Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a term that will be familiar to all website managers and many working in the field of IT, but may perhaps have escaped some small business owners, who really would benefit from having a grasp of the concept and just what it can bring to the success of their website and business as a whole.
In brief SEO refers to how well your website adheres to the algorithms that Google and other search engines have in place to order pages in terms of their relevance to popular search terms relevant to your particular industry. A website whose pages are particularly well optimised to these search engine criteria is more likely to feature higher up in the rankings of the likes of Google and will be one of the first sites that people will see when they look for the kind of products and services you offer. Without further ado, let’s move away from the general need for good SEO practice and look at five of the key ways in which SEO can benefit your business.
- Better User Experience
In the dark old days of early SEO, website managers stuffed sites with relevant “key words” without a care in the world for user experience – focussing solely on the gratification of the rigid and simplistic algorithms that judged webpages and decided on their ranking. This made it easy for sites to gain the upper hand in terms of ranking, but led to a very poor user experience for visitors to the site in question. Nowadays, the likes of Bing and Google have deployed far smarter algorithms that prioritise user experience over everything, so having high quality content can not only attract, but also keep your visitors coming back to your site, reducing bounce rate and increasing lead generation. This is synergy in action.
- Cost effective Spend during a Crisis
SEO is an incredibly effective way of directing your resources in a cost-effective manner during a crisis, such as the current Covid-19 pandemic. As previously mentioned it involves creating high quality content, keeping your brand in the consciousness of your target audience. It is also relatively low cost in real terms and for many small businesses in fact, the only cost involved may be time, which at the moment most of us have in abundance. By deploying tools such as Google Analytics to understand which key words tend to work, which key search terms bring users to your pages and other informative data you will begin to better understand the unique nature of your customer base and be better able to target them with articles and offers.
- Solid SEO can directly boost your traffic
Making sure your company is ranking strongly for relevant keywords may gain the attention of users who were previously unaware of your brand. This, in effect, is free advertising to pairs of eyes who would otherwise have remained blind to your existence. If your content is engaging (which it must be to rank highly) you will hopefully get these people to remember your name and search for you directly when they think of the kind of service or products you offer in future.
- Identify yourself and attract customers in the discovery phase
Through strong SEO practice you are far more likely to make yourself visible to customers in that phase when they are attempting to discover more about your kinds of services or products. It is in this key moment when customers are more likely to be drawn to brands with a strong presence, great content and high ranking, so it is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy that the strongest will get stronger, ramping up the importance of SEO and search engine ranking.
- The durability of the benefits of SEO
Sometimes in business it is relatively easy to pinpoint and implement a strategy that will yield short-term, temporary benefits, but with SEO the benefits tend to be long-lasting. Unlike ad campaigns, which are effective, but results tend to dissipate if you stop paying for ad-space, SEO is a practice that will become habit-forming and part of your business long-term. Granted, there is a degree of maintenance of course, but the rewards are long-lasting and well worth the effort.