Still Significant or So Not Worth It? 3 Reasons Why You Should Still Go With SEO
I’m totally crushing it with social media, so what do I need SEO for?
You may be asking yourself this question as a business owner, but as digital marketers, we can tell you with all seriousness that yes, SEO is still significant, and that it is, in fact, so worth it.
And we’ll give you three solid reasons why.
Reason No. 1: The Buyer’s Journey
Both your prospective and current customers go through a Buyer’s Journey—they become aware of their problem and that solutions exist for it, they consider different these solutions, and they decide on a particular one (ideally, yours).
And as they go through their buyer’s journeys, these customers generally go through different digital marketing channels, as well—and one of the main channels they’ll use is Search.
Search comes into two delicious flavours: Paid and Organic—and Organic is the realm of Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.
You see, SEO is the method for your website to rank—ideally, to come out first—on the results pages every time someone uses a search engine. Statistics show that leads from search engines have a close rate of 14.6% (versus the leads from outbound methods such as cold calls and direct mail which have a 1.7% close rate).
Let’s take a closer look at where organic traffic, or traffic from search engines comes into the buyer’s journey in this handy-dandy infographic starring “Neo”:
63% of people who shop online conduct research before buying anything, which means they use a search engine to look up product information.
Every time Neo or anyone uses a search engine at any point in the buyer’s journey, the provider of whatever solution they’re looking for needs to make sure that they’re found, and found first. And for that, you need SEO.
This need hasn’t changed even with today’s prevalent use of social media. Whenever a social media page includes a link to website or a post links out to a blog, that means that a having a good website still matters greatly to a business’ online presence. (After all, how credible would a business be with just a Facebook page or an Instagram account, right?)
No matter how much information you manage to cram into your business account’s page, it doesn’t quite compare to the kind or amount of information you can provide on a full-fledged website.
Because of the buyer’s journey stage they happen to be at, people aren’t super likely to be looking for the “website-type” of information while they’re on social media. They’re more likely (if they’re even shopping and not showing off where they spent their holidays) to look for reviews or ask people they know whether they’ve tried a certain product.
So this means that having a good website means being able to provide people like Neo with the right kind of information at every stage in their buyer’s journey. There’s no point in selling him on why he should choose your clinic’s laser treatment in particular if he doesn’t even understand why lasers work better than, say, over-the-counter ointments.
SEO makes it possible for customers to find this right kind of information at the right time, that is to say, at the right buyer’s journey stage. How, you ask? By leveraging search intent, or what a particular person wants to do whenever he looks for anything using a search engine.
If Neo, for instance, types in “laser treatment for acne scars”, he wants more information about what laser treatments are—because at that point, he wasn’t even aware of the fact that lasers could be used for his acne scars. If he searches using words like “laser treatment clinics”, then he wants to find out which clinics he can get laser treatment at so he can compare.
But if he types in the name of your clinic, then you know he’s made his decision and wants to book an appointment. The information you ought to be providing him at this point should be about how he can go about booking and what he can expect. And SEO makes sure that the timing of when this information reaches him, is perfect.
Reason No. 2: Social Media Algorithms
Yes, we’re all well aware of the fact that search engine algorithms change about as frequently as your favourite influencer’s outfit. But what seems to be not as highlighted as frequently in algo-themed talk is that algorithms on social media—along with their advertising guidelines, change every so often, too.
This means that what used to work for you on social today, may not work so well for you down the road. Algorithms determine who gets to see your posts, and guidelines govern things like how much text you can include in an image or how you word your ad copy. More often than not, some businesses only find these things out when their ads are disapproved.
When the social gods that be suddenly shrug and their algorithms or guidelines change , what happens to your business during that inevitable adjustment period if social media is the only digital channel you have?
This volatility is one of the key reasons why taking an omni-channel approach to your digital marketing is always a good idea—for the simple reason of having all your bases covered. Even if one digital marketing channel should underperform (because of algorithm changes or whatever), you’ll have your other channels to back it up and keep your marketing going.
Reason No. 3: SEO is Evolving
Just as caterpillars might seem dead when they “go cocoon”, SEO is in a constant state of metamorphosis. Anyone who persists in saying SEO is dead or irrelevant today must still be stuck at its larval stage when keyword-stuffing was the cool kid on the block.
It’s true that some aspects or techniques used for SEO are either dead or dying, but it’s definitely not true to say that it’s no longer of any use in digital marketing. As you’ve seen under Reason No. 1, Search isn’t just alive but continues to thrive, as SEO has evolved in the way it makes sure your customers are able to find what they need, when they need it.
Below are just a few of the latest SEO evolutions that your business would do well to keep up with, to keep up with the evolving shopping habits of your customers:
- Leveraging search intent
- Optimising images for visual search
- Optimising content for voice search
- Making the most out of featured snippets
- Using video in the form of featured snippets
Placing even stronger emphasis on demonstrating domain authority in terms of Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness (or “EAT” as defined by Google) is another SEO evolution that calls for you to work even harder on putting up a good website. It gives you the chance to present yourself to customers as someone whose products or services they’d be willing to buy.
And while it is true that organic CTRs have been on their way down of late, there are still other SEO evolutions to help shore up those rates and keep customers clicking. These evolutions, while not exactly new or groundbreaking, are still quite a step up from Stone Age SEO. They include (but are not limited to) writing more compelling titles and meta descriptions for content.
The “secret” to making SEO work its best for you alongside your social media and other digital marketing channels is to stay in step with these constant evolutions, as well as the changes in the digital landscape that necessitate them. To give it up for dead amounts to giving up a vital channel for reaching your customers throughout their buyer’s journey. And to persist in the use of dead or dying SEO tactics is tantamount to poisoning your search rankings.
Maybe it’s time for you to make SEO your “Significant Other”—or, if you’re already in a relationship, it might be time to “rekindle the flame”. Go on a digital marketing date with us at NEO360 to see how you can take your SEO and your business to new heights, today.
About the Author
A Mechanical Engineer by training who graduated from the Nanyang Technological University. With over 15 years of experience working in Start-Ups, SMEs and MNCs, he has driven sales revenue and leads across the Asia Pacific region. Shei Wah was one of the SEO Speakers at the first Search Engine Strategies Conference 2011 held in Singapore. As Managing Director, he aims to establish NEO360 in all of the world’s major cities. Even as he works toward this goal, Shei Wah also dreams of his children’s future happiness, and unwinds by doing calisthenics with his former school buddies three times a week.