When used strategically, search engine optimization (SEO) can provide businesses with many benefits, including increased web traffic and more qualified leads coming through the sales funnel. At its core, SEO has the potential to bring more organic attention to your business — which means it doesn’t cost you anything. Understanding the basic principles of SEO can help you develop appealing and high-ranking content to reach your target audience in a way that meets their needs. By understanding and implementing SEO best practices, you’ll notice increased business growth and higher engagement.
If SEO is a topic you’re interested in learning more about, an instructor-led digital marketing bootcamp can guide you through these principles so you can apply them to your own business — or start a new career with these much-needed skills!
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a set of practices that any content creator can use to help certain web pages rank higher in search results (i.e., bringing content closer to the top of the first page on any search engine site, where users are more likely to see and click on it). These practices can bring more traffic to your website, which will increase both your visibility and revenue. However, it’s important to note that SEO is not something you do once and forget. Effective SEO should become the standard method of how you create new content and update existing content for your business.
Because the majority of searches come through Google, SEO focuses heavily on ranking high in its search results. In fact, over 95 percent of mobile searches were performed using Google from 2018 to 2019. In today’s hyper-connected world, website visitors expect to find the answers they’re searching for within the first few results. To effectively boost traffic, your web page should aim to be in the top ten results — the higher your page appears, the more click-throughs you will likely get.
SEO also includes best practices for website speed, photo captions, links and interacting with others online. While many factors go into website optimization, these free digital marketing resources can make the process easier.
Top 8 SEO Benefits
With the right SEO strategy, you can grow brand awareness, increase company revenue and even gain added credibility for your business. Below, we’ve outlined eight clear benefits to incorporating SEO into your marketing strategy, regardless of industry or company size.
SEO Benefit 1: Brings Organic Search Traffic to your Website
Organic traffic consists of viewers who find your website through a search engine. To properly guide this traffic, your website should be effectively optimized. The goal is for Google to recognize that your website offers the most relevant answers to the questions people are asking.
There are approximately 63,000 Google searches performed every second, and with the right SEO strategy, your business can compete for some of those search results. One of the best ways to improve your SEO is to focus on the keywords that relate to your business and the information you want to share with your audience.
Google’s web crawlers examine every site on the web for specific keywords, user-friendly interfaces and general trustworthiness. These bots use this data to determine the best answers for each query. If you are writing a post about accounting software for nonprofits, for example, think about how users will search and what words they will use. If you use the keywords “accounting software for nonprofits” correctly in your post and thoroughly answer the question, Google will award your post a higher rank for relevancy.
SEO Benefit 2: Generates Leads Cost-Effectively
As a form of inbound marketing — as opposed to cold-calling or sending unsolicited emails or advertisements — SEO is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow your online presence. When applied strategically, SEO allows you to get in front of people who are looking for your product or service, have searched for the specific terms related to your post or listing and end up on your website. As such, these leads are primed and ready to commit.
The vast majority of online activity starts with a search. Imforza, an online branding platform, estimates that 93 percent of all online experiences start with a search engine. Meanwhile, 70 percent of the clicked-through results are organic rather than paid advertisement spots. SEO leads close a sale 14 percent of the time, while print advertising and other outbound marketing techniques have a close rate closer to 1.7 percent.
What’s more, SEO doesn’t expire. Unlike paid online ads that stop bringing in traffic when the campaign is over, well-managed SEO can continue to bring high-quality traffic to your site over time.
Implementing SEO at your company can take time, but it will likely not involve additional advertising dollars, further increasing the potential for added business revenue. A digital marketing bootcamp that teaches SEO strategy can help you create a comprehensive plan for increasing your organic visibility.
SEO Benefit 3: Increases Brand Awareness
You want to stand out in your industry as a leader, but you also want to be seen as a relevant solution for your audience. With 1.88 billion websites online, how do you ensure that the public recognizes your brand? An SEO strategy is one of the best ways to accomplish this goal.
A first-page ranking on Google increases your visibility and your authority. After you’ve optimized your content to match search queries, you should see an increased number of clicks, which will continue to grow your engagement and trustworthiness levels. The momentum created by your SEO strategy can start a chain of events that leads to greater brand awareness.
Keep in mind that brand awareness isn’t just about people recognizing your name — they should also know what your brand stands for, how it can help them and the services it provides. Content marketing is about giving searchers valuable information that they understand and trust. They know they can come to you with questions, and this trust can easily convert leads to sales.
SEO Benefit 4: Gets You Ahead of the Competition
All industries have competition. Just as you would study your competitors’ print marketing strategies, you should study their SEO strategies. Websites like Moz and SEMrush allow you to see what keywords your competitors rank for, how many pieces of content they have, their linking strategy and much more. Once you narrow your focus to the keywords that are most relevant to your industry, you can create a strategy to outrank your competitors.
One way to do this is to look for opportunities where your competitors fall short (e.g., using a keyword for which they don’t rank). Identify clear openings for you to increase your SEO around that word or phrase to grab some extra visibility in Google searches.
