"There was a brief time in SEO history where you could build thousands of spam links and watch your site climb to the top of the first page. Those days are long gone. SEOs that do well today dedicate serious resources (time, money, and skilled labor) towards their link building campaigns."


What Is SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.

All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Payment isn’t involved, as it is with paid search ads but it requires special skills to master organic rankings.

The Ultimate List of Reasons Why You Need Search Engine Optimization

  • SEO Is Not A Cost But An Investment

    An investment with a high return. By tying in SEO to Web analytics data, you may observe certain keywords having great conversion rates for which you rank only on page #2 on Google and know that you’re leaving money on the table.

    Lifting your rank to the top 3 spots on the first page, where most clicks go, can provide a massive return on your modest investment into SEO. It’s why SEO has been likened to investing in real estate – the returns can be truly stupendous when you get it right.

  • SEO Is A Long-Term Strategy

    SEO can deliver quick results. It can be effective in the short term and help businesses who need results now. And that’s the primary appeal of SEO to certain types of business owners. But SEO has one serious advantage over other marketing with a ‘short term’ focus… it delivers an ongoing ROI over the long term also.

    Done correctly, SEO can be long lasting. With proper SEO analysis up front, you can stay on the front page of search results for years, without spending money in the future.

  • SEO Isn’t Icing On The Cake – It’s An Important Ingredient

    Ok, now that you’ve spent a fortune on your new website (and it looks great!), the last thing you want is to listen to a consultant who asks you to invest even more money to be visible on search engines.

    As an SEO consultant, I get called in by companies that have built a “state of art” website and want SEO slapped on it. But that isn’t how it works. You don’t bake your cake first, and then pour beaten eggs over it, or sprinkle sugar on top. No. You mix those ingredients in with the batter itself.

  • SEO Leverages Social Sharing

    Are you engaged in social media like Facebook? SEO plays an important role here. Content shared by users on social networks are directly related to SEO specific parameters like title tags and meta descriptions. This is what you see when people share posts and stories on their Wall, Google+ profile, or in a tweet or share.

    An SEO strategist will help you manage this process, in collaboration with your marketing and communications department. Through SEO you get to control what people read, think and do on social sites and spread through their networks at the speed of light.

  • SEO Will Help People Find Your Website

    Your website is the first point of contact with your audience online. It can generate leads, qualify prospects and attract potential new customers, partners or investors. But unless people can find it, your website is good for nothing. SEO plays an invaluable role here. No longer is SEO just about ranking a site in search results, getting more clicks and views, or keeping ‘bounce rates’ optimal. That’s a dangerous misconception. Modern, effective SEO should be rooted in the company’s goals and strategies, and swivels on the psychology of individuals in the target market and segment. SEO gets your business found, noticed, and loved.

  • SEO Goes To The Heart Of Your Business

    SEO is like a heart surgery. If organic search is responsible for more than half of your website’s traffic, SEO lies at the heart of your business. Without a good heart surgeon you could die.

    Without a specialist handling your SEO, your business could die. Just as you’d hunt for the best heart surgeon to operate on you, you should seek out the best SEO consultant or strategist, rather than trying to do it yourself!

  • SEO Builds Trust & Credibility

    SEO can make your brand stronger, better and well recognized. The eventual goal should be that, when people search for business critical and relevant keywords and phrases, they should find you at the top of search results. Then, psychology takes over and prospects will believe that you’re the best.

    Your website’s title and meta description tags can telegraph a powerful statement that strengthens your brand, while helping communicate a marketing message that’s in line with your strategic business goals.

  • SEO Helps Build Your Brand

    Branding is often complex, costly and chaotic. You throw many things at consumers, hoping enough will stick in their minds and be recalled when it’s time for a purchase. SEO can help accelerate your branding campaign and make you memorable.

    When more people visit your site, get familiar with your business, and order from you, then you have more people likely to come back again and tell their friends about you. SEO is an effective way to get this ball rolling, by ranking your website high and attracting a flood of Web traffic.

SEO Is A Crucial Part Of Your Marketing Mix

If you’ve read my other posts here on Search Engine Land, you’ll already know that I’m clear about the importance of SEO for marketing any business. SEO is the master when it comes to pulling in prospects, and can help boost conversions too.

But I also believe that SEO is not the only game in town! SEO alone cannot help you reach your highest marketing potential. Social media, branding and other marketing strategies segue into and complement SEO, the combination strengthening and reinforcing each element to grow your business exponentially… faster.

As a manager or CEO then, your challenge isn’t about picking one over another, but how best to intelligently integrate SEO into your marketing mix to reap rich rewards.

