What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. The goal of SEO is to get more people to come to your website from search engines.
How does SEO work?
Going one level deeper, SEO is about organizing the content on your website so it stands out as the "best" source to answer one or more search queries. If the search engine deems a page on your site provides the best answer, then it will show your site in the top position.
If you're selling golf balls, then you'd like your website to show up at the top for searches like "golf balls for sale". This is the idea of a keyword.
You can attempt to achieve high rankings on as many keywords as you have resources to devote to them. The art behind SEO is figuring out which keywords to focus on first.
Should you focus on general, high-volume searches like "golf balls" or should you focus on specific, lower-volume keywords like "best golf balls for high handicappers"? The answer is going to be based on your long-term strategy, your current situation, and the available resources you have. What's worse, the answer will change over time.
There are many activities one can perform to optimize your site for search engines, this article, however, is focused on the high-level of the reasons you should consider SEO in your marketing strategy.
The client journey
Going one level deeper than that, we can start to understand a client's journey through the buying cycle. The majority of people don't play golf, but those that currently don't play may discover that golf is a sport they'd enjoy.
This group would search for things like "outdoor leisure activities" or "father son bonding activities". If you were to attract people who are searching for those things, then you can inform them that golf is something they should explore.
Perhaps a few days after realizing that golf is an option, they decide they'd like to go to a driving range. Your site happens to have a nice article about common swing mistakes beginner golfers make at the driving range. By having a better experience at the driving range, your prospective client will be more likely to stick with golf over a longer period of time and, therefore, will be more likely to buy golf balls from someone.
The credibility you've built by providing good information makes them more likely to trust you. With that trust, you create the opportunity to create a long-term client for your product.
Effective online advertising starts with SEO
Let's take it another level deeper. Now that you've organized your website to move people from:
Awareness of a product/service to
Being interested in buying a product/service to
Deciding to buy a product/service to
Ultimately buying your product/service
You've built a salesforce that continues to sell for you over the long-term. This is the essence of SEO and it continues to provide benefit as long as it's maintained.
Now that sales have improved, you can more effectively invest in online advertising. This advertising increases the volume of people who arrive on your site. You pay a certain amount when someone clicks on your site.
If it's organized well, then a certain percentage of these clicks result in sales. If the conversion (the ratio of people who click to people who buy) is high enough, then you have a cycle of advertising spending which leads directly to sales with an acceptable return on investment.
Once your business reaches this stage, the economics of your business become quite nice. Every dollar you invest in advertising returns more than that dollar in profit. You've essentially built a money machine!
The downside here is that advertising stops working when you stop spending. SEO, on the other hand, continues to provide higher levels of benefits as long as you continue to work it.
Online advertising is like going to a movie theater and SEO is like buying the blu-ray. One isn't necessarily better than another, each has its own place in the bigger scheme of things.
If you're interested in getting started with SEO or would like to learn more, please connect with me on the SEO Audit service page. After a chat we'll be able to determine the best way for you to achieve your SEO goals.