Before I rolled my sleeves up to learn SEO in-depth last year, I was content “being confused” about it. I was one of those people who had heard about SEO. But it sounded technical and scary. And also vaguely important… which made it even scarier. Something to do with keywords?
If this sounds like where you’re at in your online business journey, keep reading.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the process of making sure your website is set up to get found and be understood by search engines, like Google. Ultimately, SEO ensures that when someone searches for something you offer, your website pops up on page one of search results.
The SEO process includes a lot:
- Backend technical stuff, like website speed and image size
- Keyword research
- Written stuff you can’t see, like metadata, title tags, image alt tags, and page titles
- Written stuff you can see, like headlines and body copy
Why is SEO important?
Simply put, when you optimize your website for search engines, it shows up in Google results for queries people type in.
And this has big effects on your bottom line.
SEO attracts brand new customers
When your company does not show up in Google search results, the only way customers will find you is if they’ve seen your marketing.
This means if someone isn’t on your email list and doesn’t follow you on social media, they have only a micro chance of becoming a paying customer. And we all know how much effort it takes to get someone to join your list (and stay there!) and keep followers engaged on social media.
When you nail your SEO, your company starts getting exposure to brand new customers, without paying for ads. These customers might buy right away from your website, or they may simply join your community online and buy a few months later. Either way, SEO helps you attract new customers that would never have found you otherwise (and with little ongoing effort from you).
SEO makes for easy sales
There is less of an education and sales funnel needed for customers who find you through search engines. Why? Because they were already looking for exactly what you offer.
When you market to an audience through advertising or social media, you generally have to tell them why they need your product or service. Also, only a fraction of the people who see your marketing will have the problem that your product or service solves.
But if someone finds your brand through a search engine, they have to have typed in a query looking for your type of product or service. Which means they’re already pretty sure they need it.
In short: SEO allows you to capture customers who require very little convincing that they need your product or service.
SEO makes your business look legitimate and trustworthy (even if you’re small or new)
Finding a brand’s website through Google search results is the online equivalent of ducking into a new little boutique located in the bustling, upscale part of Main Street. Just by its prime location–surrounded by more established businesses you know–you can tell you can trust the brand.
A prime spot in Google search results gives a strong impression that your brand is legitimate and trustworthy. And for small businesses, these are important factors for winning over new customers.
SEO lowers your customer acquisition costs
SEO takes pressure off your marketing by attracting “foot traffic.” Customers will stop in because they come across your brand while they’re out online shopping for what they need.
Without SEO, nearly all your customers have to come at the high cost (either money or time) you incur through your marketing.
While SEO usually can’t eliminate the need for marketing, it can offset the costs, allowing your business to be more cost-effective.
Don’t stay confused about SEO
If you run an online business, SEO is an important part of your success. The good news is that SEO isn’t as scary as it sounds.
For those who are serious about learning to DIY your SEO, I recommend taking the 9-week Recipe for SEO Success course by SEO expert Kate Toon.
For those who can’t fathom trying to become an expert at yet another thing, I recommend hiring an SEO website copywriter to do it for you.
You’ve got this!
Content courtesy of Krista Walsh, creative copywriting for purpose-driven companies and passionate people
CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR, KRISTA WALSH
Krista Walsh writes website copy, blog posts, and product descriptions for small eCommerce companies and service-based solopreneurs. Her writing and messaging strategies help her clients speak to their customers’ values and emotions, for meaningful sales.
In her free time, she writes about purpose-driven business and freelance life at kristawalshcopywriter.com. On the off chance she’s not writing, she’s volunteering to walk the big ole’ dogs over at the Dog Café LA or watching (pretty bad honestly) TV dramas on Netflix.