Does SEO still matter?
Given how dramatically the online landscape has changed — more people access the Web through smartphones than desktop, and social media is king among mobile users — it’s natural to wonder whether good-old fashioned SEO tactics have suddenly become obsolete.
But don’t worry, the answer is yes, SEO still matters.
In fact, good SEO might matter more today than it did a few years ago.
Google still processes more than 100 billion searches per month, and more than half of those searches are made from mobile devices. And while some aspects of old-fashioned SEO have been greatly diminished, many of the old rules still ring true today.
For example, content is still king, but there’s vastly more content online and more businesses are vying for attention. Marketers and business owners must evolve with the times or risk being left behind.
Good SEO doesn’t happen overnight, and getting more active on Facebook won’t replace the value of a great ranking in Google. Read on to learn the top 5 reasons why business owners should still invest in SEO.
1. SEO is an asset – it’s a good investment since it keeps paying dividends.
See all those people with their noses in their smartphones? They might be texting someone about what their spouse, friends or coworkers said. Or, they might be finding a place for happy hour, researching home improvement ideas or eyeing new running shoes.
Mobile technology has greatly affected how people interact with the Internet, and that includes how and when people search for the goods and services they need. Now, people are more likely to use Google when standing in line for coffee, waiting for doctor appointments or riding in cars with friends.
Given the mobile nature of Web searches, people are much more likely to visit businesses or buy products online as a direct result of good SEO – and that’s huge.
The simple truth is that investing in SEO is a smart business decision. It always has been, and there’s no reason to believe that will change. It’s crucial to view SEO as an investment rather than a purchase. Business owners who continue to invest in good SEO are much more likely to continue connecting with customers online despite seismic shifts in how people interact with the Web.
2. SEO helps conversions.
Having a great website that’s fully functional on smartphones and tablets is a must in today’s mobile world – but what good is an amazing website if nobody ever sees it?
When your website ranks at the top of Google, people are pre-sold on working with you. Organic results at or near the top of the rankings are often assumed to be authorities in their fields of expertise and make prospects more likely to trust you and therefore more likely to convert.
Having good content (remember, content is king) is the foundation of good SEO, and visitors are more likely to become paying customers when your website provides useful, engaging content.
The combination of having a solid website and a high ranking in Google is great for your company’s brand. Visitors and customers are both more likely to not only find your business, but to come back again later.
3. SEO is a zero sum game. So if you stand still, you’ll lose market share.
Ever play musical chairs? There are never enough seats for everyone in the circle, and when the music stops, someone always loses – and snagging a chair only gets tougher.
These days, landing an above-the-fold position in Google is a lot like musical chairs. Google is allocating less space for organic results and more room for PPC ads, local Web directory listings and even direct answers for search queries. Investing in SEO is absolutely vital for staying on the first page of the Google results.
Mobile SEO is even more competitive. According to 2015 data from the marketing firm MobileMoxie, only 3 percent of Google searches in the United States return only organic search results. In many cases, Google prevents any organic results from showing above the fold, instead opting to show lists, graphs, PPC ads with extensions, locator maps and more.
When the music stops, you want to make sure there’s still a seat for your business!
4. It’s not a fad — it will continue to change, but it’s not going anywhere.
Ah, the 1980s… The decade of success is fondly remembered for saxophone solos, fluorescent colors, Showtime basketball and angsty coming-of-age films. But marketing gurus look back at the 80s and see it as something far more profound – the last days of advertising when the Internet didn’t matter.
It seems almost obligatory that people wonder each year whether SEO really matters. Not only has SEO mattered for roughly 20 years, but it will likely evolve and be relevant for decades.
Up until the end of the 80s, consumers tended to learn about products via radio, television and print ads, and purchasing decisions were often made in stores.
Nowadays, consumers often reach decisions on what to purchase – a moment that Google calls the Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT – while browsing websites on their phones. In other words, good SEO is arguably more influential to consumers than the full force of advertising channels from yesteryear.
5. Local SEO can be a huge opportunity.
About to leave the grocery store, and you feel like grabbing Indian food on the way home? Or are you out running errands and suddenly remember that you need a new outfit for an upcoming party?
In the past, finding on-the-fly answers for spur-of-the-moment impulses was significantly less convenient. Now, thanks to smartphones, consumers can instantly find and compare nearby restaurants, retailers and any other kind of business – and according to research from Google, 50 percent of local searches led to consumers visiting stores on the same day.
If you’re a business owner, make sure your company is listed on Google My Business and ensure your business name and contact information are displayed correctly on your website, Facebook page, Bing Local, and any other online channel. You should also register your business on leading online review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Urbanspoon and TripAdvisor. Online review site listings like these are often listed on the first pages of search results.
While businesses are starting to put efforts into Local SEO, there is still plenty of opportunity to build yours up before your competitors and now is the time to beat your competitors to the punch.
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