You might have heard of the term “SEO” but still struggle to understand why is SEO important for business?
First page on Google?
How will that help your business specifically?
Search engine optimization is confusing enough, so much that they abbreviate it to 3 simple alphabets – SEO.
If you’re wondering why is SEO important for business, this article is going to break it down for you.
Let’s answer all the SEO questions you have as a business!
For The Beginners
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
Let’s break it down for you.
What is a Search Engine?
A search engine is a tool for users to search for information from a database.
It’s like how you would look for a drink in the fridge if you’re thirsty.
In this case, the fridge is the database and the drink you’re looking for is the information.
Search engines provide a list of results based on what the user is trying to look for.
Just like how your fridge shows all the food available when you open it.
Google is by the far the most popular search engine in the world.
Glad you asked.
Into 2020, Google owns 87.35% of the world’s Search Market Share.
Yes, a staggering 87.35% of Search Engine Market Share Worldwide.
This means out of 10 people you know, almost 9 are using Google to search for things online.
Here are some examples of other search engines:
- Bing (previously MSN search)
The O in SEO stands for Optimization.
It means “the action of making the most effective use of a resource”.
In this context, the resource refers to search engines.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
It’s the idea of using search engines to market and promote your brand or business.
The SEO process revolves around editing and arranging your website and putting it in the best position for Google to trust it.
And if Google trusts your site, they will put your site in the best position for their users.
The more trust and authority you get, the more Google will show your website to their users.
What Are The Benefits of SEO?
Builds Brand Awareness
Before someone turns to a customer, they would need to see your brand at least 7 times.
That’s according to the “rule of 7” in marketing.
It may not be 7, but the whole point is that they have to at least see your brand once or twice before making a decision to buy your product or services.
By doing SEO for your website, you’re creating assets on Google and optimizing them to be easily found by users.
This helps people recognize and builds trust with your brand.
Builds Brand Authority and Credibility
A website that appears on the first page of Google gives a “top player” impression.
“With great rankings comes great authority.”– Borrowed from spider-man but you get the idea.
And if your brand is seen as an authority in the market, this naturally gives users more trust as compared to a brand that is not on the first page of Google.
Increases Website Traffic
The whole idea of search engine optimization is to gain organic traffic.
One of the ways is to serve your content to as many potential customers as possible.
The more valuable and helpful your website is, the more people will consume and share it.
Google will pick up these signals and put your website in a better position across it’s search engine.
This means your website will reach even more people and drive in more website traffic.
More Qualified Customers
Paid advertising like Facebook and YouTube ads are often disruptive.
Search engine optimization is not.
At least not in the eyes of a user.
Instead, the nature of seo is to create content and optimize it for users to find it WHEN THEY WANT to find it.
With little to no disruption, this gives a better user experience.
Because of that, leads that come from SEO often have better conversion rates.
Reach a Larger Audience
SEO allow brands to scale to a much larger audience.
Google is available in 149 languages and is being used in over 100 countries.
So imagine you have customers all over the world and you rank on Google.
That’s like owning a billboard in front of your targeted audience across many countries.
Long Term Impact
The reason why SEO campaigns take a longer time to see results is because to build credibility and trust with Google isn’t easy.
There’s a lot of work to be done.
- Making sure your website’s technical areas are fixed.
- Creating unique and valuable content.
- Promoting your content.
These are just the tip of the iceberg.
But once Google has its eyes on you and trust you, boy oh boy is it worth it.
The reason why it takes time for Google to recognize how valuable a website is, is also the reason why websites that rank stay at the top.
This means once your website is proven valuable and trusted by Google, it’ll be difficult to bring you down from the search results page.
What types of SEO are there?
Let’s use a burger as an example.
A burger has 3 main components.
The first layer of bread, the patty, followed by the second layer of bread.
While there are many other ingredients involved in a burger, the fundamentals of what makes a burger is still the bread and the patty.
