These days, it feels like there is an endless supply of marketing tools promising to help your business grow. At Avalanche Creative, we believe search engine optimization (SEO) is the most effective at generating leads for businesses.
But we’re not asking you to take our word for it. Let’s take a look at whether or not SEO may be right for your business.
The Importance of SEO for Your Business
What Is the Purpose of Your Website?
There should be more to your digital strategy than simply “being online.”
When you invest in a high-quality website for your business, it’s important to know why. You need to know the purpose of your website in order to determine if it’s worth the investment of time, money, and resources.
1. Getting New Leads
If you want your website to generate new leads for your business, then SEO should definitely be part of your marketing strategy. By investing in SEO, you can answer questions that searchers are already asking on Google and other search engines. You can position yourself as the expert on the topic and the trusted resource to provide your business’s services.
SEO involves not only high-ranking content creation, but also technical improvements. Technical SEO ensures that your website actually works as intended, and it can improve certain aspects like page speed and mobile layout. All of these behind-the-scenes characteristics of your website can drastically affect your ranking in search engines.
You can’t just create a website and expect Google to start sending traffic your way. By investing in SEO, you’ll turn your website into your best salesperson.
2. Confirming Credibility
If you hand someone a business card, they can type in your website URL and see that your business is legitimate. But if someone hears about your business and just Googles your name, what shows up on the search engine results page (SERP)?
These days, your company needs a substantial digital presence to confirm any credibility you may have established in person. SEO ensures that when people search your name or business, your website is the first thing they see.
SEO also makes sure that when people land on your website, they don’t just see a simple homepage with little information. Instead, they find an impressive website with many pages of content that confirm your company’s position as an expert in your field.
3. Educating Potential Clients and Customers
Let’s say you’re a local dentist with a website, but you haven’t invested in any SEO. If you Google “what to do in a dental emergency,” what sort of results would show up? Would your website even rank on the first page?
More than ever before, people are turning to the internet to help them solve their problems. Google tries its best to keep misinformation away from the eyes of searchers, but that doesn’t mean the best answers always rise to the top of the SERP.
SEO gives you the opportunity to educate your potential clients and customers and create a better information ecosystem for your industry. Your website can fill content gaps and make searchers better informed clients and customers before they ever even interact with your business.
4. Providing Contact Information
If the purpose of your website is just to provide people with your contact information, then we’ll be honest: SEO may not be necessary for you. These “brochure” websites have little content beyond the basics: name, phone number, address, hours of operation.
A brochure website won’t get you much farther than handing a stranger a company pamphlet or your business card. If you don’t want your website to help you generate new clients or customers, then SEO probably isn’t worth your time.
Why You Need SEO for Your Business
1. You Want Your Website to Generate Leads
Like we said before, SEO sets your website up to be your most effective salesperson. By investing in SEO now, you can generate leads for months or even years to come. You don’t pay for someone else’s ad space or billboard design—instead, you invest in the quality of your own website.
2. You Want Long-Term Results
Let’s say you have $12,000 to invest in marketing for your business. You spend $1,000 a month on digital ads on Google and social media, trying to drive people to your website. Maybe you’re successful for a few months, but once the year is up, you’re out of money—and out of leads.
Now, let’s say you invested that $12,000 in SEO instead. You hire an agency to do a deep dive on what sort of keywords would be best to target for your business. After all of the planning and research, you have enough money left over for six months of regular content creation.
Which method would generate better results for your business?
You’d think that, since 12 months is greater than six, going with the ads would be more effective. But in reality, what SEO can accomplish in six months is typically stronger and more effective than even a full year of traditional advertising.
The thing is that once your year of ads is over, your leads dry up as well. But even with just a short investment in SEO, your website will continue to generate leads. The effectiveness of SEO does diminish over time, which is why we recommend investing in regular content creation and technical improvements. But with SEO, you can pause your investment during tough times and still benefit from the value you’ve created in your website.
3. You’re Ready to Invest in Your Digital Presence
SEO requires an investment of both time and money. It can take three to six months for Google’s algorithm to start changing your rankings based on your new or updated content.
We believe SEO is worth the investment based on the returns we’ve seen for our clients. However, if you want to reap the benefits of SEO, it’s important to view it as an investment. Results won’t show up overnight—but that doesn’t mean they aren’t on their way.
