SEO, or search engine optimization, is an important tool for anyone wanting to grow their online presence – and by extension, their sales. It refers to the various improvements you can make to a web page to help it rank higher in search engine results. But why is SEO important? SEO is important for business because higher rankings mean more page visits, which can also mean more sales. That’s why you’ll often find SEO features built into website builders – websites struggle to succeed without it.
Search engines – like Google and Bing – are many people’s first port of call when they need a question answered. These tools sift through the vast amounts of information online and pick out the most relevant pages in response to each query. Essentially, they locate in seconds what most of us would take days to find online.
Such a useful function is bound to become popular. Whether people want to know where to buy the highest quality camping gear, or simply where to find the best cup of coffee in their neighborhood, the process no longer involves trial-and-error or painstaking research. These days, a simple search right from your laptop or phone will come back with exactly the answers you need.
This speed and ease of use means it’s no surprise how widespread the use of search engines has become – Google alone processes an average of 3.5 billion searches every day, or about 1.2 trillion per year. Its usage has steadily increased year-over-year since 1998, and makes up a whopping 78% of all online search behavior today.
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It’s clear that search engines are the method of choice for finding information today. And if everyone’s using them to ask questions, that means there are big benefits for the web pages that can provide the most relevant answers. By benefits, we’re talking about:
- Increased website traffic
- Enhanced brand visibility and recognition
- Better user experience
- Targeted and relevant traffic
But what does all of that mean? Let’s get into it below.
Increased Website Traffic
Good SEO helps your web pages appear higher up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) – and the higher up the better, since over 28% of people click on the first organic Google result.
“Organic” Google results describe the search results that aren’t paid-for ads. Paid-for ads will appear at the very top of the SERPs and be distinguishable by the word “sponsored” in bold text.
That figure dwindles significantly the further down you get in the results. For example, the average click-through rate for the second result drops to 15.7%, while the third result gets only 11% of clicks.
93% of global traffic comes from Google – and good SEO can help you direct some of that massive potential to your own website by pushing your pages up in the results!
Enhanced Brand Visibility and Recognition
Your brand is more than just your business name. It encompasses everything, from the values and purpose that people associate with your business to the logos and colors that you use to market it. By giving your brand more awareness, visibility, and exposure, you give it the opportunity to be recognized by more and more potential customers.
Climbing up the search engine results pages is one major way to get more eyes on your business, and get more potential customers interested in who you are and what you do.
Better User Experience
Search engines like Google want to provide the best service for their users – meaning, they want their top-ranked search results to actually address searchers’ needs clearly.
So by optimizing your web pages for Google, you’ll naturally be optimizing them for your readers. It’s like killing two birds with one stone!
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- Learn about giving users a great experience through following these website navigation best practices
- Web design is a huge part of creating a better user experience. Check out our report on these top web design trends and statistics to discover current top tips and examples.
Targeted and Relevant Traffic
As a business owner, you naturally want to get as many eyes as possible onto your web pages. And while page visits matter, the quality of those page visits is also very important.
Say you’re selling kitchenware, for example. Why attract a wide range of uninterested buyers when you could tailor your pages to the needs of relevant audiences, like bakers and restaurateurs?
SEO provides the guidelines that will help you do just that!
By optimizing your web pages for search engines, you’re making them more attractive to everyone on the internet. But you don’t always have to cast such a wide net – for local businesses, using local SEO can also help you be the bigger fish in a smaller pond, and climb the SERPs for targeted results in your area.
Local SEO is important because, by making your pages more specifically relevant to people in your location, you can further narrow down your traffic to interested people near your business – who are actually likely to patronize it – and enact that quality over quantity strategy we were talking about earlier.
And this is a powerful strategy, considering 97% of users searched online to find a local business!
By making a free profile with Google My Business, you can add photos, branding, and essential info (like opening hours and location) to make your business shine in the results pages.
There are countless other free SEO tools that you can use to boost your performance, as well.
78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase – so local SEO is important, not only for visibility, but also for sales.
