SEO is not only necessary for your business, it’s one of the greatest investments that you can make.

You can think of SEO like investing money in a 401K for your business — it’s money that will gain value over time and remain in your account. Similarly, by investing in SEO you create long-term value for your website that will continue to accrue over time.

Here are 5 reasons you should start investing in SEO now.

1. SEO works.

This is a fairly straightforward reason, but it’s completely true. As of today, Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches per dayWith that kind of search volume, there’s no debating that ranking in Google’s search results offers a valuable opportunity to get more traffic to your business’s website.

This is very important because traffic equals leads and leads turn into sales.

By investing in SEO and raising your rankings in Google you’ll send more traffic to your website which can generate more leads and sales for your business.

2. Because of mobile, SEO is becoming even more important for small businesses.

Gone are the days when people needed to wait until they got home and in front of a computer to look something up online. With mobile searches now surpassing desktop searches, more people than ever are doing research on the go. This is great for small businesses because it means that people are searching for things at the exact time that they need them and are ready to make a purchase.

For example, let’s say someone is on a business trip in your area and walking around town when they decide they’re in the mood for a coffee. All this person has to do is type “coffee shop near me” into their mobile browser and they’ll find all of the local results. For a smaller local coffee shop, this creates an opportunity to rank in their area over big-name coffee shops like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. That means people can find not only find them online but also find them on foot in real-time.

By investing in Local SEO you’re putting your small business on the radar of people who are your ideal customers and are ready to make a purchasing decision quickly.

Learn more: Beginner’s Guide to Local SEO: 5 Steps to Improve Your Google Rankings

3. Higher search engine rankings give your business credibility.

What do you do when you’re considering making a purchase online or in-store? For most people, the answer is research.

Most web users — as high as 80% in some studies — look past paid ads and focus solely on organic search results. That means that when someone is doing research for a product or service, they are much more likely to be pre-sold on your business if you rank highly in Google’s organic search results. Plus, in order for you to rank highly, your website will need relevant content, which will help drive sales once someone clicks through to your site.

Having a high ranking means that Google and other searchers have found your website to be relevant. This builds trust and authority for your business and gives consumers a positive feeling toward your business before they even start searching around your site.

4. Rankings can change fast, and your competition knows it.

SEO is an ongoing process and the more you invest in it, the greater it will be. This is a good thing on many levels.

If your website is already ranking highly in search results that’s great — but it means you need to continue to invest in SEO in order to stay there. With everyone vying for those top spots, your competitors are going to invest in SEO, and if they do and you don’t, they can start to outrank you.

If you’re not currently ranking highly in search results, you still have an opportunity to rise up. By investing in a sound SEO strategy and using smart tactics, you may be able to start outranking your competition and driving more traffic to your website.

Ranking #1 is a constant race to the finish line, and whoever trains the hardest and runs the fastest will get there first.

5. SEO is not going anywhere.

Consumers used to learn about products mostly through advertisements on the radio, television, and print ads. People also used to make purchasing decisions in stores and look for service providers in the phone books.

While some people may long to go back to those “simpler” days, the reality is it’s not going to happen.

Online shopping and searching are not only here to stay, but these trends are also going to keep growing and evolving, and that means SEO will continue to change as well. It’s important to start investing in SEO sooner vs later so you set your business up for success in the future.

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