When launching an SEO strategy, local business owners naturally want to be at the top of organic rankings for keywords that represent their business. In fact, this goal is usually what signals the need for SEO in the first place. Certainly, organic rankings are an important measure of how well your SEO strategy is working, but it is far from the only measure of success.
When SEO first emerged, keyword ranking became the driver of most SEO strategies. Having well-placed keywords on your site and good links pointing to your site was enough to see results, but today search engines look at far more complex signals about the whole health of your online presence in order to present searchers with quality results, rather than rewarding sites that may employ black-hat SEO strategies that game the system.
Assets outside of your website such as local directory listings and social media accounts are now taken into consideration by search engine bots that crawl web pages, and search results vary based on a number of factors like location, personal browsing history, and more. Onsite user experience is also more holistic; page loading time, mobile-friendliness, and the quality of the website code impact how search engines rank your site.
While there is more to get right online in order to rank organically, there are also additional ways that a strong SEO strategy brings success to your business and bottom line. Here are five of the top benefits of SEO besides organic ranking:
Since a good SEO strategy requires claiming and building your business’s social media accounts and directory listings accounts (also called local citations), your business is found in more places across the web. As potential customers research online, they encounter your business in more places more often. They see you on Facebook, Yelp, Google Maps, and other properties. This increased awareness of your business is a powerful way to warm potential leads, spread your brand, and position yourself as a local industry leader.
Consumers are more likely to click, contact, and purchase from vendors they know and trust. With SEO’s extra brand awareness, look for lift to your other marketing efforts as your SEO efforts mature. The extra awareness brought in by SEO aid in more ad clicks, more social media followers, and more website visits. Keep in mind that SEO takes time; expect to see these improvements over six months to a year as your SEO strategy evolves.
The quality link building, complete directory listings, and quality social media accounts that are involved in a good SEO strategy often result in more traffic. Expect to see more visits to your website from all your sources around the web, like those directories and social sites, not just organic searches.
The website elements that search engines prefer add up to a better user experience. Mobile friendliness, an absolute essential, ensures that the growing number of searchers on cell phones and tablets find the information they need on your site no matter what device they’re using. Optimizing your landing page for the better visitor experience, having a fast load time and tweaking form fills improve the ease in which a visitor can reach you. All of this amounts to more conversions from the consumers visiting your site.
You may have noticed that the first page of Google has less and less space for website listings. Searches are often populated with map listings, structured snippets, and more that are taking up what used to be the most coveted spot for local businesses on the search engine results page. Google has also made it harder to determine what is an organic result and what is a PPC text ad, putting even more emphasis on a combined search + SEO approach.
Google will continue to change the landscape of their results pages, so focusing on a first-page ranking that could be replaced with a new ad feature or snippet in the next week or two may not set you up for success in the long run. The benefits that come from a great SEO strategy can set up your web presence and your website for success long term. Be sure to ask your SEO team how they are delivering results on these important fronts as well as helping you get found in search results.