If you own a business and still don’t know what search engine optimization is, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
The world is advancing swiftly.
The internet is now an integral part of our lives and no business can thrive without it.
The way customers search for and buy what they need is changing.
Cheap marketing tricks no longer work.
Therefore if you don’t add search engine optimization to your marketing plan you can rest assured that your business will become irrelevant in no time.
In this article I will tell you all you need to know about search engine optimization, how your business can benefit from it and how you can start using it to skyrocket your business.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO means making your website fit (optimized) for search engines like google, thereby increasing your ranking on the search engine results page (SERP) and in effect multiplying your chances of showing your business to your target customers.
Wait, don’t run away yet. Let me break it down.
Think of search engines as a tour guide.
Now you’re traveling to a new city and would love to visit all the cool places. The best restaurants, museums, monuments, landscapes etc.
You don’t know anything about the city and you’re certainly not going to waste your money and time trying to find the best places.
So instead you ask the tour guide who knows the city inside out. He knows the good and bad places and will save you time and money.
The only thing is, whatever/wherever the tour guide shows you might not be the best. It will be his own decision of what he thinks is best.
From our illustration above, the new city you’re traveling to is the internet. The destinations you’d like to visit are different websites. Your tour guide is the search engine (Google and Bing are the most popular).
The aim of search engine optimization is to make search engines (like google) see your website as a worthy destination for people searching on the internet.
So let’s say you own a clothing store.
I want to buy clothes and I’m searching for the best clothing stores.
I take out my phone and I ask google “where to buy clothes”.
Google knows there are like a million websites selling clothes online.
But it can’t show me all at once.
So it will display the result according to how it ranks them.
The websites that are well optimized will show up first, even though they may not necessarily be the best.
Because they show up first, people are more likely to go there.
Sounds unfair. But you’ve heard the secret now and can use it to your advantage.
“Check out what makes a website rank high”
Why Is Search Engine Optimization Important?
The end goal of search engines is to give its users what they need in the shortest time possible. To show users the best locations (websites) on the internet.
As a business owner you should position your website as one of the best locations on the internet for users interested in what you have to offer.
How can you benefit from Search Engine Optimization?
You might already be sensing the benefits of search engine optimization.
Some benefits include
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Increase brand awareness (more people will know about your business)
- Generate leads (you can channel more people into your sales funnel)
- More sales
Let me tell you a secret. About 75% of users don’t go beyond the first page of google search.
That means the millions of results after the first page are mostly irrelevant.
What’s the point in having a website when it will only be a liability?
You spend on a domain name, hosting, website management, writing content and yet nobody sees your website.
I’m sure nobody wants that.
With SEO you can turn your website into an asset that attracts customers to your business.
How is Search Engine Optimization done?
Experts say there are “4 types of SEO”.
But in truth they are more like 4 parts of a whole.
Combining them effectively forms a strong SEO strategy.
This involves what you do on your website to make it favoured by search engines.
- writing content that gives your target audience what they need
- using keywords in your content, especially in headings and subheadings
- ensuring that people who visit your website have a good user experience
- Using internal links from one page of your website to another
- restructuring URLs
The main thing here is getting external links to your website.
The more other high quality websites link to yours, the greater your chances of ranking high on search results.
External links are like a referral. A vote of confidence.
It shows search engines that you are trustworthy and a good destination for visitors.
This part deals with some technicalities like writing a code that tells search engines how to navigate your website.
Here you also ensure there are no duplicate pages, broken links or missing pages showing error codes on your website.
Another key thing is increasing your site speed. If your website takes too long to load users won’t waste time on it. Search engines hate slow websites.
As a customer, which restaurant would you prefer? One that brings your order instantly or one that takes a lifetime to deliver?
If you own a physical store and/or operate in a particular geographical area, you’d benefit greatly from local SEO.
Here you optimize your website (and by extension your business) for people searching nearby.
You become more visible to those in your area who need your products or services.
You can do this by
- setting up a Google My Business Page and getting customer reviews.
- Listing your business in online directories.
- Adding maps (location) to your website
- Using keywords of your geographical area when writing your website content.
How long does it take to get results with Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization is a marathon, not a sprint.
How long it takes to get results will depend on the current state of your business and your online presence, the results you want and how much resources you’re willing to invest.
Typically it takes between 1 to 3 months to start seeing tangible results.
That might sound like a long time, but when you weigh the long-term benefits of SEO, you’d see that it is a lethal weapon in your marketing arsenal.
The results compound over time. It doesn’t depreciate as long as you keep at it.
Look at wikipedia for example. They rank for almost anything you search for.
They have consistently proven to be a useful destination for users.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to be wikipedia to get excellent results from SEO for your business.
Just dedicate some time and effort and you’d see your business soar.
How much does effective SEO cost?
This also depends on where your business currently is and what results you aim to achieve.
If your online presence is good you’d spend less. But if you want to start from scratch, and perhaps don’t even have a website it’s going to cost more.
How much money you spend also depends on whether you’re just looking to improve brand awareness or make more sales.
Generally SEO services cost between $500 to $2000 per month depending on the industry, the experience of the service provider and the expected results.
Pricing is nothing when you think of the benefits. Having lifelong loyal customers and attracting new ones consistently is the dream of any business.
SEO can help you get that.
What are the downsides of Search Engine Optimization?
There are no real downsides, unless you use black hat SEO techniques that get you penalized by search engines.
Perhaps you might count taking 3 months to get results as a downside.
But when you look at the long-term benefits of attracting new customers, a few months isn’t something to worry about.
Also, SEO is a marathon not a sprint.
You don’t just do it for a few weeks and get the prize. It is continuous.
If you’re in serious business this shouldn’t be a problem though.
How can you start using SEO to advance your business?
If you have the time and energy, and if you believe you can learn the intricacies of SEO, check out Hubspot’s free SEO course.
It is value-packed and had all you need to start using SEO to grow your business.
But if you’re occupied and have money to pay experts to handle it for you, book a free consultation call let’s help you.
Here at THE SEO GENIUS we don’t just do SEO. We combine it with a strong content marketing and lead generation system so you don’t only get visitors to your website but customers.
Conclusion – Search engine optimization is vital for modern business success.
The world has changed.
More business is done online.
You need to position your business as the go-to-guy in your industry/market using search engine optimization if you want to grow.
SEO is not just some new marketing strategy. It is a necessity for any business looking to grow and thrive in this era.
Frequently Asked Questions about SEO
Can I do SEO on my own?
Yes you can. Just dedicate some time and effort to learning the basics using free resources like
- Hubspot’s free SEO course
- Semrush Academy
- Udemy SEO
- Coursera SEO
Can I learn SEO without coding?
Most of the work done by SEO specialists does not involve coding. Also, there are no-code tools that can handle that technical SEO for you.
So yes, you can learn SEO without coding. But knowing programming languages like CSS and HTML could be beneficial.
What does an SEO Specialist do?
First we perform a website audit to know your current state online. Then we carry out a competitor analysis to know what we’re up against in the fight to enable you rank higher.
After that we come up with a strategy and then execute it while analyzing for the effectiveness.
We test, tweak and analyze to ensure we’re making progress.
Can I do SEO for free?
There are tools used for SEO and the most effective ones are not free.
So you might have to spend if you want to carry out an effective SEO campaign.
Nevertheless, there are many free tools out there.