Similarly, while there are other elements involved, what makes up SEO still boils down to these 3 main pillars.
Technical, On-Page and Off-Page.
Like having foundations in a building, technical SEO is optimizing the foundations of a website.
This means making changes to the technical aspect of a website so that it’s easier for search engines to find(crawl) your website.
Some of the technical aspect are:
- Site speed
- Site Structure
Technical optimization helps search engines to find a website easily.
This helps with organic rankings because the efficiency of search engine is improved.
Search engines use algorithms to understand the elements of a website before deciding where to place them on the search results.
The elements can be found on every page of a website so On-Page SEO refers to optimizing the elements of a webpage.
Some of the elements are:
- Keyword Usage
- Page Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- Header Tags
- Internal Linking
On Page optimization helps search engines better understand the content on your website.
The chance of a website ranking high will depend on how relevant the content is to the search query.
The higher the relevancy, the higher the rankings.
Search engines have a system like how a voting system works.
Higher votes, higher authority, higher chance of ranking.
In the search engine world, votes are counted as backlinks.
If website A links to your website, that would count as 1 backlink.
Off-Page optimization focuses on building backlinks from websites that are credible and relevant.
This can be in the form of guest posting on another website or promoting a piece of quality content that you have.
What Are The Different SEO Strategies?
There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
In SEO, there are three ways to be exact.
All techniques and strategies used in a search engine campaign falls under these 3 categories.
Blackhat SEO – unethical tactics
Whitehat SEO – ethical tactics
Greyhat SEO – somewhere in the middle
All 3 strategies work in getting ranked on search engines.
The only difference is the amount of risk involved.
Black Hat SEO
Blackhat SEO refers to SEO techniques that manipulate the search engine algorithm to get results.
Some blackhat techniques include keyword stuffing and building private blog networks.
While it works, these strategies violate Google’s standards making them very risky.
Your website might be ranking well, until
- Google slaps you with a penalty.
- Google has an update that sweeps out all websites that were gaming their system.
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO refers to techniques that follow the guidelines given by Google.
They are recognized as ethical ways to create good rankings within search engines.
The process involves creating quality pieces of content that people will enjoy.
It’s followed by reaching out to websites that are relevant, credible and authoritative to build a backlink from them.
This process although requires a longer time as it involves building relationships with other websites, has little to no risk.
Gray Hat SEO
Gray Hat SEO is, as you would expect, techniques that fall somewhere between white hat SEO and blackhat SEO.
These techniques are questionable and usually become blackhat when search engines catch on.
What Are The Different Types of SEO Services?
Not all businesses require the same SEO strategy, and that’s why there’s different kinds of search campaigns.
A local dentist will need a different SEO strategy as compared to an ecommerce store.
A strategy for a business targeting nationally will be different to a business targeting locally.
There are many types of SEO services because there are many different kinds of businesses.
What type of SEO services you need will depend on 2 things.
- Your type of business
- Ecommerce (Selling products or services digitally)
- Brick & Mortar (Physical Retail Shops)
- Leads Generation (Commission Agents/Home Services)
- Software (SASS Services)
- Business-to-Business (Selling products or services to businesses)
2. Your target audience
- Local (City)
Local SEO focuses on optimizing results for a specific local area.
This can be either a city or multiple cities.
One of the important elements of local SEO is to optimize and rank in the Google Map Pack.
The Google Map Pack shows details about the service and the physical location of the shop.
By ranking on the Google Map Pack, businesses can generate more phone calls and walk-ins.
National SEO targets a specific country.
Unlike local SEO, a national search campaign focuses on strategies that captures the country’s audience.
For example, instead of ranking for the keyword “best dentist in new York”, you would optimize your site and rank for broad keywords like “best dentist”.
International SEO is recommended for businesses that provide services to different countries.
A website is optimized for different languages depending on which are the targeted countries.
Who provides SEO Services?
So who do you look for when you need SEO services?
