If you are a newcomer to the online business world, you will undoubtedly have thought about search engine optimization, but may be unsure about how, if at all, it can benefit your business. The fact is, however, that without search engine optimization, you could have a tough time getting your product or service, however good, in front of potential customers. In today’s world, the business benefits of SEO simply cannot be over-estimated.
Why is SEO Necessary?
If you need convincing, consider what you yourself do when you require any kind of product or service — if you are like 99% of the population, you go straight to the Internet and type what you need into a search engine. If, for instance, you want an acoustic guitar, when you carry out this search you will get 41 million results, only 10 to a page — and how many pages do you scroll down? Almost certainly, not more than one or two — that is, only 10 or 20 of that 41 million — and 99.9% of searchers never even see page 2.
This means that, whatever you are selling, you have to make sure your site is in that top 10 to have any hope of potential customers seeing your product. SEO is simply the process of developing your site so that it satisfies the criteria, or algorithms, of the search engines, to persuade them to rank it as high as possible. It’s not about having a pretty site, but about how relevant it is to the searcher, and whether the site gives the user a good experience.
Small Businesses in Particular
It seems obvious that this is an essential process for any business: if successful, it puts your product or service right in front of the people who are looking for that very thing, at the very time they are looking for it. In addition, it does so without any advertising outlay or pay-per-click costs. However, while it works for all businesses, it’s particularly good news for the small business or start-up.
As a small or new business owner, you are likely to feel at a disadvantage in all sorts of ways — you simply do not have the networking opportunities, or the marketing and advertising budgets, of your larger competitors. With Sacramento SEO, you can compete on completely equal terms. If you can optimize your site to occupy one of the top spots, you can increase your market share to a degree out of all proportion to your size.
This leads on to one of the biggest business benefits of SEO — the increase in brand awareness and credibility. This has a lot to do with the psychology of search engine users — it is almost universally assumed that companies on the first page, especially of Google, are bound to be more trustworthy, and provide the best quality products. What’s more, appearing on the first page for your targeted keywords will increasingly associate your brand with those keywords.
Of course, the fact that there are no advertising costs means that the return on what is usually a modest initial investment can be very high, compared with other forms of marketing. Plus, of course, SEO is one of the few forms of marketing that continues working for you, long after the initial cost has been paid. Nowadays, SEO improves your ROI even more, by helping set up Google analytics, A/B split testing, and conversion optimization tools.
SEO once had a bad reputation because of black hat techniques used to manipulate results, but the search engines have put a stop to these. Nowadays, the business benefits of SEO are beyond doubt. Remember that if you are not carrying out SEO, the traffic, sales and market share you deserve and long for are being enjoyed by your competitors instead.