Online marketers know that SEO is a critical factor for driving website traffic. Search cannot consider independent of the Web and the Web cannot work without search. Furthermore, studies show that SEO is a significant high ROI strategy.
- 72% of business owners that have used a SEO strategy felt that it improved their bottom line. (Leverable.com)
- 89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine. (Biznology).
On the other hand many business owners nowadays have fears that SEO is dead and they are confused if they should integrate SEO in the online DNA of their businesses.
It is true that many of the strategies and tactics that were implemented in the past are not relevant anymore, but there will always be a chance to take advantage of some forms of SEO.
How SEO Has Evolved
Just a few years ago, search-engine optimization was widely considered a specialized knowledge of how to manipulate search engines rankings with clever secret tactics.
Nowadays the SERPS and the SEO industry have matured. We Live in the Semantic ERA. Last October, Google announced the release of Rank Brain.
It is an artificial intelligence system that works with the semantic-deciphering Hummingbird update, to better understand user ambiguous and complicated queries so as to provide appropriate results.
Most of the queries return search results with relevant extra information such as reviews, price ranges, maps etc. Additionally Google’s launches updates to favor sites with high-quality content. Gradually, sites with the best user experience started winning out over the other sites.
Content is starting to be indexed on new platforms and in new ways. Recently Google signed a deal with Twitter to index and display tweets as content in relevant searches. Also social media platforms like Facebook are working hard at introducing their own search options for consumers. (The role of social media and social networks in online search will be discussed in a future blog post)
“Search Engine Platforms are no Longer only Search Engines”
They started as search engines and they continue to serve that function. But they have also become consumer-facing, data-oriented projects.
As a result SEO has become a dynamic, multifaceted online-marketing essential requirement of expertise for every online marketer.
SEO as a Marketing Tool
An effective SEO strategy is one of the most important components of any organization’s branding efforts and online presence. By performing methodical SEO strategies, you will be rewarded with:
- Higher positioning
- Increase in organic traffic.
But are those the only key performance indicators of an effective SEO strategy?
Proper optimization not only means better rankings or traffic, it also means higher visibility and better user experience in every touch point. (Both in search results and in the website), these lead to more trust, credibility and equity, translated to higher conversion rates.
1. Search engines increase Market Share
64% of all website visits derives from organic traffic. So it is critical to achieve first page rankings for your business and products if you want consumers who are actively searching for your products to be able to find you.
2. Local Search Optimization Increases Sales.
According to Google, approximately half of consumers who performed a local search on a mobile device visited a store on that same day. These searches also led to higher sales: 18% of local mobile searches led to a sale within one day.
3. Search Engines increase Brand credibility
User’s trust search engines. Searchers make mental notes of the rankings for the terms they enter into Google and other search engines. Ranking highly in the search results signals to searchers that you’re a key player in your industry. High rankings are votes of credibility and trust.
4. Search engines positively affect PPC Campaigns
According to the 2015 State of Marketing report, almost 70% of companies who are using SEO and SEM as a part of their marketing strategy, find it very effective.
Additionally, empirical studies have shown that a SEO optimized landing page lead to lower CPC’s in paid campaigns due to a better user experience. Not to mention that many searchers tend to ignore paid results.
To sum up, it is an undeniable fact that SEO is not what it used to be. Many of the things that worked before do not work today. On the other hand it remains a key element of your online presence. I prefer to say that search engine optimization has evolved to a marketing tool which leverages both the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of your online presence.
Those who are pro-active, re-evaluate SEO and its key performance indicator, will certainly gain a great competitive advantage in the future!! Will you be one of them?