There Are 3 groups of people you should be looking at.
- SEO freelancers.
- SEO Consultants
- SEO Companies
All 3 have their pros and cons.
Who should you look for would depend on your requirements and resources.
These are individuals who offer SEO services and are often found on freelancing sites like Fiverr and Upwork.
They focus more on the execution of SEO strategies rather than strategizing and planning an SEO campaign.
A typical SEO freelancer will cost a lot less as compared to the other 2 options.
And because they are usually a one-man-gang, the amount of workload they can handle would be restricted.
SEO consultants provide SEO strategies and recommendations for businesses.
They often work in agencies and cost slightly more than a SEO freelancer.
A consultant can either handle the implementations of the strategies on their own or outsource it to freelancers.
Companies or agencies that provide SEO service usually have more than one employee dedicated to SEO.
From planning to executing, they usually oversee the whole search campaign process.
They cost the most out of the 3 options and can handle the most amount of work because of the resources they have.
For The Advanced
Does your business need SEO services?
It depends. (Yes, we say that a lot)
The nature of your product and services will decide whether SEO would be a good return of investment for you.
Not only that, the resources that you have will also play a big part.
While SEO is beneficial to businesses, not all businesses need SEO services.
Here is a general guideline you can follow.
Your Products & Services Are Available Online.
Selling products or services online?
Then you definitely should consider search engine optimization.
Your customers will likely be searching for what you have to offer and when they do, you want to make sure your brand shows up on the first page of Google.
You Are Focusing on Online Visibility.
If you want your brand to show up wherever your target audience is, then there is no doubt SEO will benefit you.
SEO allows you to reach potential customers early in the customer journey stage.
You will be able to reach different groups of people,from those who don’t realize the problem, to those who are looking for the solutions.
You Have Enough Budget For a Long-Term Strategy.
SEO takes time.
Good SEO takes even more time, often 6-12 months of investment.
Unlike paid advertising where you get to see results a lot faster, search engine optimization takes time to see changes.
Search engine’s algorithms will assess each change or implementation on a website.
Then they will decide to either rank it higher or lower.
For a SEO campaign to be effective, you should have enough budget to invest for at least 6 months.
Your Company Needs Results Fast
Search engines take time to crawl your website before deciding to rank you higher or lower.
This usually takes an uncertain amount of time, usually between 6-12months.
If your business needs to see a boost in traffic or leads fast, you should consider paid advertising such as Facebook ads, Instagram ads or Google ads.
You Want to Promote Events, Ever-Changing Inventory, or One-Time Offerings
Once a website gets ranked on the first page of Google, it is likely going to stay there.
But not all products or services are beneficial even if they rank on Google.
If you promote a one-time event that is happening in a week, there is no reason to do SEO because by the time you rank on Google, the event will be over.
This applies to one-time offerings as well.
If the products you sell changes every week and does not have a cycle or a theme, SEO will also not be as beneficial.
Because by the time you rank for product A, it will be obsolete, and you would be selling product D instead.
You Have Little Money & Even Fewer Resources
SEO is a long-term investment.
For a search campaign to be effective and see results, it will usually take 6-12 months.
If you don’t have the budget allocated for this period, it would be better to either
- Do SEO on your own.
- Consider other marketing channels.
What Kind of SEO Strategies Do I Need?
The kind of SEO strategies you need will depend on the nature of your business.
If you own a brick and mortar business, then you would want to start a local SEO campaign.
But if you own many stores across the country, then consider a local SEO campaign for all the cities you’re in.
You might even consider a national SEO or a B2B SEO campaign.
A completely different strategy will apply if it’s an ecommerce store or an affiliate site.
We’ve helped you list down the different types of SEO strategies you might need based on the type of business you run and the audience you’re targeting.
If you run a brick and mortar business, a local SEO campaign will be the most ideal for you.
Local SEO focuses on optimizing for keywords to target people around the area your store serves.
