As we sit and pen this article in March 2020, we can safely assume that the term SEO is nothing new, and most online businesses are aware of the need to include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as part of their overall marketing efforts.
SEO improves your website’s visibility in the search engines by helping Google (and other search engine spiders) to read what your website pages are about. But apart from improving visibility and searchability, what value does SEO bring to the table, especially now (in 2020) when the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are full of local business listings, paid ads, shopping feeds, and featured snippets/knowledge boxes taking up all the real estate above the fold (the visible space on the page that exists without having to scroll down)?!
We live in a multi faceted marketing world where consumers and brands are directly connected and customer perception is everything – which is why SEO is more important than ever.
Here are 7 valuable reasons why you need to ensure SEO has a seat at your marketing table.
1. 93% of online experiences begin with search engines.
Recent statistics show that over 90% of all online enquiries begin with an organic search. This is not to say that 93% of links clicked are organic but it does highlight how important SEO is as a touch point in the ‘path to conversion’
Furthermore, 81% of users perform some type of online research before making any purchase decisions. This only cements the importance of SEO in your marketing efforts
2. SEO (Content) Builds Trust and Credibility.
Content is king and without it your SEO efforts are dead in the water. Not only does content help you optimise for SEO, it also promotes expertise & authority whilst cementing a brand’s trust and credibility.
A recent survey from Backlinko also revealed that the average piece of content appearing in Google’s first page results is 1890 words – further cementing the importance of creating engaging and helpful content
3. Improved Usability and Engagement
Content is King but Engagement is Queen, and when you marry them up magic happens– ATLAS
Google is constantly tweaking their search metrics and ensuring that the results pages are rich with relevant and engaging content. The key word here is engaging and we have witnessed first hand how Google has gone from a reliance on backlinks and keywords to realising that user engagement is without doubt the most direct and honest way of assessing the relevance of a page. Fast forward to 2020 and Google views your pages ‘interactions’ as one of the most important metrics when ranking your website in the SERPs.
To put it simply, Google no longer cares how many keywords are stuffed into the content or how many ‘words & characters’ the article is, or how well optimised the page structure is – it simply wants to know if this content is relevant and engaging. If Google sees that visitors are engaging with, reading, clicking, and sharing your content then that page is clearly relevant to that particular keyword or search query and therefore needs to rank near the top. Google’s primary job is to ensure users have a good experience with their product (the search engine) so will ONLY ever rank content that gives users exactly that.
Incorporating SEO into your overarching marketing strategy will ensure that visitors to your website are engaged and enthralled – regardless of what channel they came from.
4. SEO improves your ROAS …Wait! What?
We talked earlier about the importance of adopting a multi-channel marketing strategy when promoting your online business and if you are already actively using Google Ads and other paid channels to drive traffic and leads then adding SEO into the mix will be the single most profitable action you can take. ‘How’ you ask?
Paid channels like Google Ads rely on a number of factors to determine the relevancy of the ad to all facets of the funnel. How relevant is the copy in the ad to the copy on the landing page? How engaging is the landing page? How many of the target keywords (directly and through intent) appear on the landing page. Does the page META Data reflect the searcher’s intent and/or the contextual meaning of search terms?
All of these questions are asked by Google when assessing the relevance of your paid ads. These factors are known as a ‘quality score’ and the higher it is the less you pay for each and every click.
It therefore goes without saying that ensuring your site is SEO optimised both keywords and user engagement will ensure your PPC ‘quality score’ is high and your average cost per click is low… certainly lower than it would be if you choose to ignore SEO completely.
5. Local SEO
Local SEO is one of the most important aspect of modern Search Engine Optimisation not least because the local ‘map pack’ results are more prominent than both organic and paid results, sitting above the fold in the SERPs for all to see (and click)
But beyond the obvious exposure that an organic listing in the local map pack will bring is the statistics around user behaviour from enquiry to purchase.
- 30% of all mobile searches are located to location
- 80% of Google Search enquiries with ‘near me’ came from mobile devices – and as I write this 63% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. This number will only ever increase as well.
- 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information
- 18% of local searches (from mobile devices) led to a purchase within a day
- 76% of people who search on their smartphone for something ‘near me’ visit a business within a day and 28% of these searches result in a purchase.
6. SEO is the Starting Point for Almost All Discovery
SEO really is the ultimate discovery tool with statistics showing that 93% of all online experiences start with Google. Looking at some of the other statistics around user search behaviour however really highlights the importance of SEO in 2020.
- There are 5.6 billion search queries made every day on Google alone. That equates to 63,000 searches every second.
- 79% of people took a relevant action on their phone prior to making a purchase
- 39% of purchasers were influenced by a relevant search
- 21% of searches in Google lead to more than one click in the search results
7. SEO Helps you Rank in Position Zero
We’ve talked about how the SERPs are now occupied with Paid Ads, Local Map Listings and of course those featured snippets aka knowledge boxes that appear at the top of results for questions, recipes, and other search queries. Well these ‘featured snippets’ are known as position zero and are a fantastic way to quite literally steal traffic from those ranking organically in the top position. How you get your content here comes down to understanding how to optimise and ‘mark up’ your content for rich snippets which means having a grasp of the technical aspects of SEO – aspects that also impact site and page load speed (which themselves are also important SEO ranking factors to take into consideration)
Next month we will look at featured snippets and walk through how to optimise your content for featured snippets and how to double your traffic without doubling your marketing effort.
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