And that’s why this isn’t a ‘battle between marketers’, with specialists in each branch trying to out-sell the other to their clients, but rather an opportunity for collaboration and partnership in leading a business manager or CEO towards the right mix of marketing services – including SEO – that will bring the highest cumulative benefit.

Instead of always “giving customers what they want”, it’s time to face the fact that, often, clients do not know how to select from the diverse options at their disposal.

As professionals, marketers and SEO consultants must not be dismissive or misleading about other specialties than their own, but instead help clients build the right foundation, mix and plan, and then guide them to effectively implement and manage the most cost effective, high-return strategies and tactics that are aligned with their overall business goals.

A part of the responsibility professional marketers share is to steer clients away from danger, or stop them from embracing populist tactics that will actually turn out to be a quagmire in which their business gets stuck, or quicksand into which it gradually sinks without a trace. In my opinion, ‘not telling the full truth’ is just the same as ‘lying’. This approach may not work for every company. Some might even frown at your desire to step outside your scope and field of expertise.

But for small and medium businesses and start ups, by adopting such an advisory/consultative role and offering professional advice, reaching out a helping hand to offer “business development” advice, and showing rock-solid proof to back up your offerings, prices and advice, you can go a long way in building trust. At that point, clients will be willing to follow you, even when you suggest an approach that points in another direction than what they believed would be the right choice.

It bears to always keep in mind that clients are buying a consultant’s expertise only because they don’t have it themselves, and therefore they are (logically) unable to ask for the “perfect offer”.  Selling them whatever they ask for is often not in their best interests. And this is just as true for big brands with internal staff as it is for smaller businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is SEO? +

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It refers to techniques that help your website become more visible in organic search results for the people who are looking for your brand, product, or service via search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Q: What's the difference between organic vs. paid results? +

Organic results are the results that appear in search engines, for free, based on an algorithm. Paid -- or inorganic -- search results appear at the top or side of a page. These are the links that advertisers pay to appear on different search engines.

Q: What are meta descriptions and do they still matter? +

A meta description is the text that appears below your page in a search engine result that explains what the page is all about. In this example, the meta description is "Learn the elements needed to write a comprehensive blog post in just 9 easy steps."

Meta descriptions still matter, just not in the same way they used to. They used to be a place to optimize for keywords so crawlers would know more about your page contents; now, it's more important you write something compelling that makes readers want to click so you can improve conversion rates from SERP results to your website.

Q: Should I optimize my domain name to include keywords? +

Your primary domain should not include a keyword just for the sake of keyword optimization -- that can actually hurt your SEO. If your company name happens to have a keyword, that's fine, but don't go buying outboundmarketingsoftwarebloggsocialseo.com.

 

Q: How do I know when I’m using the right number of keywords on a page? +

Unfortunately, I can't tell you an exact number that is the "right" number of keywords on a page, mostly because that's the wrong way to think about keyword optimization.

There's no keyword density you should be aiming for -- in fact, using a keyword too many times can result in penalization due to "keyword stuffing." Just keep the reader in mind, and only use keywords when you need to. You'll find enough natural opportunities to include keywords that you won't even have to worry about reaching an arbitrary number.

 

Q: What’s the difference between internal and inbound links? +

Internal links are links on a page on your site that go to another page on your site. Inbound links are other websites that link to your content. Both are valuable for SEO.

 

 

Q: How long does it take to see results from SEO? +

There are a few different factors that will determine how quickly (or slowly) results will come. This list includes, but isn't limited to:

  • How much content you create
  • The quality of the content
  • How the content resonates with your audience
  • If you're a big or small site with strong or weak domain authority

A large site could possibly see results in a couple of days if a search engines is crawling their site regularly. Smaller sites will most likely take longer because they get crawled less frequently. Wait at least a week, but probably closer to a month, before you consider changing your SEO strategy -- a bit longer if you're brand new to SEO.

 

Q: Should I hire someone to do my SEO? +

Hiring someone internally or externally to do your SEO can be helpful, but it can also be dangerous if that person doesn't actually know the modern rules of SEO. Google goes into the risks of hiring the wrong SEO person in this support doc.

Q: What's a good goal to set for your SEO? +

When you think about your goal for SEO, don't just think about the top of the funnel and how many more visits you're getting to your website. Think about your full marketing funnel and how much quality traffic you're getting to your website.

Are the people who are finding your website through SEO actually qualified prospects for your business? If not, does it really matter that the traffic to your website has increased?

As you create your goals, consider what general traffic vs. quality traffic means to you. Set goals not just based on traffic, but based on the entirety of your marketing funnel.

Q: How many internal links do I need on each page of content? +
Just like you should avoid stuffing too many keywords into your content, you should avoid stuffing too many links into your content. Only include them when it improves the reader experience.

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