When most articles you read are about digital marketing, does it mean that traditional marketing, as a whole, is an old-world concept? Word of mouth, posters, banners, TV and radio ads, events, and other means of traditional marketing is still generating satisfactory results for certain types of businesses. However, when you want to grow your business on the web, you have to invest in digital marketing. Deploying a website is the starting point. If you are not investing in digital marketing, your online business is destined to sink without trace. When 28% of the searched items are purchased, you cannot ignore digital marketing. This is the reason why, in 2017, many companies increased their digital marketing budget by 50%.
When you search for digital marketing techniques, search engine optimization always gets the top spot on the list. Digital marketing succeeds when you get found online by your customers. This is what search engine optimization does. Let’s see how your business can reap the benefits of SEO.
What is SEO
Search engine optimization is both art and science. The SEO guys make some important technical changes in your website so that it gets indexed and ranked by Google and other search engines. They identify and fix technical causes of poor website performance such as high loading time, missing sitemap and robot.txt, missing meta descriptions, difficult navigation, wrong URL structure, lack of mobile-friendliness, and so on. The art part comes when it comes to writing optimized and quality content for on-page and off-page tactics. The goal is to bring free traffic to your website and convert it into your customers.
70-80% of search engine users focus on organic results. When 93% of the web traffic comes from search engines, SEO deserves to be at the top spot. And, when only 7% of search engine users make it to the third search engine result page, running a successful online business without SEO is challenging.
Though search engine marketing, social media marketing, and other digital marketing techniques can work in isolation, you can maximize the benefits by integrating them with SEO.
Benefits of SEO for Business
As compared to other digital and traditional marketing techniques, SEO is the most cost-effective. The following table illustrates how SEO generates better results at less cost.
|Local TV||Network TV||Cable TV||Radio||Magazines||Direct Mail||
|Cost||30 sec in top 10 markets: $4000 to $45000+||30 sec in prime time:
$80,000 to $600,000
|30 sec in prime time: $5,000 and $8,000.||60 sec: $200 to $1,000.||Local magazine: $120 per 1,000 issues,
National Magazine: $50 per 1,000 issues
|Single sheet newspaper insert: $25-$40 per 1000 issues,
Letter-sized envelopes: $15-$20 per 1000.
|$15,000-$75,000 per year|
|Campaign term||Scheduled in flights or throughout the year||In small flights due to high cost||Scheduled in flights or throughout the year||Flights that center around specific events||Sold as annuals, specific months of publication or special issues.||Unlimited||6 to 12+ months|
|Audience reach||Large audience (including small target audience and large uninterested audience), low ROI||Very Large audience (including small target audience and large uninterested audience), low ROI||Small audience but better targeted||Depends on the reach of the station||Depends on circulation and response rate is low||Response rate is very low||Targeted audience,
Very high ROI
You are not paying per click or per advertisement. Better results and more savings, SEO is perfect for small businesses. You simply have to select a good SEO company. When your website appears on the first search engine result page for a query, chances are high that users will click your link. This is how SEO brings business at a very low cost. It brings free repeated traffic.
Google and other search engines rank websites that meet their guidelines. Most of the visitors abandon websites taking more than three seconds to load. Search engine optimization pushes you to increase page load speed. Your search engine marketing agency makes other changes such as adding a sitemap to make it easy for search engines to crawl and index web pages, adding robot.txt file to tell search engines about pages to be crawled, using keywords in meta descriptions, headings, content and URLs, fixing broken links, using redirects and errors pages and so on. All these changes make your website more drinkable.
SEO, PPC, SMM, and SEM are some of the most used digital marketing techniques. Some of these techniques generate paid traffic, but SEO generates free traffic. Now, you might have the following two questions to ask:
- How to calculate SEO ROI?
- How to compare SEO ROI with paid search ROI?
- How long does it take to generate ROI?
