If you had to choose between one of the following to cross the Atlantic Ocean, what would you pick? A rowboat or a 30-foot sailing yacht?
Safe to assume you would pick the 30-foot yacht because it’s proven capable, safer, and more reliable.
That’s essentially how websites are perceived by search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. For every web search query that’s entered, search engines determine in mere nanoseconds what sites are the most relative, trustworthy, and authoritative to those specific keywords - then serves up a natural or “organic” rankings list (separate from paid search ads) to the inquiring web user.
If you’re like most Internet users, you’re only clicking on the first few links of this search results list (see side box). And analytics show traffic drops off by 95 percent between the first and second pages. Definitely not a good proposition for a company whose website is ranked on the second or subsequent pages.
To rank higher on a results page, it’s imperative to employ Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to your site. SEO is a series of strategies and techniques designed to achieve higher placement. In essence, the methods of SEO makes a website more “attractive” to search engines, with the goal of ranking higher on a search engine results page.
Still not convinced of the powers of SEO?
Here are four sound reasons why SEO is crucial to your business’ overall online success:
Online consumers use search first to look for products, services and other needs. More than 80 percent of web users1 use search and more than 1.4 billion searches are conducted every hour, so businesses utilizing SEO have access to this rapidly expanding market of buyers.
A consumer using search is actively looking for something versus someone watching a television commercial or receiving a glossy brochure in the mail. This translates to a more solid business lead because online consumers using search have intent. So if they land on your site, it’s likely because they’re looking for something you sell.
Ranking high on a consistent basis promotes a business’ trustworthiness and credibility, ultimately strengthening a company’s brand and reputation.
With more than 90 percent of web users clicking on organic listings, the returns from SEO are significantly much better than other forms of advertising and direct marketing. While paid search advertising has its benefits, fewer than 10 percent of people click on the ads.
Bottom line, you can build a great website but it’s going to be invisible to search engines unless you optimize it. With 243 million people in the U.S. using the Internet everyday, that’s a lot of potential buyers that you’re never going to reach unless you’re utilizing SEO.
Read How to Optimize Your Small Business Website to get the latest SEO tips.
Percentage (%) of traffic for top organic results on search engine results page as of June 2013:
1st position: 32.5%
2nd position: 17.6%
3rd position: 11.4%
4th position: 8.1%
5th position: 6.1%
10th position: 2.4%
Source: Search Engine Watch, 2013
1Point Blank SEO, 2013