When you’re running a business few things make you happier than knowing you’re queen of the SERPs. Hitting page one of Google for your key search terms is guaranteed to make any business owner happy. Attaining the coveted number one spot results in the equivalent of throwing a New Orleans-style Mardi Gras in the office. Acrylic are no different – we’re currently on page one for no less than 25 key search terms, and Nick is delirious with joy as a result.
Optimising your website for search is (in my humble opinion), the most important aspect of any digital marketing strategy.
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have, and whether you need to rank for local searches, or international terms, if you really want to harness all the benefits of online marketing, you need a great website, and that website needs to rank.
There are two reasons most businesses (and yes, even marketers) roll their eyes in disgust and frustration whenever SEO is mentioned:
- It’s boring, tedious, and somewhat exhausting. Seriously. The intricacies involved in understanding the mercurial and ever-changing algorithms employed by the search engine gods…the keyword research…the content plans…the LSI…the topic clusters…the backlinks…the crosslinks…the alt text…the endless need to tweak and update and revamp everything you’re doing… and that’s before you’ve even got to creating all the content needed. If you don’t know how to do it, learning is both daunting and seemingly impossible. Even if you do know how to do it, finding the time is a fine art all on its own, but outsourcing it is expensive, which brings us to…
- It takes a long time to actually make it work. And because of the amount of work, resources and expertise requires to make an SEO strategy successful, the longer it takes for it to work, the more it costs you. If you understand this, it’s difficult to believe it’s worth the investment. And if you don’t understand it, you’ve likely put up a few blog posts and then grown frustrated by the fact you’re not instantly sitting pretty at the top of the SERPs.
Given all this you’d be forgiven for asking, is SEO really worth it?
Why go to so much expense and effort just to please a pantheon of erratic, volatile, and capricious search engine gods?
The short answer is that the gods hold the power of life and death over your business.
By which, I mean they are capable of doing one of two things: option a) they send you regular new leads you can convert into paying customers; option b) they ensure nobody even realises your business exists at all.
If the idea of regular leads is enough to sell you on how vital SEO is for your business, great, click the link and book a free consultation with me, right now, to talk about how we can make you king of the SERPs. But for those of you who still need convincing, or just want all the facts before we have a chat, here are nine ways SEO will supercharge your business…
The Importance Of Ranking On SERPs…
With 61% of marketers (including myself) agreeing that improving their SEO and online visibility should be the top priority, there’s one thing I can guarantee:
Just because you’re not bothering with SEO, doesn’t mean your competitors feel the same way.
If you’re not optimising your website and they are optimising their website, you’ve already lost the battle, because you haven’t even entered the fray.
You can’t compete if they’re all standing on the field jostling for the top spot, and you haven’t even bothered to get out of bed yet.
Your competitors are very likely already working on establishing high ranks for their key search terms. And since their key search terms are almost certainly also your key search terms, by ignoring your SEO you’re handing a massive amount of business to the competition.
And if they aren’t putting any effort into SEO, doing so yourself is even more of a no-brainer.
Because your prospective clients are going to be searching those terms, whether you and the other businesses in your niche are bothering to rank for them or not. If nobody is ranking for them, you can swoop in and take all that business for yourself with considerably less effort.
And yet in all likelihood, the SERPs are populated by all the businesses in your industry that you’re sick to death of hearing about.
They’re everywhere: in your search results, in every Google ad you see, they’re all over your Facebook feed and clogging up your LinkedIn. And that’s because they’re serious about their marketing, and understand that SEO should be the bedrock of all of that effort.
Great SEO takes a lot of work, but it also reaps a lot of fantastic rewards. Here are nine of the biggest…
#1 Target High-Quality Traffic…
One of the huge ways SEO can boost your business is by providing you with an effective means of attracting high-quality, inbound traffic. There’s no need to reach out to customers and chase after leads. Instead, the exact people you want to work with will come to you.
Creating amazing, high-value content that’s perfectly optimised to the search terms your ideal clients are searching for will naturally bring them to you. It doesn’t require cold calling, sending spammy emails, or interrupting their online activities with invasive ads.
You want leads.
