines. We have stressed this to many customers who said they could handle creating fresh content themselves and slowly saw their rankings plummet largely in part to their lack of fresh content and upkeep on their websites
Give Google no good reason to crawl your site, and that is exactly what will happen!
While SEO is not cheap, typically for SEO that produces results you should expect to spend no less than $400 to $500 per month and it can climb into the thousands depending upon the scope of your website, who you want to reach, and the market you compete within, it is still on average, more cost-effective than any other form of traditional advertising such as print media, television, or radio. And the benefits are much longer lasting. A website that has been highly optimized for a significant amount of time such as a year or more will continue to drive much more traffic to your site than a one time or periodic advertisement campaign. Most people are deaf or blind with advertising so you are only reaching a very small percentage of potential customers.
The most important point to consider with SEO and why it beats all other forms of advertising, is that these visitors came searching for you in the first place. You did not have to market to them but simply position yourself so that customers in need are able to find your solution. So long as your site is relevant to their search the chances of converting that visitor to a customer, subscriber, user, or even just a lead is far higher than any other paid search method!
Things to Avoid with SEO
Despite this brief overview of the benefits and definition of SEO, there are many people who still want to be ranked highly by search engines at all costs, and will go out of their way and employ black hat techniques such as keyword stuffing and an overabundance of back-linking to get the best rankings. Thanks to Google’s periodic updates, black hat techniques are being rendered useless little by little and many of the so-called SEO experts are closing up shop. That should be viewed as a good thing!
Google is not a true supporter of SEO because in their eyes they see it as a manipulation of the search results instead of allowing the results to flow more naturally. This is why there is no official method to SEO that can be followed without fail to bring you guaranteed success. Google controls the algorithm which defines what they decide to rank more heavily. Their mission is to simply give the search user the best possible search results possible so anyone who is trying to find relevant results will get them. SEO can interrupt Google’s efforts so to speak, therefore, they are simply trying to weed out any malicious or underhanded methods of getting websites to rank higher that do not belong in the search results.
What Works For Us
In light of all this, we focus more on building quality websites with quality content that is relevant to our customer’s business. We focus on creating great content on a regular basis that continues to interest visitors and drive new traffic to the site. We follow the latest suggestions to remain within Google’s framework of what they consider appropriate and this allows us to successfully handle SEO for a wide variety of customers.
SEO is absolutely an essential service for any business who is serious about building their online presence, increasing quality traffic, generating leads, creating new revenue streams, and using their website as a marketing and sales hub. Learn more about our SEO and SEM Services Today!