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SEO: what is it; does it matter?

The dawn of the internet ushered in a new era with a lot of new vocabulary and acronyms. From gigabyte to RAM and even the “@” symbol, two moderately computer savvy individuals talking about an internet related issue today would sound like NASA software engineers to someone from 1921. At least, if NASA had existed before 1958.

Despite all the new words we know, search engine optimization (SEO) remains a fuzzy concept for many. I didn’t understand the concept for a long time.

SEO had the aroura of a magic key or secret club. Once you discovered its inner workings, the internet was at your mercy, entering the club or having the magic key equaled success.

But that’s not exactly the case. SEO is a valuable tool if you use it well. But it’s no magic recipe. Nor is it an impossible mountain any business owner, blogger or public relations personnel must spend years preparing for and climbing.

Let’s analyze the key concept behind SEO, estimate if the opportunity cost is worth it, and look at a brief story of successfully using it.

What is SEO?

Like the acronym says, SEO is how Google—or Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.—optimizes its systems to give users the best results on page 1. The algorithms that control this process change constantly, most of the time daily. This means Google is changing what factors put websites on the front page. The majority of these changes are minute, and with hundreds of factors determining ranking, SEO skills don’t require hour updates on your site.

The whole process relies on hundreds of factors. For example, if lots of other websites contain hyperlinks to your website, Google will send it higher among the millions of other options.

Another factor is the amount of time visitors spend on a website. If the average time per user visit is 2.2 seconds, Google thinks the website is failing to engage its audience or doesn’t have the content the audience wants. Therefore, a website with users leaving quickly is sent down in the SEO algorithm so the next user doesn’t also find a website that fails to meet his need.

Here are five other factors:

  • Site security—if your webpage isn’t updated to HTTPS, Google might demote your site

  • Content quality and length

  • Content updates—if you constantly revise your content Google see that you’re keeping relevant with users’ needs

  • Click-through rate—this means the number of people on Google’s search page who see your website URL with the brief blurb underneath and decide to click it.

  • How fast the pages of your website load

Is SEO worth the cost?

Yes. Around 64% of marketers actively invest time in SEO according to a 2020 report by HubSpot. Why? Because SEO works. But it’s not a magic key. You can use SEO and generate more traffic to your website, but if that traffic doesn’t convert into customers, what have you gained?

That’s why SEO takes time and patience to do the initial SEO work then analyze your return on investment then refine your SEO so that you draw in the right audience. But a small to medium sized company utilizing SEO can gain an edge in its market, especially locally.

According to Advanced Web Rankings, the top organic, not paid for, spot on page 1 of Google receives just over 30.3% of users. If your website is number 2, around 16.4% of users click into your site. Webpage results 3, 4, and 5 receive 11%, 8.5%, and 6% respectively.

So the top 5 organic search results receive around 72% of all users who perform a Google search. Once you include non-organic results and users who search a new term instead of clicking on a result, the percentage of users venturing past the first page is around 6%. (That’s probably why Digital Synopsis title an article “Why Page 2 of Google is the Best Place to Hide a Dead Body”)

Clearly, taking the time to snag a spot in the top five pays off.

Taylor Brand Consulting has several clients who offer summer camps. When we began managing their websites, a search for “camps near me” would place our clients on the third or fourth result page. Even with a direct search of the camp name, other websites would show up first—the power of strong SEO.

We began improving our client’s SEO. Now each of them consistently appears in the top three results for nearby camps and have seen an increase in registration year over year.

The realm of SEO seems daunting, especially from the outside. But improvement is possible, and we’re here to help.

As always, if you have any questions, reach out! We would love to talk and help how we can. Schedule a free consultation by emailing or by filling out a contact form on the site.

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