What is the value of SEO?
To answer that question, it helps to understand what SEO is all about. For businesses of all sizes, SEO - shorthand for “search engine optimization” - means executing a strategy to help position your website highly on search engine results pages, or SERPs. It’s about making sure that your brand is visible to searchers who turn to Google or Bing looking for general information, specific answers, or a local service provider.
SEO is a complex and ever-evolving process, which involves many moving pieces - like audience research, keyword analysis, industry research, content creation, backlink building, page optimization, and technical website improvements (to name just a few parts of our typical day).
So, that’s what SEO is. Now, on to the bigger matter - what it does.
- Define your branding and stand out to your ideal audience
- Sustainably increase organic traffic
- Capture more valuable leads, at less of a cost than other digital marketing channels
- Build the brand website you’ve always wanted
- Refine your approach to other digital marketing platforms, including social media and email marketing
If your brand isn’t thinking with search engines in mind, you’re missing out on one of the web’s most effective platforms for generating inbound leads. Still need a little inspiration? Let’s explore three of the most valuable benefits of SEO for growing businesses:
1.) SEO Generates Real, Provable ROI
As we mentioned, the core function of SEO is to bring organic users to your site. It’s about getting your most important pages discovered by active searchers. But even better? SEO is also about converting those leads. You see, all of the elements that make SEO work - quality content, effective site structure, quick performance and load times on mobile and desktop, clear visual presentation, intuitive UX - help prime your site to generate more conversions… and that means more paying customers.
Now, what’s the value of a conversion? Ultimately, that depends on your unique business - but let’s see if we can demystify this important question.
Working with your SEO team, start by determining the value of certain goal events, based on your final capture rate. For example, let’s say that your site’s primary CTA is a form fill for new clients, and you - as a savvy and skillful businessperson - close on 90% of the leads generated by that completed form. Next, ask yourself: what’s the average dollar amount that a new client adds to your bottom line?
Here’s a conservative example. If your site generates 20 form fills directly from organic search in one month, that’s going to typically result in 18 new clients. If your profit from each new client is $100, that’s $1800 a month that can be attributed directly to SEO.
Another way to determine the ROI of SEO is to compare organic results to paid ads for the same search. Here at Geek, our team of search engine explorers (some might say fanatics) spends ample time analyzing keywords in order to conduct industry research, understand audience behaviors, and generate future content campaigns.
When doing keyword research, one of the most common metrics to look at is CPC, or cost-per-click. This is as an estimate of what it would cost to generate one click via Google Ads (or a similar search engine marketing platform). Here’s an example of what that might look like for search terms relevant to us here at Geek:
Remember, with organic-focused SEO, your brand is capturing those same relevant keywords - and many others, including valuable long-tail keywords - for a fixed monthly price, with results that are proven to continue compounding and accelerating over time. SEO is steady and dependable, and can help capture more leads as time goes on, for the same cost.
That means you don’t have to continue pouring in cash for unpredictable results. In fact, one study suggests that over time, SEO-focused content marketing can generate up to three times more leads per dollar spent, compared to pay-per-click advertising.
2.) SEO Benefits Your Brand - Across Multiple Channels
When executed properly, SEO has benefits that extend well beyond the SERP. In fact, SEO can be a powerful tool for branding - and can help reinforce and bolster many other key digital marketing channels.
- Quality content can help win leads. One prominent research study suggests that small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without. The reason why? Well, to cite another study: 70% of people say that they would rather learn about a company through an article than an ad, and B2B decision makers tend to engage with five pieces of online content before they make a purchase. Audiences are hungry to learn. The type of quality content that Google prefers is also a great way to introduce new users to your brand’s voice, philosophy, and service - warming them up to become a conversion in time.
- Dominating SERPs can establish you as an industry leader. Google’s search results pages are ever-changing, and there are more chances than ever for brands to capture a coveted multimedia spot, such as a Knowledge Panel, Featured Snippet, or map position. These highlighted areas can help capture a ton of traffic - and suggest to searchers that your brand is an industry leader. Bottom line? The higher up and more prominently your business’ name appears via Google search - one of the most-used and most-trusted tools in the history of the internet - the more that key prospects will start to trust and respect you. And it’s hard to overstate the power of brand recognition! In fact, in one poll, 41% of respondents ranked brand consistency as the most important factor in brand loyalty, placing it above even “authenticity, relevance, or transparency.”
- The audience captured by SEO can be retargeted through other channels. SEO is a powerful way to bring in inbound traffic - and grow that organic audience over time. Even if your organic users do not become conversions on first touch, this is still a large audience that you can then retarget using paid digital advertising, including social media marketing. In short? SEO is a way to introduce a large and steady pool of new users to your brand - so that you can then move them down your conversion funnel with a drip campaign and targeting advertising, using a refined audience that will help keep your overall advertising costs low.
- High quality content can be repurposed in multiple forms. The type of content that stands out on SERPs is the exact same type of content that audiences want to consume. When you house in-depth research, strong visual assets, and compelling storytelling on your site, you can reuse those same assets in email marketing campaigns, or share them via social media. Content is king when it comes to SEO - but it’s also fuel that can power just about every element of your brand’s digital marketing strategy, and make all of the pieces work in harmony.
3.) SEO Improves User Experience
Research suggests that nearly half of all web users expect a site to load in two seconds or less, and a full 40% will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Standards are almost as high for mobile users, who are willing to wait up to six seconds maximum for a page to load - and who report that they feel as though a company doesn’t care about them or their business if a site isn’t mobile-friendly.
As it turns out, Google and other search engines feel essentially the same way. While Google’s precise ranking signals are up for debate, industry experts have observed that Google places a high priority on mobile-friendly site design, and will penalize the rankings for sites that are slow to load. On the flip side, if users do tend to engage heavily with your site, click around to multiple pages, spend a lot of time dwelling on your content, or return to your site frequently, then the search engines will generally reward your brand with higher rankings on SERPs.
In short? SEO is about content - but it’s also about web design and development. It’s an art and a science, both creative and technical.
To succeed on SERPs today, your site needs to be responsive, easy to navigate, and visually compelling, on both desktop and mobile devices. On the back end? Your site needs to be keyword-optimized, and structured in a way that is easy for search engines to crawl, understand, and index. It needs to be efficient and quick to load. It needs to have compelling imagery, and lead capture mechanisms that are functional and simple to use.
For any website project, SEO should be top of mind. It’s an essential launching point. When you create a website focusing on the principles of SEO, you are creating a site rich with content, that is also:
- Engaging and compelling
- Easy to navigate
- Highly functional
- Responsive on different devices
- Optimized for conversions
In other words, you’re creating a website that users will actually want to explore - and one that will help you stand out from any competitors in your field.
Want to Learn More About SEO for Small Business? You’ve Come to the Right Geeks
At Geek Chicago, our mission is to help enrich your brand. Our talented team can help you create high quality content that allows your business to truly stand out -- while also honing a strategy for placing that incredible content in front of exactly the right audience, at precisely the right time.
We take a full service and forward-thinking approach to content marketing, offering web design and development, SEO, reputation management, email marketing, and social media services all in-house.
Curious about what sets our approach to digital marketing apart? Want to discuss the value of SEO in even more depth? Eager to start getting more traffic and conversions for your brand, but not sure where to start? Drop us a line today to keep the conversation going!