We get it, we’re all impatient for new business, and for very good reason. But the problem with outbound marketing strategies is that they serve you, rather than your audience. So while inbound strategies are slower to show results, they tend to result in much stronger relationships with your audience, more loyal customers, and a higher client lifetime value.
The customer-centric inbound approach is centred on meeting the needs of your prospects, and educating them on the value of your products and services, so that (when they’re ready) they will naturally come to you for the solutions they need.
HubSpot recently reported that 59% of marketers believe that inbound marketing methods deliver the highest quality leads. So while outbound methods may be faster, and provide a higher volume (certainly initially), in the long term your focus is better spent on SEO and an inbound funnel. Outbound methods like PPC can then be used to augment those efforts if you want to speed them up a bit by promoting the funnel itself, driving as much traffic as possible to your lead magnets once they’re in place.
#2 No Need To Pay For Ads…
I bang on a lot about the all powerful search engine gods, and there’s a reason for that. Businesses spend a fortune on GoogleAds and PPC for other search platforms like Bing!, all to ensure they’re right at the very top of the page when their target audience is searching.
PPC for search engines can be very effective for some businesses, but there’s far more value in being top of the organic search results than there is being the ad at the top of the page.
Because people searching for information and the best possible solution to their problem tend to skip over the ads. They’re not stupid, they know how these things work. Ads lead to sales pages and they’re very likely not ready to actually buy yet.
Instead, they’re researching.
They want to know what their options are, which option is best, how much they can expect to pay for a solution, and which brand is the authority or leader in the field.
There are exceptions to this – if I’m searching for a new handbag I’m going to go for the one that looks best and is in my budget. I’m highly unlikely to spend hours researching the pros and cons of various different bags. But even here, it’s usually the organic results that get the most hits. Because if you’re basing your purchase on appearance, the first thing you do when you get to the SERPs is click the Images tab and scroll through looking for a bag you like the look of.
The difference is that the sponsored search results for simple products (like handbags), which appear right at the top of the page, deliver exactly the same thing without the need to click the Images tab at all – a fast, easy, visual representation of what you’re looking for, including how much it costs.
Most businesses – and particularly service based businesses, and those with complex products that people do need to research before purchasing – don’t have an offer that can take advantage of this.
Which means they’re limited to competing for the fours ad spaces that exist at the top of each page.
SEO is just as capable of positioning you at the top of the SERPs as GoogleAds, but the value of the position you hold is far greater when you’re top of the organic results.
Searchers are savvy enough these days to understand that anyone can run an add; it’s not a reflection of the quality of your brand, content, offer, or expertise.
Getting to the top of the organic results, on the other hand, means the search engine gods have deemed your content to be the best of the best, the ultimate answer to the question searchers have posed.
So while SEO is a slow-burning strategy that requires a substantial investment, the return you get on that investment only increases over time, as the content you create actually becomes more potent the longer it’s live (particularly if you update it).
An Ad is a flash in the pan that’s very likely to be ignored and requires a hefty monthly budget to gain real traction.
#3 Get More Clicks Than PPC…
Following on from that point, when it comes to generating clicks, organic search results beat out PPC ads every time, with over 71% of searches resulting in the searcher clicking through to an organic page.
If you’re wondering how this is possible when ads appear above organic search results, we’re once again back to the all powerful nature of the search engine gods.
People trust their omnipotent judgement far more than they do the ability of a business to throw money at an ad campaign. While PPC is incredibly effective on social media, when it comes to search, SEO is far more powerful and offers a much higher ROI.
#4 Boost Your PR Efforts…
At first blush, PR and SEO seem a world apart, but if you’re sneaky when it comes to your strategising you can actually combine the two tactics to ensure you get the best possible results from both.
There are a number of ways these two areas complement each other, but the greatest is the power of link building. The ability to earn links to your website from other reputable websites is one of the core elements of an effective SEO strategy. It’s by no means the only aspect of great SEO, but it’s an incredibly powerful one that you should be harnessing.
Identifying and creating opportunities for backlinks is a big part of getting your site to the top of the SERPs, and it involves a surprising amount of PR. Gaining coverage or placement on industry blogs, in relevant news publications, and on a range of other relevant websites is all part and parcel of a good PR strategy. Consequently, there’s considerably more overlap here than most people realise.
