A lot of people are asking questions about SEO, and if you’re reading this, that probably means you’re one of them.
And you should be! Search engine optimization is still one of the most talked-about digital marketing channels available to businesses.
“Does SEO really work?” and “does SEO still work?” are still searched regularly on Google. Those are valid questions.
After all, search engine optimization services started popping up in the early 2000’s – almost 20 years ago, if you can believe that – and the way search engines rank websites has changed drastically since then. In addition, there is so much information out there that it can be hard to sort through.
Some of you might have heard horror stories about SEO investments that went nowhere, or rankings that soared and then dropped to nothing (with no improvements in sight). Those sorts of things happen, especially when you hire a bad company.
In the past, search engine algorithms weren’t all that sophisticated. This led to numerous SEO practices that are now penalized today.
But when done properly, the reality is that SEO does still work, and even though it has changed a lot, it’s here to stay. After all, people are doing more searches than ever, and if you rank highly for relevant keywords, you can get a hefty slice of traffic for your business.
But just saying that doesn’t mean much on its own.
So in this article, we’re going to dive into why SEO still works and how SEO can be profitable to your business.
Why Does SEO Still Work?
Search engines find websites through algorithms and rank them based on a variety of factors.
As it so happens, a lot of those factors are under your control. Things like website speed, user-friendly and mobile-friendly design, content, backlinks – those are all areas that you can either directly control or influence.
Once someone knows what a search engine is looking for, they can make adjustments to their website and marketing strategy to help increase their website’s ranking. It’s a type of rigging the system, but it’s become harder to do in more recent years.
In the past, because of the elementary methods search engines used to sort through websites, you could just include a lot of the keywords you wanted to rank for and you could rank for them (whether or not your content was relevant). This led to all sorts of… interesting… practices (like hiding keywords in the text of your website by changing their color to the background color).
Now, Google has a priority to make sure that users can find the best and most relevant content possible so that people use their search engine more – and it isn’t in people’s best interests for websites to rank for unrelated searches.
The benefit of the user is central to Google’s priorities.
So they adjusted their algorithm. Guess what happened to the rankings of those who played the system?
They tanked. Hard.
But, Google still has to use an algorithm – so people learned, and they adjusted.
There were other underhanded SEO methods that people started using, but thanks to Google’s constant work it has become more and more difficult to rank highly in a search engine with a bad website and bad, irrelevant content.
So, if SEO doesn’t involve these underhanded attempts at ranking a website anymore, what does it involve?
Great SEO involves making adjustments to websites and developments in content for the benefit of the user.
And there is no shortage of things to do on that front.
Websites need to be adjusted and redesigned, great content needs to be planned and developed, listings and backlinks need to be created and maintained, and more. All of this is the work of the search engine optimizer – seeking to practically benefit users in order to raise a website’s search engine rankings.
The benefit of the user is central to Google’s priorities. Their business depends on it.
The only way to rise in search rankings now and keep those rankings long term is to follow suit.
How Can SEO Help You?
So now that you know SEO still works, you might have a few more questions, like “how can SEO help my business?” and “What is the cost?”
We wrote an article that touches on cost, but here are a few extra notes on how SEO can help your business:
1) Increased Traffic. There are a lot of searches being done every day, and chances are, people are looking for businesses like yours. If your website isn’t ranking on page one of Google, it will rarely cross a searcher’s path. Most people don’t look past the first page of Google, and quite a few people only click the first few listings. If your website is designed to help visitors become customers, then increasing relevant traffic to your website is a no-brainer – it means more revenue for your business.
2) Competitive Advantage. You aren’t the only one out there doing research on SEO. A lot of other business owners have been investing in it, and they have laid claim to top ranking spots (for now, at least). The people on the front page of Google are taking advantage of the traffic available to them there – and that traffic will go directly to their businesses, not yours. In order to compete with those businesses, you’ll need to spend a lot more on paid advertisement, or you’ll need to start investing in SEO.
3) Future Proofing Your Business. What if you don’t have any competitors ranking in the search engines? Then you should get ahead of the game. You’ll get a lot of traffic before your competitors try to take those spots, and it’s a lot easier to stay ahead than it is to get ahead. If you have competitors who are already investing in SEO, then there is a greater imperative. Your business’s future existence depends on new customers, and potential new customers are searching for businesses on Google. If you don’t exist there, there’s a good chance your business will begin to decline in the future.
That’s a heavy note to end on – but the good news is that SEO does work and you can make it work for you.
If you’d like to know more about how we can make that happen for you, fill out the form below. We’d be glad to talk with you.