Calculating SEO ROI of One Keyword
You want to rank a keyword, say ‘digital marketing agency in India’ with 1000 people searching the query every month. There are other variants of the keyword with 4000 searches per month. When ranked first, this keyword brings 266 qualified visitors every month. With 1% conversion rate, you are getting around three new customers every month. Similarly, if half of the close variants are also ranking first, you get 5.5 new customers every month.
Paid Search ROI vs SEO ROI
Let’s assume that you bid on the same keyword in Google Ads and pay $6.00/click. With an average 1.91% click-through rate, your website gets 19 qualified people every month. If your website’s conversion rate is 1%, you need to run your ads for 5 months for one customer. With 1% conversion rate and $6 CPC (cost per click), each customer costs you $600. When you are switching to SEO, customer acquisition becomes much more affordable, and your business sees exponential growth.
As SEO is a continuous process, businesses investing in SEO want to know how long it takes to gain ROI. Typically, it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing results.
Boosts Brand Credibility
One key benefit of SEO is improved credibility among customers. Ranking on the first page sends a strong signal. 75% of the search engine users click results on the first search engine result page. They know that Google and other search engines eliminate spammy websites. They know that only safe and credible websites make it to the first page.
Content also plays a key role in establishing brand credibility by answering to user’s queries such as “What are the benefits of SEO”.
Google My Business listing is another way SEO boosts your brand credibility. Your business appears in local searches. This also shows details about your business with Google reviews. Nothing builds credibility better than positive reviews left by real customers.
Drives High-Quality Traffic
SEO brings high-quality traffic to your website and that too without paying for clicks. Taking the digital route offers hyper-targeted tools. You are not paying for a billboard or any other traditional means of marketing. You are not annoying those who are not interested in your business. TV ads, radio ads, or large billboards by the side of the road do get noticed. However, not all of the viewers are interested in your ads. However, people searching on the web are genuinely interested in making a purchase. They are most likely to act on your call-to-action. The user’s intent is clear in SEO. This is the reason why 89% of the marketers find SEO strategy more successful.
Tracks Success With Real Numbers
You want to know the impact of your investment in SEO. It is easy to monitor the success of your SEO strategy as there are many tools available for digital marketing analytics. Following are the SEO metrics search engine optimization companies use to track SEO performance:
1. Keyword Ranking
This metric gives the idea of whether:
- You are targeting the right keyword or not
- Your website is actually growing or not
2. Backlink Quantity and Quality
Imagine you are a digital marketing student who wants to buy the best book on Digital Marketing. You don’t want to get a recommendation from someone who is new to digital marketing. You will get advice from a digital marketing professional with years of experience. A good quality backlink is just like a recommendation from someone expert. Quality backlinking is one of the ranking factors. SEO agencies use premier tools to track both the quality and quantity of backlinks. Tracking backlinks provide important information to shape a backlinking strategy. This tells about:
- Effectiveness of your link building strategy
- Sources for link building
- Cost-effectiveness of the strategy
3. Organic Traffic
Businesses hire search engine optimization companies to increase organic search traffic. Monitoring the levels of organic search tells about the performance of the SEO strategy. Organic traffic is the most reliable metric. The SEO guys use powerful tools like Google Analytics to monitor traffic.
4. Time Spent On Page
Time users spend on your website is an important engagement metric. Visitors spending more time on your website tells Google and other search engines that you are offering high-quality content to read. You are satisfying the visitor’s intent. Google Analytics gives numbers related to this metric.
5. Bounce Rate
A high bounce rate is not good for your website. If your visitor leaves your website immediately, this shows that your website is not offering quality content, and it is not satisfying the visitors’ intent. Google Analytics gives bounce rate related numbers for each page of your website.
The following table illustrates average bounce rate for different industries:
|Ecommerce and retail-based websites||20%-45%|
|Non-ecommerce content sites||35%-60%|
|Blogs, online portals and other information websites for news and events||65%-90%|
6. Mobile Traffic
This year (2020), the number of mobile phone search users is estimated to be 221 million in the US. 60% of Google queries come from mobile phones. 51% of consumers trust mobile-oriented websites.
Check if your website is responsive or not. How many seconds does your website pages take to load on a mobile browser? Google Analytics provides mobile traffic stats as well.