And when it comes to sales, no page on your site is more important than your product pages. These are where your products are displayed with photos, prices, and other essential info (like sizes and color variations for clothing, for example) that customers will take into account before they add to their carts.
To optimize product pages for search engines, you’ll want to:
- Include keywords in your product descriptions: Keywords are words with high search volume that you can add to your web pages to make them more relevant.
- Write a strong call to action: Make sure it’s obvious to readers what the next step is in purchasing your product, whether that’s a “Buy Now” or “Learn More” button that’s clearly visible on the page.
- Include product titles and meta descriptions: This is the information most prominently shown on the SERP when a user is still deciding which result they want to click on. By crafting interesting and useful titles and descriptions, including relevant keywords, you’ll help attract more clicks onto your product pages.
- Implement structured data: Structured data is information that’s easy to quantify, so both computers and people can understand it. For products, this would include size, color, flavor, and so on. By including more structured data in your product listings, you’ll make them easier for Google to identify, and for potential customers to understand.
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Learn more about the benefits of ecommerce SEO in our full guide!
If local SEO can help you target a specific audience, international SEO can help you expand your reach to global markets by adapting your content to different regions and languages.
When it comes to targeting internationally, one of the best tools in your arsenal is hreflang tags. These tell Google which language is being used on a page, so that Google can show it as a result for searchers using the same language.
You should use hreflang if your website has different versions in different languages, or even if it has different versions in the same language that target different countries – like the US and Australia, for example.
To implement hreflang on your pages, you can add a piece of HTML to the <head> tag of each page. The new code will look something like:
<link rel=“alternate” href=“example.com” hreflang=“en-us” />
Implementing international SEO strategies helps you overcome language and cultural barriers by showing your expertise and knowledge of the specific market you’re trying to appeal to.
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Follow these International SEO Best Practices for more tips on maximizing your growth.
Implementing SEO on your site can bring about incredible rewards – but the process is not without its challenges, including:
Changing Search Engine Algorithms
Search engines use algorithms to determine the factors that will influence a website’s performance in search results. Factors are all based on what will be important to the user, and search engines update these factors every so often to ensure they’re meeting users’ needs. These updates can sometimes come at short notice for website owners wanting to make sure their optimizations are in line with the latest updates.
Over 65% of all the clicks on the SERPs go to the first five results – and if you’ve ever run a Google search before, you know that each one yields pages of results.
In other words, countless websites are all vying for the same top spot that you are – and that can be intimidating at first. But if you’re confident in your offering, then you have every reason to be confident in your rankings – Google wants to show its users quality businesses, after all!
A little competition is nothing to be afraid of. It just goes to show why SEO is important for business!
Resource and Time Requirements
Optimizing your web pages requires either a lot of your own time to spend learning and implementing best practices, or some of your money to spend hiring dedicated professional(s) to implement it for you. But nothing worth doing is worth doing halfway, as they say!
Check out our ultimate SEO checklist to get ahead of these challenges.
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If you’re worried about SEO challenges, check out our guide on common SEO mistakes to avoid (with tips on how to steer clear of these common pitfalls).
When you ask “why is SEO important?” the most common answer is probably going to be aiding business growth. SEO gets more interested eyes on your business website – which naturally leads to more business growth. By attracting potential customers (that’s the targeted traffic we mentioned earlier!), you’ll increase your odds of generating leads and upping conversion rates.
Nearly half of marketers report that organic search has the best ROI of any marketing channel, so the impact of SEO is no joke! And unlike some more ambiguous marketing channels, SEO is an easy tactic when it comes to measuring impact. Just look at your rankings, site traffic, and conversion rates – Google Analytics is one easy way to track these stats.
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Follow these steps to Set Up GA4 on your website, the latest version of Google Analytics.
So, why is SEO important? Whether it’s increasing site traffic, targeting more relevant traffic, enhancing brand visibility, or improving user experience, it’s no secret that SEO has a hugely positive impact on business growth. The best part is, routinely optimizing your website for search engines is an easy way to ensure long-term growth and success!
If you want to keep building your online success with the help of some top-notch tools, check out our rankings of the best website builders for SEO.