Why is SEO So Important?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the key foundation to any highly visible website. I use the analogy of a building’s foundation. If a building has a strong foundation then there is no saying how high you can build it but with a weak foundation the building will crumble. The same holds true for your website.
SEO is what increases your chances of being found when customers search for a product or service like yours with Google, Bing, and other search engines. If a customer is using a search engine to find what they need and you don’t show up, you don’t exist.
Why focus on SEO?
There are many ways to get the word out about your business: phonebook ads, flyers, paid online ads, and more. But all of those methods can get expensive. Besides, how many people pick up a phonebook anymore?
On the other hand, if customers find your business while using a search engine it’s like free website traffic (also called organic traffic). Though you may spend some time optimizing your website, you’re not paying for each new lead like with pay-per click (PPC) advertising.
Why is SEO so important? SEO is important because it is the most cost-effective way to drive new visitors to your website. Generally, organic SEO traffic will produce leads that are interested in what you are selling. People are finding your website due to a direct response to a search that they performed in a search engine. In other words, your website was listed in front of them as relevant to what they were looking for. This is a far better match than someone clicking on a paid ad. So why don’t more people do it? SEO takes time and patience to do right. Most people just want fast results and aren’t willing to invest the time, but it never happens over night.
Types of SEO
SEO is typically divided into two main groups:
On page SEO: Everything on the page. This includes the words in the content and all the technical stuff (i.e. the code) like the Meta tags that tell the search engines about your content. This is all within your control.
Off page SEO: Everything off the page. This includes content written by you (articles, press releases, etc.) that appear on other websites as well as links to your website from other websites. This is not in your control, but you have some ability to influence it.
On page SEO
On page SEO is the most important aspect of SEO because it is completely within your control. This includes making sure your website uses all the right Meta tags and structured data to correctly markup your content. This is generally referred to as technical SEO.
Essentially, this markup tells search engines what your website is about, what the important things are, and how to interpret all of it. The more you help search engines understand what your website is about, the more qualified leads you’ll get from search engines (also called organic traffic).
In addition to technical SEO mentioned above, the rest is content focused and consists of the words you use on your website. For example, if you use words like accounting, taxes, marginal tax rate, exemption, invoice, IRS, audit, etc., search engines will assume you’re an accountant and your website is about accounting. When users enter search terms (also called keywords) into search engines like these, they’ll be more likely to find pages on your website related to these keywords.
This concept is particularly important for local businesses. If you’re a plumber, customers won’t find you by typing ‘plumber’ into Google. But if you’re a plumber in Chicago and customers type in ‘Chicago plumber’ there’s a much better chance they’ll find you. This is called as local SEO. Most websites don’t take advantage of local SEO strategies. They can be extremely powerful when competing in the local search results.
This is why on page SEO is so important. If you use the right Meta tags and structured data to markup your content, Google will know what you do and where you are. So, when customers in your area are searching they’ll find your business.
You can spend hours and thousands of dollars writing the best website content, but it won’t matter much if your on page SEO as lacking. So invest the time and make sure your website has what it needs to get your business found.
Off page SEO
Off page SEO is primarily made up of links to your website from other websites. This aspect of SEO is far more difficult to perform and can have an adverse impact on your site’s ranking in the search engines if done incorrectly.
Most SEO experts assume that more links are better, no matter where they come from. More links can actually hurt your website if they’re from low quality sources.
Most link building services build links this way and it hurts businesses. Can you imagine paying for a service that hurts your business? You’d be surprised how many websites get penalized by Google for poor link building practices.
The best SEO experts do excellent work, but they’re also very expensive. The worst ones are often cheap and focus too much on getting more links instead of earning more links.
You earn links by creating valuable content that others want to link to. The best links come from reputable sources that are relevant to your business. For example, if you’re a plumber, a link from a plumber’s association is better than a link from a website about sports. The link from the sports site isn’t inherently bad for your site (unless it’s a low quality website), it’s just not as good.
SEO can be a very complicated topic and when poorly implemented can actually hurt your business. A carefully planned SEO strategy can significantly boost quality leads to your website. Isn’t it time to give your website the power it deserves?