7. Click-Through Rate
More traffic means more CTR. Even when CTR is not a ranking factor, it is an important SEO performance metric. Google Search Console is a tool used to view stats related to CTR. You can see CTR on different devices, pages and in different countries.
The following table illustrates CTR for the top ten search results:
8. Domain Authority (DA)
This metric by Moz tells how authoritative your domain is. Domain authority is an important ranking factor. High domain authority helps in increasing website ranking.
Check the table for good DA for different industries.
|Finance and Insurance||
|Software and Applications||
|Accommodation and Food Services||
|Sports and Entertainment||
|Media and Publishing||86.23|
9. Returning Visitors and Direct Visitors
Search engines rank it when users like your website. In addition to time on site and bounce rate, direct visits and high proportion returning visitors are also important SEO metrics you can track using Google Analytics.
Returning visitors less than 25% means you need to do something with content or navigation of your website. Good for your website if it is more than 30%.
Promotes the Brand 24/7
SEO promotes your business 24/7. Keep in mind that Google processes 60,000+ search queries a second. Your customers can place orders or avail services anytime they want. If you are putting sincere efforts in SEO, you don’t need to reach customers. Your customers will reach you.
Targets Customers in Every Stage of the Funnel
The integration of SEO and content marketing can do wonders for your business. Content marketing earns 54% more leads than traditional marketing. From blog posts and guides to infographics and PPTs, SEO agencies use a range of content types to engage customers in every stage of the marketing funnel. Though a user reading top or middle of the funnel content will not convert right away. Eventually, he will. 60% of consumers choose companies creating original content to read. This builds both brand awareness and loyalty.
Increase Brand Awareness Among High-Value Buyers
As they go through different levels of the funnel, consumers try different search queries. Take ‘digital marketing company near me’ as an example. The user can search the following queries as well:
- ‘Digital marketing agency near me’
- ‘Digital marketing company in India’
- Digital marketing agency in India’
If your website shows up in every search results, this increases your brand awareness. They start seeing you as a valuable resource.
Generates More Leads
A good SEO agency can increase leads, sales and market share. You can see consumers placing orders. This happens when your website tops keyword rankings, earns clicks and visitors are converted into buyers. It’s a fact that the first result on the search engine result page gets 33% of all search traffic.
Boosts PPC Campaigns
SEO is a non-paid strategy, and PPC is a paid strategy. If you are using both together, your keywords can top both paid and unpaid search results. A visitor gets two opportunities to click. You can also use your SEO data in your PPC campaigns.
Boosts Conversion Rate
Though the aim of SEO is to boost website visibility and position on search engines, it also makes your website user-friendly. The Following SEO factors work together to help in increasing conversion rate:
- Mobile friendliness
- Site speed
- Improved navigation
- Adding menu to customized error pages
- Ensuring security with HTTPS
- Increased duration of visits
- Quality content
- Page optimization
- Long-tail keywords
- Internal links
Increases Social Media Following
SEO and SMM both help each other in increasing visibility and following. Social media can make your content reachable to a larger audience. SEO can take visitors from your website to your social media profiles.
66% of the respondents to a survey said that there is a correlation between rankings and social media shares, 29% said no and 5% said that they don’t know.
What about search engines?
Bing does consider shares while ranking pages. In the case of Google, social media is not a ranking factor. However, social media does play a part in SEO indirectly. It provides opportunity in link building and content. Both link building and content boost rankings. It also increases traffic to a website. Social media also increases credibility which is good for SEO. You can use social media to support SEO by:
- Sharing everything you publish
- Building relationships with relevant audience
- Collaborating with others
- Looking for influencer marketing opportunities
- Posting on sites that give dofollow links
- Answering questions on Quora
- Asking for mentions to be hyperlinked
Sharing fresh content on social media gets web pages indexed quicker. You can use social interaction data to improve SEO content. It is easy to identify the audience for SEO content. You can generate new content ideas. Social media does improve some of the SEO performance metrics.