4. You Want to Make Evidenced-Based Marketing Decisions
If you ask businesses what type of lead generation they value the most, they’ll probably say customer referrals. Word of mouth is powerful: it meets the immediate needs of a person, and it comes from a trusted source. However, word of mouth can be unreliable, there isn’t much businesses can do to make it more effective or dependable.
Conversely, if you want a lead generation tool under your full control, look no further than digital advertising. Many companies love being able to decide how much to spend on ads down to the penny, and they eat up the metrics served from Google and other tech giants. However, these ads aren’t always the most effective. Like billboards, they simply show up in front of a lot of eyeballs—not necessarily the right eyeballs.
SEO mixes the effectiveness of customer referrals with the data-driven analysis of digital advertising. With SEO, you can research which keywords would benefit your business most to target, ensuring potential customers will learn about your company through a source they trust: organic (unpaid) Google search results.
5. You Want to Own Your Marketing
Digital advertising is like renting an apartment: You pay someone else for a certain space, and you have to continue to pay them in order to stay. Once you stop paying, you have no claim to the space—the money you spent each month didn’t go toward buying the space itself.
SEO is like owning a home. Your monthly payments increase the value of your space itself. You own the space—when it does well, so do you. When it does poorly, you can invest in needed improvements to make it more valuable again. At a certain point, you won’t pay monthly anymore, but the value will stay with you because you own the space.
Don’t settle for paying for ad space that will kick you to the curb the minute you stop paying for it. Invest in SEO, and invest in the value of your own property—in this case, your own website.
Signs SEO May Not Be Right for You
Short deadlines: If you need results by a certain date, and that date is approaching fast, you may be better off with advertising instead of SEO. SEO requires a long-term investment because it delivers long-term results.
Vanity metrics: Are you obsessed with getting to the number-one spot on Google for a certain keyword? A good SEO agency will steer you toward results, not vanity metrics. If you’re obsessed with a certain ranking, just buy it via advertising.
Little to no budget: SEO requires you to invest in your website. If you don’t want to commit the time and finances to an effective SEO strategy, you may want to consider other marketing strategies.
Already satisfied: Some businesses thrive on customer referrals without even needing a website, let alone a lead-generating one. If you’re convinced your current marketing strategies are sufficient, then feel free to leave SEO for another day.
7 Industries That Benefit from SEO
At Avalanche Creative, we’ve been fortunate enough to work with companies in a number of industries and have seen how SEO has benefited their businesses.
1. Small Businesses
The importance of SEO for small businesses cannot be overstated. In particular, local SEO can help your small business find new customers in your area already searching for your services.
Small businesses like hair salons benefit from SEO because they show up in the Local Pack, a feature on Google that groups three local businesses together under a map of their locations. This feature shows your address, phone number, website, reviews, and even busy hours.
A good SEO strategy for local businesses should also include creating and updating your Google My Business profile. This allows your business to be featured in the Local Pack in the first place.
Did you know that one in every 20 Google searches is for health-related information? Dentists and other healthcare professionals can reach these potential patients by investing in SEO. With SEO, you can ensure that your dental practice’s website is answering common searches like “what to do in a dental emergency” or “teeth whitening options” or “pediatric dentists near me.”
What’s more complicated than insurance? Whether you’re an independent agency or a national brand, it’s critical to provide clear information about insurance that’s easy for the average reader to understand. SEO allows you to position your insurance company as the expert on policies and pricing.
According to the New York Post, the average American home has nine DIY projects currently in progress. Construction companies that invest in SEO can convert would-be DIYers into paying customers. Even a simple blog explaining the detailed process for a common construction project can nudge a homeowner into hiring a professional with the proper training, skills, and experience.
Similar to construction, landscaping companies can intercept homeowners trying a do-it-yourself approach and show them the benefits of professional lawn care. Landscaping companies who invest in local SEO can write about the common problems faced by homeowners depending on their specific land and climate. For example, landscapers in Michigan can use SEO to reach homeowners along the Great Lakes who are worried about erosion.
Even niche manufacturers can benefit from SEO. There may not be many monthly searches on Google for the specific products you create. That means that even slightly optimizing your website can help you dominate those searches and connect with clients who know exactly what they’re looking for.
SEO is great for connecting people in need to therapists and counselors. As therapy has become less stigmatized over the years, it has also become commercialized, leading to some people spreading misinformation just to make a quick buck. With SEO, local therapists can rise through the rankings with solid, helpful information about mental health, sharing their services with those who need it most.