Is SEO Still Important in 2020?
Your business’s website is absolutely vital to the success of your business in the modern era.
No longer can you rely on customers looking you up in the phone book or seeing an advertisement in the newspaper, then calling your office. Instead, your website serves as a 24/7 opportunity for potential customers to learn more about your business and potentially make a purchase.
Because most businesses today have their own websites, it’s more important than ever for your business to show up in the first page of results with the search engines. If you’re not on the front page of the search results, you are far less likely to capture any clicks, as a quarter of users never even click past the first page.
With all the opportunities out there to get your business’s name in front of potential customers - paid search, social media, email marketing, and more - is organic search engine optimization (SEO) still necessary in 2020?
It absolutely is!
If you’ve been considering working on your website’s SEO - or want some reasons to re-up your commitment - here are 7 reasons SEO is still important for all websites:
Primary Source of Web Traffic
Paid advertising channels such as pay-per-click search and paid social media advertising get a lot of the splashy headlines and attention. But, overall, paid channels get a far smaller share of the web traffic on most brand websites.
In 2020, organic traffic makes up 53 percent of overall website traffic, and 75 percent of all B2B web traffic.
All other traffic sources, including paid, traffic, and email, comprise the remainder of the traffic to websites.
That means that, if your website’s SEO isn’t up to par, you’re missing out on a potentially huge share of web traffic. And, if you really work hard and get your website’s SEO shored up, there’s the potential to take a large amount of traffic from your competition and get ahead of the game.
Low-Budget (Compared to Paid Search)
Although SEO isn’t completely free, it is much lower cost and has a better overall return on your investment than any paid channels.
Say, for example, you pay $1,000 to have someone create a few great, SEO-optimized pages for your website. Those pages bring you five new customers initially, and you continue to trickle in a few customers every few months with those pages long-term. Additionally, it brings you a whole slew of people who viewed your website but didn’t buy from you.
That’s a great return on your initial investment of $1,000, and those pages will continue to bring you returns as long as they’re still relevant to your business and showing up in the search engine results.
Now, pretend you took that same $1,000 and funneled it into some pay-per-click campaigns for your website. If each time someone clicks your paid ad it costs $1 - and this is a very low cost per click for most industries; many are much higher - that means you get a maximum of 1,000 clicks for your budget.
Those 1,000 clicks brought you seven customers, but all traffic to the ad stopped as soon as your budget ran out.
Initially, you may have gotten more customers from the paid campaign, but the effectiveness over time completely stopped once your budget ran out and, if you want to reinvigorate that traffic, you have to pay more money.
If you look at the long-term payoff from your paid and organic budgets, you are going to overall make much more money from the $1,000 you put into the organic campaign. Especially if you’re working with a tight budget, putting your money into SEO rather than paid campaigns is going to work out much better for you in the long run.
Works Even When You Stop
The main difference between organic SEO and paid search campaigns is that the traffic from your organic SEO doesn’t stop even if you ignore the pages you’ve created.
If you spend your website marketing budget on organic SEO tasks, including research, content writing, on-page SEO, and other items, you can still reap the benefits of that work years after you finish the work.
Say you took that same $1,000 from the example above and used it to create and improve a few pages on your website. Once those pages were finished, you never again touched them.
While you may see a higher initial bump in traffic to those pages while the work is fresh, you will continue to gain traffic and sales from them as long as they remain on your website and still represent what your business offers.
That means that, even five years from now, your website can still bring in customers and sales from those pages even if you’ve never done another bit of work on them.
With paid search, however, the traffic from your campaigns stops as soon as you pause the campaign. If you’re not paying the search engines, they’re not going to display your advertisements and you won’t get traffic or leads from those campaigns.
To get the traffic flowing again, you have to pay more money to the search engines.
Builds Trust & Credibility
A large aspect of modern search engine optimization, especially after Google’s May 2020 core algorithm update, has been the content on your website. Blog posts, website pages, image descriptions, and more are essential to feeding the search engines the information they need to make determinations about your website.
By focusing your efforts on the SEO of your website, it gives you a great opportunity to build trust and authority with your potential customers and within your industry.
If you’re a roofer, for example, a solid SEO strategy includes creating pages and blog posts with tips for choosing the right type of shingles, informative posts about how you know when it’s time to replace your roof, and signs of damage to your roof. As you continue to build out your
website’s content, you may expand into more in-depth, informative posts that will prove beneficial to your audience but that most of your competitors won’t take the time to create.
This content can also help you gain authority and notoriety within your industry, as your articles may get picked up by publications and blogs. This will give you more prominence in your industry and improve your brand name, which in turn brings your customers to trust you more to do your job.
Better User Experience
Part of getting people onto your website, and keeping them there long enough to buy a product or book you for a service, is giving them a good user experience.
If your website loads slowly, has all sorts of spammy-looking copy, and just overall is unpleasant to look at, users will leave your website and not come back, even if you offer a great product or service.
Part of SEO is to get a lot of those elements that impact the user experience - page load time, image loading, well-written copy, design elements, and more - squared away so that your users have a better experience visiting your website than those of your competitors.
So not only does SEO help bring you more traffic because the search engines know you’re providing a good user experience, those visitors who do reach your website want to stay longer because of all the SEO work you’ve done. That makes it more likely that you’ll get a new customer out of the visit, making your effort worthwhile.
Nurture Leads Throughout the Buying Cycle
The road to a customer purchasing your products and services is not a short one, and may not even be linear. The buying cycle includes multiple steps: Awareness, Interest, Consideration, and Conversion.
You want your website to have content and information targeted to capture customers at every stage of this funnel to help nurture them from viewers into buyers.
For example, if you’re working on your roofing website, you want to ensure that you have web pages and blog posts targeted at every stage of the buying cycle. This can include blogs with reasons your roof may be leaking (Awareness stage), potential fixes for a leaking roof (Interest stage), how to choose the right roofing company for roof repairs (Consideration stage), and reasons why they should choose your company to fix their roof (Conversion stage).
Visitors can come to your website at any of these stages and get a feel for you, the way you do business, and why they should choose you. When they’re ready to buy, you’ve already started
to build a level of trust with them and make them more likely to choose you over your competition.
Better Target Your Competitors
The race to the front page of the search engines is a competitive one, and it’s even hotter if you’re in a bigger market or a more competitive industry.
With SEO, you can more effectively target the traffic that’s going to your competition and do your best to shift those visits to your website.
When you spend time doing research on your industry and what your competitors are doing, as well as what your potential customers are searching for when they look online, you can start to see the holes in everyone else’s strategy. Once you have found that hole, you can work to make sure your website can fill it to capture more potential visitors.
If you own a painting company, for example, you may notice that your competition doesn’t have any information about fixing painting mistakes such as drips and peeling paint. You know that this is a question you get frequently and assume that your competition probably gets the same question often. And, it’s probably a safe bet that there are people online searching for the answer to that question.
You realize it would be valuable to create a blog post addressing fixes for common paint problems, capturing those searchers and potentially bringing yourself more customers.
And the bonus is there’s nothing shady about this tactic of trying to take customers from your competition; it’s all an added service to your customers and the one who provides the most valuable information wins.
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