Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) refers to activities aimed at maximising the number of visitors to your website; by ensuring that your site appears high on the list of organic (non-paid) results returned by search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. This piece discusses why businesses in Nigeria should make it a priority.
SEO requires technical, creative and relationship building skills, as there are many aspects to it: from the structure of your website to the way external websites link to yours. Sometimes, SEO could simply mean ensuring that your webpage’s content is written and structured in a manner that search engines would understand. As often as not, this also involves making your content user friendly for your target audience.
Why Is SEO Important For Your Website?
Although social networks and other kinds of media drive traffic to your website, search engines are the chief mode of navigation for most internet users. Overtime, we have learnt to be exceedingly dependent on search engines for structured and relevant information from the internet. Consider the way we “Google” whenever we want to learn anything new from the web. What Google does here is to provide us with relevant websites that it believes meets our needs based on the search terms we have entered.
This is a unique feature of search engine traffic: the fact that it provides targeted users interested in what your website has to offer. However, if search engines cannot find your website, or doesn’t consider your content relevant to your target audience (even if it actually is); you could be missing out on enormous amounts of potential customers. Hence, although it takes time to manifest, strategic and steady investments in SEO yield remarkable rates of return compared to other forms of marketing and promotion.
Benefits of SEO
1. Leads Generated Via SEO Have Higher Close Rates Than Outbound Leads
According to a marketing stats report by NewsCred, leads generated via SEO have a close rate of 14.6% compared to 1.7% for outbound leads. Outbound leads are leads generated via general media advertising as well as face to face contact e.g. tradeshows, TV commercials, radio commercials, print advertisements, and cold calls. This statistic makes sense as leads generated via SEO are already in a different stage of their buying journey: they are actively seeking out solutions and/or the functions that a product or service performs; leading them to websites that provide these solutions (via search). On the other hand, outbound marketing generate leads that often do not have a strong need for the product/service at the given moment.
2. Local Business Searches Lead to Store Visits and Sales Within a Day
Google’s research into the local search behaviour of consumers revealed that – 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information; 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day; 34% who searched on computer/tablet also visited a store within a day; and 18% of local searches on smartphones led to a purchase within a day vs. 7% of non-local searches. What these stats establish is that there is a direct correlation between local searches and physical store visits. Hence, SEO can be profitably exploited to the benefit of any kind of business; whether it’s an online business or a physical (brick and mortar) establishment.
3. Website is Simultaneously Optimised for Great User Experience
Search engines have been programmed to have a good idea of what a user friendly website should constitute. Generally, search engines judge the user experience of a website by considering factors such as ease of navigation and clarity; information which is directly relevant to the user’s query; professional design; accessibility to modern browsers; reliable and quality content to name a few. This is also referred to as On-page SEO. Hence, in addition to optimising your website for the top positions in search engine results pages (SERPs), you are automatically optimising your website for great user experience; which of course means happier prospects and customers.
Just in case you want to analyse your website in order to determine the health of your On-page SEO; you can make use of this easy to use tool by Seoptimer. All you need to do is enter your site’s URL and click Analyse.
4. SEO Adds To Your Company’s Credibility
Ranking high in search results for queries related to your industry gives prospects and consumers the assurance that you are a key player in your industry. Prospects would feel more comfortable doing business with you; as being ranked highly by a search engine is subconsciously considered as a vote of confidence to searchers. It gives off the impression that you’re well known and an authority. Consider the impression you have of the following list of websites for which I entered the search query “phone”. Jumia is looking pretty ready to do business don’t you think?
SEO is an important factor in generating traffic to your website. If your website isn’t properly optimised you’d find attracting suitable visitors to your website very difficult. SEO is also a long term digital marketing strategy, as the benefits usually do not materialise instantly. However, when they finally do, the benefits are enormous.
The long term nature of SEO makes it very vital that you apply the right SEO practices; do not engage the services of SEO practitioners with shady methods, who usually promise instant results. The damages caused by shady SEO practices are usually very grave, costly and could take a while to recover from.