IS SEO A ONE-TIME DEAL?
Over the past few years especially in the last quarter of 2019, the first and second quarter of 2020, SEO has become one of the most recognized aspect of digital marketing, as an overwhelming percentage of marketers and top team leaders affirmed that SEO is a crucial strategy that helps organizations stay visible and saddle through the uncertainty as an effect of COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Findings from a recent survey¹ conducted by Conductor (which was via a Search Engine Journal) revealed that 63% of marketers affirmed that SEO will become more important in scaling businesses as the global economy continues to grapple with Covid-19. Findings from the same study¹ also revealed that, 86% of the sampled population (marketers) acknowledged that organizations will find it more difficult to reach their goals in 2020 and post COVID. These findings further reinforce how investing in SEO will be a useful countermeasure for most organizations.
Before we discuss why SEO should be the foundation of every business' and organization's digital marketing initiative and why it should not be treated as an ON/OFF button, let's briefly review what SEO is really all about and why it is important.
WHAT IS SEO AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR DIGITAL MARKETING?
SEO simply put, involves the process of optimizing a website in order to get organic or free traffic from search engines, like Google, Bing among several others. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is one of the most recognized marketing strategies, as it involves the process of optimizing a website by adopting specific ranking requirements to boost visibility in organic search engine results. The main objective of SEO in marketing is to gain visibility and drive traffic, this further leads to making sales and increasing conversations or online engagements.
SEO is not only one of the most popular marketing strategies, it is also very effective as well. If businesses and organizations get their SEO right, search engines will automatically rank their website and content higher and more visible in search results. SEO serves several functions in scaling a business' productivity and performance. One of such is that it helps organizations and businesses grow their reputation, trust, credibility and authority in any given industry. Customers tend to trust what they can see, therefore businesses that can be seen tend to have a huge percentage of the trust of the customers.
So, why should businesses invest in SEO?
SEO goes a long way in building an organization's online presence, and as a result continues to be one of the most essential aspect of any digital marketing strategy. Findings from a survey¹ by Conductor, revealed that, almost half of the respondents (which were marketers) concluded that a reduction in marketing budget is their greatest concern, considering how COVID-19 has affected their marketing performance, while 65% of the respondents anticipate a decline in their yearly marketing budget. While the Importance of SEO cannot be overemphasized, findings from the study revealed that, most organizations will be forced to reduce their annual budget on marketing as a result of the unstable global and local economy.
It is no doubt that one of the most effective strategies in building and improving small organizations or large enterprises' marketing and performance is search engine optimization (SEO), as it simply involves the process of tailoring organization's or business's website to the algorithms that most search engines use to tank websites. While SEO is a simple process, it is earned by building a website that constantly offers high quality, relevant, thorough, detailed and searched for information. This however, cannot be achieved overnight, as it takes a long term dedication and investment in delivering high quality and relevant information. Here are a few reasons why SEO is important and why it should be the foundation of every organizations' digital marketing strategy.
SEO will increase market access and visibility:
Here is how it works, the more visible a website is the more accessible it becomes, and as a result the more traffic it will drive. People cannot click on to view contents they cannot see. This is exactly why SEO marketing is important; to gain more visibility and engagement with potential customers.
Findings from the study² revealed that, more than 70% of searches generate a click on one of the results displayed on the first search engine results page (SERP). This further reinforces the extent to which SEO gets organic traffic and improves business performance and conversations with potential customers.
SEO can improve PPC quality score, if properly constructed.
SEO can support and boost the performance of other marketing efforts.
Findings from this study³ revealed that using SEO and search advertising can improve traffic and brand awareness by 50%.
SEO can improve offline engagements and conversations.
SEO can boost and sustain organizational uniqueness.
One the first page of every search inquiry, there can be up to six slots for paid contents (also known as Ads), there are three map listings, and ten slots for organic contents. Therefore, if an organizations' online marketing strategy content gets ranked on the first page of a search result, it will exponentially witness improved performance, sales and recognition.
Despite the incredible Importance and indispensable roles that SEO plays in every organization's or business' marketing strategy, several unpredictable conditions force organizations and businesses drop the performance of their SEO. Though some organizations are forced to treat SEO as an ON/OFF lever when annual budget is low, this however, is not proper and good for any organization or business, as it will gradually affect their marketing performance.
One major reason why businesses drop the performance in their SEO, is often because of unavailability of robust marketing funds. However, SEO should not be treated as an ON/OFF thing that organizations can suspend when budget is low or tight and resume when revenue increases again. Businesses should however, treat and approach SEO as a continuous marketing strategy.
