The Increasing Importance of SEO in Non-Online Businesses

If you are one of those who think SEO is necessary or beneficial only for online businesses, you are sadly misinformed. SEO or search engine optimization may be a term and a practice in the online realm, but the entities and causes that can benefit from it extends beyond the World Wide Web.

It’s now considered old-fashioned for a businessman to eschew the chance to promote his services and products on the Web in favor of traditional marketing tactics like handing out flyers, paying for radio, paper and television ads, and hosting promotional events.

Let’s face it though: these marketing moves are already too clichéd that consumers who are instinctually leery of promotional efforts would no longer bite your proffered bait. Besides, there’s now a much more cost-efficient method of promoting one’s business, and that’s through search engine optimization.

Notice that it has become customary for a large company to hire a reliable SEO company to create its official website and promote its services over the Web. Even the owners of SMBs (small to medium businesses) are actively going online to promote their businesses too. They have lesser resources than large companies though, so they often use free platforms like Blogspot, WordPress, and social media networks.

So why do today’s businessmen and entrepreneurs turn to online channels when it comes to promoting businesses? Why should those who haven’t jumped into the bandwagon yet do the same thing?

SEO = Effective & Efficient Business Promotion

One of the first things people in marketing and promotions do is find out where they can reach a large percentage of their target market. This usually means sending people to the malls and sidewalks to distribute flyers, hand out free samples and the like—which would all work to a degree because people do frequent these public places. However, you can also capitalize on the fact that the Internet is just as widely populated—perhaps even more so.

Consider the following:

  • Almost every person in the civilized world today is using the Internet on an almost daily basis, be it for leisure or for work.
  • Customers are now researching online about the products they are interested in first before actually going to the stores to buy them.
  • Besides researching product descriptions, customers are also looking for reviews and customer feedback to reinforce their decision on buying a particular item.
  • 70.30% of Internet users in the United States have bought at least one product or paid for a service in 2011.
  • It is estimated that in 2012, the percentage of US Internet users who will end up purchasing items/services through this medium at least once will go up to 77%.

Based on these statistical data and simple analysis of consumer behavior, it is clear that the Internet is also a commercial ground where you can, metaphorically, hand out leaflets and flyers to potential customers. Now this is where SEO comes in.

business seo
SEO your business. Make your business become visible online.
Source: http://www.techwench.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Branding-Small-Businesses.jpg and http://bigideassmallbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/SEO.jpg

To define SEO, it is the process of making a website become visible to search engine users—specifically, by making their websites appear in the first results pages.

It is easy to understand how this benefits a business that’s looking to attract more customers. If your website is on the first three spots on the SERPs, you have the best chance of getting clicked on by users. There have been so many studies conducted over the years regarding this matter, and the statistical results vary. According to Chitika network, 34.35% of Google users only click on page 1 of its search engine results. 16.96% click on page 2, and 11.42% click on page three. The values continue to decrease for the succeeding pages.

traffic from google
This SERP click-through study was conducted in 2010.
Source: http://chitika.com/research/uploads/Traffic-by-Google-Result.png

It makes a lot of sense to utilize SEO, especially if your target market is of the younger age demographic. You can be certain that they will probably do some research on the Internet to satisfy their curiosity about your product/service or your niche in general. If your SEO campaign is successful, you might just be able to generate conversions. Of course, there’s also the added benefit of being able to generate a profit from your website itself by virtue of pay per click (PPC) advertisements.

What About Cost?

We’ve mentioned how efficient SEO can be in promoting a business, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be spending a buck for it. You’d be hard put to get an exact cost for SEO services though. If you’re going to ask various SEO companies or expert SEOs how much they charge for their services, the common answer would be, “It depends.” It is difficult to pin an exact value because there are many things that must be considered.

Yes, SEO will cost you money. The good part is it is also an investment that can give you excellent returns in the future. There’s this excellent article written by Trond Lyngbo at SearchEngineLand.com where he discusses the cost of SEO in conjunction with its value. He gives a perfect analogy for SEO: that it is like an iceberg whose value may appear small on the surface but its benefits are in fact 90% greater underneath. He adds that just like icebergs though, there are also huge risks involved in SEO, and it should therefore be entrusted to experienced search engine optimizers.

iceberg
There’s more to SEO than meets the eye.
Source: http://pastormojo.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/iceberg1.jpg

Concluding Statement

Using SEO alone to promote your business definitely won’t guarantee you huge sales. Its effects may not even be immediate since it takes time for SEO tactics to actually bite and be reflected in the SERPs and your website statistics. However, it doesn’t remove nor diminish the fact that consumers are becoming highly dependent on the Internet for product research. The number of online shoppers is similarly increasing, thanks to the ease and convenience that online shopping presents. It therefore makes sense to make the most out of the Internet for your business—and SEO is instrumental for that.

About the author: Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a top rated Vancouver SEO company that provides services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to guest post on your blog please contact www.pitstopmedia.com

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