10 years ago, digital marketing wasn’t really a thing.
Phone books and directories were. I’m from a town where they (still!) have the business directory placemats in the local diner. If your business wasn’t listed in the phonebook, how would they find you? Not only listed, but listed in the right area of the yellow pages, so that when people are looking for a specific product or solution, they find you.
Enter the internet revolution and information age.
We have a new phone book. Want to know what it is? Search engines.
That’s right. Search engines are THE place people go for information. Right around 80-90% of people search for product reviews before they make a purchase, and that’s only expected to increase. They are the new and improved Yellowpages that offer more information than just the phone number and address.
And the searcher expects that information.
But they don’t just expect it; they want it. They want to know your why. They want to know the reason you do what you do. They want to understand who they’re buying from and how it works. They want as much information as possible, and if your competitor is optimizing their web presence and digital marketing campaign with all the information they are looking for, you’ve probably already lost them without even knowing they were interested.
Don’t think of SEO as optimizing for the search engine (even though that’s part of it). Follow Google’s rules, but do everything through the lens of your user. SEO is becoming SEUO. Search engine-User optimization.
So I’ll pose the question this way: Do you need a consistent, robust SEO campaign?
Think of it this way…SEO is like the oil to the engine of digital marketing. Your website, social media, advertising and content are all important in and of themselves. They are the pistons to the digital marketing engine, but they won’t function properly without putting time and energy into SEO.
SEO is a simple enough concept to understand. People use keywords to search for entertainment, information, and solutions to their problems. So if you are offering something, or a solution to their problem, you should make sure that when they type their question in their browser search bar, they can find you.
And that’s where a lot of people stop. But that’s just like putting 2 quarts of oil in your car. It just isn’t enough.
If you put money into PPC (Pay Per Click), and not SEO, then your PPC campaign will be more expensive for you because Google gives preferential treatment to sites that are authoritative and relevant.
If you invest in a nice, fancy website that looks amazing, but don’t optimize it, either no one will find you, or the right people will have a harder time finding you.
If you are consistently on social media, but your posts link to a low quality site that people immediately click off, it will hurt your rankings and branding.
Everything functions better when you put time and effort into SEO.
Here are some tips.
- Don’t optimize to be number 1 on Google. Optimize to be the most relevant and authoritative business in your field for your user. Google is giving more and more preference to user experience and user behavior, and it would be unwise to try to follow all of Google’s rules and pay more attention to them than your customers.
- Don’t skimp out. SEO is one of those things where if you don’t put enough resources into it, it just won’t work the way you need it to. You must spend money to make money in this scenario, and the threshold is different for every business depending on a few different factors, the key ones being: keywords, the geography in which you’re competing, and the competitive atmosphere for those keywords.
- Your off page SEO is only as good as your on-page. There’s no point in putting money into being found if your website isn’t working in your favor. Broken links, title and meta tags, page speed and other factors need to be fixed first to keep from being penalized on all search engines.
- SEO is a long term investment. If you do a great job of on-page work at the beginning you will see a significant jump in your rankings, but a good campaign takes time. You’re in it for the long haul, so aim to look at it through that lens.
Just like oil for your car, SEO is fluid and needs to constantly be reviewed and adjusted for your website performance. Never think for a second once you’ve achieve a high ranking that you can cut off all optimization and stay at that spot. Your competition is breathing down your neck, your user’s behavior is changing, and your market and industry is always changing, but SEO will help you stay on top of that by remaining relevant online.