WHY SEO IS NOT AN ON/OFF SWITCH
Since SEO is a crucial aspect of digital marketing, it should not be treated or approached as a one-time event. SEO marketing is most effective when it is continuous and consistent with delivering high quality contents. Regardless the reason or excuse, SEO performance should not be stopped or suspended. As a business’ or organization's ranking is not permanent, as it may drop if the performance declines and it is even more difficult and competitive to get ranked up again. Therefore, to ensure a growing and engaging online presence businesses need a continuous SEO campaign, that will have long term dedication to delivering high quality and well researched contents.
Here are some reasons why organizations should not think of SEO as an ON/ OFF concept, but instead invest in digital transformation that will ensure it develops and sustains a continuous implementation of SEO strategies.
The market environment and technology is unpredictable as it is vulnerable to several factors, therefore it is prone to changes, as new products or services are launched almost every single day which sometimes might influence users to alter existing keywords or use new sets of keywords. This simply implies that, the keywords that are relevant and effective today might change because of users’ unpredictable trends. Therefore, switching on and off SEO will make marketers lose track of the current trends of keywords and other crucial aspects of keeping online presence up to date.
Consistent and continuous SEO strategy goes a long way in maintaining a Page' ranking. Businesses maintaining their page rank will bring stability and ensure business uniqueness and growth. Business visibility also plays indispensable role in effectively competing in any industry. Findings from a recent study revealed that the businesses that suspended their SEO campaign recorded a 30% drop in their ranking, while businesses and organizations that continued their SEO campaigns recorded an 18% increase in ranking. Switching on and off SEO campaigns can cause fluctuation of positions or rankings in search engine results page, and therefore reduce such business credibility, trust, perceived relevant and authority.
Another major reason why SEO should not be treated as an ON and OFF button is that, most search engines evolve their algorithms frequently. While people do not know that Google updates it's search algorithm about 500 to 600 times in the space of one year. This is enough evidence that search engines are constantly changing, and businesses cannot afford to suspend SEO performance. Despite these constant changes, an ongoing and consistent SEO strategy will help your business to adapt and make the most of the changes. Therefore, so as not to have difficulty catching up with the ever changing trends of search engines, continuous SEO campaigns should be established as an organization’s core marketing strategy and maintained at a stable and robust online level.
Finally, another reason why organizations should not consider decommissioning SEO, is because of the competitive nature of almost every business industry. If a company suspends an effective and consistent SEO performance, they are most likely to perform short of competitors’ productivity. If SEO is approached as an ON and OFF switch, competitors have more chances of occupying business online positions, and even perform much better and drive more traffic and sales. If a business declines in their SEO performance, competitors who are also reaching out to the same target audience, will easily take over and build trust, reputation, credibility and authority before you think of switching SEO back on. The moment you're ranking begins to drop, losing existing and potential customers becomes inevitable, as your presence online declines another brand will take over and build stronger bond with your existing customers.
While most companies desire to have a very effective and high performing SEO, they often have issues with having and allocating proper budget to build high quality SEO performance. Findings from a survey¹ by Conductor reinforce this claim: almost half of the respondents (mostly marketers) affirmed that a reduction of marketing budget is their greatest concern, considering how Covid-19 has affected their marketing performance, while 65% of the respondents anticipate a decline in their yearly marketing budget. While SEO is important and should be regarded as a continuous campaign, having robust budget for marketing is often a problem. Here are few tips that can help you build your SEO even with a low or tight budget.
Always publish and release new contents: Don't just write, ensure you write and release fresh ideas that people are searching. Simply put, use your platform to answer questions people are asking within your niche. Constantly releasing new and relevant contents to the users is a cost effective way to improve your website’s ranking within Google’s search results and gain more visibility and credibility.
Release or publish human center contents. This is even more crucial in a time like this, (post COVID as some call it). Using your platform to tell stories and linking the relevance of your brand to it will also help generate organic traffic without spending too much.
Use major keywords in key spots: This is the most popular cost effective strategy in building SEO performance of a website or for an organization. Here how it works, once you identify as define the best of the best long-tail keywords as your primary target, the next thing you should do is to start incorporating these keywords on your website. While incorporating keywords into your contents, always avoid overdoing it, only attempt to use keywords in one of the page headers and introductory paragraph of all your contents. Consistently and effectively doing this will get Google's attention and you will start seeing increase in your ranking, you will gain more visibility.
Always try something new, don't get too rigid.
Digital marketing give businesses insight into how random or certain shifts in consumer's expectations, behaviors, needs, and beliefs can inspire strategies to meet their needs and expectations. SEO is however, an indispensable marketing strategy that leverages on consumer's behavior and needs to scale businesses. SEO performance should not be considered as a one-time deal, but should be established as a continuous marketing campaign in gaining visibility and reaching more customers.