The entire purpose of PR is to get featured and acknowledged by the influencers and publications capable of putting you in front of the right people, raising your profile, and creating huge opportunities as a result.
All that effort going into your SEO is consequently going to prove to be a huge boost to your PR efforts; it really is a win-win.
#5 Build Your Brand’s Trust And Credibility…
The obsession of the best SEO companies is to establish the strongest possible foundation for your website as the hub of all your digital marketing efforts. That involves a lot of elements, but it begins with your credibility, and establishing trust between your company and audience of prospective customers.
A trusted and credible brand ranks higher on the SERPs. As a result, the authority of your site is of paramount importance. This is something you accrue over time through a lot of careful (and consistent) activities, including but by no means limited to:
- Publishing regular, high-value, and well-optimised content and other on-page elements.
- A quality profile of backlinks.
- A history of positive user behaviour.
- The ongoing interpretation of machine learning signals.
While establishing your website as an authority in your niche is exceptionally good for your brand, it’s also key to everything else that’s happening in your digital marketing. The issue where credibility is concerned is that it’s impossible to build it overnight.
It’s like learning to trust a new friend or romantic partner, it takes time. You need to show up when they expect you to, demonstrate the strength, depth, and quirks of your personality, and prove that you’re reliable, consistent, will be there when they need you, and won’t misrepresent yourself or tell them things that turn out to be unreliable.
An ongoing SEO plan is the only way to build your website’s credibility and establish trust with your audience. This isn’t something that SEO can ‘help with’, or that you can skate by without. If you’re not constantly building effective SEO into your site, your site has no credibility.
Which means that (in the online sphere at least), your brand has no credibility.
#6 Improved User Experience…
The Google gods cottoned on to the importance of user experience some time ago, and the algorithms changed accordingly. The experience people have of your website and the content on it has a massive impact on your rankings, but beyond that, it’s incredibly powerful when it comes to improving your visibility and engagement.
Your clients and prospective customers know what they want. They’ve typed in a specific query and expect your content to provide the answer. If they don’t find it – and find it pretty much instantly – the performance of your site will suffer, your engagement levels will plummet, and both your visibility and reach will tank.
They key here is getting people to the answers they’re searching for in as few clicks as possible. That means avoiding clickbait headlines, ensuring every piece of content brings real value to your users, and providing natural links throughout it that will take them to any related information they might need to know.
A top quality SEO strategy will include a lot of work to maximise user experience on an ongoing basis. This is largely done to help raise your site in the ranks, but has the exceptionally helpful side effect of enhancing your brand’s image, visibility, reach, and engagement…which in turn will improve your SEO and boost your rank position further.
It’s all one beautiful self-perpetuating cycle.
#7 Harness The Power Of Local SEO…
As mobile search and traffic continues to dominate, local searches have become increasingly powerful and crucial to the success of SMEs. SEO has the potential to attract traffic on a global, international, national, and local scale. Whatever suits your needs, there’s an SEO strategy to target the specific location(s) you operate in.
The goal of Local SEO is to optimise your website to ensure that people in a very specific vicinity find you before they find your competitors. Local optimisation tends to focus on a specific catchment area – for example, within a set mile radius of your office, or in certain key cities where you know your target audience exist in large numbers.
This essential work establishes your brand’s voice and message at a local level that is accessible and literally speaks to the people you want to work with. This can be done using local dialect, quirks, imagery, and references, and the development of a brand steeped in the local culture of your target audience. It also involves a lot of optimisation for location-specific search terms, as well as ‘near me’ queries and voice search.
The days of outbound marketing being the be all and end all of reaching local prospects is well and truly over. While direct mail marketing still very much has its place, SEO is the only way to effectively compete for local prospects.
#8 SEO Is A Long-Term Growth Strategy…
If you’ve been following the blog for any length of time you’ll know I view SEO as a long-term growth strategy, and not a quick fix. It’s something I try to impress upon all our clients before we start working on an SEO strategy for them: if you’re after fast leads and quick returns, SEO is not going to give it to you.