Similarly, SEO also helps social media.
SEO keyword research tells you about what people want. You can plan social media content according to the demands of your audience. SEO research data such as wording and phrasing and search trends for a particular service or product in your social media content. You use AnswerThePublic tool to learn about the questions being asked by the audience and write your content accordingly. Sharing this content on social media can initiate conversations and also increase the following.
Checking competitors’ top pages in Ahrefs and getting keywords from their content also helps in creating shareable content.
In addition to being a tool for communication, social media is also used to obtain information. Many Facebook users simply search the Facebook page of a business and message their queries. You simply need to share the link to the webpage offering that piece of information. Knowing that your Facebook page is the place where you respond to their queries, they are likely to like your page for future help.
Not having social media buttons on the website or share buttons on blog posts is a big loss of opportunities. If you are connecting the dots properly, social media and SEO do help each other.
Both SEO and social media need great content.
Takes The Brand Ahead In Competition
More than 80% users use the internet to research a product or service. Your competitors are also investing in SEO and other digital marketing strategies. When you and your competitors are on the same page, how can you make a difference?
You have to work with a better digital marketing agency that tailors your strategies according to your audience, market, festivals, holidays, business-related events and other factors. Remember, 75% of the users stay on the first search result page. Invest in SEO and hire a search engine optimization agency that develops a smart strategy to outrank your competitors.
Makes Digital Marketing Strategy More Productive And Stronger
Some businesses work with agencies offering complete digital marketing solutions that include SEO, SMM, content marketing, PPC and so on. We have already seen SEO and PPC, SEO and SMM, and SEO and content marketing can work together. SEO, as a part of your overall digital marketing campaign, can enhance the overall ROI by increasing your competitiveness.
Connects Every Member of Target Audience
SEO helps in getting connected with every type of target audience in every stage of the buying funnel. This depends on your business. You are running a digital marketing agency. Some of your customers are looking for Search engine optimization services. Some customers want to hire a PPC expert. Similarly, some customers want to increase their reach on social media. The journey of different types of audience through the buying funnel will be different.
By targeting keywords and publishing content specific to their intent, SEO allows you to reach different types of audience.
Boosts Local Marketing
This is where a small business can beat big businesses. 80% of internet users search to find local information. No one can call missing out 80% of the potential customers a wise move. You must optimize your website for local search to promote your products and services for local audiences. Digital marketing agencies help by:
- Optimizing for Google My Business
- Improving internal linking structure
- Adding location pages
- Optimizing URLs, headers, title-tags, content, meta descriptions.
- Creating local content
- Ensuring business name, phone number and address are consistent online
- Optimizing online directories and citations
- Getting inbound links with authority and relevance
- Engaging on social media
Following are tools used for local SEO:
- Whitespark Local Citation Finder
- Screaming Frog
- Moz Local
Drives Long Term Success
SEO drives long term success as it is an ongoing strategy. However, you need to keep in mind that this happens when you maintain your ranking. Changes in user search habits and search algorithm updates often change keyword rankings. This is the reason why SEO is a continuous process. You can achieve the maximum ROI when you make a long-term commitment to digital marketing which includes SEO as well.
Help You Compete With Giants
Small businesses with limited budgets can take advantage of local SEO to compete with big names. It is not easy to rank for highly competitive keywords. If yours is a local store in a premium location, then adding location with a keyword can keep you ahead of big competitors. You can look for underserved markets and groups of customers that are ignored by large businesses. For example, big clothing brands might fail to serve the needs of plus-size people.
Google primarily wants to deliver customer satisfaction. It does not consider the size of a business to rank its website. Following are the steps SEO companies take to beat giants in local markets:
- Focus on understanding the local audience and underserved demographic
- Tailor products, pricing and messaging to this demographic
- Use the most relevant social channels
- Some companies even collaborate with influencers
PPC, SMM and other digital marketing techniques are less likely to work without a website and there is no benefit of having a website if it is not visible to your online customers. This is not all about the benefits of SEO for small businesses. It is about making your investment in digital marketing fruitful.