“If you don’t know the user intent behind the keywords you’re optimizing for then you’re doing it wrong. Also, if you’re optimizing for keywords vs. the needs of users then you’re doing it wrong.”
— Jordan Kasteler, SEO director at Hennessey Consulting
You know what SEO is and are fully aware of its effectiveness.
Unfortunately, there is a great chance that a large portion of what you know about SEO is wrong or outdated.
It’s not your fault. SEO can shift as fast as U.S. President Donald Trump’s cabinet; this has made the discipline one of the most misunderstood marketing practices. It is often touted as a form of digital alchemy; some mystical keyword-driven force that helps brands top the SERPs.
This perception, however, has led many small business owners to disavow SEO and devalue its place in a well-conceived marketing strategy.
This is extremely troublesome considering that roughly 15 percent of Google’s 3.5 billion daily searches are wholly unique to the engine. SEO is the only way to turn up for these searches.
That means that if a brand doesn’t have a well-documented SEO strategy, the company is bound to fail, or at the very least spin its wheels and make very little progress.
SEO helps small business stop being so small. But to do that, you must understand why SEO planning is just as essential as its implementation.
SEO is an Investment
For SEO to work in favor of your company and produce results, it requires a significant investment of time, energy, or money; and sometimes all three if you really want to play big.
Business owners need to spend time studying industry trends, keyword patterns, creating various materials like content and adverts, optimizing on-page elements, along with various other tasks to move the needle.
Without a documented plan, however, it can be almost impossible to manage all these components in a productive way. And if you are unable to manage materials and efforts effectively, you are not going to gain any sort of ground in the SERPs.
The Competition is Fierce
SEO is hard because there are so many brands vying for a consumer’s attention.
Every year, thousands of new websites and online businesses emerge into the marketplace, vying for a limited number of consumer eyeballs and dollars; SEO is what helps many of these brands get discovered. It’s also what can help set your business apart from the herd.
Roughly 93 percent of all online experiences begin on a search engine. This displays the extreme necessity to appear towards the top of results pages; preferably in the first spot. Reason being is that 75 percent of search users never go beyond the first page.
If you fail to create a blueprint for your SEO strategy, how do you ever expect to surpass brands at the top of the SERPs that conduct in-depth research and planning?
SEO is an ROI Powerhouse
When SEO is compared to many traditional forms of advertising (and many modern ones as well) there is no comparison in terms of return on investment.
A significant reason for this is that SEO is an inbound marketing strategy; this means that you are marketing to people who are actively looking for the type of product or service you provide; not shoving an ad in their face while they’re reading an article.
With inbound marketing strategies like SEO, you are not interrupting the user experience of videos, articles, or other online experiences. Instead, your brand appears exactly when the user wants to find you. You have to go where they live and dwell, not where you want them to go.
This is exactly why 33 percent of all organic clicks go the first search result, with seats two and three capturing the majority of what’s left. The top three Google results often drive millions of website visits a day, meaning they are potentially getting millions of conversions opportunities daily.
You don’t get that type of abundance without planning ahead.
Moreover, if your site manages to capture one of these three coveted spots, users are more inclined to trust your brand; this in itself can be a traffic and conversion boon.
SEO is Critical to Your Overall Marketing Mix
SEO is one of the most effective channels for driving leads and sales; in fact, some businesses wrongly assume it can be the sole element of a marketing strategy.
SEO alone, however, cannot launch a brand into stratospheric success.
In order to grow your small business into a large company, it is vital that SEO is leveraged alongside social media marketing, PPC advertising, content marketing, email marketing, consistent branding efforts, and other supplementary strategies.
This isn’t about establishing which marketing modality is the most powerful, effective, or relevant. In reality, all of these practices form symbiotic relationships that create a larger marketing ecosystem for your brand.
Through this paradigm, SEO fits into your digital marketing strategy as a type of glue or bonding agent. The research you conduct when planning your SEO approach weaves all throughout your content strategy, PPC efforts, social media blueprint, and even your email marketing initiatives.
We’re all aware that houses are built from the ground up. And if a house doesn’t have a solid foundation, the entire structure could potentially collapse. A solid foundation is the key element to strength and long-term success.
SEO is the foundation of most of your brand’s marketing initiatives; without proper planning, all of your company’s efforts could fall completely flat.
Don’t allow your brand to throw away time and money by not creating a clear roadmap of your vision, your ways of measuring success, and the very specific plan of execution.
Does your business have a documented SEO strategy? Which part of SEO do you struggle most with?
Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach. Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.