There’s no doubt that mobile use, influencer marketing, and social media are radically changing the landscape of marketing. In fact, they’re so popular and top of mind that it’s tempting to focus entire marketing budgets and efforts in those directions. However, that would be a tragically short sighted mistake to make. We now know that social media and mobile aren’t fads and that they definitely deserve their fair share of attention and budget, but that doesn’t mean that other, more traditional avenues like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be shunned.
In fact, here are a few reasons you definitely still need to pay attention to SEO in 2016.
If your website doesn’t rank on search engines, it’s like you don’t exist.
You might well have spent thousands on a beautiful website, but it won’t matter at all if people can’t find your site when they search for it. Ranking in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) gives your company a level of credibility you won’t find anywhere else.
And please, let’s be clear here, we don’t mean that you should show up on page 2 or 3. In fact, if you aren’t in the top 4 results for your category, you might as well not rank at all.
The top Google listing gets 1/3rd of all clicks. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th share 63% of the clicks. All the other listings share the final 4%. So, basically, you’re invisible below the fifth spot.
Search is still where it’s at
A 2012 study by Fleishman-Hillard showed that 89% of buyers start any buying process by an online search. That’s 89% of people interested in your product who will not buy it from you if they don’t see you on that first page when they’re looking. That’s a whole lot of sales to miss out on!
Add to that the fact that, despite the rapidly increasing numbers of daily searches on Facebook, Google still outstrips them by far with 3.5 billion daily searches. And until Facebook cleans up its search game, it won’t matter if they ever catch up. Who has time to wade through random profile listings and group names to get to what they’re really interested in finding? No one, that’s who.
Organic search drives more traffic than paid ads
It’s tempting to consider skimping on SEO and just making up for it by paying for an ad at the top of the listing, but research has shown that it wouldn’t work. Users trust SERP algorithms better than a marketing executive’s ability to buy ad space. That’s why studies have shown that SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate.
Organic searches drive 51% of visitors to B2B and B2C sites, whereas paid search only drives a mere 10%. As for our good friend Social Media? He only drives a scant 5% of traffic. And in the B2B SaaS clients we have at H&B, social media has only driven up 3% of the traffic. But he’s cute. So there’s that.
Organic search conversion rates beat out the competition
According to Perform Insider, conversion rates from search are 10% higher than social on desktop and 15% higher on mobile. Reason being? People searching for something specific are actively looking for information about a product, on social they’re more likely clicking through because something caught their eye and sparked their curiosity.
SEO keeps proving to be the most effective marketing tool with the highest ROI
As we mentioned above, a potential customer who is actively searching for information about a product like yours is a very warm lead. They’re already interested in what you’re selling; you just have to convince them to get it from you. Compare that to a person who has no idea that what you’re selling even exists and who comes across an ad and needs to be convinced that they a) need it and that b) they need it from you. World of difference.
By following current SEO guidelines, you’re doing yourself and your customers a favor
Gone are the days when search engines prominently featured sites stuffed with keywords and key phrases. These days the sites that get pushed to the top of SERPs are sites with
- Great navigation
- Relevant and unique content
- Few to no broken links or 404 redirects
- Beautiful, engaging, and intuitive design
And what do you get if you create a site that features all of these quality markers? You get a site that people will enjoy visiting and will more likely shop from.
By creating a site that follows these recommended SEO guidelines, you build something that helps lend your brand recognition and credibility in more ways than one.
Content is still king
Following all of the guidelines outlined in #6 is critical when starting out in SEO, but to keep SERP rankings where you’d like them to be, you have to follow up your carefully laid groundwork with a steady stream of great, relevant content.
Yes, let’s all cheer. The days when all Google served up were sad, keyword stuffed, articles that were mirror images of each other are over. The dreaded updates that made SEO marketers cry hot tears into their soup have played heavily in the favor of great content writers. These days Google and other search engines focus on quality of content rather than keyword density.
Trust us, your customers are delighted.
SEO is worth the investment
When you’re just starting out, investing a chunk of change into a well-designed, search engine optimized website might not seem worthwhile. After all, can’t you just hire your cousin’s son and use the money you save to create some PPC ads?
Well, you could. But, and we’re not casting any aspersions on your cousin’s son, that would definitely be a case of being penny wise and dollar foolish.
Here’s how the math breaks down. While your ads are running (assuming they’re well-crafted and well targeted) you’re going to see some traffic to your site. But the instant the ad money stops flowing, so will the traffic. But if your site is well optimized and you have a solid SERP ranking, you’re going to see traffic as long as your competitors don’t manage to bump you down. The long term ROI is much more attractive.
Everyone’s still doing it and they’re not stopping any time soon.
And there you have it, our last reason you still need to work on SEO. It might seem like a lame, knee jerk reason, but it’s very valid. In 2015 the US spending on search marketing reached $31.6 billion. In 2019 the US spending on search and organic optimization is forecasted to top $45 billion.
People are turning their attention the hot new kids on the marketing playground, but they’re not ignoring the seasoned veteran, and neither should you. Because if you do everything right when you set up your site and get a great SERP rank and then stop all SEO efforts, your competitors are going to step right in and push you down, down, down into that space we warned you to worry about back in #1.