When is the last time you opened a phone book? Not long ago, Yellow Pages were the go-to portals for shoppers who needed local goods and services — now they’re obsolete.
Internet search engines replaced the role of the phone book years ago. And even as online habits have changed in recent years, the role of the search engine has not.
A Major Change For Businesses
This shift to search engines is a major change for businesses because the Internet isn’t nearly as forgiving as a phone book.
The Yellow Pages gave equal exposure in alphabetical order to hundreds of businesses per page. Search engines, on the other hand, selectively choose a handful of websites that get the lions’ share of traffic.
A study by Chitika Insights showed more than 60 percent of Google users click on the top three results, with 33 percent going to the top spot. Achieving those coveted rankings can be incredibly difficult and losing your spot can decimate your flow of online customers overnight.
This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in…
Staying competitive in today’s search-driven marketplace requires a concerted SEO strategy. Without it, your shiny, functional website is a tree falling in the woods with no one around to hear it.
Here, we’ll break down the top eight reasons why SEO matters.
1. SEO works
To some, SEO might seem like a marketing buzzword used to separate business owners from their hard-earned profits. The reality is that SEO works.
Using sound SEO strategies will help to raise rankings and drive traffic to your website. The most cutting-edge SEO practices are constantly evolving, but several core elements of SEO are the same today as they were 10 years ago.
This is great news for business owners who don’t have the budgets to hire an SEO specialist because they can still bolster their search engine rankings with relatively simple edits to their websites.
2. More consumers are doing research before buying
Did you know more than 70 percent of consumers research companies online before giving them their business? Based on that statistic, simply having a functional website isn’t good enough – not if you want to grow your business and find new customers.
Potential customers won’t find your business if it’s buried deep in the search rankings. And a big part of SEO is filling out your website with useful, relevant content. Not only does SEO enhance the visibility of your business, but visitors are much more likely to become customers after researching properly optimized websites.
3. SEO is becoming increasingly useful for small businesses
Smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and other mobile devices are empowering people to find restaurants, retailers and other nearby businesses no matter where they are.
Of the 100 billion monthly searches on Google, an estimated half of those are from mobile devices. And according to Google’s research, roughly 50% of consumers who conducted local searches on their smartphones visited stores they searched for within 24 hours – that’s huge.
Business owners who optimize their local SEO can instantly connect with shoppers in search of nearby goods and services. It’s a can’t-miss opportunity – unless, of course, you’re sitting on the sidelines and not investing in SEO.
4. Your competitors are doing it
Don’t get too comfortable if your business is fortunate enough to have a decent search engine ranking without investing in SEO. More than half of marketers surveyed in a recent study by Regalix predicted a rise in competition across search engine rankings.
With SEO, there are only 10 available spots on the first page of Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine. Do a quick search for some of your relevant keywords and you’ll likely find that millions of other websites are competing for those coveted 10 spots. And every day new websites are launched and old websites are improved.
5. A great search ranking builds credibility
The majority of Web users – up to 80%, according to some studies – skip the paid ads and focus solely on organic search results. When you invest in SEO and get a high ranking, consumers are much more likely to be pre-sold on your business. In addition, a website that’s optimized for a high search ranking will be packed with useful, relevant content to further drive sales.
The combination of high-end content with an authoritative ranking can work wonders for your company’s brand. Again, people are much more likely to become customers if they can find and research your business. A good SEO strategy will give consumers a positive feeling even before they dig in for details.
6. SEO is an asset
Paid search advertising is another option to get your business on the first page of the search results. But while paid advertising yields quicker results, it’s not an asset that grows over time. Think of ads like renting an apartment. Every month you pay rent and after years of renting you haven’t built up any equity. When you stop paying for ads, you stop receiving traffic.
With SEO, you’re building an asset. It’s like buying a home that increases in value over time. As you continue to invest in SEO, you’ll build up your website so it drives more and more customers for your business.
7. You don’t want to be squeezed out of mobile searches
More people view the Web through mobile devices now than on desktop browsers, which is why local SEO is so important.
However, this shift to mobile devices is also driving up the competition. A recent study by the marketing firm MobileMoxie found that 97% of Google searches are returned with ads, graphs, locator maps and other elements above the organic results – that leaves significantly less real estate for first-page search results especially on smaller mobile displays.
8. SEO isn’t going anywhere
Phone books aren’t coming back. And while television, print and radio ads have their place in today’s marketplace, they often are not as powerful as a well-placed search engine ranking.
Investing in SEO has been a smart business decision for the past two decades, and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon. It’s never too late to get into the game – wait too long, though, and you’ll be playing a long game of catch up.
Why Isn’t Your Website Ranking #1?
If you want more SEO tips, register for our upcoming Live Training…
The Complete SEO Audit:
How to Pinpoint What’s Preventing Your
Website From Ranking #1 in Google!
Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 12pm – 1:30pm Eastern time
When you attend, you’ll learn exactly how to audit your website’s SEO, so you can determine what’s stopping your website from ranking higher in Google — and how to fix it.
Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
Our mission is to help small businesses thrive. With our services and training, we help small businesses succeed with marketing regardless of their budgets.
Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of small businesses create profitable digital marketing campaigns.
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