Updated: Oct 19, 2021
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) should be a priority for any business looking to get ahead in this rapidly changing digital world. Just in case you don't know or are unsure of what SEO is, it refers to strategies, procedures, and tactics used to increase the number of visitors to your website. It does this by improving the overall discoverability of your website on search engines.
Every minute, approximately 380 websites get published online across the globe. Additionally, research shows that 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine. By optimising your website, you put it in the running for that coveted first position on Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine you use. In order to compete with all the 1.8 billion (Yes, 1.8 billion!) and counting websites online, SEO needs to be on your digital marketing priority list. It is no longer enough to just build a website.
Why is Google all the hype?
Ranking higher on Google specifically is important because it owns a significantly larger portion of the search market share. In fact, Google currently holds more than 90% of the total search engine market share in Kenya, Africa and the world.
Why is SEO important for your business?
SEO is very important for businesses in order to be competitive both locally and internationally. It doesn’t matter the size of your business. Here are 6 reasons why:
1. SEO improves your organic search
Organic search is increasingly becoming an important measure of website performance for most businesses or website managers. For searchers to discover your website online, you’ll need to either run paid digital ads and outbid your competition for the top spot, or optimise your website to be more discoverable organically.
Organic search refers to a search that isn’t influenced or driven by paid strategies such as ads or paid promotions. SEO improves your organic discoverability without having to run ads making it one of the most cost-effective ways to bring customers and leads to your business (increase website visitors/traffic) thereby increasing your revenue. SEO is arguably especially important for small businesses that lack the financial muscle to constantly advertise or pay to be discovered online.
2. SEO gets you more leads and conversions
When you go online and search for whatever it is you do, how often do you go to page 2 or 3 or 10 of the results? If your answer to that was never or extremely rarely...join the club of you and millions of others! Research shows that 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines.
Searchers are people who are actively searching for the products, services or information you have to offer. They are further down the marketing funnel than people who are just browsing the internet for the fun of it. Not being discoverable by your searchers are signs of a leaking marketing funnel - leaks are never good! Data shows that searchers have 43% higher conversion than other internet browsing individuals and contribute to around 13% of a site’s total revenue. If you pair SEO with other marketing strategies, you’ll be winning all around.
3. SEO helps you gain trust and credibility
Picture this scenario: You’re with your circle of friends or acquaintances having open discussions when suddenly someone states some fact that isn’t entirely accurate. You’re in doubt. What’s the next thing you do? If you decide to ‘google’ it to disprove them...you’re part of a large number of people that would do the same.
65% of individuals regard online search as the most trustworthy source of information about people, brands and businesses.
While the information on the internet is not vetted for accuracy, search engines when returning search results, usually consider signals from their machine learning, positive user behaviours, natural links, optimised content and other elements. All these factors contribute to your domain authority score. The higher your authority score, the more likely you’ll get to the top of page one of the SERP (search engine results page).
Credibility is important to any business. It is almost impossible to attract new visitors to your website without it. Since SEO helps you rank higher in search results, it means that you can outrank your competition and have more people engaging with your content. If they find it valuable and enjoy their experience interacting with your brand, they will likely come back as regular visitors or become returning customers.
Being a credible source of information online can also facilitate referral traffic generation. This is traffic that comes to your site from sources outside of the search engine. If you provide high-quality information, other websites may link to your site’s content. These links can be worth a lot in terms of search engine rankings. It demonstrates to Google that your material is viewed positively by others.
4. Good SEO correlates to a better user experience (UX)
All search engines strive to provide positive experiences to their users coupled with the most relevant results. Today, search engines have mechanisms in place that help them tell what constitutes a negative experience and a positive one. A good user experience on your website, as mentioned earlier, is one of the contributors to you getting to that coveted position. This is why all digital marketers keep talking about UX and UI.
Technical factors such as loading speed, mobile-friendliness and usability, paired with relevant content, will influence your website's user experience design and consequently influence your ranking in SERPs. This means that, when building your website to compete in the modern world, you need more than just the skills of a developer. You will also need a graphic designer, a copywriter, user experience and user interface (UI) experts as well as SEO experts.
Your ability to rank better will be dependent on how easy it is to navigate your website, alongside the implementation of a top-notch content strategy. It isn’t one or the other.
5. SEO has measurable results
Unlike most traditional marketing strategies, digital marketing strategies are easy to measure. SEO is no different. There are several paid and free tools available online to track your progress and website performance. You can get results ranging from how your website was constructed all the way to how your content is performing. Having the right metrics in place will help you know where you need to focus and what you need to do differently. This data is critical not only for getting leads but also for understanding your audience, their interests, and their needs.
6. The effects of SEO are long term
If your website is in position 40 (say page 3) of Google's rankings, for instance, then you're 39 positions and 2 pages steps behind your competition. These numbers may seem small, but this can amount to 6 months to more than 2 years worth of regular optimization (assuming your competition is doing nothing and waiting for you to catch up with them).
It takes time, dedication and commitment to rank higher in the SERPs, but the payoff is worth it. As your brand implements SEO best practices, its organic ranking in search engines will begin to improve gradually, and it’ll come with clout. We’re talking trust, credibility, discoverability and more new business. You have to be willing to play the long game and consistently review your SEO strategy as well as implement its activities. Paying for ads only gets you as far as you're willing to pay, whereas SEO will last much longer and cost you less in the long run.
You can’t just perform SEO for a certain period and be done with it. Keep abreast with all the SEO updates and searcher trends so that your website remains relevant and user friendly. All websites are essentially gunning for that top spot. The moment you slack off, the competition will be ready and waiting.