SEO might seem like an old-school marketing strategy.
After all, aren’t all the cool kids obsessed with high-ROI Facebook Ads these days?
And sure, when compared to the overnight success potential of well-targeted social media ads, SEO seems like it takes forever to get results.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
Here’s why you should be investing in SEO if you want to keep your marketing portfolio performing well.
Why Is SEO Important? 4 Reasons It Should Be in Your Marketing Portfolio
1) It sends high-quality search traffic to your website
High-quality traffic is the number one reason to invest in SEO. Let’s clarify by contrasting the typical mindset of a search user and a social media user.
A search user is searching specifically for you. They’re focused on getting a problem solved before they arrive at your website.
They think, “I want some information on marathon training now!” So they search for something like “how to train for a marathon” and they click on a relevant result. If the website they clicked on is useful and provides the information they’re looking for, the user is likely to stay engaged with the content for a few minutes.
And if the user is satisfied with the content, they’re more likely to convert because they received useful information from you that solves their problem.
In contrast, a social media user is endlessly scrolling their feed when they stumble across your ad.
You are directly competing against cat photos, birthday party invitations and dozens of other ads.
To be fair, Facebook advertisers have excellent targeting advantages available. However, the mindset of a typical social media user presents a major barrier to success.
Social media users aren’t actively looking for information on a specific topic or issue. If anything, they’re there to connect socially or fight off boredom, which makes them a lot harder to convert.
Still not convinced?
A MarketingSherpa study from a few years ago found that organic traffic has an overall conversion rate of 16%. That’s much better than the conversion rates we see in social media or even direct mail.
2) It continues to bring in more search traffic over time
Search is only getting more popular, and search traffic continues to grow year after year. This gives you a more significant opportunity to win.
Google is estimated to process 3.5 billion searches per day, and that’s not likely to slow down. Factor in the potential traffic you can receive from related services like Google Maps, Google Images and YouTube, as well as from other search engines like Bing, and it’s clear that search users aren’t going anywhere.
There are also new technologies to keep in mind that are going to keep adding to the growth of search, such as the rise of voice-activated assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri which respond to millions of longtail, question-style queries on a daily basis.
Over 50% of smart speaker users carry out weekly voice searches. And as more of these smart speakers and similar devices are sold over time, the volume of voice search traffic is only going to keep increasing.
But search volume statistics tell only one part of the story.
User attitude is also an important qualitative factor. A 2017 report by Pew Research Center showed that search results are trusted more than social media, with 62% of people likely to take a follow-up action with news items found through search, while 53% would do the same for news items found through social media.
While the study focused on news and information consumption, we can draw some parallels to the world of online marketing. Many users are predisposed to trust what they find through search engines, which means you’re likely to be well-regarded for investing in optimizing your website.
3) It delivers high-value leads
Before making a purchase (especially a large purchase), customers want to be well-informed so they can feel confident about parting with their money. SEO and content marketing plays a major role in this process.
Here are two quick examples of how this works.
B2B case study: Buffer
Buffer, the social media management tool, attracted their first 100,000 users through content marketing.
Their approach involved guest posting on high-profile, influential websites in their niche like Treehouse and Social Media Examiner. All told, Buffer contributed over 700 guest blog posts with this strategy to earn links back to their site.
Today, Buffer has more than 12 million backlinks from over 40,000 domains. (Use the Free Backlink Checker to quickly check the best backlinks of any website!)
B2C case study: The Wirecutter
Reviews are an excellent form of content to publish if you want links and traffic, and no one has done this better than the Wirecutter.
Before they were bought by the New York Times, the Wirecutter was generating over $10 million in revenue, and sales are still growing since the acquisition.
If we look at SEMrush, we can see that approximately 64% of the Wirecutter’s monthly traffic comes from search. That makes sense when you see the depth and quality of their content—they’ve made a name for themselves as a trustworthy source of product information and reviews.
4) It gives you long-term results
SEO is like planting a vineyard. It takes months or even years of effort before you see results.
However, once the foundation is in place, a high-performing SEO asset has a tremendous impact over the long term.
While Facebook Ads and pay per click advertising stops bringing in traffic the second you stop spending, search traffic continues to come in long after you create, optimize and promote your content.
As an example, take a look at how SEO brings long-term success in the pool industry (it’s not just limited to online businesses!).
Selling pools to homeowners tends to be a complex sale. It’s an expensive project, and buyers wonder if they truly understand all of the costs they’re taking on.
Marcus Sheridan, owner of River Pools, sought to change that by publishing detailed articles to answer his customers’ most common questions. As reported in the New York Times, Marcus’s articles have drawn traffic from search for years, and he estimates that a single article has brought in $1.7 million in sales!
If you put the time and resources into SEO and content marketing, you’ll earn long-term results. A truly valuable online asset can bring in backlinks and traffic for years to come.
I’ll show you what I mean using Monitor Backlinks.
From the “Reports” tab, you can see the “Top Linked Pages” report about halfway down. This shows you which pages on your website are getting the most backlinks.
In this example, the page titled “The 20 Most Lucrative Affiliate Niches That Are Evergreen and Sustainable” has attracted an impressive number of backlinks.
The best part? This content piece was published in July 2017, and it’s continuing to attract new links!
Of course, you’ll need to go back and refresh your content to keep bringing in new links and stay ahead of the competition. But it’s far easier to update an already-successful content asset than to create a new one from scratch.
Grab a free 30-day trial of Monitor Backlinks here to find out how your website and content stacks up!
SEO is critical to your online marketing success
Should you abandon your PPC efforts in favor of SEO? No, that’s not what I’m suggesting.
Instead, you should view SEO as a critical component of your online marketing portfolio.
Put it this way: Your marketing efforts are like an investment portfolio. You need different assets to manage risk and earn returns.
Rely too much on any one marketing channel and your business will be vulnerable to disruption.
Sure, use PPC for short-term traffic, but it’s SEO that will bring in the long-term results.
Bruce Harpham helps enterprise software companies grow faster through content marketing. Find out more about his SaaS Growth Roadmap service.