SEO is incredibly powerful, but you’re looking at six months, minimum, before you start to see all its amazing benefits kick in. Yes, in the short term, you’ll get a few small wins. But if you base your conclusions on the potential SEO has for your business on the results seen after a few weeks – or even a few months – of effort, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Give it a twelve to eighteen months of consistent, high level effort, and you’ll fall in love with the power of SEO just as much as I have. Try to judge it before that, and you’re always going to be disappointed in it.
And this of course is why so many business aren’t willing to invest in SEO; they’ve tried it, it didn’t appear to work, they moved on to other things.
But they didn’t have a clear understanding of the nature of SEO and consequently weren’t aware of the time and resources they would have to sink into it in order to get it to work.
You’ll never find me sugar coating this: SEO isn’t fast, it isn’t cheap, and it isn’t easy.
What it is, however, is a highly effective and long-term growth strategy for your business. An effective SEO plan will result in consistent growth year upon year, and the establishment of a self-perpetuating, infinitely expanding, consistent stream of high-quality inbound traffic.
Used in conjunction with an effective inbound funnel, there is nothing more powerful than SEO when it comes to sustainable, long-term growth for your business.
Will the market evolve? Of course. But the best SEO companies are fully aware of this and will ensure the strategy they put in place for your business is flexible enough to adapt as the needs of the search engine algorithms continue to change in response to a rapidly changing digital world.
The nature of SEO is such that with the right team of SEO experts, you have a future-proof growth plan capable of positioning you as a long-term contender and leader in your industry.
#9 SEO Is Measurable And Quantifiable…
While the ROI you see on your SEO won’t be instant, and isn’t nearly as clear-cut as the likes of a PPC campaign, it is still measurable and quantifiable if you know what to use as a yard stick, and what to put in place to ensure you can effectively judge the success of your campaign.
The major issue where SEO is concerned is the ability (or apparent lack thereof) to draw a direct line between the time and resources you pour into optimising your site, and actions taken by your audience resulting in cashy money finding its way into your bank account.
In other words, it’s not always possible to comprehend the correlation between SEO and the monetary gains it creates.
Yet it’s entirely possible to measure those gains if you know what you’re doing, and a great SEO company will ensure your strategy is setup in such a way that you can clearly see the correlation. This is partly for the sake of ensuring customer satisfaction and demonstrating the effectiveness of our work, but more importantly we ourselves need access to that data.
We need to know how well our SEO strategies are working, so we can continually improve them. Because the long-term nature of SEO necessitates a constantly-evolving attitude, and a view that seeks to establish an effective system, and then build on it.
The great news is that, where data is concerned, SEO comes with a ton of it.
And data never lies.
Ready To Hire The Best SEO Company In Cheshire?
Whether you’re fully aware of all the amazing benefits of SEO and have just been reading this to check you weren’t missing a point, or if you were previously on the fence and unsure it was worth the investment but are now totally sold on the concept, your next step is simple… You need to hire the best SEO company you can find, and start reaping all of these epic rewards for your business.
When looking for a great SEO company there are a few things you should watch out for, the main one is the ability to fully comprehend the complexity of SEO, and implement a strategy with branches geared towards delivering every single one of these benefits in the most effective, efficient manner possible.
SEO is the new age voodoo in the world of marketing. You need someone fully capable of wielding that power, without getting tunnel vision and falling into the trap of believing that what current works in SEO always will.
In the last couple of years alone, the scope and shape of effective SEO has changed massively, with new trends emerging. The focus has shifted dramatically in the face of constantly evolving technology and increasingly intelligent algorithms, as well as the overwhelming dominance of video marketing forcing any SEO expert worth their salt to shift mediums and create multi-format content (by, for example, starting a vlog to run in conjunction with your website’s blog).
If you’d like to chat more about how SEO can be put to work in your business, book a free consultation below. If you’re in Northwich, or the surrounding areas of Cheshire you’ll get a face-to-face meeting with me, personally, and if you’re further afield we’ll have a good chat on the phone. Either way, you’ll have the chance to talk through the bespoke needs of your business, followed up by a strategy outline devised specifically for you – no strings, no hoops, not catch…
Our Head of Marketing, Hazel Butler, is an award-winning author, copywriter, and editor. Part ghostwriter, part blogger, part videographer, and part strategist, when she’s not endlessly penning content for our clients Hazel’s happily concocting the perfect marketing plans to propel their businesses forward.
Get to know her...
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