17 Apr How Can SEO Help Your Business Grow?
When you think about search engine optimization (SEO), you probably think of it only in the context of keywords. While keywords are an important component, there is much more to SEO and the main reason you want it for your website – to help your business grow! This practical guide covers what you need to know about how SEO best practices can benefit your bottom line. Gaining a competitive edge has never been easy, but in today’s challenging times, you need every advantage you can get!
How exactly can SEO help you grow your business?
A well-optimized website can provide inbound leads and boost your conversion rate – resulting in more sales and greater market share. Also, the inbound leads it brings to your site can lower the cost of lead generation by 61% as compared to outbound leads. As a tutorial by DevriX points out, SEO builds brand credibility and helps establish brand awareness – both of which are essential to growing a strong customer base.
Lest you think that SEO is only of use to larger businesses with complex websites, Cherie Holland of Boostability writes, “Even if your company’s website only contains a few different web pages, search engine optimization benefits you in a myriad of ways.”
As impressive as this all sounds, the skeptical-minded may question not only how SEO accomplishes such feats, but how return on investment in SEO is measured. As an article for Lyfe Marketing sums up, “In most areas of your business, it’s easy to see your revenue streams. You know which SKUs get the most sales. You know what your money makers are. But seeing how SEO produces more revenues isn’t as easy.”
Truth of the matter is, the ROI of SEO can be measured and demonstrated. According to Lyfe Marketing, it’s “… simply a matter of understanding how SEO ROI is generated in what ways it increases revenues and cuts costs at the same time.”
Writing for Search Engine Journal, Adam Heitzman – co-founder and managing partner at Higher Visibility – covers how to use Google Analytics to calculate the ROI of your SEO campaign. While we provide the following verbatim, we recommend reading the entire article.
“If you run a conversions report through Google Analytics, you’ll receive data on all your website traffic (i.e., how many conversions come from paid search, organic search, emails, referrals, social media, and more).
You’ll see a tab with the number of conversions listed as well as the value of these conversions. The value is essentially how much revenue has been generated from each search channel.
Compare these values with the amount of money you’ve spent on SEO during the same time period, and you can start to get a sense of your ROI.
For example, organic traffic comes from customers typing keywords into Google or another search engine, so this is directly related to SEO.
If your revenue from organic traffic is $100,000 in one month, and you paid an SEO company $20,000 to do keyword research and publish new content during that same time frame, then your ROI is $80,000.
You can do the same thing with social media channels or paid advertising – whatever area you focused your SEO efforts on (or you paid someone to focus on) is what you should be analyzing.”
A website makeover can help
Good keywords can get members of your target market to your website, but there’s no guarantee they’ll stay long enough to take the actions you want. To prevent a high bounce rate (the number of visitors who leave after viewing just one page without taking any action), your website needs to provide a good user experience. Our blog post – “Does Your Website Need an Extreme Makeover?” – covers the importance of a well-optimized website in driving traffic, leads and conversions.
Poor SEO is a common issue for older websites – or those built by developers with little or no SEO expertise (trust us, they’re still out there). Complicating the matter is Google’s own ever-changing algorithms, which provide few clues about how it ranks websites. Using outdated and/or “black hat” SEO techniques – such as keyword stuffing – can consign your site to the outland of search engine results pages (SERPs), or result in Google banning it altogether.
Fast page speed is essential. As we covered in our blog post – “Why Your Website Needs to be Up-to-Speed” – site speed is one of the signals that Google’s algorithm uses to rank pages. Google thoughtfully provides its PageSpeed Insights, which analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster. Cognitive SEO provides additional tips for improving page speed. All of the most advanced conversion rate optimization (CRO) analytics won’t help your business if the website loads too slowly (approximately 400 milliseconds – the blink of an eye) on mobile or desktop.
Other SEO issues you may not have considered include the lack of alt tags on photos and other graphics. Images that lack an alt tag are invisible to search engines. Also known as “alt attribute” and “alt description,” an alt tag is an HTML attribute applied to image tags to provide a text alternative for search engines. Applying alt tags to images such as product photos can positively impact an e-commerce store’s search engine rankings.
Meta tags are likewise essential to SEO best practices. These are snippets of text that describe a page’s content. The meta tags don’t appear on the page itself, but only in the page’s source code. Meta tags are essentially little content descriptors that help tell search engines what a web page is about.
In addition, Google constantly searches for fresh content, and rewards websites that provide it on a regular basis with higher rankings. An easy way to accomplish this is by adding a blog to your website. But be sure to publish a new post on a weekly – or at least monthly – basis to achieve the benefits, and be sure the content is relevant and high-quality. Our blog post – “What is Quality Content?” – covers this topic in detail.
Lyfe Marketing identifies other important ways in which completely integrative SEO web design works to optimize the user experience:
- Intuitive design elements, which make it easy to instantly understand the purpose and function of each page.
- Seamless navigation, which eliminates frustration when visitors can’t find what they’re looking for or feel overwhelmed with choices.
- Design and features that demonstrate to visitors that you understand them as members of your target demographic, and “speak their language.”
- Helpful, actionable and useful information that your target market is actually looking for.
Of course, mobile-first design is essential to optimum SEO. Google penalizes websites that aren’t optimized for smartphones and tablets, and visitors will penalize yours, as well, if it’s developed only for viewing on a desktop computer. Nobody wants to squint at a miniature version of a desktop website on their smartphone – which is also impossible to navigate, as well as read. Visitors will immediately give up and go elsewhere – that is, to your competitor’s website.
Why SEO has a good ROI
We’ll let Lyfe Marketing have the second-to-last word on this subject. “… one of the reasons SEO ROI is so high is because it pays you back over the long term. That is, as long as you do ongoing SEO to tweak, refine and adapt to changes.
“SEO will likely never replace paid advertising completely. But over time, it does reduce how much you need to spend on ads to attract new customers. As you become more visible in … search results, more people are seeing you naturally.”
As you’ve now gathered, achieving and maintaining optimum SEO takes a good amount of sustained hard work! Yet, it’s counterproductive to spend so many of your resources on SEO that it takes attention from running your business – especially now. That’s what Virtual Stacks Systems is here for! Our SEO team can help you achieve your marketing goals. We also provide experienced web content writing, along with our web design, website redesign and pay-per-click services.
Contact us to learn more and leave it to our pros! We’re ready to be your partner in success!