What is SEO and How Can it Help Your Business Grow?
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. It is one of the most lucrative, but also one of the most widely misunderstood marketing tactics online. When done right, SEO can help a business make hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra revenue each year. When done wrong, it can cause long-term harm to a business’ brand and credibility.
In this post, we’ll share some SEO tips and help you better understand SEO , how it works, and how it can help you grow your business.
Understanding SEO and Search Engines
To better understand SEO, you have to first understand how search engines work.
A search engine is essentially a vast database of pages. When a user types in a query into a page, the search engine uses an algorithm to retrieve what it thinks is the best possible page (or list of pages) for that query.
This algorithm is the “secret sauce” of the search engine. It looks at hundreds of different aspects of a web page to figure out whether it is relevant to the query or not. Some of these ‘ranking factors’ may be the length of the content on the page, the age of the domain, the number of backlinks coming to that page, etc. No one knows what the exact weightage of each of these factors might be; we can only guess based on traffic data.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of optimizing these ranking factors to influence where a search engine ranks a webpage in the search results. For example, if search engines consider length of content on a page as crucial for determining its quality and relevancy, writing in-depth content might positively influence the page’s search rankings.
Thus, SEO is the process of optimizing a webpage to better fit a search engine’s ranking requirements. This can be anything from adding extra backlinks to a page to changing its on-page structure to make it easier to read for search engines.
Why is SEO Important?
Every day, millions of users type-in over 3 billion queries into Google. Each of these queries results in a list of pages related to that query. These pages are called ‘SERPs’ (Search Engine Results Pages). SERPs are different for each query. They also differ based on the user’s location and past search history.
Since the SERPs are in list form, results at the top of the page get more clicks than those at the bottom. In fact, most studies show that the top three results alone get more than 50% of all clicks.
This means a page ranking at the top of the SERPs for popular queries has the potential to get tens of thousands of visitors through search engines for free. If your site ranks at the top of the page for a query such as “used cars”, you can expect to get over half a million visitors through Google alone. If you can make even $0.1 from each of these visitors, you will end up with an additional five figures to your bottom line, all for free.
The massive upside to ranking at the top of the SERPs for popular queries is what makes SEO so attractive to businesses. SEO helps your site rank well for queries that are important to your business (i.e. if you sell shoes, you want to rank for queries related to selling shoes, not selling insurance). A well-executed SEO strategy can help you get tens of thousands of additional visitors each year without spending any extra cash on advertising.
Even more importantly, visitors who come in through search engines tend to be highly targeted. A user who searches for roofing companies in Atlanta, for example, is likely looking to repair his roof in the next few months and is searching for contractors.. Another user searching for reviews of P90X is likely about to buy P90X and wants to read what others are saying about it.
Since these users are highly targeted, it is far easier to turn them into paying customers with the right offer.
The Value of SEO
Nearly 85% of all Americans are using the internet. In Norway, this number is 95%. In UK, 90%, and in France, 82%.
In this internet age, your website is the foundation of your business. Your customers will look up your site to learn more about your products and services. They will interact with you through social media. And when they want to find solutions to their problems, they will turn to search engines.
The discoverability of your site through search engines depends entirely on SEO. Good SEO ensures that customers will be able to find your site at the top of the SERPs for queries related to your business. It is akin to having a store on a popular street in a big city; you’ll get tons of foot traffic without any advertising.
To help you better understand the value of SEO, let’s take a look at an example.
Suppose you run a website that sells car insurance. Searching for car insurance in the Google AdWords tool shows us that at least 201,000 people search for this query on Google each month.
The same tool also shows us that the suggested bid for advertisers for this keyword is $49.32. This means that if you wanted to advertise your site on AdWords, you would have to pay Google $49.32 for each visitor.
Now, we know that the first result in the SERPs gets approximately 30-33% of all clicks. Thus, ranking at #1 for a keyword like car insurance will give us at least 60,000+ visitors each month. If we wanted to get the same traffic through AdWords, we would’ve had to pay Google $49.32 * 60,000 = $2,959,200 each month! But since we are already ranking as #1 thanks to the strength of our SEO, we get $3M worth of traffic for absolutely free.
This is the value of SEO. A top rank for a single keyword can give us visitors worth millions of dollars each month. Multiply this over hundreds of keywords and you can see how SEO can change your business.
Of course, the competition for the top of the SERPs for major keywords is extremely hard, which is why you need the help of an experienced SEO consultant to help you rank well.
SEO is wildly lucrative, but it is also widely misunderstood. A well-planned SEO strategy can make your business millions of dollars extra each year. It can also tank your site and destroy you in the SERPs when done wrong. An experienced SEO company can guide you through the entire optimization process and help you rank well for keywords that matter to your business.