Top-Secret (and Not-so-Secret) Benefits of SEO
Here’s something that isn’t a secret: SEO is an effective collection of marketing strategies intended to result in higher organic rankings with the intention of increasing targeted traffic to your website, with the end goal of generating leads and concluding sales.
Depending on your sources, figures may vary, but there’s no question about it: a vast majority of digital marketing experts agree that there are significant benefits of SEO. According to SEJ, over half of all trackable website traffic is organic, and the average organic click-through rate may be as high as 32%.
So, yeah, it’s sort of a big deal. That’s not to mention that SEO, like other organic marketing strategies, is immune to the regulations of PPC and other paid search advertising channels.
In short, you need SEO if you aren’t currently investing in it, whatever your industry is.
But, just to keep things concrete, here are some of the top benefits of SEO – those you should know as an eCommerce entrepreneur, and others that are better known to digital marketing insiders.
What they told you…
First, what everyone will tell you about the benefits of SEO. These are some of the best-known reasons that eCommerce SEO can help you take your online business to the next level.
Working with an SEO services provider is more scalable
Topping the list of SEO benefits is a specific benefit of using an SEO company, and it is scalability.
An eCommerce SEO campaign is legitimately a full-time job, right from the start. It begins with an SEO audit, followed by thorough industry and keyword research before a plan of action can even be drafted.
Then, the campaign involves ongoing on-page adjustments and optimizations to minor ranking signals like metadata and alt data, as well as adjustments to page copy and site structure, speed, security, and more.
It also entails the development, drafting, and implementation of a full-blown content strategy, link-building efforts, and continuous monitoring of website performance so adjustments can be made during the course of the campaign.
Hiring an SEO company may cost a fraction of what it might take to bring an accomplished eCommerce SEO expert in-house, but you’ll get the services – and skills – of a whole team of experts instead of one person.
SEO helps generate organic traffic and sales
The second-most well-known (perhaps the most well-known, overall) benefit of SEO is generating higher organic traffic and sales.
Without getting lost in the details, here’s how it works. SEO efforts, collectively, make improvements to your website across the board, down to the level of individual web pages, making the website more favorable to Google and other search engines for specific keywords and search terms.
Over time, an SEO strategy will cause a website to rank more effectively in the organic search engine results pages when potential customers search for a given keyword. The higher your website ranks, the more organic traffic will funnel through to your website.
If your keyword research has been performed properly (that’s another benefit of using an SEO company) then only interested, targeted customers will find their way to your website. The better the targeting of your digital marketing strategy, the more likely those visitors will be to convert.
Therefore, a well-executed search engine optimization strategy can potentially raise both organic web traffic and conversions and sales.
SEO helps decrease your reliance on paid marketing
Paid search marketing strategies, like PPC, are intended to get right to the top of the search results pages, circumventing the need to invest time and resources into organic marketing efforts, like SEO.
They are effective at this, but there’s a catch. They are expensive, the second they stop, website traffic will drop off, and most important – customers trust organic listings more.
In fact, some online shoppers will skip right past the ads and go straight for the organic listings. Interesting, right?
This all means that the higher your website ranks in the organic search results for a given search term, the less you will need to rely on PPC as a channel.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in eCommerce PPC management. You should, in order to ensure a lean bidding strategy, effective targeting, and a higher ROI, but it also means that you can offset the costs of PPC with organic improvements through SEO.
What they didn’t tell you…
Now, those are the benefits of SEO that everyone knows about and you can find pretty easily online. But there are a number of other benefits of using an SEO company that we (the insiders) know because we’ve been doing this for so long.
These are the best of them.
It improves website usability
One of the really interesting things about SEO is that a significant number of online business owners see it basically as “keyword” optimization, and don’t take it further than that.
The thing about it is that several ranking factors that directly affect SEO also directly impact user experience. For example, the number of high-quality inbound links (that directly serve up referral traffic), website speed and website security are all ranking factors that affect both. So is a logical website structure.
Moreover, other factors that are affected by website organization, design, and functionality (like bounce rate, time on page, and others) have a splash effect on SEO even if they do not affect it directly.
Therefore, experienced SEO experts will often make suggestions to improve website navigability, install new features, or update the theme or web design entirely because they know these features will positively impact SEO.
They also impact usability, so investing in SEO often goes hand in hand with boosting UX.
SEO builds trust
The higher your website appears in the organic search engine rankings, the greater the brand awareness of your website will be. Moreover, online shoppers inherently trust the organic listings more than the paid ones, for better or for worse.
One of the most cost-effective ways to boost trust and brand credibility is to engage in good SEO practices. Besides, trust can’t literally be bought but SEO services can, which gives you a sort of workaround.
In all seriousness, though, organic marketing is, collectively, the best set of strategies that you can use to boost trust.
SEO can be used for lead generation
If you’re not using SEO for lead generation, you’re not using it to the fullest.
Let’s be honest, not every lead that comes to your website is going to result in a conversion, at least not the first time. If they visit a few pages and then exit without offering up some sort of contact information, you’ve just passed on a free lead.
