We talk about the benefits of SEO or search engine optimization with every project we work on. Whether it be a basic brochure site, a site designed for lead generation, a customer support site, or an eCommerce site. You can build the most beautiful site in the world. You can have the greatest content in the world. Only when you let people know it exists will they be able to find you.
- User-Friendly Websites – Search Engine Optimization is more than just getting your text and images properly formatted. When SEO is done well you optimize your website in many ways. You optimize it for speed, mobile friendliness, and a better overall user experience. You throw away many of the "cool" factor of animations to present, educate, and inform your users on why your products, services, and solutions are the one they want. A well structured and thought out website will make it easy for people to navigate which will increase their overall sticky factor on your website.
- Improved lead generation – It doesn't matter if you have a brochure site or an eCommerce website you want sales. There is no business in the business not to make money; including not-for-profits. A SEO optimized site will ask for people to move through your sales funnel without being pushy. You won't have what I call the annoying popups but subtle points of asking people for information or to do a certain task.
- Content – We can't talk about the benefits of SEO without talking about content. Specifically, high-quality content. Your content does not have to be grammar correct (sorry grammar Nazi's). Your content needs to provide answers, be informative, and in today's day and age be authenticate in nature. Authenticate is when you leave some of the human factor in your text. You don't sound like a perfectly written sales flyer every step of the way. This is important to have too but stop thinking perfection. Start thinking of helping the normal person solve the problem they are currently facing.
- Brand awareness – One of the key factors in any good SEO is getting your name out there for free. When you work on your website and the search engines see that you are creating content that answers users question you will move up in the rankings. The higher you move up the more people will see you. The more that people will see you the more you will be in their subconscious when they are ready to make a decision.
- More customers – As more people learn about you and slowly start coming to your website the better your chances are that you will increase your customer base.
- Best Practices – Google and Bing are the two biggest search engines. You need to adhere to their recommendations for your website. Not only will this make them happy but it will also make your human visitors happy as well. The best practices from the search engines are designed to make the internet a better place and to get rid of all the "noise" and help people live happy lives. This seems odd that a search engine will give you a happy life but if you think about it if you look for something online and can't find it you get frustrated. If you can serve and solve the problem someone is having you will make them happy.
- More secure – Until the search engines started demanding every website use the green padlock or SSL or TLS you only saw security on the checkout screen of eCommerce sites. Now you see most sites have the green padlock. Those that do are the companies that believe in the security and safety of their customers.
- Frequency of Updates – When a business understands SEO and wants to be found online they will more often keep their website updated. They understand the importance of educating and informing their customers and potential customers. Blogs will be written to keep a steady flow of new content coming which keeps the search engines coming back for more (they are one of your customers!).
- Bypass the competition – We only deal with small business but small business has a benefit over the big dogs. They are more aggressive, more agile, and have a deeper hunger to succeed. Small businesses may have aspirations to grow from being local to national or just to "own their own backyard" and stay local. SEO can help them achieve this as doing all the best practices and staying more in-tune with your customers your SEO efforts can help you grow past your competitors.
- Effective Marketing – When it comes to marketing your company online SEO is one of the most cost-effective ways to not only market your business but is one that when not done well can make you think your website is a cost center rather than a 24x7 marketer of your company. Your website should be working for you constantly and should not be seen as a cost of doing business. It should fall into the same realm as your employees. Your website should be considered an essential part of growing your business and having great customer service.
- Organic vs Paid – Organic SEO is when Google, Bing, and others list you within their index for free. Paid is when you want to be listed under topics that aren't related to your content or no matter how hard you try you can't get above your competition. This is where paid advertising comes in. SEO by nature is not paid. It is organic. This means you work hard to give high-quality content, you structure it well, you listen to all the best practices, and you constantly keep your website updated and informative so that when people come back they are able to learn more about you rather than seeing the exact same thing they saw last month.
SEO for any size business is important. Small business it truly is important as you are competing against companies that have very large budgets. SEO is the most cost-effective way to market your company and to keep a fresh user experience out on the internet for your customers and potential customers. By investing in SEO, you are adding to your company's bottom line by gaining brand recognition, more visitors to your site, and showing that you are the expert in your industry.