Do you spend a considerable amount of time and effort in marketing your business? If you’re not, then your business is probably struggling to get off the ground. You may not have realized it, but the amount of success a business experiences is largely dependent on the amount of marketing you do. If you do not market your business, only a handful of people will know of its existence. How can you hope to achieve success if the bulk of your target market doesn’t even know you exist?
Now, here’s another important question you need to ask yourself: In your marketing efforts, how much time and effort do you devote to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? None? Seriously? These days, when almost everyone has a gadget that can easily connect to the Internet whenever information is needed, you cannot hope to reach your optimum marketing potential unless you do SEO. In fact, most marketing efforts these days are focused on Internet marketing, and SEO is one of the most important components of Internet marketing.
Perhaps you hesitate to spend time and money on SEO efforts because you’ve heard that SEO is dead. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Sure, there have been a number of major changes in the landscape in recent years and many of the old tactics are no longer of any use, but SEO in general is far from dead. Instead of completely shunning it, what you need to do instead is understand the process and the changes it has gone through so you can effectively use it to your advantage.
Here are some of the best reasons why you should invest time, money, and effort in SEO:
1. It works.
As mentioned earlier, SEO is still very much alive, although many of the old tactics practitioners use are no longer viable. Among the tactics you can no longer use are keyword stuffing, indiscriminate content distribution, and unscrupulous link-building. This means it is no longer a good idea to post content that’s chock-full of keywords, but doesn’t really have much value to offer. It also isn’t advisable to post the same content on several different platforms. Furthermore, you shouldn’t buy links in hopes of tricking search engine bots into giving you high rankings.
The above tactics will only get you penalized these days, with all the algorithmic adjustments search engines have been making. Other strategies for optimizing content, however, are still very much viable. Guest posting on authority blogs, for example, could still give you high-quality links that can help rather than harm your SEO efforts. Keyword targeting is also a good technique, provided you don’t overstuff your content with keywords; a few strategically placed keywords should do the trick.
Search engines are still very much alive, so SEO is expected to continue working in the years to come. What’s important is for you to keep up with the changes. Understand that SEO is a dynamic process, so you cannot expect things to stay the way they are for too long. Sooner or later, updates will be implemented and you need to learn how to go with the flow.
2. It is very cost-effective.
Traditional advertising methods – TV/radio announcements, billboards, brochures – involve considerable cost. The cost of Internet marketing, in comparison, is significantly lower. Now, in the world of Internet marketing, there are also strategies that involve quite a significant amount of money. Examples of these strategies include pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, and even social media marketing. Compared to these strategies, SEO is a lot less costly.
In comparing the returns you get from the various marketing methods you employ, TV advertising may contribute the biggest amount. Where Internet marketing is concerned, it is usually PPC that has the biggest returns. When comparing cost versus returns, however, you will see that SEO is among the strategies that deliver the highest returns in relation to its cost. This is why it is one strategy you just cannot do without.
3. Search is becoming more and more popular.
More and more people these days check online reviews before buying a product. The number of consumers who seek out information about companies online is also increasing. More people have also started to search for products and services online, and still others are finding it more preferable to actually make purchases online. These are all indications that more and more people are using search engines these days for one reason or another.Additionally, online search is now being conducted not only on desktops and laptop computers, but even on mobile phones and other Internet-capable gadgets. More and more people are also using the Internet to search for businesses within their area, so even if you are a small, local business, you can still benefit much from SEO.
4. The competition is doing it.
If your competitors are all doing their best to gain top rankings on search results pages and you’re not, then you are definitely losing ground. Imagine yourself just sitting in your store, waiting for customers, while another store owner down the block who sells exactly the same merchandise spends at least two hours each day giving out flyers outside the local grocery. Which store do you think people will be most likely to remember when they find themselves in need of the kind of products you sell?
In the online world, people are more likely to remember brands or business names they constantly see in social media or at the top of search results. If the competition is working hard at SEO and you’re not, then your target market will be more likely to choose the competition over you for the simple reason that they feel they know the other brand/business more. Do you really want that to happen?
Other than the reasons cited above, consider the following benefits SEO can give you:
– SEO techniques enable you to identify the best keywords to target for your content marketing strategy.
– SEO enables you to identify high-quality links that can help you build authority.
– SEO helps you earn your target market’s trust; remember that consumers are more likely to trust brands/businesses that constantly rank high on search results pages.
– SEO urges you to push strong content, thereby helping drive more traffic to your website.
In using SEO for an effective overall online marketing campaign, you need to need to things in mind:
Today’s search algorithms are targeted towards rewarding excellent content and penalizing poor content. It is therefore understood that when you fill your website with up-to-date, informative, and interesting content, it will have a better chance of getting high rankings on search results pages. Consider as well that when people click through to your site and find relevant content, they are more likely to come back for more of the same; and they are likely to recommend your site to others.
As more people visit your site in hopes of finding valuable information, your search rankings are likely to improve as well. And as your search rankings improve, the potential for more people clicking through to your site also improves. This is definitely the kind of cycle you want your website to be part of.
It isn’t enough for you to post high-quality content on your site on a regular basis. You also have to make sure people are aware of the existence of such valuable content. After all, how can you enjoy the benefits of having excellent content if your target audience doesn’t even know it’s there? Spread the word through social media. Almost everyone is on social media these days; chances are great that your target audience is there as well.
Study the social media behaviors of your target market to determine what day of the week and time of the day they usually converge on their favorite social networking sites. Whenever you post fresh content on your site, promote it on the identified social sites at times when your target customers are likely to be there. Posting new content once each week and then promoting it two to three times within the same week should give you the desired results.
So, what is the secret to SEO success? There is NONE! It is no secret that you need to fill your website with high-quality content to succeed in SEO. It is no secret that you need to promote your content. It is no secret that you need to use keywords wisely. It is no secret that you need to build high-quality links and ditch poor-quality ones. It is no secret that you need to integrate your social media, content, and SEO efforts for an effective Internet marketing campaign. All these are no longer secrets. You simply need to start working on them.
Don’t worry if your efforts at marketing and SEO have so far been lackluster. You can still pick up the pace and finish the year strong. That is the beauty of a process as dynamic as marketing and SEO; there is always an opportunity to do better. The best news is that you can look forward to a better year for your brand and your company as 2014 draws to a close and the world welcomes 2015.