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Brands need SEO first, as it is the most viable and cost-effective way to both understand and reach customers in key moments that matter.
This year, the need for SEO rose to an all-time high. As consumers shifted en masse to online, even the most traditional business realized that they need to accelerate the shift to digital.
SEO is the most viable and cost-effective way to both understand and reach customers in key moments that matter.
Many brands and businesses know (or think they know) that they need SEO for their digital properties, and the benefits they will get from the SEO work being implemented on their behalf.
SEO will certainly improve a website’s overall searchability and visibility, but what other real value does it offer?
Why is SEO growing in importance the way it is?
These 15 reasons should offer some clarity, regardless of the industry or business size, as to why businesses need SEO to take their brand to the next level.
1. Organic Search is Most Often the Primary Source of Website Traffic
Organic search is a massive part of most businesses’ website performance and a critical component of the buyer funnel and ultimately getting users to complete a conversion or engagement.
As marketers know, Google owns a significantly larger portion of the search market than competitors like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and many, many others.
That’s not to say that all search engines don’t contribute to a brand’s visibility – they do. It’s just that Google owns a considerable portion of the overall search market.
Nevertheless, it’s a clear-cut leader, and thus its guidelines are important to follow.
But the remaining part of the market owned by other engines is valuable to brands, too. This is especially true for brands in niche verticals where voice, visual and vertical search engines play an essential role.
YouTube is the second biggest search engine and over 2 billion people access it at least once a month.
We know that a clear majority of the world with access to the internet is visiting Google at least once a day to get information.
Being highly visible as a trusted resource by Google and other search engines will always work in a brand’s favor. Quality SEO and a high-quality website take brands there.
2. SEO Builds Trust & Credibility
The goal of any experienced SEO is to establish a strong foundation for a beautiful website with a clean, effective user experience that is easily discoverable in search, thanks to the trust and credibility of the brand and its digital properties.
Many elements go into establishing authority regarding search engines like Google.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, authority is accrued over time as a result of aspects like:
- Natural links.
- Positive user behavior.
- Machine-learning signals.
- Optimized on-page elements and content.
But establishing that authority will do more for a brand than most, if not all, other digital optimizations.
The problem is, it’s impossible to build trust and credibility overnight – just like in real life. Authority is earned and built over time.
Following Google’s E-A-T guidelines is critical to ensure successful results.
Establishing a brand as an authority takes patience, effort, and commitment and relies on offering a valuable, quality product or service that allows customers to trust a brand.
3. SEO is the Best Way to Understand the Voice of the Consumer
From understanding macro market shifts to understanding consumer intent in granular detail, SEO tells us what customers want and need.
SEO data and formats – spoken or word – gives us clear signals of intent and user behavior.
It does this in many ways:
4. Good SEO Also Means a Better User Experience
User experience has become every marketer’s number one priority. Everyone wants better organic rankings and maximum visibility. However, few realize that optimal user experience is a big part of getting there.
Google has learned how to interpret a good or unfavorable user experience, and a positive user experience has become a pivotal element to a website’s success.
Google’s Page Experience Update is something that marketers in all industries will need to adhere to and is part of their longstanding focus on the customer experience.
Customers know what they want. If they can’t find it, there’s going to be a problem. And performance will suffer.
A clear example of building a solid user experience is how Google has become more and more of an answer engine offering the sought-after data directly on the SERPs (search engine results pages).
The intention is to offer users the information they are looking for in fewer clicks, quickly and easily.
Quality SEO incorporates a positive user experience, leveraging it to work in a brand’s favor.
5. Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversions
With the rise and growing domination of mobile traffic, local search has become a fundamental part of small- and medium-sized businesses’ success.
Local optimizations focus on specific neighborhoods, towns, cities, regions, and even states to establish a viable medium for a brand’s messaging on a local level.
SEO pros do this by optimizing the brand’s website and its content, including local citations and backlinks, as well as regional listings relevant to the location and business sector a brand belongs to.
To promote engagement locally, SEO pros should optimize a brand’s Knowledge Graph panel, its Google My Business listing, and its social media profiles as a start.
There should also be a strong emphasis on user reviews on Google, as well as other reviews sites like Yelp, Home Advisor, and Angie’s List (among others), depending on the industry.
I recommend following the local SEO tips on SEJ here.
6. SEO Impacts the Buying Cycle
Research is becoming a critical element of SEO, and the importance of real-time research is growing.
Using SEO tactics to relay your messaging for good deals, ground-breaking products and services, and the importance and dependability of what you offer customers will be a game-changer.
It will also undoubtedly positively impact the buying cycle when done right.
Brands must be visible in the places people need them for a worthy connection to be made. Local SEO enhances that visibility and lets potential customers find the answers and the businesses providing those answers.
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