Instead, SEO can be used to draw in visitors that you can then prompt to offer up some sort of contact information in exchange for joining a mailing list, getting a discount, or some other sort of bonus.
That can not only help you build a book of leads and remarket to them – it can also be used to support your other marketing initiatives like email marketing and content marketing.
It can improve your visibility in local searches
SEO is not just effective and practical for lead generation. It can also be targeted on the basis of the locality.
Allow us to offer an illustration in explanation: let’s say you operate a local business in the Northeast, a business that is bound by a region to which you can offer services. Call it lawncare, if you will.
Well, “lawn care services” and similar keywords might be good targets for SEO – unless if you start showing up in searches halfway across the country, that’s more or less wasted money.
Instead, if you work with an SEO company, they will specifically optimize your GMB listings and target lucrative seed keywords that have been amended with locality-specific qualifiers. In plain English: an SEO company can help your business generate visibility in your local market.
It can stop you from targeting the wrong keywords
The thing about SEO is that any word can be a keyword.
Let’s say you sell clothing. “Shirts,” then, is a keyword.
You can optimize a page’s metadata with “shirts,” trade for backlinks on the subject, and write blogs about it.
You can also optimize your website for “shirts” till the cows come home, but no matter how much work you do on a short-tail keyword like that, you probably won’t generate any traction.
Besides, why would you want to optimize for a keyword like that? Are you sure you know what the search intent is behind it? Maybe people looking for “shirts” are interested in the history of clothing – and not in making a purchase.
The point here is that eCommerce SEO experts use specific tools to research search intent, volume, and keyword difficulty. There’s only so much labor bandwidth at your company (or at an SEO firm, for that matter) so going after the right keywords matters – a lot.
You’ll learn more about your customers
On the note of keyword research (which will help you determine search intent, keyword density, and difficulty, as well as search volume) you will also be able to learn about your target market simply by investing in SEO.
This is a far-too-often overlooked aspect of SEO services. An SEO expert will be continuously monitoring the behavior of visitors on your website, in order to keep ahead of trends. This will help you identify user behavior and the user journey, so you can see which areas of your site are performing best and for what reasons.
But simply engaging in keyword research, or working with an eCommerce SEO specialist has other benefits. For instance, learning the difference between informational and transactional search intent might tip you off that there are other areas your business might want to expand into or drop out of.
SEO supports your other organic marketing efforts
One of the most important benefits of SEO is that it can be used very effectively to support your other organic marketing efforts, such as social media management, email marketing, and content marketing. Rather, it can be said that they work together. Truthfully, there is some gray area where one starts and the other begins. Content marketing, for example, can be considered a direct component of SEO.
Since organic marketing efforts are intended to drive leads through optimization and social and user cues, they all work together to increase credibility, optimization, and spread referral channels.
Each of them works in its own sphere to create greater brand awareness. For instance, greater visibility on a social network makes clients more likely to search for your brand directly; at the same time, a highly shared piece of content will offer two-fold benefits: it could be keyword optimized and be linked to as a source of referral traffic.
This right here is probably the greatest benefit of SEO of all of them – its unique ability to support other organic marketing efforts.
You can measure results
Finally, one more thing to keep in mind is that you actually can</> measure the results of an eCommerce SEO campaign. Not with laser precision, but you can.
It all comes down to isolating the causative factors. Some of the confusion comes from the fact that eCommerce websites often have a lot of moving parts. If a website undergoes a beneficial redesign, adopts new core integrations, and invests in eCommerce SEO, and experiences an influx in organic traffic and a drop in exit rates, well, it’ll be hard to tell what caused it.
But, if the only legitimate operation going on behind the scenes is eCommerce SEO, you can tell with pretty fair certainty if it’s working or not.
Some of the big factors we look out for are influxes in organic traffic (and to a certain degree, all effects associated with organic traffic, such as organic time on page, pages per session, conversions, and transactions, although these are influenced by other factors as well) and keyword movements.
Other agencies may use different reporting tools, but here at 1DigitalⓇ Agency, we use a proprietary dashboard that shows us specific shifts in keyword ranking. In this dashboard, we can see precisely what movement a given domain has for a specific set of keywords and what historical trends have been.
So, in essence, suggesting that you can’t measure the results of SEO efforts is sort of a miscalculated statement. There always is a little element of mystery since no one knows exactly how the algorithms work, but eCommerce SEO experts know what to look for to give an indication of how well an SEO campaign is performing.
Get started reaping the benefits of using an SEO company
Are you ready to start bringing in more organic traffic throughout the coming years, offsetting the costs of paid marketing, and buoying up your website with sustainable organic metrics? Social media management and email marketing are effective, but there’s simply no better way to do it than through a well-devised eCommerce SEO strategy. These benefits of using an SEO company are telling, but not complete. Each case is unique and you might discover some new benefits unique to your industry.
Get in touch with one of our eCommerce SEO specialists today at 888-982-8269 or send us a message at Info@1DigitalAgency.com and we’ll put together a plan that works for your business, your budget, and your goals.