Search engine optimisation for business growth
Do you know the extent to which search engine optimisation (SEO) can bolster your business growth?
The answer’s often no, that’s not to say to that people aren’t aware of SEO as a concept, rather that it often appears on a marketing plan isolated – a box to be ticked – without any real concept of how it ties into your overall growth strategy.
In reality, SEO is a wide-reaching an exceptionally powerful part of most successful brand’s marketing approach – even on a day-to-day basis for smaller businesses such as Atlas Ceramics in Hampshire SEO is an integral part of their marketing strategy as showing in the organic results is key for their business.
With this is mind, we’ll look at what it is, how it works and the types of growth it could offer your organisation…
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation is any activity that translates to an improvement in where your website displays on search engine results pages.
Now, there are billions of webpages in existence – but you’ll find that customers search for sites in your particular business area with a surprisingly small number of keywords or terms. For example; you make bespoke birthday cakes in London, if someone’s looking for a ‘bespoke birthday cake in London’ that’s what they’ll type into Google or another search engine.
That bad news is, you’re not the only company who’s offering this service, so Google decides which of London’s bespoke cake makers offers customers the best website experience. To do this, it has complex algorithms that looks at a variety of factors, including:
- The age of your website (with a preference for sites that are well established)
- How your site is designed (with a preference for information that relates to the search terms)
- The content on your website (with a preference for lots of relevant content)
- How many other sites link to your page (with a preference for links from high authority sites)
Now, that’s not all that impacts your rank, but given that you could write a 1000 page book on the topic… then need to update that same book the next time Google rolls out an update to its ranking methods – understanding the fundamentals is good enough if you’re not looking to change careers into SEO just yet!
Why is SEO important?
You can probably answer this question already by asking yourself how many times you’ve found the information or type of business you’re searching for on page 7 of Google.
In fact, although it depends somewhat on the industry you’re in and the familiarity of your brand name, around 50% of the people searching will opt for the first result that’s displayed when they search with Google. That figure drops dramatically to somewhere around 12% of people who’ll opt for the second result… with the remaining 38% distributed over the results beyond that (although rarely beyond page 2).
Hence, if you want serious traffic to your site, a good rank with search engines is almost vital.
Harnessing SEO for business growth
Let’s look at the key benefits a site that’s optimised for search engines will offer your customers:
- Greater traffic
The numbers above already do the talking on this point. The higher you rank the greater the numbers of people that are going to be hitting your site.
That’s not to say that you just bang a ‘buy now’ call to action on your site and hope for the best – there are a variety of reasons someone could be visiting your site and it’s only with well thought through work on creating a solid site and brand that you’re going to inspire action.
Now, there isn’t a metric that records how many people visit your site and scribble your phone number or address in their diary to contact you later – but there are a lot of analysis tools that can be used to look at how people act using your site. More traffic means more data – and data is the thing to drill down into if you want to know what to do more of for growth…
- Easy to use sites
It’s no coincidence that sites designed to bolster your search rank are also the sites that your customers will find the most easy to use – so designing with SEO in mind offers a double benefit.
Not only do you climb the rankings based on your site following the fundamentals that Google expects from the best sites – but you’re effectively drawing on what could be the biggest bank of data in the world – Google’s user behaviour data.
Google (and other search engines) want to display the most relevant sites – and to do so they look at the behaviour of the billions of people searching each day. When someone tells you what you need to do to rank well on Google they’re essentially taking findings from that mass of data and suggesting you apply it to your site.
Easy to use sites equal increased traffic and conversions – both of which help you grow.
- Create trust
There aren’t many things that build trust quite so much as being the first result returned when someone searches for your business area online.
The assumption is generally that you “must be the authority” on whatever your business area is – and given Google’s preference for sites that have lots of great content and links from other authority pages – that’s a fair assumption.
You can’t buy trust – but you can buy SEO expertise, which in turn gives you the opportunity to put indications that you’re trustworthy in front of an increasing number of people.
- Overtake your competition
Unless you’re very lucky (or smart) you’re probably working in an business area where you have competition – so take a second to imagine what your business accounts would look like if you could just take a few percent of your 5 main competitor’s top line budget contribution figures and apply that to your own books.
Retirement? A Ferrari? A most prestigious postcode? Shorter days? Whatever success looks like for you, out-ranking your competitors is likely to take you a step closer – primarily because of the reasons we’ve already mentioned.
Try to imagine optimising for SEO as being an obstacle race – there are hoops to jump through and hard work to be done, but it’s important that you always remember other people are running that race too. The sooner you begin, the more likely you are to get a chance at that lion’s share of the search traffic that’s out there looking for a company like yours…