As a small business owner, entrepreneur, or startup SEO should be your favorite word for many reasons. The top three reasons why SEO matters are it’s free, it works, and it has long-lasting results. If you’re not entirely optimizing your website or blog, you are missing out on opportunities to grow your business.
It’s that simple. SEO is free. It’s the traffic you earn based on your rankings in the search results. The higher you rank, the more traffic you get. It’s that simple. SEO requires work, but you don’t pay for the click. You may need to pay to take a training course or hire a consultant. However, in the long-run, it’s much more cost effective than paid advertising channels. If you want to equate SEO efforts to dollars, look up the cost per click estimate for any keyword you’re targeting and estimate how much you’re saving by working on that term.
The average click-through rate for positions 1-3 on any search run between 12 and 30%. For this example, let’s assume 1st position gets 30% of the traffic.
If you’re targeting a term that has 1,000 searches a month and you’re in position #1 and the suggested CPC for the term is $5.00. If you are in position #1, you should receive about 300 visits (30%). Those 300 visits would cost you $1,500 in paid search at an average of $5.00 per click. By focusing on your SEO for that term, you’ve essentially saved $1,500 that you would have needed to spend on paid search to drive the same traffic. And, since it’s SEO, you spent nothing for those clicks.
When done right, SEO works. SEO matters, a lot. When SEO strategies are applied the right way, the results can be fantastic. I’ve had clients drive over a million dollars a month in revenue from their organic traffic. I’ve seen others grow their traffic and revenue by 100% year over year for several years in a row.
Organic traffic is a direct result of your SEO efforts. Maybe your business isn’t big enough to drive a million dollars in revenue in a month but what would another 10%, 20% or even 50% increase mean for your business? It’s possible with a well-optimized SEO program. The key is having the knowledge and background to create that type success. The average fully optimized SEO program drives 30-40% traffic and 20-30% revenue for an ecom website. That can have a considerable impact on the bottom line.
While it’s true, your rankings aren’t guaranteed, and you have to look at SEO as an on-going project, the rewards are long-term. When you build your site’s authority through content or links, you can increase your overall keyword rankings, making it easier to rank for the terms that are the most important to you.
The effort you put into an SEO program will drive traffic, orders, and revenue as long as you continue to create great content and optimize each piece. A blog post or website page that’s well optimized can rank well in the search engines and drive tons of traffic for years. It takes longer to build success through an SEO program, but the results are long lasting too. Would you care if a blog post was two years old if it drove 5,000 visits a month and generated $10,000 in revenue every month? Of course not. Most people would love to have a website that produced traffic and revenue numbers like that month after month. SEO can do that for you.
I think many overlook SEO because they don’t fully understand the opportunity. If they do understand, they don’t know how to leverage SEO the right way. Maybe it seems too technical for some. They’re not sure what a Header Tag is. They don’t know what keyword to choose which page or blog post. Maybe they're unaware they need a unique Title Tag on every single page. It's possible they read a few blog posts but didn’t get the right information. Maybe they tried to do it themselves but didn’t know what they were doing and made mistakes.
I know a lot of businesses have small budgets and something like SEO seems like an area that you can handle yourself and save money. There are lots of videos and blog posts out there, and some of it has correct information, some doesn’t. Unfortunately, if you don't know what's right or wrong, you don't know who to trust for advice.
As a professional SEO, there are so many issues I see with DIY SEO work. People don’t understand how to choose the right keyword or where to use the terms. They don’t follow best practices. Their Title Tags should be Meta Descriptions or Header Tags, or they’re so long they truncate and don’t display what they want. They choose keywords they’ll never rank for or ones that return results that are irrelevant to their audience or worse, they try to optimize for the same keyword on every single page. If they have both a blog and a website, there’s often a mishmash from a keyword targeting perspective. This is one area where getting the right information matters.
Many small business owners focus heavily on Social Media and build their following on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. They may not even have a website because they don’t know how to create one or they have one, but there’s almost no information on it so they direct people back to their social media pages instead. Maybe they want a website but feel they can’t afford to hire someone to build one and don’t know how to do it themselves.
The challenge here is that they’re not building a following in a location they own. They’re borrowing their business platform from the social channel. And what happens when the social channels change their rules or update their algorithm? The business owner could lose access to their page, they could be shut down, their organic reach on the social channel could drop drastically, or a myriad of other issues could occur.
Facebook ran a test recently where they moved all business page posts to a second feed referred to as the Explore Feed. While they say they don’t plan on expanding this test beyond the initial six countries, if they were to roll this out further, it would likely impact all those businesses that have built their following on Facebook rather than a blog or website of their own. They would probably see their traffic drop as soon as the information was moved to a secondary feed. Organic reach on Facebook is already dropping for many business pages as they appear to be favoring advertisers and personal updates in the algorithm.
Building your website or blog is important. You want traffic coming to a web property that you control. If your audience only ever finds you on social media, and something happens to that social media channel. You’re out of luck.
SEO has been around for years. It’s been reported to be dead pretty much annually. However, SEO isn’t dead. As long as the search engines continue to deliver search results that are not ads, it will remain a viable channel for business. I think we’ll see more people want to focus on SEO as they grow weary of the diminishing returns they see from social media. Some are reporting their organic reach on Facebook is 10% of what it was a year or two ago. Yes, there are ways to boost organic reach on Facebook, but for many, it’s a challenge. With SEO, you have to put the work in but you’re not forced to pay for exposure.
If you want to learn how to leverage SEO and do it the right way, it may be time to take a course. Learn how it works once and for all. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be offering one in the new year. It will be an on-demand course, but there will be Live Q&A sessions to help you through the challenging parts, answer your questions, and ensure you learn what it takes to rank your website or blog. I’ve been in SEO for over a decade and would love to show you how it works. Our SEO Fundamentals Course kicks-off Monday, April 16th. Registration is now open.
If you’re ready to learn more about SEO today and how to leverage it for your business, download a copy of our SEO checklist and learn everything you need to do before you hit publish on your next webpage or blog post.