By now, most marketers and business owners know that SEO is a critical factor for driving website traffic. If your site and content aren’t properly optimized, both for desktop and mobile users, you’ll have an incredibly difficult time attracting traffic from organic search your site.
However, there are many benefits of SEO aside from increased traffic. This post will outline 10 other important benefits that stem from having a properly SEO-optimized website.
1. Proper optimization not only means better rankings, it means a better user experience
There’s no question that user experience is now a significant ranking factor. The search engines want to see a mobile-friendly design, good user signals (high time on site, low bounce rates, etc.) and good integration of relevant photos and videos. These elements are all important for providing a great experience for your visitors as well; in other words, by optimizing your site for SEO, you’re automatically also improving your user experience. And a great user experience means higher conversion rates, more trust, and increased brand loyalty.
2. Organic search may account for as much of 64% of all website visits
A study by Conductor of over 310 million visits to 30 different websites showed that organic search accounted for 64% of all referral traffic. While other research seems to indicate that social media has now overtaken search slightly in terms of referrals, there’s no question that search remains a critical source of traffic for most businesses.
3. SEO leads tend to have higher close rates than outbound leads
According to this article at Search Engine Journal, SEO leads result in an average close rate of 14.6%, compared to close rates of 1.7% for outbound leads. While I can’t verify the original source of this statistic, it wouldn’t surprise me if this were true; it makes sense that searchers who are looking for specific products or services are more likely to make a purchase from businesses who they seek out through search, rather than those who attempt to attract them using outbound marketing strategies (i.e. cold leads).
4. Inbound marketing methods (including SEO) result in more leads than outbound, paid media or self-sourced leads
According to the 2014-2015 State of Inbound Marketing report, B2B, B2C and non-profit companies all report inbound practices as being their primary source of leads. This same report found that among marketing professionals, SEO had become the #1 source of leads over the previous 6 month period. One question to ask yourself is: if you’re not generating leads through search, who is capturing these valuable leads?
5. Ranking in local search directly leads to increased visits and sales
If you run a local business, optimizing your site for local search is absolutely critical. More and more consumers are using local search queries to identify local businesses and to find locations, hours and directions.
According to Google, 50% 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. For more local mobile marketing stats, see my article 6 Local Mobile SEO Stats Every Online Marketer Needs To Know.
6. Marketers rank SEO as one of their most effective digital marketing strategies
To see how effective something is, sometimes it’s best to go directly to the source. According to the 2015 State of Marketing report, of the marketers who are using SEO and SEM as part of their marketing strategy, 66% find it “very effective or effective”. Only 7% stated that their SEO efforts were “not very effective or not at all effective”. These seem like reasonable odds to me!
7. SEO leads to increased credibility for your brand
Ranking highly in the search results signals to searchers that you’re a key player in your industry. Conversely, ranking on the 2nd or 3rd page may lead to unwanted assumptions: that you’re a new business, that you’re not as well known or that you don’t have the budget (and thus sales) to afford to boost your rankings.
8. SEO can be a less hands-on strategy than other inbound techniques
Social media and email marketing are both highly effective channels for generating leads, but both require some degree of continual effort. To remain top of mind for your customers and prospects, you have to be continually pushing out new content to your list and social media followers. However, once a page is SEO-optimized, you can often sit back, relax, and let it climb the rankings on its own merit. This, of course, largely depends on certain factors such as the competitiveness of the keyword(s) you’re targeting, and the quality of the content on the page, among others. But in general, once you lay the foundation of proper SEO-optimization for any given page, most of the hard work is already done.
9. Being on the 2nd or 3rd page of the search results means virtually no search visibility
Some business owners forgo any formal SEO efforts because they believe that being in the search results (anywhere in the results) is “good enough”. However, research by Moz shows that 71.33% of clicks happen on page oneof the search results. Properly optimizing your site and content are key to achieving top rankings; and therefore any degree of search visibility.
10. The vast majority of consumers research products online before going to a store
Research from GE Capital Retail Bank shows that 81% of shoppers research and compare products online before making a local purchase. Other research puts this number as high as 94% for B2B buyers. Achieving first page rankings for your business and products is critical if you want consumers who are actively searching out your products to be able to find you.