Is SEO Really Worth It?
You’ve likely heard the acronym SEO thrown around in marketing discussions and may be wondering how it can fit into your own business marketing plans. In the vast landscape of digital marketing options available today, is SEO really worth it?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. When most people hear this phrase, they immediately think of seeing their business rank on page one of Google after typing a specific keyword into the search engine. While this is certainly one goal of an SEO strategy, it only scratches the surface of what the process truly involves – and how it can impact your business.
What Is Search?
Not only have search engines rapidly evolved in recent years, but our own search habits have changed drastically, as well. To truly look at SEO from a holistic perspective, we need to evaluate all the methods that people employ to search for information and the intent behind their searches.
Many of us still sit down at a computer every day and type a query into Google to look for a specific product, service or business. But at other times, the process could look like:
- Asking Siri or Alexa for a recommendation via voice search
- Looking for video content and finding YouTube results that fulfill the needs of our search
- Checking Google reviews, Yelp, Trip Advisor, or other review sites to read others’ opinions about a business before interacting with it
- Relying on information from maps and image search for location-based inquiries
- Reading “top ten” lists of recommendations on Reddit or other user-generated content forums
As you can see, search is not as simple as it once was. We now have far more tools at our disposal, and each of these search methods — and search intents — should be considered when planning an SEO strategy. Each of these methods can lead a person to your front door, so they should each be considered carefully.
The ultimate goal is to deliver the right content, at the right time, to the right people.
Although there are hundreds of SEO ranking signals that search engines look for and hundreds of ways to be found online, the simplest explanation of the SEO process can be broken down into three main elements: on-site technical SEO, content optimization, and off-site SEO.
1. On-Site Technical SEO
On-site technical SEO is the process of ensuring your site is working properly. Monitoring and optimizing your on-site technical issues helps remove roadblocks that could be limiting your online impressions.
Is your site loading fast enough? Are you presenting the right keywords in the right structural format? Do your pages have the right amount of content, meta content, and structured code to tell search engines what your site is about? Do you have any broken links that are sending negative signals to search engines? These are but a few of the hundreds of on-site issues that SEO can help improve and monitor.
Content has always been king. Viewing content from an SEO perspective allows us to evaluate if we are presenting the right content that people are searching for. It also helps to analyze the intent behind common searches to make sure we have the information that appeals to people at various points of the sales funnel.
People are looking for answers and help with problems when they are at the top of the sales funnel; they are also looking for specific details on product and service options when they are at the bottom of the sales funnel and are ready to take action. Optimizing your content can help bring a larger audience to your site if it provides value to each of these audiences.
3. Off-Site SEO
One of the most important parts of your SEO strategy takes place off your website. How is your brand perceived and represented on other parts of the web? Do you have accurate contact information and branding on other websites and directories? Is your brand mentioned on news and media sites? Do quality websites link to your site? Are you properly optimizing vital business profile sites so that you appear in Google Maps, Apple Maps, and other valuable listings where your customers are searching for you? Is your backlink profile healthy, or do irrelevant and spammy websites link to you and harm your chances of getting search exposure? These are the questions that a good off-site SEO strategy will address.
Search engines grow more advanced every day, and the job of an SEO strategist continues to become more complex. New ranking factors for search engines appear with every algorithm update, and new methods of gaining exposure online are constantly created.
As more people view SEO from a holistic perspective and realize how every online action influences your organic SEO performance, they begin to see that it is more important now than ever. If SEO is ignored, your business could be missing out on so many opportunities.
In part II of our series, you’ll learn how to use SEO to your advantage, including why SEO is an integral part of your brand identity.