SEO, or for the uninitiated, Search Engine Optimisation can seem like a dark art – almost the equivalent of The Force in Star Wars – it exists but sometimes you just have to have trust in it before you can start to see the benefits of it. Yet, despite its existence, many people fail to understand SEO and its importance to their business as a modern day marketing practice. To do so is to miss out.
To take inspiration from master Yoda, you either ‘do SEO, or do not’ – there is no place for half measures if you want to get real results. Yet many businesses fail to believe in the benefits of SEO for them, and that is why they are missing out on a valid strategy that can supercharge their marketing and lead generation.
So what then is SEO?
If, like a young Padawan Jedi, you are new to marketing, then you might even be unaware what SEO is. SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to a website or landing page from search engines. It is a set of practices designed to improve the visibility of web pages when people search for products, services and information using search engines like Google, Bing and others.
There are many marketing people or SEOs who might well make promises to you. Something along the lines of “we’ll promise to rank you 1st on page 1 of Google” is not unheard of, even though making these sorts of promises is akin to promising that you’ll take out the Death Star without using the Force.
What are the benefits of SEO to businesses?
If you have an online presence for your business then you’ll most likely have products and services to promote. SEO increases the likelihood of potential customers finding you when carrying out a search – and when combined with good user experience can lead to more conversions, whether in the form of sales, sign ups or whatever conversion targets are set.
This makes SEO a key part of the marketeers armoury, providing a key way of connecting with people who are actively seeking what you have to offer.
Here are some of the reasons that SEO is a key component of good lead generation:
Leads are free – Unlike pay-per-click (PPC) where you are paying for the clicks to your web pages, search engine traffic is effectively ‘free’ so you are not paying for anything on a per lead basis.
High ROI – Ok, so there is some expense involved in terms of the time or expense of optimising your site for search engines, but the return on investment in terms of quality leads will usually be worth it many times over.
Increased search presence – Turning up more frequently in people’s search engine results when they make a search query is a positive and will lead to increased leads and conversions.
Wider funnel – People can be searching whether they are at the beginning (perhaps looking for information) or the end of the buying phase (about to make the purchase). SEO allows you to target people at all points of the buying process.
Boosts brand awareness – Increased visibility in search engines helps boost your brand so that you may eventually become a known name for a particular product or service.
High intent-high conversions – Search traffic tends to have high intent as the searcher usually is looking for something specific, and if you are to provide that solution to their query through a product or service, conversions will be high.
Builds trust – Through good thought leadership content that people are easily able to discover by searching, you can start to be seen as an authority in a particular area. By answering customers’ questions with quality responses can build that trust element.
Rank locally – If you offer a product or service that is connected with a particular location, SEO can help you rank specifically in your target areas.
Synergy with other marketing channels – as well as directly attracting customers, content created for SEO campaigns can be used to generate leads on other marketing channels such as social media and emails.
SEO for your business
Search engine optimisation can help you get higher organic rankings but the work has to be put in by someone, whether you look to do it yourself, or more likely involve an SEO expert. A good SEO will help you with all aspect of SEO work including:
- On page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Local SEO including Google My Business
- Page speed and core web vitals
- PR with link building
- Optimised content opportunities
Unlike paid search ads, where you pay to appear in search results, organic search rankings are about being presented to users because the search engines deem that you deserve to be. They view your website or specific pages as being the most likely to satisfy the user’s enquiry.
With trillions of searches carried out each year, often with commercial intent, this gives businesses the opportunity to put out information about their products and services. Search is very often the primary source of digital traffic, and with features like rich results and knowledge panels in search engine results, this can increase your visibility and provide users with information directly in the results.
The one drawback is that those looking for leads usually want them now, and SEO can sometimes take months to start to deliver. Paid advertising can bring quicker results, but there is always the risk that it only generates poor quality leads. Investing in SEO is very much like playing the long game and can pay off with a steady stream of quality leads that are more likely to convert.
By understanding what your potential customers want, and understanding the keywords they use to search for them, you can implement an SEO strategy that brings effective results. While SEO is one part of the equation, when combined with other aspects, including good user experience and conversion rate optimisation practices, this can help boost your lead generation and conversions. The combination can be as potent as using the Force for good. May the SEO Force be with you (always).