So one of the things that I’ve based my career on is translating technical concepts to business concepts for people who are typically smart business people, but not necessarily tech-oriented. I’ve done this so they could apply sound business practices in new and exciting ways. I guess that has made me a bit of a “digital enabler”. As an enabler, I often get a little frustrated with how many of us in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) community fail to get our point across because we use too much jargon.
At Edgewater we pride ourselves on being partners and digital translators. We help our clients through the technical side so they can succeed with their business goals. So maybe it’s time for a post that explains SEO in a non-technical way. Let’s look at it from the perspective of what business challenges it can solve. Sound good? Great.
First, ask yourself if you are getting all the website traffic you need? More importantly, is all that traffic contributing directly to your bottom line? Do you get leads or make direct sales off of it? No? Not enough? A good SEO strategy can fix that. It’s a time tested process that drives legitimate traffic to your site, makes you show up before your competitor when someone searches for what you do, and even gets you listed on all the local web services like Google Maps, Apple Maps, Siri etc… in a prominent fashion. If done right, you should even be able to tell what phone calls and website contacts came in from your SEO efforts, so you have proof that your investment is paying off.
So next, let’s talk about what SEO actually is.
SEO refers to a series of coordinated steps that increase the chance of your website showing in the Search Engine Results Page (often called a SERP). People also refer to how close you are to the top of the SERP as organic rankings. The terms that people are searching on in order to find you are called keywords. When your business shows up at or near the top of the SERP that’s extremely important to your business in terms of increasing traffic and sales leads from your website.
Just to bust some jargon here, If you sell umbrellas, you are generally one happy camper if your “website has a number 1 organic rank for the umbrellas keyword on the first SERP.” Why? Because if you translate that to plain English, it means that when someone types “umbrellas” into Google, your website shows up in the top area of the first page of the results.
Pretty simple right? Okay good. So now, why is SEO a good way to go? Well, let’s look at some facts and let the numbers do the talking here:
- 51 percent of all website traffic comes from organic search, 10 percent from paid search, 5 percent for social, and 34 percent from all other sources combined.
- SEO-gathered leads have consistently been shown to cost less than traditional marketing channels. In fact, a recent report from eConsultancy showed SEO as one of the top 4 channels with the best return on investment.
- On average, over 40 percent of a website’s generated revenue is captured by organic traffic.
- The estimated number of phone calls that will be generated from mobile search alone by the end of 2018 is 73 billion
- On Google, the average share of traffic that the first organic search result gets is 32.5%
- The average share of traffic generated by the sites listed on the first page of search results is 91.5%
The numbers above paint a powerful picture. SEO generally has a very high return on investment because people using search engines typically have high intent to purchase. That means that rather than having to convince someone that they need your service, SEO visitors have already indicated their interest by searching for keywords that match your business category. It typically shows up as one of the lowest cost-per-lead sources in annual surveys of marketers and can help your bottom line in a very direct fashion.
So if you are looking to get more traffic on your site, and more specifically, traffic that will convert to leads, sales or brand affinity, then you probably want to start with a good SEO program before you start putting money toward advertising. I would think that we could all agree that as a business, it’s really important to show up first when a prospective customer is actively searching for you.
So what questions do you have about Search Engine Optimization? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you have questions, comment or contact us directly. We would love to have a conversation with you.
Sean Rieger is Chief Marketing Officer for Edgewater Digital a boutique digital agency in Houston Texas. Before taking up the torch for small businesses everywhere, he built digital teams, tactics, and strategies for Honeywell, Rice University, the Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Everything else about him is kind of boring, so we’ll skip it.