It’s a question we hear all the time: how can SEO help my organization or business?
The short answer is: SEO can help you be found.
Great, But What Is SEO?
Since there’s plenty of confusion out there, let’s start off with some definitions. SEO is one of two branches of Search Engine Marketing, or SEM:
1) SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a set of techniques and strategies that help websites show up in the “organic” section of search engine results.
2) PPC, or Pay-Per-Click (a.k.a., Paid Search or AdWords if you’re talking about Google), are the ads that often show up at the top of search engine results.
Here’s an example Google results page:
Truth be told, many people are completely blind to the difference between paid ads and organic results. And over the years Google has made it harder and harder to see the difference between them – remember when there used to be a colored background behind Google ads???
The difference between SEO and PPC is huge; they’re entirely different games.
With PPC, you have to pay for ads (unless you’re a nonprofit) and making them consistently profitable requires constant diligence married with considerable expertise. And when you stop paying for ads, your traffic disappears.
With SEO, showing up in organic results is “free” but depending on your competition it can require considerable time and resources. SEO also requires consistent work, but after an initial set-up of your site you can see lasting benefits over the long haul.
What Can SEO Do For My Organization?
SEO will help your organization show up on Google, Bing and other search engines when people are looking for the products and services you offer as well as the issues and causes you care about.
Sure, your website (hopefully!) shows up for your organization’s brand name on Google. But does your website show up when people search for your services, products and key topics?
Worldwide, people enter over 40,000 searches into Google every second – that’s 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches every year.
Do you know how many of those queries represent people looking for your products/services, or people interested in your cause? Likely, hundreds or thousands or even tens of thousands of people are searching for you (we can tell you exactly how many depending on your industry or topic area – that’s called keyword research).
No matter your industry niche, your target audience is using search engines every day, and they’re looking for you! They’re ready to engage, they’re hungry for your product or service, and they’re ready to buy, donate, volunteer, support, etc.
The only thing is, they’ve never heard of you – especially if your website isn’t showing up for their queries.
Regardless of your niche or industry, most likely there’s clear opportunity for your organization in the search engine results pages – but is your website achieving maximum visibility in the search engines for your target audience(s)?
Why Isn’t My Website Enough?
The truth we can tell you from experience is this: most websites are not optimized for maximum visibility in search engines out of the box.
They may be beautiful, cool, and slick – but unfortunately, most web designers and developers are not aware of the latest search engine optimization techniques. (In defense, their focus should be on designing and coding, and rightly so!)
And many copy writers do not have SEO top-of-mind, especially when writing key on-page SEO elements.
SEO requires an investment of time and resources, but unlike a lot of other marketing efforts (we can name a few when pressed) the results are clearly measurable.