You’ve probably heard hundreds of times that search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital digital marketing tool, but even if you have a basic understanding of what it entails, you may not yet have a solid understanding of this complex creature and multifaceted.
SEO is made up of several different elements, and knowing what they are and how they work is the key to understanding why SEO is so important. In short, SEO is important because it makes your website more visible, which means more traffic and more opportunities to convert leads to customers.
The Crucial Elements of SEO
Gone are the days when keywords were the only SEO technique that mattered, but that doesn’t mean they’re not crucial yet. The difference is that today, keywords need to be well researched, carefully chosen, and used with care in your content to be effective.
But what exactly are keywords? Keywords are words and phrases that potential customers use to find content online and that brands can use to connect with potential customers who are searching for your products and services.
Content is a vital part of SEO because it is the vehicle you use to reach and engage your audience. For example, if you own a nursery and want to increase your visibility, you can post a series of gardening blogs, choose the right plant species, growing tips, and more.
When a person who wanted to know about gardening searched for this information, your blog would appear and you could establish a relationship with that potential customer by providing valuable information.
When it comes time for that potential customer to buy a plant, for example, you would be the first nursery that comes to mind. Today’s content should be educational, but also interesting, relevant, engaging, and shareable. Content comes in a variety of forms, including:
- Web page content
- Whitepapers and e-books
- Social media posts
- Local Listings
- Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO involves external optimization practices that take place outside of your site, not on your site. The main technique used for off-page SEO is creating backlinks, as quality backlinks to your site from external sites inform search engines that your site is valuable and of high quality, and this creates authority.
There are many tactics for creating backlinks, and some of the current best practices include guest blogging, creating lots of infographics that will be widely shared, and mentioning influencers in your content.
Local SEO is becoming increasingly important as more people use mobile devices to search. Currently, 57% of all surveys are conducted on tablets and smartphones, and half of these surveys have local intent.
If you owned a restaurant, for example, local SEO would ensure that when people in your area searched for the best restaurants in town, they would find your site.
In addition to using local keywords, other local SEO best practices include claiming directory listings, creating location-specific pages for your website, and creating pages for your business on Google My Business, Google+, and Google Maps.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to paid marketing efforts and includes things like native ads, Google AdWords, social media ads, pay-per-click, Google shopping ads, display ads, and more.
Although SEM is generally not an important component of a comprehensive SEO strategy, it has its place because it can help you reach new and highly targeted audiences.
Understanding the Importance of SEO for Modern Businesses
Increasing web traffic is one of the main goals of SEO, and it increases traffic when you increase visibility and rankings. Think about it for a moment: almost 33% of clicks go to the first ranking page and the top five listings receive over 75% of all clicks.
If you want more potential customers to find your site through a search engine, you need SEO practices to help you rank in the top five, and preferably number one.
The concept of authority is relatively new to SEO, but it is becoming increasingly important to search engines because it is increasingly important to web users.
Basically, authority means that your website is trustworthy, high-quality, relevant, and has something to offer. The more authority your site has, the higher your ranking will be and the more potential customers will trust your brand.
Creating A Better Experience For Visitors
Another reason SEO is critical is because all the time you spend generating great content and optimizing your website with on-page SEO improves the usability of your website and this creates a positive and ongoing customer experience.
For example, when you take steps to make your website responsive, it can be used by all mobile visitors, as well as people visiting from a laptop or desktop.
Also, by increasing the page load speed, you will reduce the bounce rate and encourage visitors to spend more time on your site. Almost 50% of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds, and the longer it loads, the higher the bounce rate and the lower the conversions.
As you can see, SEO is a complex undertaking that involves many different techniques, tactics, and best practices. Furthermore, these best practices are always evolving as consumer and web user behaviors change, as new technologies emerge and search engines change their algorithms. That being said, SEO is still extremely important to any business that wants to be visible online, so your efforts are worth it.
SEO can help a business achieve a number of goals, including those involving brand awareness, traffic, conversions, customer experience, and more, which is why it is so important for digital marketers to have a solid understanding of what it is, how it can help achieve goals, and what the most cutting-edge best practices are.