This includes optimizing for Google Map Pack as people usually see the listings on the Map Pack first.
This will result in more traffic to the website and more leads via phone calls.
Some examples of local business include:
- Pet Shops
If you sell many products on the internet, then you might want to consider an e-commerce SEO campaign.
An e-com site has many variables such as price, amount of stock, and individual product details.
Ecommerce SEO focuses on optimizing keywords around the products.
Depending on the target audience, a national SEO or international SEO campaign will be needed.
If your product targets people from a specific country, then consider a national SEO campaign.
National SEO focuses on optimizing for broad keywords.
Broad keywords often have a higher search volume and by ranking for these terms allows you to reach a bigger audience for your business.
If you want to reach consumers all over the world, then consider international SEO.
International SEO focuses on ranking for broad keywords across multiple different countries.
This includes optimizing pages for different languages depending on the target country.
How Much Does SEO Cost?
- Average monthly costs – $750-$2000
- One-time Project – $5000-$30,000
- Hourly Rates – $80-$200
SEO services vary in costs.
This usually depends on the scope of your campaign, the duration, how competitive the market is and who you’re hiring.
Types of Payment Models
The monthly retainer model is similar to a subscription type payment.
Payment is made monthly, either on the start of the month or at the end of the month depending on the agreement made.
This model is usually used in a campaign that lasts for more than 3-6 months.
A project based payment is usually based on a one time fee.
The fee is decided based on the scope of the campaign, the duration of the project as well as the specific tasks needed to complete the project.
This model is usually used when a website needs to fix only a specific SEO issue.
The hourly rate is paying for the amount of hours work has been done.
Payment will be made based on how many hours it took to complete a SEO project or campaign.
This also can apply to quick fixes that’s needed on the website.
Are SEO services worth it?
One of the most commonly asked questions.
This question is impossible to answer without a context.
Some companies might benefit greatly for a SEO campaign and some may not.
Instead of a generic answer, we broke down the solution to 3 factors which are important to help you answer this question.
2. Market Size
3. Revenue Per Customer
To help you understand better, let’s use fishing as an analogy.
1. Competition – amount of people fishing
2. Market Size – amount of fish in the pond
3. Revenue Per Customer – the size of the catch
Here’s how you can use the fishing analogy to gauge if SEO is worth it for your company.
Before deciding to fish, you want to look at the amount of people fishing in the area.
Is it overcrowding with people?
Are they well equipped?
This will help you determine how competitive the area is and whether you have the resources (equipment and time) needed to beat them.
An area that has loads of competitors equipped with wooden rods might be easy for you if you have a premium rod and baits.
An area that has little competitors might be difficult for you if you have a wooden rod and they are armed with premium rods.
Let’s bring it back to make it relevant to you.
Your market might have little competition but these are big brand competitors.
This means they have bigger marketing budgets, making it more difficult for you if you only have a small budget to work with.
On the other hand, your market might have lots of competition but they’re all local or small businesses that don’t have much budget.
This makes it easier for you to compete if you have more resources or budget over them.
Is the area you are in full of fishes?
Are the fishes extremely limited in the area?
If there’s lots of fish in the area, it might be worthwhile to join in and get a piece of the action.
And if it’s crowded with not too many fishes, then maybe you should consider other alternatives.
Similarly, with your target market, if your target audience is huge, you might consider competing to get a piece of it because the cake is big enough.
And if you are trying to target a small audience with competitors with lots of resources, it might not be worth it.
Revenue Per Customer
Are the fishes big or small?
If there’s lots of people fishing in the same area, and the amount of fishes are limited but each fish you catch is huge, then maybe it’s worth it for you to compete.
Is the revenue per customer a significant amount for you?
If it is, maybe it is worth it to jump in and compete because the return for you is big.
It could still be worth it if your revenue per customer is small and
- The market size is big.
- The competition is low.
Is SEO Recommended For Me?
What are the recommendations for me?