SEO Benefit 5: Optimizes Your Website for Mobile Users
The number of mobile searches increases daily. By Q2 2021, 61 percent of all searches were conducted on a mobile device. But how does that translate for businesses? If your site is not optimized for mobile use, you risk being ignored by more than half of your target audience. Not only that, Google will automatically rank a mobile-optimized website higher than one that is not. While your website may look great on a PC, load times and screen sizes change dramatically with the many different brands and designs of mobile devices, and it’s no longer optional for businesses to develop and maintain a mobile-friendly digital presence.
Some tips to increase the user experience on a mobile device include
- Format button sizes so they aren’t too small to be seen or touched or too big that they get in the way of your content.
- Be concise. There is less space on a mobile device screen than a PC screen.
- Don’t use pop-ups that distract and make it hard to navigate.
- Use a responsive template design, no matter the screen size.
You’ll learn these best practices and more ways to make your site mobile-friendly through the hands-on curriculum at Berkeley Digital Marketing Boot Camp.
SEO Benefit 6: Builds Trust
Even with a strong SEO strategy, building customer trust in your brand takes time. Invest in quality content for your readers to become a trusted source for up-to-date information. This can improve the way consumers view your business and, in turn, increase your ranking.
Google isn’t just looking for specific words for ranking your site, it also looks for how often and how authoritatively you interact with your audience. Google considers how you support your site visitors — even if they don’t ultimately purchase from you. The three-prong strategy Google uses to rank websites is EAT — expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. What it translates to is: It doesn’t matter how often you use a keyword if your content is useless to your audience.
Engagement takes time, but it should pay off with a bigger market share and higher rankings in search results. Make it easy for visitors to get in touch with you by adding contact pages, Google maps and comment-enabled sections. Foster healthy conversation and give solid feedback. Create content that people want to share because they value what they learned.
SEO Benefit 7: Improves All Your Other Marketing Strategies
When you supplement organic searching with paid, inbound or outbound marketing, your SEO strategy may reach new heights. Since content is important, it’s good to keep a bank of written resources to create marketing materials that provide useful information and answer relevant questions. Your first page Google ranking may increase a potential customer’s trust — no matter how they originally found your business.
Monitoring your SEO also gives you insights into industry trends as they develop. You’ll see when popular search terms change, what information people find most valuable and what stops them from committing to a purchase. Pain points should become obvious as you carefully monitor Google rankings and SEO.
If your business is also engaging in paid search advertising, your site could appear more than once on the first page of search results if your paid ad ranks in the top Google results and your organic SEO rankings are high. Paid ads appear first, with organic search results directly underneath.
SEO Benefit 8: Gets People Into Your Brick and Mortar
SEO isn’t just for online businesses. Whether people search for a new shirt or a place to eat, they typically go to Google (or another search engine) first. The “near me” search option on Google uses an individual’s location to determine the service that best fits their search query. According to Google, 88 percent of people who perform “near me” searches on mobile will visit the store within one week, and 76 percent will visit within a day. That’s a lot of new customers to be gained through the right SEO strategy!
If your business has a physical location, make sure people can find you online, which can help lead to increased traffic in your store. Make sure Google knows your location and the kinds of services you provide to increase traffic to your brick-and-mortar location.
How to Learn SEO
There are many websites, videos and classes available that teach SEO and digital marketing. For instance, these free digital marketing career resources can help you understand the basics of SEO and how they can benefit your business.
You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with keyword research tools to make the most of your SEO marketing. There are both subscription and free services available. Choose the one that best fits your business goals and budget. We’ve already mentioned Moz and SEMrush, but there are other platforms, like Keywords Everywhere and WebFX’s KeywordsFX, as well.
An in-depth SEO strategy is usually covered as part of the curriculum at Berkeley’s Digital Marketing Boot Camp. In this program, you will learn to build your brand online, develop ad campaigns, generate more leads and optimize your website for organic search traffic. This bootcamp is great for those looking for a structured program taught by professionals in the digital marketing field.
Why Your Business Needs SEO
If your business has a website, you need an SEO strategy. According to ahrefs, a popular SEO tool, nearly 91 percent of all websites do not get organic traffic from Google searches. This number can seem daunting if you are in charge of marketing for your company. If you aren’t receiving any new traffic from search results, how will you find new markets and bring more potential customers into your organization’s buyer journey?
SEO is essential for sales, market confidence and your online reputation, whether you are a multi-million dollar tech company or a self-employed repairman. Your next customer is searching for your products online right now. If they can’t find you, they’ll do business with a company they can find through an online search.
Aside from increasing sales, if your business has any of these goals, you need a new or updated SEO strategy:
- More subscribers
- Increased web traffic
- Increased consumer confidence
- Developing a clear customer persona
- A method to advertise sales and specials
Benefits of SEO for Small Business
Even if you aren’t attempting to engage a worldwide audience, SEO’s potential benefits are undeniable. According to Social Media Today, 46 percent of searches performed regard local information. While your audience may be down the block, they are also online.
Use the free Google My Business feature to be found via Search and Maps. Your listing can display your location, hours, customer reviews and services in Google search results.
Small businesses have smaller budgets and tighter margins than larger corporations — every marketing dollar has to count. SEO provides a great return on investment. It doesn’t require costly online ads, bidding for keywords or having to outspend your competition. In fact, a smart SEO strategy can rocket a small business to the first page of Google results with little monetary investment.