Does SEO matter for every business, or do only a select few need it? Do you really need to invest in search engine optimization, or can you get by without it?
How Does SEO Work?
SEO consists of multiple strategies, actions, and best practices, all of which have the end goal of improving your website’s position in search engines—which is why it’s called “search engine optimization.”
There are two kinds of SEO: on-page and off-page. On-page SEO consists of anything you can control on your own website to improve your rankings. This refers to things like site speed, keyword presence, header text, and so on. On the other hand, off-page SEO consists of anything done on other websites that may influence your rankings. Generally, this only refers to links.
It takes time, knowledge of SEO, and successful implementation of the desired on- and off-page SEO factors to optimize your website for high rankings in search engines. If the collective power of your site or an individual page’s SEO is more powerful than all others, with regards to a specific query, you’ll rank #1.
Because SEO involves so many ranking factors, you can think of the #1 site as winning a triathlon of sorts. In a real triathlon, the winner of the running portion is not necessarily the winner of the entire race – and so it is the same with SEO. The site with the most links, the most pages, or the most visitors is not necessarily the #1 site. Their overall performance determines who comes out on top.
Why is SEO Important?
SEO is Google’s way of determining which sites deserve to rank highly for each query entered into its search engine. Without modern SEO, it would be extremely simple to manipulate the search results so that the site with the most links or the most pages—all easily generated by software—consistently ranked #1.
SEO is important because it keeps the search results fair. It reduces the ability to manipulate these results as much as possible, so that the sites appearing for each search are there because they deserve to be there. Hard work and a website that appeals to visitors correlate with high search engine rankings, so if your site meets these criteria, you’ll have a better chance at showing up in the results.
Users trust search engines, and achieving a top spot in search engine rankings signals to searchers that your site is a credible source. The higher you rank in results pages, the more clicks and traffic your site will generate. SEO also improves user experience, making it more likely for customers to become repeat buyers.
And SEO is cost-effective. Competitive industries can spend large amounts of money on paid website traffic. Of course, you can still purchase ad space, but if you’re working with a tight budget, SEO is a great way to drive qualified traffic to your site without directly paying for it.
What Search Would Be Like Without SEO
Without SEO, it’s hard to say how we would ever find websites, businesses, or the information we seek on a daily basis. The search engine results would be too easy to manipulate, and as users, we would have to look much longer and harder to find valuable sites instead of the ones simply manipulating the results to get to the first page.
Basically, SEO is important because it ensures that typical people don’t have to search for more than a few seconds to find the information or products they want. It establishes a sort of “natural order” online that would be missing without it.
Marketers Believe SEO is Crucial
Additionally, many marketers find that SEO is crucial to their work. This chart shows that 50% of marketers believe SEO is the most effective digital marketing strategy.
As you can see, SEO is very important—and without it, you might even be spending too much money on other marketing activities!
Is SEO Important for Every Kind of Business?
If you’re reading this article, you may be wondering if SEO is really all that important for you. You may have a business in an industry where there’s little to no competition, so you might already be ranking #1. Or you may be struggling to rank at all, and are wondering if there are options other than SEO out there to get you the visibility you need.
No matter what your situation is, if you have a website for your company, SEO is important. Whether your business is new or old, struggling or successful, small or large, SEO is crucial to your online success. In fact, even if you are the only one in your industry, SEO is still important.
Here are a few examples of industries and businesses that can benefit from SEO:
- Home services
- And more
Why is that? It’s because of one very important reason: your SEO is something you can control.
There are many things about your business that you can’t control. You can’t control when a new competitor appears, how well your customers react to a new product launch, or your quarterly profits.
But with SEO, you can control your rankings. And this means, to some extent, you can control how many visitors come to your website, which directly impacts how many online sales or leads you get, which impacts the amount of money you can make from being online.
If you invest in your website’s search engine optimization, you are making a direct investment in its visibility and profitability. So no matter what happens tomorrow, if your SEO is constant, you can count on that visibility to help your business grow and prosper.
This is why SEO is so important, no matter what your business does. And based on the way search engines are developing, it’s unlikely that SEO will lose importance any time soon.
Is SEO More Important for Some Businesses Than Others?
You may be wondering if investing in your website’s SEO is really all that important. Do some businesses or industries need search engine optimization more than others?
Where the industry can have an impact is with regards to competition. If you are creating an online jewelry store and are determined to rank for the keyword “jewelry,” your SEO is going to be more costly, and more time-consuming, than SEO for a jewelry store for children targeting “fine children’s jewelry.” This is because the competition on that first keyword is much, much higher—so it will take much more work to break into the top positions.
This doesn’t make SEO any more important for your jewelry site, though. It just means it’s more of a challenge. SEO is just as important for every business, no matter its industry or competition. Again, this is because you can’t control many of the factors that surround you, but you can control your SEO. And if you could directly influence your website’s traffic, ranking, and sales or leads… why wouldn’t you?
Can a Business Stop Doing SEO Once It’s Successful Online?
Let’s say, a few years from now, your business is highly successful online. Your website is easily earning links, your visitors are arriving in a steady stream, and you’re seeing a regular growth in sales. Can you stop worrying about search engine optimization once everything looks good?
No! In fact, no matter how successful you become, you should never stop optimizing your website. Even the largest, most profitable companies in the world still use some level of SEO. However, because of their success, they may have changed the specific amount of time and resources they decided to dedicate to each specific SEO tactic.
Here’s what we mean: if your website is brand new, and you’re looking to make it very authoritative, you may aggressively build links to it. In five years, however, you may find that you are earning lots of links naturally. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should stop building links entirely, but that you can scale back the amount of time you spend on manual outreach.
But when it comes to SEO, nothing is certain. As of right now, Google places a lot of weight in the number of, quality of, and relevancy of links pointing to your website. A few weeks from now, however, it could declare that links are no longer as important, and that the amount of content you have plays a bigger role in determining your rankings.
Because SEO is always changing, it’s crucial not to become complacent, or to assume that your site, in its current state, will always rank where it does. Search engines consider the freshness of your content as well as how recently other sites have linked to you. If you don’t update your content, you may not gain new links, and your site will lose relevancy over time.
Your competitors will always be working to outrank you, and search engines will always be changing. Unless you keep up with the optimization of your site, you won’t have much luck maintaining the success you find online.
So, in short, no—you should not stop doing SEO once you are successful. If you do, you’ll likely find that your success is very short-lived.
Finding the Right SEO Firm
The SEO industry is constantly evolving, and you need to stay on top of the latest trends in order to maintain your rankings in search results.
You need a trusted SEO partner that fully understands your business and works with you to implement SEO solutions designed to help you reach more people and earn more revenue online.
When selecting an SEO firm to work with your business, it’s important to examine several key factors.
Reputable SEO firms will publish portfolios and client testimonials online. This allows you to review their past work and determine whether or not the company is the right fit for your business.
You need to choose an SEO firm you can trust, and examining the firm’s track record will help you feel more confident in your decision to work with them.
Area of expertise
You also need to consider the firm’s area of expertise.
For example, you will need to determine what you want to improve with your online presence and choose a firm that specializes in that area. Does the firm specialize in SEO or is their bread and butter email marketing?
This will help you to select the firm that will best help you accomplish your business goals.
When selecting an SEO firm, price alone should not be the deciding factor.
While you likely don’t have an unlimited budget, it’s important to remember that with SEO firms, you often get what you pay for. If a firm promises “cheap” SEO services, you may be sacrificing quality.
Firms should provide customized, fair pricing and quality services that allow you get the most out of your SEO campaigns.