Recommendations are based on individual businesses.
Here are the 3 key factors to help you decide if you should consider a SEO campaign.
- Assigned Budget
- Marketing Strategy
- Nature of Services/Products
Ideally you want to check all 3 factors before going for a search campaign.
The amount of budget you have allocated will determine the effectiveness of a SEO campaign.
If your competition is big and you want to win them, you will have to either
a) Have a bigger budget to invest in SEO
b) Have a smaller budget to invest for a longer time frame
Are you looking for a long-term or a short-term marketing strategy?
SEO takes time to see results.
Your marketing approach should depend on the objective of your business.
Paid advertising such as Facebook and Google Ads usually speed up results whereas SEO gains momentum and results over time.
Nature of Services/Products
If you’re promoting a one-time event happening next week, SEO wouldn’t be the best marketing solution because it takes time.
However, if you’re promoting a one-time event happening in the next 9 months, than SEO would be a viable marketing option
If your service and products change consistently, you might consider other marketing alternatives.
What’s The #1 Advice to Businesses Before Hiring SEO Services? (5 Expert Answers)
We reached out to the experts in the industries and ask them for the best advice for businesses looking to hire SEO services.
Only invest in what you understand, same goes for hiring a SEO agency.
Any business considering any SEO agency should first spend a few hours to understand search engine optimization and all that’s involved.
As they say in investing, only invest in what you understand, same goes for hiring a SEO agency.
First, understand what SEO is, how it’s executed, and the benefits of the strategy over time.
This way, you’ll know where your money is going and the value exchanged.
You’ll also have greater respect for the agency as they likely own skills you haven’t mastered on your own.
And the expectation of results, and the patience required, is clear for both parties.
In my experience, those partnerships produce the most traffic, new leads, and profit for the business.Brian Robben – CEO & Founder | Robbenmedia.com
Don’t try to be the smarter guy in the room.
Do not try to be the smarter guy in the room.
You’re looking for SEO experts because you’ve failed at either setting up a website, running ad campaigns, or the ones in charged did a terrible job.
So it’s kind of funny when people who’re looking for help try to guide our hands into doing what they think is better.
Imagine walking into a bank with the intention of telling the bank owner you know better about keeping money than they do. Well, that pretty much sums up the attitude of many businesses when they knock on our doors.
You should have basic understanding on how SEO works, but it’s sad to see business owners wasting 6-8 hours a day tweaking a website with no results.
If you’d never let SEOs tell you how to do your job, why would you expect them to be ok when you do it?
This understanding creates unparalleled synergy and, in some cases, infinite potential for growth.Marcel Casella – Head of Content Department | Overthetopseo.com
Do some homework on SEO.
The biggest issue is that many companies are way too naive about the subtle technical and best practices about SEO.
Do some homework on SEO if you need to interview SEO companies because you’ll be better prepared for the discussions.
Way too many SEO companies have staffs with insufficient SEO experience so don’t sacrifice your website and make sure to hire an expert.Bruce Clay – CEO & Founder | Bruceclay.com
Ask how they do it.
Do your research.
Ask for “how they do it” not what.
You can do more harm by working with the wrong partner than good.Solomon Thimothy – CEO & Founder | Oneims.com
Know how it’s cooked.
Imagine watching someone cooking up a meal. You’ll get to see the entire process before deciding to order.
Likewise with SEO, it’s best to see the process and strategies of how a campaign will look like before deciding to hire any agency.
This helps you decide if the strategies used and the values provided are to your liking.
SEO is a long term investment so before deciding to chomp on this meal, you might want to know how it’s cooked.
Because like food poisoning, a bad SEO campaign will give you a lot of problems in the future.Jaden Oh – Founder & Lead Strategist | Traffv.com
Now you know the importance of SEO for business.
Not only that, you’ve learnt ALL the important factors before deciding whether if SEO is for you and your business.
This should give you a better direction in your hiring process for SEO services.